Last week, my friend took me to her vegetable stand at the Pozzuoli Fish Market (which quite obviously, also has vegetable stands). She'd been telling me how good her place was - the veggies are usually fresh and the prices are great. She did not tell a lie. While Nathan and I have been getting our produce at either the grocery store or a veggie stand down the road from our house, we've found the produce a little old and usually expensive. And had I gone to the stand at the Pozzuoli Fish Market alone, my bounty may have cost significantly more. But an introduction from a long time customer, at any small business here, can work wonders. For the largesse above, my final bill came to the princely sum of 13euros. I tried, unsuccessfully, to cram all my purchases into the small backpack I'd brought. In the future, I will haul along a granny cart (large bag on wheels with a handle), a gift from the same friend.
Slowly - oh, so slowly - I feel more and more settled here. The last month of getting out to markets, finding a favorite drink at the coffee bar, dinners with friends, and discovering stores for everyday life (Metro is my new best friend and will one day get it's very own post) has calmed my mind from the near constant anxiety of always feeling behind the curve, of not knowing what's going on, of never knowing exactly what to say. A common refrain I hear is that "Naples isn't Italy. Naples is different." While every region in Italy has it's own quirks, customs, dialect, cultural norms, Naples truly is a world unto itself. So many times in conversation, when speaking about some event, idea, whatever, people just sigh and say, "It's Naples." I'm finally able to hear that with a little bit of pleasure rather than an immediate desire to hop on the nearest plane home. After all, as I've had to tell myself in six other cities before Naples, this is my home now.