summer in the city

It has been hot here.

For the uninitiated, Italy has an interesting approach to the summer heat. Any sudden change in temperature is feared deeply and to be avoided at all costs, so while there is tremendous complaining about the heat, any activity or technology that might cool you off is frowned upon, from swimming in cool water to traveling with a car window open and, of course, let us not overlook the dreaded Air Conditioning. In extreme cases, a refreshing breeze constitutes cause for concern: it could put you in bed for a week with any number of ailments, including headache, backache, earache, cold, cough, fever, sore throat, take your pick.

Jumping into a cool pool on a hot day after eating a hot hamburger? Yesterday I was informed that it might kill you.

We sleep with the A/C (on low) or with a fan pointed at us, a habit I do not mention in public, for fear of having to suffer through a litany of reasons why this is so dangerous. There is no use responding, as that would only fuel the fervor. I am convinced that according to some, allowing my children to partake in such a perilous practice constitutes child abuse.

Despite our boldness, it is still pretty hot in our top-floor apartment. The A/C only really works in my room (where we all sleep most nights) and at a small area at the top of the stairs outside our bedrooms. Seven’s favorite place in the afternoon is right there. He takes his shirt off and lies down on a cotton quilt with a comic book. Three is too Italian for that. He pretends to shiver whenever he walks by.

Lou hides under the couch in my office. Or in one of the nooks we have fixed up for her in the quiet corners of this quirky old apartment, with all its quiet corners.

After awhile, you get used to being hot all the time and almost don’t mind it. We venture outside in the morning, then again in the evening, but avoid the sun all the hours in between. It brings us together. Being hot is sort of part of summer in Italy, kind of like gelato. It is part of the experience.

And it can be pretty fun if you let loose and throw caution to the wind.


About Jennifer

I'm a freelance translator and American expat. I live in Northern Italy with my two young sons.
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5 Responses to summer in the city

  1. oldmdgirl says:

    Ah the famous Italian “shot of cold to the X body part” theory of disease, Do you know how many years it has taken to get my husband, who is a virologist, to concede that sleeping with the A/C on did not cause diarrhea?

    When my MIL was here, one morning she was complaining about her various maladies, so I asked her whether over night she had received a “shot of cold” to whatever body part it was that was bothering her. She said yes! Very seriously, at that. I was proud of my ability to ask her without sounding sarcastic. It took quite an effort!

  2. Annemarie says:

    OMG! They’ve grown so much! YAY for summer!

    • Jennifer says:

      I know, right? Other people’s kids always seem to grow in leaps and bounds, especially when you haven’t seen them in awhile. I bet yours have grown to monstrous proportions since we last saw them!
      Not much longer…

  3. Sara says:

    This post made me laugh multiple times. I love your sarcastic wit! 🙂

  4. Aunt Patti says:

    It’s a wonder millions of Americans aren’t dead from air conditioning overdose! And I can’t believe how big your little one is! Both your boys are starting to look like young men. My “baby” is 20 years old today. Enjoy every minute….it goes by much too quickly.

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