|billboards on the highway...just like Bergen Co.|
Part of me feels like it's my social responsibility to let people know that not everyone from NJ speaks with "wawtah" and "cawfee" filled sentences, or has gum-snapping, crunchy hair and fake tans. The other part just enjoys making people guess where I'm from. Canada and Northern California are common guesses, though I can't say I have anything close to a Canadian accent, or that I even knew Northern California had a distinctive one. But that's another story.
In the hectic pace to get the Cantina opened by next Thursday, a date totally picked at random, Manuel and I went to La Spezia to buy the last of the things we need - example, battery chargers, shot glasses, planners, paint, and all the other things I never anticipated buying when I got involved in running a restaurant. It's amazing how all of a sudden the simple aspect of serving food becomes coupled with being an accountant, interior decorator, real estate agent, food pricer, math major and translator all in one. And then a bartender and waitress when it's all done.
Part of our La Spezia journey was completed at the giant electronics store at Le Terrazze, the centro commerciale that was just completed slightly outside the city center. People have been buzzing about it for months, and I wanted to go for some time now, as everyone has told me, in conspiring and excited whispers that it's the most "American" mall they've seen in Italy. Many amazing things come from Italy, but malls are not one of them. What people here call a mall is 5 stores and a giant supermarket. I'm exaggerating, but not by much. New Jersey, I'll firmly attest, is full of farms, forests, gardens, mountains and strips of seashore. But, I can't lie - we have a fair share of malls. And in Bergen County, shopping is a past time. Italian malls don't really exist to me. My Jersey raised mall intuition shivers when I hear the word associated with these long strips of stores.
I'm not kidding.
Italians, obviously, are suited to malls. They are excellent at shopping, dining, and loitering. I asked Manuel if there was even a word for loitering in Italian, or is it just normal standing behavior. He glared at me. Ha.
Yes, it is easy and wonderful to have so many shops together, and open all day, as well as to know where I can go when I simply crave a not-horrible chicken fajita, but at the same time, it made me feel guilty to feel a little happy to see a proper American mall.
Cultural comments aside, good or bad - it's funny what can make you feel at home sometimes.