November 6th, 2009
Today was the day.
Every day for the last
3 months I cautiously stroked precise “x” marks over each calendar square, counting
n the days that slowly approached this day, this day right here. I’d been living in Spain as a foreign exchange student and traveling to neighboring countries whenever I had the fleeting chance. But for some reason this, this trip to Italy is what I craved the most / I love carbs.
The day had arrived.
in the center of Milan
dressed to the nines in the fine attire we had purchased precisely for this very occasion. And as I approached the heavenly stairs that led up to the living, breathing city of Milan, Italy, I inhaled deeply
and began to climb
Witnessing the gradual reveal of the Duomo Di Milano cathedral that began from base and ended in its beautiful entirety.
I was en route to make one of those expressions like you see in the movies when someone ever so conveniently zooms in on someone’s face just to clarify they’re being genuine and shit about their amazement. When suddenly.
A homeless man darted >>>> directly in my path, grabbed my arm, flipped it upward
into the palm
of my hand
… without my consent.
a clusterfuck of ravenous pigeons bombarded both of my arms, body and head and
There I was.
My first moment in Italy… looking like this:
Approximately 86 pigeons rotated turns to
on my dignity
while a homeless man laughed ferociously in the background.
…He then proceeded to ask me for money claiming he provided me with “such an exclusive experience.”
I could think of more…desirable…exclusive experiences. Some that may or may not involve Jim from the office.
It was time to make lemonades with lemons, people.
I beckoned David to grab my camera in hopes of turning this unfortunate situation into a whimsical prof pic.
This camera was state- of- the –art, it was freshly charged, took snapshots that were crisper than an overbaked kale chip,
It was dead.
As soon as I aggressively persuaded the pigeons to leave my presence, I rapidly approached >>> my next misfortune, tore my camera out of David’s hands and desperately tried to turn it on and hoped that yelling various profanities in a multitude of languages would bring it back to life. There was no way the vacation I was counting down to for the last three months was going to lack documentation. Oh no wait hold up, yes there was. It was done for. Bye bye epic facebook album.
I was upset
my spirit was deflated
3 minutes of pouting, I wouldn’t allow myself to indulge in self-pity. Broken camera get the fuck back in my purse. I’ve got plans. I salvaged what I could of my hair that the pigeons hadn’t managed to take with them and strolled down the streets of Italy with my friends in search for the perfect Italian meal. Lasagna? Risotto, perhaps? A nice fancy slice of cheese piz – Wait what the fuck WTF IS HAPPENING.
About 30 seconds after my prideful epiphany, my brand new shiny black heels very conveniently lodged themselves in a street vent, smack dab in the busiest part of town.
Side effect = Face Planted Olive.
Location: The perfect place for locals/tourists/anyone who breathes to stop, chuckle, take a picture, and yell in Italian…which they did.
My camera as well as my heels were now both dismembered as I was involuntarily playing footsie with a street vent.
…Did I see myself eating a fancy Italian dinner in the fashion capital of the world with a full pair of shoes? Yes. Yes, I did foresee that happening. But apparently I was dreaming entirely too big.
So yeah dinner went well.
I was only a minor buzz kill, I promise.
As was I limping over to the bus station back to the hostel, I reached in my purse
and shifted past the broken heel and broken camera…and that’s it.
Bus pass gone.
Hold your shock.
After collecting any and all spare change to purchase yet another ticket, consequently missing the original train we were waiting for…we finally arrived back to our hostel…3 hours later. No worries, I managed to bitch thoroughly throughout our entire commute because really, who doesn’t love a good mood killer?
We were greeted by a relatively terrifying staff and eventually meandered down to our room which was conveniently located at the very end of the pitch black hallway (a good sign), we were ready for a decent nights rest but upon ope ning the floral print closet realized that:
There were 3 people
…2 twin sized beds and it was…
40 degrees outside.
So as I laid there in my hoodie and socks, I closed my eyes, thought about my day and threw myself a (now)silent pity party.
The next morning. I ope ned my eyes, only slightly chilled, flung my hair in a ponytail and noticed I’d lost one of my favorite earrings. You know, like the sentimental kind. For sure a result of when I face planted in that street vent. An unfortunate…twofer. “You’ve got to be shitting me,” I thought. I broke my camera. I was bombarded by pigeons. My heels are fucked up. I used all of my spare cash purchasing my bus ticket….AGAIN. I lost my earrings. I’m cold as balls. And the sketchy hostel owners are literally the scariest people I have ever encountered in my life.
But whatever. I’ve got places to go. >>
We ventured to Como, Italy, a more discreet part of the country and upon arrival we were informed we weren’t allowed to check into our hostel until 5:00pm…it was currently 11:00am. Swell…
We strapped on our heavy back packs, grabbed two fresh baguettes from the local cafe, stuck a giant bottle of water in our luggage and set out. Ready to take a light, brisk walk around the neighborhood…mountain.
