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migliore
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Posted on Mon, Nov 15, 2010 21:49

Apologies for allowing myself to get sidetracked by daily life, political issues and fellow bloggers whose posts cried out for reposts.  Here it is...where we left off I was stepping off the plane in Napoli, Italia where a new world awaited. Or at least I suppose you could call it a new world.  It was one represented by my new NCOIC (Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge).  No, he was not in uniform -- we try not to give ourselves away overseas and besides this assignment called for civilian clothes most of the time.  Mind you, Italians, always told me they could spot an American GI a mile away, civilian clothes or not. 

 

After we shook hands and introduced ourselves I said, "I'm ready, let's go."  "What about your luggage?" he asked.  "Got it all right here, Sergeant," I replied, nodding toward my suit bag.  He laughed, saying, "That's all you brought?"  "What can I say, Sarge, I travel light and acquire stuff where I go.  Besides, when it comes to baggage handlers, I've got trust issues." On the drive to Pozzuoli where the barracks were just west of Napoli / Naples I realized that although I had never been there before, everything seemed familiar -- almost like I had lived there in another place and time.  Southern Italian cities are kind of a mess with trash everywhere.  There is elaborate architecture mixed in with apartment buildings of questionable structural integrity and remains of Roman edifici.   

 

Our barracks were just down the street from the Italian Academia Areonautica -- the Italian Air Force Academy.  They were by the sea with a beautifull view of the bay and harbour.   Proximity to the sea made the barracks very vulnerable and they were closed down right after 9/11.  But in that pre 9-11 world I lived large.  Right outside the gate was a newly opened cafe bar, and I met the proprietor / proprietario the next morning as I emerged from the barracks to explore my new world.  He took me up to the cafe and there I used my most recently learned Italian phrase:  "Che cosa e' quella / What is that?"   

 

Never mind that I couldn't understand the answers I got -- at least not right away -- it was still a great conversation starter.  At least it got the Italians going.  And that cafe became like my living room.  I would go up there morning and night to socialize and learn Italian. Fortunately for me the owner, Mario, had a young daughter, Claudia, who spoke fairly good English.  She would help me, but at certain points she would tire and let me know I was on my own to communicate as best I could. And it was fun, but believe me there were many times when frustration was my basic experience.  Those were the times I thought of Adriana, whom I had met more than ten years earlier in Paris at Christmastime when she was a student at the Sorbonne.  My stepsister had received an inheritance from her aunt and paid for her husband, my stepmother, a Canadian friend, my sister and me to travel to France for the holidays.

 

Since stepsister had been an exchange student and lived with a family in the south, they all took off leaving my stepmother and me in Paris on Christmas Eve.  We went out to eat and I could see the two ladies next to us in the mirror looking at me when they thought I wasn't looking.  (Ladies, you do undercover so well.:) I spoke to them in my pitiful, halting French, proving once again that if there's chemistry it doesn't matter what you say.

 

To my good fortune, Adriana was at the Sorbone to study English, so both her and her sister saw me as a likely subject for language learning.  They were both really sweet and when my stepsister and the gang got back from the south of France we met them in front of the Notre Dame to go out together for Christmas Dinner.  What a time it was...we opened and closed the place. Now ten years later here I was in Italia in need of a fast track for learning Italian. I had left their address in the US figuring that by now they both had families and deserved to be left alone.  But in my desperation I emailed back to a friend who had the key to my house and told him where my address book was. With Claudia's help I wrote them in Italian to give them my email address, figuring if they wanted to they could totally ignore me. About three days later Adriana's email was in my inbox -- that's good for the Italian postal system.  

 

Had some trouble translating on my own so I printed it out and brought it to Claudia who was quite interested in Adriana's reply.  "I think she wants me to write back," I said.  Claudia grabbed the printout and scanned the message.  She smiled and giggled.   "She says you have to come and visit her in Torino."

 

 (to be continued)



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migliore
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total posts: 163
Posted on Tue, Nov 23, 2010 05:36

Cara Pura,

Vorrie dichiare, "Vive la differenzia!"  Che credi...dico la verita'.  Faccio una promessa, continuaremo.



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migliore
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Posted on Tue, Nov 16, 2010 20:51

Always appreciate your support and encouragement, Mac, and will continue to "Social Situations III"

Miggy



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rmac22
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Posted on Tue, Nov 16, 2010 09:25

Continue please. rmac


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