Happy Halloween from Italy!

Halloween is starting to become a thing here in Genoa.  They have a pizzeria in Nervi called Halloween, all decked in black and orange year-round.  Nestled in the little port, I really want to try it, especially since it was recommended in our “Welcome to Genoa” packet compiled by staff members.

Trick-or-treating is a new trend here.  My colleagues were surprised when kids showed up at their 4th floor apartment, then proceeded to give two pieces of candy they scrounged up for the 6 of them.  Even so, they still said “Grazie mille!” I never got trick-or-treaters in my NYC apartments so I think it would be very interesting to have my first ones here.  But after 9pm, I guess the time has passed.  Good thing.  All I’d be able to offer is change, like that old lady in grandma’s neighborhood who gave out nickels on Halloween and warned us not to eat too many tootsie rolls, as if those were what I craved.

Due to the new trend, Halloween shops have popped up all over the city, including a quaint one down by the sea, selling devil horns, vampire teeth, masks, wigs, and pre-packaged costumes straight from America.  A costume that costs 50 bucks at Party City is now 75 euros.  Yikes!  I should get into that as a side business, much like the shop owner.

Somehow in the move, the stand-up collar for my vampire costume did not make it to Italy. I had to get something to go with my gothic dress.  Thanks to the recommendations of my students, I strolled down to the sea to the quaint little Halloween shop, where I then waited on line for about 15 minutes.  A woman said, “Buona Sera . . .” and I said, “I only speak English,” feeling guilty because I should be able to say that in Italian.  I get embarrassed using my “broken” Italian, but how else am I going to learn?  My progress is coming along, though I will talk about that in another post.

The woman gestured to the man next to her who said in near perfect English, “How can I help you?”  I explained my situation and he said they only had the packaged sets there and to come next door to get accessories in the Tabacchi.  He took me to the front of the line, and soon I had a nifty witch hat.  “Where are you from?” he asked.

“New York City,” I said proudly, missing home but not enough to jump on a plane or leave my beautiful life just yet.

“I go there at least once a year to meet with the costume designers and stock up.  I love New York, what a great city.  But next year, the event has been moved to Houston.  This is my side business.  I work for the German company Siemens”

“Ahh” I had seen the name on a building in town.

“How long are you here?” he asked shaking his head with that look I get so often here in Genoa.  People don’t seem to understand how I could leave such a great city or how I could be happy here.

“2 years.”  His look grew even more exasperated.  “How about we switch.  You stay here, and I work there.  I’ve always wanted to live in New York.”

I hear it a lot, and I totally understand it.  “New York has everything, but I have the sea here,”I said, gesturing across the street to the moonlit waves gently lapping against the  shoreline.  “And the mountains,” I added, pointing behind me.  “I guess the food too, but in New York we can get anything . . .ok, except maybe good pesto.”

After chatting a bit, I left knowing I’d be back.  He sells decorations for all the holidays, and I was hoping to get a few things to bring my place into the Christmas spirit soon.  But first, Halloween Spirit.

My school — being cute and adorable and super spirited . . .well, the parents put together this amazing Halloween Festival for kids through 8th grade, featuring a spooky room and outdoor activities and candy.  While I was teaching the older kids, I kept hearing “Thriller” –occasionally breaking out into the dance– “Werewolves of London,” and “The Addams Family.”  Speaking of which — each day, we rise for a different world anthem.  Today, we rose for — The Addams Family.  I have juniors, and I even got them to sing and snap along with me.  Yay!

The Genovese seem to prefer the spooky over the cute costumes, so there were witches and ghouls galore, monsters, vampires, ghosts, and gory makeup.  But there were also quite a few cherubic witches and cutie pie kiddies as well.  Ahh, so fun!  Even many of the teachers got into the spirit.  Since I am teaching The Crucible, I decided to be a witch — although they didn’t quite dress up like this kind  . . . and I’m a good witch.  🙂

Here are some photos of my colleagues and me from today.  Happy Halloween!

With the Middle School head of years / other English teacher.

Head of Years for High School

Our IB coordinator had to take a phone call. When she entered the room, with the best voice ever, she said, “Ahh, my long lost cousin, how are you? It’s been forever!”

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