Moonlit champagne bubbles sparkled in my glass as I wandered around a charming boutique downtown Napoli and I had the fleeting wish that my pocket book was just a tad more relaxed. Alas, I suppose I will settle for dreaming. I have a weakness for beautiful things and at the opening of Serein Concept Gallery, I was surrounded by them. Bold and colorful artwork, amazing jewelry that winked at you as you admired it under the lights and fabulously dressed people were the order of the evening.
I had my New York City girl moment if you will. It’s been a while since I have been to a gallery of any sort, and I didn’t realize just how much I missed that. It was incredibly refreshing to attend and absorb the energy of other artists as well as their appreciative patrons.
Raquel, who graciously invited me to the opening, and I attempted to elegantly traverse the cobblestone streets of Napoli in heels as we passed under an incredibly lit archway with a slate-blue ceiling framed by cream colored art deco moldings. As we approached our destination, I couldn’t help but admire all of the people so elegantly dressed, deftly holding their wine glass stems while enjoying an exquisite fall evening out. I was home. We entered and were handed a small glass of champagne and greeted by many. The owner and designer came to see Raquel and introduced herself to me with the obligatory two-kiss European greeting. She asked if she had met me before, I was somehow familiar to her. Unfortunately no, I couldn’t think of where or if we had met, however was happy to meet her now. What a sweetheart! We continued to chat while photographers took photos for the Italian papers, for what I can only imagine would be the Style section? We posed for several photos with the elegant patrons of the party and I suddenly felt somewhat silly, but also pretty fancy. A man turned to me and said “Don’t be surprised if we end up on the cover of the paper. I have been on it several times while attending openings.” My stomach did a giddy self-important flip, which I had to laugh at the vain notion in my head. What a surreal experience. Wouldn’t that be a fun moment? I’m not counting on it though. It was a wonderful experience followed by tapas, some vino and good conversation.
Living in Italy hasn’t been the easiest transition for me. To be honest, I haven’t had an overwhelmingly positive reaction. In fact, I have avoided going downtown Napoli completely since our arrival. This opening was my first foray into the city and it was nerve racking. The whole cab ride downtown I was anxious trying to appear self assured to any passerby. I only hear about the garbage, pickpockets and overall rough edges. And frankly, I haven’t felt super welcome here. The language barrier, which I have yet to work on, poses one problem, but one that I will hopefully solve soon. As a linguist you would think I would have made more of an attempt by now, right? Shame on me.
We haven’t traveled much in Italy, but I can tell you, what you hear is true. Once you get 10 miles outside of Napoli, you are in the heart of what your imagination has created for you over the years when you think of Italy. Lush fields, vineyards and incredibly old, yet stunning buildings. It is breathtaking. But the fact remains that we do live in Naples and yes, it is a little rough overall. I knew it was time to start learning to find pleasure in their culture. Last night was the perfect first experience to have. People were friendly, the city itself wasn’t so scary and I enjoyed myself. After the opening and dinner we once again dared the cobblestone streets in fabulous shoes and went into an incredible boutique displaying the most romantically beautiful evening gowns that would cost my yearly salary. I practically drooled while trying to appear as if I belonged in such a place. Everything in there was so beautiful I couldn’t touch it, fearing my hands weren’t quite worthy. It was a bit dreamy. Not wanting my evening out to end, I got in a cab and headed home to my incredible husband.
This morning after having a very strange dream that Etta James and I were sharing a meal in Tuscany, where she was about to perform my favorite song; “Tell Mama” I felt refreshed and ready to open myself up to taking Italy one day at a time and enjoy the little things…
The breeze kissed my face and rustled palm leaves nearby as I walked to a small cafe this morning, determined to do some writing and sip on a cappuccino as I suddenly got that burst of creative inspiration which sadly, rarely hits me these days. I found a small cafe and whipped out my laptop to begin writing and the battery was dead. How I have no idea, because it has been charging for two days. Isn’t that just my luck? Feeling a bit let down, I was determined to enjoy my morning. Without a sketch pad, a computer or book I just took in my surroundings, and did a little people watching. Men and women dressed in their Sunday best passed by in either direction returning home to no doubt, prep their traditional Italian Sunday family meals. I could almost smell the food that they would create with love if I allowed my imagination to wonder just enough.
With delectable bitter espresso left on my taste buds it was eventually time to meander home on this perfectly crisp fall morning and put my new found inspiration to work. What I will do with it, I am not sure. Perhaps I will start the drawing I have been meaning to do for months now, or maybe I will order some goats milk soap making supplies so I can put together a ‘Welcome Caddy’ for guests that will be arriving soon from the States… Your guess is as good as mine. For now, I’m going to allow Italy to fill my senses in every way possible and make a conscious effort to enjoy it. Care to join me?