Marco Polo? It’s me, Sophia Loren, with a jug of limoncello.
In August, my new life takes off when our plane lands at Italy’s Marco Polo airport. Then to Naples, a gritty, glorious city you either love or hate—often called, “A beautiful woman with dirty feet.”
Thought bubbles form as I dive into a self-indulgent pool of relocation self-consciousness. I’m hearing whispers. Then a chant that grows to a staccato shout: MARCO. Polo. MARCO. Polo. MARCO. Polo.
Like a wet kid, my neurons splash akimbo. Thoughts lost in possibility and dread about the move. I’m wondering:
1. How much cheese pizza can one woman’s thighs take?
2. Should I re-watch “Under the Tuscan Sun?” (To learn about life in Italy. Duh!)
3. Should I learn the language? (My existing Italian: ciao, mozzarella, gelato, spaghetti, limoncello, tiramisu. Hmmm….mostly words to eat by. See #1.)
4. Will someone make me an offer I can’t refuse? (I like to swim but not “with the fishes.”)
5. Did 13th-century explorer Marco Polo have a clue that someday his name would pass so joyously from the pruny lips of swimming children?
Like Polo-seeking kids, I’m reaching out for something. Questioning this transcontinental relocation. Crossing days off the calendar, amid fear of drowning in an out-of-country, out-of-body culture shock of amazement and angst. Am I scared? Marco Polo says, “Yes.”
I’ve lived outside the US—four years in the Bahamas. Through rose-colored glasses, Andros Island is white sand, turquoise seas, fruity rum drinks, and fresh ahi. Remove the glasses: few amenities, apathy, and poverty.
Naples, from my rosy viewpoint, is romance, historic art, and intellectually-satisfying wines that finish with an orgasmic mouth feel. Postcard views of craggy ocean cliffs. Verdant, vine-covered hills. A lush outdoor spread of fresh figs, prosciutto, and crusty loaves. With olive oils so virginal they make God beam. Cheeses to cheer for. A bosomy, apron-wearing, tomato sauce-smelling Italian mama smiling, “Buongiorno!” across the balcony as she hangs her loud brood’s colorful laundry. Sipping the lemoniest of limoncello, among casually-fashionable, international friends. With hip music.
But take off the shades? You find unemployment, crime, a bureaucratic government, and graffiti. Mt. Vesuvius rumbling in wait to release lava loads of molten magma on today’s Pompeii. Toss in ancient ruins, a bit of anti-American sentiment, and lunatic drivers, and you get a more realistic sense of the place.
Of course, there’s truth in both descriptions. I suppose it comes down to managing expectations. I’m hoping for the former but aware of the latter, as I say "Arrivederci, Wal-Mart" and "Hello, Prada."
I’d be happy with a life akin to the quintessential Fellini art house film, in which the real and the unreal merge. Revving a convertible Ferrari on a Fiat budget. Rocking the Sophia Loren, big-sunglasses-hair-in-scarf-wind-in-face, look. Stomping grapes barefooted with the vigor of Lucille Ball. Crooning like Dean Martin about falling in love with a big pizza pie when the moon hits your eye.
Angst aside, when I move from Washington DC boat life to bella Napoli, one thing is certo: a seaside balcony. I need one for my newest writing/art project, a blog I’m calling, Scribbles from my Seaside Balcony.
Part inspiration, aspiration (not the choking type), expatriation, frustration, imagination, humor, distillation (not only the alcohol type), confrontation, humiliation, condemnation, drama…basically, ANYTHING the F*%# I want to write about. Or curate and sell.
Content? International intrigue, expat adventure, foods, truth, lies, friends, cocktails, fashion, relationships, money, politics, culture, wellness, beauty, décor, addiction, photos, bargains, lifestyle, empowerment, shopping, and everything la dolce vita.
Ciao for now!
PS. Get ready to bookmark www.seasidescribbles.com.
PPS. I will still make designs at www.edgyartcards.com.
Keywords: DC, Italy, Lindblad, Loren, Marco, Naples, Polo, Sophia, Staci, Washington, art, balcony, civilian, expatriate, government, humor, job, limoncello, pizza, seaside, travel, wine, writing, writing
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