ITALY. KazUnite – The owner of the apartment where I live, Senora, is 85 years old. Her blue eyes are clear and always glowing. She has coffee and chocolate for breakfast. And pasta for a daytime meal.

She dresses stylishly and qualitatively. Throws her hair back, holds a cigarette in her long fingers and talks. She never complains about her health or government. She likes to make jokes.

She’s free. Doesn’t try to please anyone. Doesn’t care. Because she’s Neapolitan. Do you remember what the naughty little girl, who shook her hand from the balcony, said to Liz in the movie version of Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat.Pray.Love”? ““Hey, no hard feelings, lady. But I’m only seven, and I can already tell you’re a complete moron… We both know you would love to be me, but sorry—you can’t. Anyhow, here’s my middle finger, enjoy your stay in Naples, and ciao!»

Senora teaches me Italian every day: “uno, due, tre…”. Neighbors who saw this used to laugh: “You speak Neapolitan, not Italian”. In 2013, UNESCO recognized Neapolitan as an ancient language, not a dialect. According to Senora, “Learning the local language will make me happy. Because I’m not like Italian women – I’m gentle and quiet.” She just doesn’t know that I get hysterical from time to time too!

She doesn’t understand English, I don’t get Italian. That’s why we had to translate and talk through Google. I once told her: “There must have been a lot of guys who fell in love with you when you were young”. And she talked in response for a quite long time. The only word I understood was “amico” (friend). “Women respect men in Italy”, – says Senora. And when I asked “Who has the last word in your family?”,  “I have”, – she answered briefly.

Naples women are reminiscent of Mount Vesuvius. There’s a firestorm of emotions. If she doesn’t like something, she won’t stop demonstrating her displeasure. In case she’s pleased, she won’t hide it either. Generous for a good word. In Naples, not only men but also women often shout “bella!” (beautiful). “I’m not Italian, I’m from Naples,” said Sophie Lauren. I see her portrait in every woman in Naples.


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