They said the best pizza came from Napoli, and after one and a half year living from a place not far away from this city, which is only 3 hour (by regional train) or 1 hour (by the pricey eurostar), I never made my time to taste it. But, I got a little glimpse of Napoli as two Napolitans came to pay me a visit last week.
Aimen, the Tunisian, and Emma, the true Napolitan or I should say la Scafatesa because she’s originally from Scafati, a city between Napoli and Salerno. Aimen, who is like a big brother to me, is also a student like me in University of Calabria, while Emma who has great passion in Arab literature is the fiancée. I’ve longing to see Emma from a long time ago. So, finally the time came.
For four days, we stuck our selves like a glue. Went around the city, and to my surprise, Emma and Aimen have never seen the snow. I have always wondering that Napoli, or at least Campania is a little bit norther than us, Calabria, so, I thought that if the snow would fall first, it should have fallen in the area before us, which is Campania including Napoli. So, I was quite surprised when I saw Emma and Aimen were extremely happy just to see a small pile of snow in front of the university.
Emma said that the snow was there some years ago, but these recent years, Napoli was just shining all through the years. They were hoping to see or at least that the snow would fall again (because one day before their arrival, it was snowing in Rende). Too bad that the snow came no more. I told them that “you guys have brought the sun from Napoli and now Rende was shining all through the days”.
While staying with them, I learned many things. First, it was about the dialect. Yes, each region in Italy have their own dialect. Those from the north is quite different from those from the south. Even the southern regions have differences. For example, Campania and Calabria. Emma who is from Napoli was absolutely surprised to hear how the Calabresi (how they called those from Calabria) speak. Even some words are totally different from a formal Italian language. I’ll give you one example:
Nevica -----> this is how to say “It’s snowing” in a proper Italian language while in Calabrian dialect, they said “Sta jiazzanu!”
Quite different? Yes, it is!
Other thing, I learned was that when I cooked a dinner for the three of us. I promised to them that if they ever visit me, I will cook, especially for Emma. So, for lunch I cooked us a typical Indonesian cuisine: Fried Rice and Spicy Egg with Chili. For dinner, I cooked the tuna spaghetti with japanese sauce. This plate of dish inspired Aimen of spreading the peace message, as he said,
"One Japanese dish in one pot cooked by Indonesian and eaten by three people from three countries which represent three continents. Eka from Indonesia represent Asia, Emma from Italy represent Europe, and Aimen from Tunisia represent Africa. All sit and eat in one table. If we want we can make war but no, we choose to eat together."
As for me,
"As you can taste a pot full of food with a spoon likewise someone's tongue can tell you about his heart "
- Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah
The short visit was closed by a quick tour around the campus and I showed Emma the Humanity library where some Islamic-themed books are standing still. Too bad that I just realized Emma's great passion on Arab literature and both of us kinda regret it, on why we realize it too late. If only we realize it soon, we could have opted for reading the book the whole day. God, Emma, you're a bookworm! I could not be happier than this! Well, at least, she's quite happy and she promised me to take me to Napoli University's library if I pay visit there.
Well, anyway, this short visit but meaningful one is one of memory adding up to pile of good things that was happened, is happening and will happen this year, InsyaAllah.
Gonna miss you much, big bro, Aimen and Emma, for sure, I will visit you in a near future and when I’m there, let’s do that “dance of Emma” ;)