Thursday, April 21, 2011

You always get the whole pie in Napoli

You always get the whole pie in Naples.

You do?

You do! So says Samantha Brown on the Travel Channel and so says Elizabeth Gilbert, author of "Eat Pray Love". You get the whole entire carbohydrate-drenched, flaky-crepe-esque style crust, fresh tomato/mozzarella/basil induced pizza-pie. Not just a slice. But the Whole. Friggin. Pie.

So then why have I not been there?

I am missing a major slice of pie. Things are awry. I just want to go home. Or I would settle for Naples with its gritty-graffiti-laced alleyways and trash everywhere and homeless people and old buildings falling apart at the seams. But in case you don't know me, grime, grit, and graffiti are right up my little soot-filled, trash-lined alley.

Which is why I want to go home to New York where soot and trash run aplenty.

Oh North Carolina, I don't mean to hurt any feelings here. It's not's me. It's not even that I'm unhappy per-se. I'm just *not* happy. I've been watching a lot of TV lately. Direct TV realizes my contract is up in June, so they are charming me with lower rates and free Stars, Encore, and Showtime to sucker me into renewing their crappy over-priced service. So I sit on my sofa and watch programs about Italy and food and world travel, mixed in with re-runs of Friends and Law & Order. Over and over. Law & Order is just always *on* nauseam.... My favorites are the very old episodes with Benjamin Bratt and with Jerry Orbach.

I watch TV. I eat shrimp and grits and I eat grilled pimiento cheese sandwiches (we did not have these two things in New York). Oh my lord, North Carolina- you know what you are doing here when it comes to pimiento cheese.

Don't worry though- I've been doing some healthy things too. I discovered the gym at my apartment complex and realized how much fun the elliptical machine can be. (And by "fun" I mean a grueling, sweaty twenty exhausting minutes of hell....)

I have been meeting new friends. I have had a really fun time with my new girlfriends Lorraine and Angie. I went to International Reunion Day with my sorority alumnae group and have a great connection with some of the women there. They range from 20-something to 80-something and they are just about the most inviting, warm and friendly women I've met in a long time. I volunteered at the Raleigh Beer Festival. It stormed heavily and the sky poured rain as I poured beer. I cut my finger on a bottle-opener (we had to open those darn things every five minutes to accommodate the masses.....anyone ever heard of taps???) and I was standing among a surge of over-indulged beer drinkers, my fingers gushing blood, rain gushing down, and beer being guzzled by the masses. The gutter was literally at my feet and rain, beer, and god-knows-what else was rushing over my toes as I stood there with a smile on my face, a band-aid on my finger, and a monsoon at my back. But it was fun. Really, it was. And I would do it again. We had the after-party/volunteer appreciation last night and I took Angie and Lorraine as guests. (Although we had to smuggle Lorraine in as my acquaintance Vito's date, since I clearly missed the rule about "just one guest". Vito was not in attendance, but his name was on the list. Vito didn't even know he had a date. Vito did, however, know he wouldn't be at the party. Vito- if you read this weblog, I owe you a beer for being a good sport.) We laughed so much all night, and it felt so good to sit outside and drink beer on a pleasant April evening.

There are some redeeming qualities to my lifestyle in NC. My best friend came to visit, and we went swimming in my pool already this spring. We drank mimosas and ate brunch pool-side. I went to a minor league baseball game at the Durham Bulls Ballpark. I am going to the beach in two weeks, which is only a mere two hour drive.

But (there's always a "but") I'm homesick. Someone told me to write. Find my soul or some-such advice. I've been out of wit and out of words lately. But nonetheless, here I sit trying to fill the white space on this dumb blog. I have so much on my mind, but I deem it grossly inappropriate to go into detail about work-related ailments. So instead I am trying to center this blog on the non-work related remedies.

In addition to writing, extensive travel soothes my soul. For 2011 I've had only work-related trips really. One conference in Philadelphia. One in Pittsburgh. A quick fly-by-night turn-around in New York for fun. And two trips to Ohio to see that sweet baby nephew of mine. And I'm going to Ohio again next weekend, as well. I postponed the trip to Abu Dhabi and Qatar until a date to be determined. Next month is New York again for a longer stint. Chicago in June to see some old friends from grad school. And Cincinnati in July for my cousin's wedding. That's not so bad now!

And being a lover of lexicon and linguistics, I've learned some beautiful words in other languages (that do not have an English equivalent) which I'd like to share with you:

Hyggeli (Danish)– Its “literal” translation into English gives connotations of a warm, friendly, cozy demeanor, but it’s unlikely that these words truly capture the essence of a hyggelig; it’s likely something that must be experienced to be known. I think of good friends, cold beer, and a warm fire.

Ya’aburne (Arabic) – Both morbid and beautiful at once, this incantatory word means “You bury me,” a declaration of one’s hope that they’ll die before another person because of how difficult it would be to live without them.

Saudade (Portuguese) – One of the most beautiful of all words, translatable or not, this word “refers to the feeling of longing for something or someone that you love and which is lost.”

Litost (Czech) – Milan Kundera, author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, remarked that “As for the meaning of this word, I have looked in vain in other languages for an equivalent, though I find it difficult to imagine how anyone can understand the human soul without it.” The closest definition is a state of agony and torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery.

Cafuné (Brazilian Portuguese) – “The act of tenderly running one’s fingers through someone’s hair.”
Aren't they pretty? I want them all. I want to say them in a sentence in their respective languages. I want to eat an entire pizza pie as I have a dialogue surrounding these words. Maybe I just need to learn some Italian instead so I can enjoy the whole pie sans judgment. Wait- I know! Maybe Vito can teach me. And all of my friends too.