Tag Archives: friends

Shaking, Not Breaking

When it comes to natural disasters, New York has fared pretty well over the years. She comes out with minor scrapes and bruises but mostly, she keeps her good looks. Maybe it’s because she’s very urban or maybe it’s because her inhabitants are as strong as well-fed oxen. Whatever the case, it takes a lot to shake her. Today, New York has faced her first real threat in a long time and she goes by the name of Sandy. Dubbed affectionately as “Frankenstorm,” Hurricane Sandy has been tearing up the east coast since earlier today, this October twenty-ninth. While I have no clue of the full damage she has incurred, I hope for everyone’s safety and strength through these next few days. I’ve been fortunate enough to not have had any harm inflicted on me but Sandy has turned my life upside down in a different, not quite bodily way that is scary, enlightening, and informative all at the same time.

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Dream a Little Dream

I wrote this/got home a week ago but things have been absolutely crazy so I haven’t had a chance to post… mi dispiace.

Sitting in the Florence airport awaiting my flight to go back home to New York, I can honestly say I thought this day would never come. I don’t have the tears streaming down my face as I thought I would. My stomach is churning in a weird sort of excitement and longing. I’m thrilled to see my parents today but that pull in my gut, which is clearly homesickness, is not for New York. On the way here, the bus carrying me and my near one hundred and fifty pounds of luggage drove down winding roads sprinkled with vespas, newspaper stands beckoning “La Nazione,” and road signs indicating which Italian city was where. I couldn’t help but think of how I’ll miss the rows and rows of motorbikes parked neatly on the cobblestones or the foreign signage that, at first, seemed alien but now is a more comforting familiarity than the McDonald’s golden arches.

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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.

Learning Italian, Not the Language

So, it’s official – I’ve hit the one-month mark here in Florence. It’s all too terribly cliché and expected for me to say that the four weeks since my arrival have flown by but I can’t say they haven’t. I’ve accomplished a lot thus far in my journey but I’m disheartened to I admit that I wish I’d have done more with my time. With this upset, I’ve made a list of things to accomplish before I leave (more on that later…) as well as a list of things I’ve learned over the past month. You’ll find the latter list below and it touches on culture, social interactions, food, and a few things in between. Let the lessons learned lend their silly selves to you.

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Old City, New Residents

Tonight, I clear the two-week mark of my arrival in Florence, Italy and I can honestly say that it doesn’t feel like I’ve been here for only fourteen days.

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