Arrivederci Italia

Matt and our friend at the local Deco, our favorite supermarket in Italy.

So long Italy, you’ve been good. From our nice home, to the Deco, gelato and lots of good think time, Italy fit in just right for this time of our life.

The Deco, our local grocery store, was fabulous, both for what we purchased there, and for the Italian experience it provided us. After eating out the first weekend, sampling many versions of the classic Margarita pizza –apparently innovated here in Naples, it was time to settle in and go shopping. Our home had a great kitchen and we fully utilized it. The Deco was a short, 5 minute walk from our place too and it quickly became our regular stomping grounds every few days.

Crescenzo made it for us. After our first hectic time there when we had to figure out that the produce guy had to handle all the fruit and vegetables and weigh them each individually for us, it was smooth sailing. I asked him his name, told him mine, and from then on, he greeted us with enthusiasm and a handshake. He’d help us with our Italian words for each item and he always seemed happy to see us. There were a couple check-out women that we got to know as well and they would help us with Italian and get a kick when we’d learn a new phrase and add it to our communication with them. Also, the Deco was super cheap. We ate so well with pesto, pasta, veggies and fruit, yogurt, crusty bread, and gelato. We are heavier by at least a few pounds thanks to the Deco.

But while our bellies were growing, so were our possibilities in life. Italy was fertile ground for new ideas on what to do next in life. Julie had long thought she was going the route of CPA. Prior to Italy, she’d signed up for a summer course at University of Washington. After a few weeks of study, she realized it wasn’t what she was looking for and we’ve since made a big turn in life plans. Julie is now focusing on writing another book, this time on the Appalachian Trail experience; she’s also working on learning web development and design.

We’re still heading to Seattle, but our schedule has significantly opened up without the CPA push. So we have cool plans for shorter Seattle stays centered around my community college schedule. Yet when my quarters are over, we are free, so we have had some great ideas for how to keep life exciting and fill our time with more adventurous experiences.

We have grown ever closer as a couple here too. We walked together for at least an hour a day along the Via Napoli, an uninterrupted multi-mile path that follows the Mediterranean Sea. We got to know the regulars, both walkers and runners. We even were greeted with “Ciaos” and “Buon giornos” from many of the runners. Between the walks and all the time spent together figuring out the next steps in our lives, we are more intertwined than ever.

Lastly, we received amazing hospitality from our friend Matt. We’d been in contact with him for over a year about coming out to visit him. Our friendship goes all the way back to the Naval Academy as he and I suffered together in the same group during Plebe Summer boot camp. He is stationed in Naples, lives along in a two bedroom place in the Porto area, and had continually offered his home as a place to stage an adventure.

We both lived up to our word because we figured out how to get to Italy and he opened his home for us for six weeks. We didn’t see him as much as would have expected due to his crazy Navy work schedule, but we had a good time when he was around and are very thankful for his generosity.

So long Italy, ciao, and arrivederci. Life is good for the two of us and it keeps getting better every day. We are currently on our way to Prague for a long weekend that kicks off two and a half weeks through at least 5 European countries and includes 3 marathons. We are meeting up with a couple friends we’ve made in past travels both on the Appalachian Trail and in Guatemala so we’re excited to see more familiar friendly faces from our past.

Thank you Matt, thank you Crescenzo, thank you gelato, and thank you everyone else that has helped make our adventure great. Life is good and I wish the same to everyone we meet.

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