Jeannie's Advice for Americans
Moving to Naples
Date: Wed, 03 Jan 2001 16:19:06 -0600
From: Jeannie Cole <Jeannie@theColeFamily.com>
Subject: Bella Napoli
At 15:35 01/02/2001 -0500, you wrote:
>My name is Debbie and my husband and I were recently notified of an
>assignment to Naples. We are both in the Air Force and will be going there
>together with our two boys (11 and 13). We will be reporting for duty there
>in early February.
>I read with great interest many of your letters home during your time at
>Naples in the early 80s but was wondering if there is any advice you can
>offer as we get ready to make a move there. We will be stationed there for
>3 years and so far have heard many bad things about the assignment and
>very little good.
>Thank you so very much for your time and sharing your memories of your
I am excited for you to be going to Naples. I know things have changed
drastically since the 80's, so I'm not sure how much help I can be. Key
words: flexibility and attitude, attitude, attitude. If you have never
been stationed outside the U.S., you may be in for quite an eye-opening
experience. There were many irritations (unreliable electricity, few had
phones, etc.), but overall we loved our European experience.
My children were preschoolers while we were stationed there -- that is a
very pliable age. They were as happy as Mom and Dad were. It may be
different with older kids who know what they are missing back home. Just
keep reminding them of the experiences they are having that few American
kids have. Make it a special and unique experience that will give them a
leg-up on their current friends' activities.
There were families stationed there that were miserable, and there were
families who loved every minute (ok, almost) of their time abroad. It is
all in the attitude. My husband was the military one; I was not working. So
when Michael got frustrated with the hospital, he would come home and say,
"Let's get away from here, where do you want to go?" We'd take off and have
a grand adventure.
I guess basically what I am saying is that it is all in the attitude. If
you are the kind of person who lets conditions get you down, you may all be
miserable. If you are adventurous and generally happy where ever you are,
you'll probably do fine and might even find, as we did, that we loved our
time there even though we missed our extended family tremendously.
We have been back to the Naples area twice since being stationed there and
would go again tomorrow if time and money would agree.
On your initial experience with the Neapolitans, you may think they are
rude and self-centered. That generally applies only as they are driving or
have to wait. (They really resist lining up -- like kindergartners.) Don't let
that discourage you. In fact, we found it a great sport to drive
aggressively and not be intimidated by the pushy men. It was a game that was
hard to give up when we got back to the States. Once you get to know the
Neapolitans, they are as sweet as teddy bears inside. Just learn to smile
but insist it is your turn. Somehow they respect that.
The church we attended while we were there was great. They became our
family away from home and helped make the adjustment smoother. We attended
the Church of Christ that met on Sunday mornings in Bagnoli and in homes on
Sunday nights. I'm not sure what their schedule is now, but they are still there,
and I can find out more information for you if you would like.
Have fun and try to run around with the others who are enjoying their stay,
and avoid those who are miserable. Think positively, take advantage of the
travel, and eat lots of pizza and gelati (Italian ice cream).