Monday, April 02, 2007

Naps...they aren't just for kids

Since my friend Tina asked about naps and the Italian workday, I thought I'd dive into that topic today.

My parents-in-law have neighbors with a yippy little dog who barks at anything that moves, including his own tail. As you might imagine, this dog is not exactly beloved by its neighbors.

One day the dog was yipping for a good 5 minutes straight, and my mother-in-law said, "How can they just let that dog keep barking? Especially at this time of day."

This time of day? I looked at the clock. It said 2:30. Not 2:30 in the morning, no. But 2:30 in the afternoon. That's when I realized Italians are serious about napping.

Most Italians start work at about 8:30 each morning, and go until 12:30 or 1:00. My daughter gets out of elementary school at 1:00 each day (and 12:30 on Saturdays). Then everyone schleps home for lunch, which usually lasts from about 1:30-2:30. This isn't the case in our house, where the mom (me) doesn't see lunch as the main meal of the day--unless you count peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as hefty mid-day fare. This means lunch at our house lasts from approximately 1:30-1:35.

Then it's time for a nap (except for parents with kids who no longer nap, of course).

Adults don't really admit they're taking a nap (una nanna) per se...they like to say they're reposing. Trust me--it's the same thing. It's kind of like the English equivalent of: "I'm not sleeping; I'm just resting my eyes." Right.

Between 3:30 and 4:30, it's back to work until about 7:30, and then home again for dinner at around 8:30.

I don't know about you, but I would completely lose steam if I went home for a nap everyday. The idea of getting out of a warm bed twice a day to go to work? I don't think so.

But on the weekends...I'm not one to shun local all customs, mind you.

Buon riposo!


TinaFerraro said...

A dog barking at 2:30 pm--imagine that! :)

Thanks for this blog, Natalie, and yes, you're saying ALL the things I think! And what makes it hard for us when we're visiting is that typically we don't get out of the house until late morning (we have teenagers) and we want to "start our day" just as the Italians are coming home for their naps, so naturally, everything is closed. It's a constant struggle for us to do something as simple as go to a post office or supermarket because when they're open, we're either still sleeping or making dinner...

Natalie said...

Hi Tina,

I know exactly how you feel...I've usually got a list of at least 10 errands to do, but by the time we're ready and out the door it's already 11:30...leaving me about an hour to do everything on my list. Makes you want to give up and just take a nap, doesn't it?? :-)