We passed this:
And then this:
And ten uphill miles later…
My body was exhausted and slightly startled as to how our brisk walk took such an extreme, extreme turn (literally)
When David called for a break I immediately fell to the forgiving ground. This was the last thing I needed. I came to Italy to feel like an Italian Beyonce but now I just felt like Frodo and Samwise Gamgee who left a trail of disaster and Italian Lambus bread along the way.
And after laying on the ground for an undisclosed amount of time, I finally mustered up the energy to lift ^ myself up and desperately scrounge in my backpack for any signs of carbs. I tore off a piece of the discovered baguette. The first bite was heavenly, crunchy, chewy and baked with a feeling of accomplishment, and when I turned around,
I found myself overlooking
the most incredible visual
I had ever seen in my entire life. Even better than the pics of Lance Bass when he was still chillin in the closet. I did it. This was the most mind-blowing thing I’d ever done. My body was so broken and so sore, everything in my backpack was probably destroyed seeing as we encountered snow…twice and dodged a wild heard of mountain goats… twice…thus causing me to cast my belongings in a sheer panic (inquire for tactics). But every soreness, hail storm and goat attack was worth every moment on this mountain. And here’s why:
The three of us
sat at the top
The Italian Swiss Alps
in Como, exhausted, accomplished, ecstatic. We lingered in this instant for as long as possible because we knew this was an absolute once in a lifetime experience. I didn’t have my cell phone to tweet it, instragram it. My camera was in shambles. I’d just have to tell facebook and my mom, luego.
And at first it made me mad
and then it made me happy
because for once in this modern-day world,
what I was looking at,
in this very moment.
Was completely unsharable.
And then we stayed there until the sunset, and it looked like this:
And what a crazy feeling to think that right here in this very moment. We were the only 3 people in the world, eating a snack on the Italian Swiss Alps…I should write a story about this.
So in the ridiculous and substantial amount of time we picnicked with our 2 ingredients.
I got to thinking.
About the camera. And those heels. And those spawn of Satan pigeons. The bus pass. Dem earrings. And how the stunning visual that was painted before my very eyes, erased any misfortune that had happened the previous day and how different my experience would have been if I had let them linger above me.
And I flash backed to the time I :
1. Used to snap at my mom at the dinner table if I had a bad day
2. Stay silent at a birthday dinner if my romantic fling wasn’t going exactly according to plan
3. Cross my arms at a ridiculously fun party every time I bombed a test or life wasn’t being that nice
And ever since that day I’ve looked at life a little differently. And it wasn’t because of the actual mountain itself, (I swear I’m not going all Lewis and Clark on you , too soon? Too soon?) It was the idea of the mountain.
Where I was
Why I was there
And how incredibly enjoyable that that moment was never derailed. not once. because of temporary speed bumps.
I pick and choose my moments of sorrow these days, and will continue to do from now on. I never want the moments in life to be shadowed by the small things. I want to enjoy them fully, completely and untainted. My friends allowed me to borrow their camera for the rest of the trip, I had an extra pair of shoes to exchange for my heels, earrings are entirely replaceable, the bus pass is just money, and the pigeons were kind of fun (DON’T TELL THE HOMELESS MAN) So now…
Allow me to translate this into a more realistic scenario:
So you lost your wallet, someone wasn’t nice, work wasn’t the best today, you’re in a bad mood and life was just a little less fair, I get it. I totally get it. But check them in at the door when you’re celebrating a birthday, attending a wedding, meeting a friend for coffee, sitting down for dinner, enjoying yourself or hell, climbing a mountain.
I see you person sitting in the corner of the party distraught over a text
I hear you stressed out soul who slams the door every time life gets a little tough
I completely understand person who just can’t seem to catch a fucking break.
And for you, I have delicious snacks and a listening ear on standby.
It can’t be that way all the time. Definitely sometimes. But not all the time. Why?
Because before you know it one disappointment has dripped into the rest of your life and multiplied into numerous mediocre moments and suddenly your bad day, turned into a bad week, a bad month, a bad year and even the best moments were diluted due to a cloudy attitude. And 365 pity parties later you start to wonder how it even got that way, why your friend/family/spouse/co-workers enjoy your company a little less and when someone asks you how things are going all you hear spilling out of your mouth are recycled misfortunes. And then you wonder…who would ever want to live a life like that?
And not you either.
And not the person hanging out with us.
Acquiring the ability to forget the unimportant and embrace the worthwhile is the biggest souvenir I brought home with me that day. And great news, I brought one home for you too.