Italy takes it's pregnant ladies very seriously. At least southern Italy does. As we waddle around, people actually move out of the way for us, or at least make some room on the sidewalk. This is a VERY BIG DEAL. In some stores, we have front of the line privileges. In stores where we do not get our own line, if observant cashiers see our bellies, they come to get us out of our place five people back to usher us to the front of a line (this actually happened to me at Ikea). In other places where head of the line privileges are allowed but there is no signage (like the post office), it's quite legitimate to walk up to the clerks and ask to go next (post office lines here are not like what I'm used to in States, as I've blogged about previously - one hour waits are typically the minimum, not the maximum, sometimes in sweltering, closed in rooms with no fans running). Family run stores in which prices are a little on the loose side give you huge discounts on your purchase...or don't charge you at all - for example, on a 100 degree day when your face is beet red and your clothes are wet with sweat, and you walk into a coffee bar to desperately request a large bottle of water. Strangers smile at you all the time. At the airport security line, you get ushered to the priority lane and may even be offered head of the line privileges in that priority line that only has three people ahead of you. In restaurants, you get extra food (at no charge) because you are "eating for two." When getting on the inner tube at the water park's Lazy River, the tube guy who has been throwing tubes at people suddenly stops his gathering of tubes to gently hold your tube for you while you lumber into it. Illegal parking attendants who are charging you to park in a public, free parking spot (and you DO pay him - he is watching your car to prevent break-ins) break into large smiles, offer their congratulations, and gently lay a hand on your belly to try to feel the baby move (I should note here that I really don't care at all when strangers touch my belly - they really just can't help themselves, and it's an expression of their joy at the life I am carrying, so I think it's sweet). Your eighty six year old landlady forces you to lay down on the sofa while she does heavy labor in the yard.
Each one of these things, I have experienced. I am not a very good pregnant lady. I don't really enjoy it all that much, and I often wonder why I can't just have an egg to watch over for awhile. And while I get the whole miracle of life idea as a concept, in actuality, the fact that there is an actual, miniature human being, with working organs and even fingernails, inside of me just seems, at times, a little creepy. But there are two things I enjoy very much. One is feeling Baby Girl kick. Which is an odd dichotomy from my "creepy" comment, but I don't have to make sense. The second favorite is the feeling of specialness the Italians give me anytime I leave my house. I like being pregnant in Italy.