It’s dreary outside, and also the day after St. Patrick’s Day which I didn’t celebrate this year (I know, right ?!!). I’m waking up to leave. My bags are packed and scattered about the room, the last minute laundry haphazardly piled on the floor, a bag with my uniforms is stacked in the corner with a camping backpack and a violin. This is all that’s left of my belongings in Italy.
Last week I moved out of my house, shipped my car back to America, and came over to stay with friends. It all seems so final, yet a new beginning is just around the corner for me so it shouldn’t be so sad. But it is sad.
This time when I was at the housing office turning in my paperwork, I was on the other end. Watching all the new arrivals excited about their homes in Italy as I turned in the keys to my house and said goodbye to my landlords for the final time.
The moment I leave here, my life away from reality ceases to exist. Everyone will continue on as before. They will continue to travel, to gallivant Europe, see the world, attend celebrations, experience cultures.
The 2 years I’ve been stationed in Italy have been single handedly the best 2 years of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved college, however while I was there, I didn’t have a key to the world or the freedom or funding to experience and enjoy it.
“Join the Navy, See the World” the advertisements said and alright fine, I bit.
Now, after living in Italy for 2 years while fully funded, I will look back on these experiences often. I mean who else do I know that can be at work at 0900 in Naples Italy and in Greenwich London by 1300? There are a few perks to working right next to the international airport after all.
“Wait, you do want to go alone? Alright, see ya.”
Plus, from California to Pittsburgh, I’m looking at $600 for a round trip ticket, which is egregious compared to the prices for flights around Europe. 2 weeks ago I flew to Romania for $30 round trip from Rome (I haven’t blogged about that yet, stay tuned) and this past October I flew to Marrekesh round trip for $80 from Rome.
I mean combine that with a hostel or a $25 a night Airbnb and you have lodging and transport to destinations everywhere. Of course you’ll be spending money on sight seeing, food, and the other bits and bobs, but you pay infinitely less for the trip then if you are flying from America or somewhere else.
I was just asked yesterday, what was your favorite experience while you were stationed over here? Now that, my friend, is a hard question to answer. There are too many unique experience to pit them all against each other. My only advice would be, if you are given a similar opportunity to me, don’t squander it.
Make sure you get out and see what you can without burning yourself out. Take day trips, you’d be surprised what lies within 2 hours of Naples Italy/wherever you’re living. Plan trips often and see what you can. No I didn’t get to every country in Europe but I managed my time so that I don’t look back with regrets. All the cities I missed now are on my list for when I come back.
I’m thinking back to all these crazy adventures that I had. There was the time that I somehow secured a ticket to Tomorrowland in Belgium, 2 weeks before the festival. What about on the way there when I left my wallet on a train, got it back, and had it stolen later that day !! Touring King’s Landing in Dubrovnik, and crossing the boarder to Montenegro. Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and heading out on a real African safari! Staying in a snow castle in Finland on a quest to see the Northern Lights. The list goes on and on!
I’ll have to admit that I haven’t been the biggest fan of Neapolitans here in Naples Italy. In fact I vehemently dislike Neapolitans, to be blunt about it. Interestingly enough, so does the rest of Italy. If I’m up North and I tell someone I live in Naples they always shake their head and roll their eyes before continuing the conversation.
I have made some good friends here in Naples and it’s true, once you are in the inner circle you are considered family, but it hasn’t been enough to make me think that Neapolitans are all good people.
Within the first week of having my car shipped to Italy, the driver’s window was busted out and the door lock was broken (it still is) and they are so fucking dumb they didn’t even find my iPod, which was in the center console. They broke my window, which had to be shipped from America for replacement and all that hassle for the jumper cables in my trunk.
Or what about the time my friend was visiting and she was walking to the train station by my house, at which point she was attacked from behind by 2 dudes who were trying to steal her purse. I can never say what I would have done had I been present but I like to hope, something awful.
There have been countless times my friends have had their homes broken into and everything stolen. That is a serious violation of privacy. How would you feel if someone came into your home and took all of your belongings? Worst part, Naples doesn’t recognize self defense, WTF.
You might say, “These same things could happen in Chicago, New York City, D.C,., or L.A.”
My Reply: I’ve been to all of those places and have not had a single problem, so fuck off. I don’t have time for hypothetical bullshit. I literally watch Neapolitans throw trash out of the windows of their homes, their cars, when on a mopeds or bicycles, or even if they are just walking down the road. They don’t take care of their city (the trash crisis of 2004) and why should anyone else? I’ve traveled all around Europe and not yet seen such a careless disdain of one’s own city that I see from Neapolitans on a daily basis.
Let me just say, YOU GUYS ROCK.
The surprise was fabulous, the evening was glamorous, and I can’t believe how many people went out of their way to participate and treat me to a good time. It was a REALLY REALLY good time, Thank-you.
This article appeared first on The Cassey Excursion.