Sunday, 20 April 2014

Visiting our first “home, sweet home” in Napoli

         The next day we were at the school at 7.45. That espresso was to good not to be had. 
          ‘Ok. So are we ready to go? Signor Rocco will be waiting for us there and he can be a bit impatient,’ said Carl picking up the car keys. I hadn’t seen any cars in the courtyard, and wondered what car they would have. I giggled at the thought of a possible Napolitan-style car. 
         I wasn’t so wrong about the car. Although it was quite new, the black Renault Clio had so many scratches and dents that I couldn’t help staring and thinking how bad a driver Carl and Gwen must have been. I guess Gwen noticed my face, because she immediately said: 
           ‘Oh, can you imagine what this people in this city are like when they’re driving? We really don’t like leaving the car parked outside, but the palazzo owner only allows the motorini inside the courtyard. Napolitan people are not the best drivers, and our car has been so scratched that we don’t even bother having it fixed anymore.’ 
             ‘Oh, I see,’ Lisa said. ‘So, is this house far?’ 
            ‘Well, it’s not in the centre, but the Metro station is just 5 minutes from the house and it’s very secure to live there. Besides, Signor Rocco is already used to rent to our teachers, so there’s no bureaucracy. Trying to rent from an agency will take at least one week, and you need to move by tomorrow, right,’ Carl asked. 
           ‘Yeah, tonight is our last night at the B&B. I’m so glad you know this man,’ I said. ‘We wouldn’t know what to do otherwise. At least we can already go around to learn where our students live and start preparing for the lessons.’
             Gwen agreed. ‘Sure, and the sooner you settle in, the easier it is for you to find your way around. And you still have plenty of time to go sightseeing.’ 
            ‘I can’t wait for that part,’ I replied and squeezed Lisa’s hand when I looked around us and saw the ugly places we were driving past. Our hearts just sank. I hope this isn’t a horrible, far out from the centre place.
             We turned left into a side street, two blocks from the Chiaiano Metro station. There was a huge, heavy green iron gate at the front of the house. Carl phoned the landlord, who came to open the gate for us. 
              Signor Rocco. Vincenzo Rocco. A tall man, in his early 60s, he had a very stern, no nonsense face and only talked to Carl while showing us the house. I found that a bit strange, but made a mental note to ask Gwen about that later.
              Ok, the house. It was a massive plot of land, with three little terraced houses in it. Our house would be the middle one. There was a cute path towards our gate and we also had a little garden and a veranda. We went through the living room door. The living room was quite big and had a big bookcase in one corner, perfect for all our books and teaching stuff. There was a sofa bed and in the opposite corner there was a tiny kitchen space. It was lovely though. Compact, but cute, if you know what I mean. Then he showed us the bathroom. I couldn’t believe it! A bath! And a washing machine! The bathroom looked brand new, with light blue and white tiles throughout the walls and floor. Super easy to clean. Yeah, I hate cleaning. 
          Right next door was the only bedroom. Quite big, with twin beds and French doors to the veranda/garden. It was a beautiful morning and we could hear the birds chirping on top of the roof and in the trees in the garden. Ah, a little piece of paradise. 
         Signor Rocco explained – again, to Carl – all about the rent, maintenance of the place and other practical things. The rent was €600, which was not so bad divided by two, and it included all the bills. There wasn’t a TV and we’d need to sort out the Internet connection. Lisa and I excused ourselves while the three (well, two of them) talked. 
           ‘So, Carolina, what do you think?'
         ‘I really like it here. You?’ 
       ‘Me too. I know it’s far from the centre, but look at this place… Imagine living in the centre with all that noise and madness. It will be like holiday coming back home after work. Should we take it?'  
       ‘I guess we have to, Lisa. Otherwise, I don’t know what else we can do. Let’s just say yes, and see how it goes, shall we?’ 
        ‘Yeah, we can move in today, go shopping for food and other stuff, clean…’
       ‘If it’s really horrible, we can always look for another place, and we won’t need to rush to find one.’ 
       We went back inside and told Carl that we were ok to sign the contract. We’d come back with our stuff and all the money (a month’s rent plus a month’s deposit) the next morning before lunch. He lived just around the corner, so he’d be there waiting for us with the keys. 
        On the way back in the car, Gwen was more than chatty. 
      ‘Oh, isn’t it lovely, Carl, that they’re going to be living in such a beautiful place? I wish I could live in a house too.’ 
       ‘Gwen, Carl, before I forget… Why didn’t Signor Rocco look or talk to me, Lisa or Gwen once this morning,’ I asked. 
        Gwen was the first to answer. 
     ‘Oh, pet, don’t worry about that. Men, I suppose,’ and Carl gave her a sideways look. ‘Older Italian men, I mean’ she continued. ‘It’s either because they respect us too much or because they think we, girls, don’t know anything about anything. Haha.’ 
         We all laughed and soon they dropped us off at the B&B. 
        ‘Ok. Here we are, girls,’ said Carl. ‘So, what time should I come pick you up tomorrow?’ 
        ‘Why,’ I was confused. 
        ‘We’re taking you to your new home, of course,’ Gwen explained. 
        ‘No, you don’t have to,’ Lisa said. 
      ‘Hey now, it’s our pleasure,’ Carl said. ‘So, what time? Should we say 10am? And then we can go for lunch together, how about that?’ 
         Lisa and I were clearly embarrassed, but we just gave in. 
      ‘Ok, that would be lovely. Thank you so much, again. We’ll be ready at 10am.’ 
          ‘Okey dokey. See you tomorrow then. Ta-ta.’ 
          ‘Bye. See you tomorrow,’ we both said. And they left. 
          We went upstairs to our room. I took my shoes off, which is the very first thing I always do when I get home and sat on my bed. 
         ‘So, Lisa, what do you think?’ 
         She turned the air conditioner and I felt a fresh breeze on my face. She fell on her bed. 
          ‘Well, I guess you can ask me that again in a week or so, Carolina. So far, I’m super excited with the house and can’t wait to go around exploring. You?’ 
          ‘I guess I need some more time to have an opinion. I can’t wait to go around exploring either. Food first?’ 
             ‘Sure. What do you fancy?’ 
              ‘Lisa, Lisa… what do you think?’


  1. No idea if this is fact or fiction but I really fancy a pizza now! Nice writing.

    Visiting from the Ultimate Blog Challenge :)

    1. Hi Lisa! Thanks for dropping by. Well, there is a little bit of both, really. I've lived in Napoli, and was a teacher there. But the main character, Carolina, is fiction! Have you read from the beginning? Hope you've enjoyed.
      Dani. :)

  2. Very nice story. Thank you for sharing. Is it part of a novel?

    1. Hi, Dr Wixy! Thanks for dropping by. Yes, it is part of a novel The beginning is also in the blog. Hope you've enjoyed it.

      Dani :)

  3. Have fun exploring!

    1. Thanks, maanneilaganlopez! I hope you come back!

      Dani :)