Tag Archives: europe

The Florentine Dream

I’m absolutely horrible at maintaining this blog. Anyway, that aside, now that I’ve surpassed the “one-month left” mark, I’m dwelling heavily on all the amazing things here I’m going to miss when I leave. Here’s a taste:
  1. Trips to Mercato Central: For several weeks after my initial arrival, that massive green roofed warehouse around the corner from my apartment was unchartered territory. There are three sets of red gated doors on each side of the building, ushering in the passersby with smells of fresh fish yet it took me quite a bit of time to finally make the move and walk through one of them. There’s nothing at home that’s remotely similar to Mercato Centrale except that the warehouse-feel is slightly reminiscent to that of Costco but even so, the relationship stops there. There are vendors every few feet and each varies vastly from the one next to it, across from it, and behind it. Some are free-form and comprised of simple yet colorful crates overflowing with pungent fruits and vegetables; others are more concrete and emulate deli counters with blocks of cheese behind domed glass, to keep the salivating tongues at bay, and slabs of meat hanging above. Mercato Centrale is such a routine stop for most of the people walking around but I can’t help but relish every trip I make there as anything but routine. Sometimes I just walk through it with no purpose or agenda to buy anything. It’s just to be there.  I love it because there’s always so much happening – it’s hard not to be in a good mood when you’re there. I love it because of the chipper young girl with tired eyes who sells me the creamy rounds of Morbidoso cheese. I love it because of the butcher, who’s my father’s age, who speaks to me only in Italian. I love it because the women at the bread booth in the far left corner make the best muffins I’ve ever eaten. I love it because you don’t go to the market for food – you go for life. Continue reading

Comforts of Home

When you leave home for any extended period of time, it’s known from the start that you’ll miss it. Maybe you won’t miss all of it but you will miss pieces of it, fragments here and there. These morsels of comfort don’t appear as you expect either. They crystallize in the puddles on foreign grounds, manifest on the faces of strangers, and ruminate in the smells of unfamiliar foods.

Perhaps food is the biggest trigger for desiring home; that hankering feeling stems from the stomach first. It stabs suddenly and is almost painful but it isn’t. It complicates all senses and immediate activity, making you question what it was that you were doing and why you were doing it. It’s that ineffable emotion that leaves us wondering, when we are home, bored, and safe in our beds, why the feeling even comes at all.

As much as I want to deny it, I do miss home but it’s not that I want to go back right now. It’s more that I miss the goings-on at home. I have a major inability to overcome the fact that other people’s lives still go on even when I’m not with them. I just wish I could have pressed “pause” on all aspects of my life at home – people, especially – and hit the “play” button as soon as I returned but life doesn’t always appease wishes now, does it? I just find it extraordinarily baffling how I can be having such an incredible experience here and yet still feel as though I’m missing out on things. And I know it’s because I am missing out but they’re always such silly, trivial things – birthdays, parties, school functions, movie openings, etc.; things that don’t mean much when you’re in attendance but feel crushing when you’re on the outside looking in. Granted, those moments are usually fleeting because by the time I’m ready to break out the ice cream and the Adele playlist, I’ve usually mentally slapped myself and said: “You’re in Europe, stop being a martyr and go enjoy this amazing experience. You’re an ingrate.” My conscience can be quite the snarky bitch sometimes.

All in all, I’ve come to learn it’s part of the trade – one life for another. You can’t try something new without leaving behind something; be it a person, a place, a feeling.  And yes, sometimes it’s not always the greatest decision to leave what you know but sometimes, it’s the best one you’ll ever make.  So, while I miss dinner at my grandparents, the fluffy face of my dog, my ridiculously comfortable bed, Chipotle, crazy nights with my friends, and most of all, my parents, I know they’ll be right there waiting for me when I get back. No more rushing my time and no more wishing I was elsewhere for everything we know, my friends, is temporary.

A Mind in Pictures

A way of life.

A proverb.

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