Meeting Neighbors, Making Friends
The view from our top floor is very pretty — trees, fields, mountains, even the sea and the island of Ischia on a clear day.
Sadly, the sidewalk across from our house is overrun with weeds and various plastic bottles, pizza boxes and cigarette packs.
After taking Heidi on a walk and stirring up a lot of interest from the neighborhood dogs, I came home determined to do something about that sidewalk.
No sooner I started to pull weeds and rake the trash, I looked up and saw that our neighbor had joined me. I introduced myself . I always preface my introduction with, “Non parlo bene Italiano, mi dispiace.” I’m not sure why I still do that — it doesn’t seem to affect the speed of the words flying out of their mouths. Maybe at least they will understand the confused look on my face when I’m not able to keep up with what they are saying!
Her name is Asunta. She is a tiny lady, but she is strong. The grace with which she wielded her hoe, well-worn broom and dustpan was impressive.
We got the project 90% complete before I surrendered to the sun and went inside to give my fair skin a break. I volunteered Jeff to finish up when he came home from work.
In the short amount of time I spent with Asunta, I learned that her husband had an accident in 1985 and hasn’t been able to walk since then. At the time the accident happened, they had been married only three years and had a son. I commented that it must be difficult. She responded, “Eh. É la vita” (It’s life). Can’t argue with that.
I look forward to getting to know Asunta and her family better.
If meeting Asunta weren’t enough, as I was beginning my project a gentleman in a white van drove past slowly. We acknowledged each other with a “buon giorno.”
He returned later and stopped. He seemed to be very curious about all the activity. I asked him, jokingly “Vuoi pulire?” (do you want to clean?). He responded, “No. Vuoi pesce?” (No. Do you want some fish?).
I was not expecting that question! I politely declined, and he offered to clean up the sidewalk for me. By this time, I was well into the project so I let this Neopolitan fishmonger/street cleaner off the hook.