03 April 2011

LIFE: Saviano's List

SARONNO, Italy - Last week, Milan’s Corriere della Sera ran an article by Italian author Roberto Saviano in which he asked the newspaper’s readers to send him their list of 10 things that make them happy. He got about 10,000 replies. It got me wondering what my list would look like and what your lists would look like too.   
 The Amalfi Coast Makes Me Happy
Some of the things that make Italians happy were pretty much what make most people happy, no matter where they live, for example:
The sound of sea gulls and the smell of the sea;
To fall in love;
Quiet Sunday afternoons;
My child’s smile, etc. 
Others were made happy by more unusual things like the guy who wants to prepare a Nordic dinner for his wife and their friends, who are from the south. From which south he doesn’t say, and I’m not quite sure what he means by Nordic – northern Italy? Or Northern Europe? Whichever it is, it doesn’t seem like such a difficult thing to do and if it makes him happy, well, why not?
The same guy wishes he had had the courage to go and live on an island 23 years ago. He also wishes he had the courage to change jobs and be more focused on his happiness and less focused on “security”.  He seems to live a life of regret – and I guess there is a lesson in there for all of us.
Family played a huge part in what makes the Italians happy – no surprises there.
One woman wrote: what makes me happy is my daughter’s voice when she wakes up in the morning and says “ciao mama”, (even if she is 23 years old).
Another wrote: discovering what a wonderful person my daughter turned out to be.
Some of the others were:
Talking to my Grandmother and listening to her stories about life in Italy during the War,
To take a day trip to no place in particular with my husband and friends that ends with a great dinner and good wine to drink.
And yet another said that what made her happy was to still be in love with the father of her child. Pretty nice, no? How many of us can say that?
But my favorites were the “Italianissimi” replies that just made me smile. Here are just a few by those who know food is love and love is life:
A slice of cassata Siciliana
My mother’s parmigiana di melanzane
To eat a pizza made by Michele in Naples
Share a glass of wine with friends
A dish of pasta with pesto and a view of the sea
The taste of Italian salami after having been away from home too long
Christmas dinner with the whole family. 
It seems to me I did a post some time back about why I love Italy, but for the life of me I can’t find it on the blog. Who knows what I named it, or if I actually wrote at all for the ideas for blog posts far outnumber the actual posts, and I may have just thought about writing it but never did. At any rate, it reflected (or was planned to reflect) all the things that make me happy.  But in the past six months my life has changed, and so maybe it’s time for another list.  
If you’d like to share a short list of what makes you happy I’d love to post them, anonymously of course. Just send them to me in an email at thisitalianlife@yahoo.com with the reference Happy List. In the meantime, I’ll get to work on my own.
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