Naples in July

After leaving Longyearbyen, Svalbard, I stopped briefly in Bucharest at my grandma's place. I had a couple of days to dump all of the cold weather clothing out of my bags and instead stuff them with dresses and white linen shirts. After five weeks in the high Arctic tundra, my legs were full of hair and as for the hair on head, this was the first time in over a month that it would be exposed to the outside air (without a warm hat on) for a significant period of time. For the first time in five weeks, I felt feminine again.

After constantly being the most bronze woman in the room, I was greeted by my high school friend, Camilla in the Naples airport, whose skin was five shades darker than mine after her many trips to the beach-

"Amanda! You're so pale."

Our time in Naples consisted mostly of hanging out. We walked around the archeological excavation sites (scavi), ate panini at the beach, took the train to Vico Equense, had aperitivi in Sorrento, and on the last day I sung and played guitar for nonno and zio Amitrano in the kitchen of their apartment in Castellammare di Stabia as pasta was being made. During the night time, I drank wine with Camilla's uncle. In between glasses he would cut pieces of parmeasan cheese and put them in front of me until I begged him to stop. Non c'e' la faccio! It seems like they always give the smallest person the biggest plate just to laugh when you can't finish it all.

"Amanda, tu mangi come un uccellino." (Amanda, you eat like a little bird).

It's the famous line I receive every time I go to Italy. I've acquired a pretty legitimate fear of eating in front of other Italians. It's a fear that I struggle with because Europeans (mostly Italians) will judge you extremely hard if you don't even make a dent in the food they've prepared for you. At the same time, you have to wonder where that judgement originates; perhaps from a place of care, a burning desire look out for one another. This includes making sure that we are all eating enough (too much).
View of Castellammare di Stabis from an elevated archeological site. Mount Vesuvius on the horizon.