Bad days exist, with cause or without. Today I felt a gloomy little cloud above my head. He was as gray as the cobblestones beneath my sandals. I am walking in over seventy-degree weather in Florence, Italy. People are out, laughing and chatting and eating wonderful food outside accompanied by a glass of wine. Why aren’t I smiling? Continue reading
Take a photograph
Save it for a rainy day
Then wipe off your tears
Why do you want to study abroad?
In a world that is often concerned with what bizarre and curious extraterrestrial life lies above our heads and below our oceans, it is easy to overlook the fact that there are thousands of different nations on this planet – all with a different culture and way of life from what we are used to – just waiting to be explored. Growing up in a bilingual family, I have traveled to the picturesque country of Greece several times in my life. I know the art, music, and literature. I have been exposed to a group of people with a completely different philosophy than my own.
It is my academic goal to expand my familiarity with other cultures for this reason. I want to achieve the knowledge that cannot be acquired through textbooks and lecture halls. I want to go above and beyond taking a foreign language course and instead find myself in that foreign country, learning more about the statue of David by looking him up and down in person rather than on a computer screen. To see the words in my history book come to life on the grounds in the society that wrote them. There is much more knowledge to be acquired when you are standing in the middle of it, rather than through the looking glass.
It is my personal goal to submerge myself in a country that feels otherworldly. I want to seek out personal enlightenment by living like I would have if I were born at another latitudinal point on the globe. How do people in other nations spend the same 24-hour day as I do? What foods have I never tried and what music has slipped my ears? I want to know the world outside my comfort zone. There are friends I have not met, stories I have yet to share, countless adventures to be taken, none of which I am prepared to miss out on.
It is my professional goal to gain the skills that may not be available to me if I never leave the country that has raised me. I am bicultural and therefore have the advantage of being nurtured in more than one way of life, but that does not mean that I have had all the cultural experience necessary to succeed professionally. As a teacher I will have small children in my classroom; young minds from different backgrounds. It is my job to relate to them as well as be able to teach them beyond what they already know. I want to culture them as well as myself.
A semester abroad in Florence, Italy is exactly the kind of experience that I am looking for in order to achieve the goals I have set out for myself. I will be in the midst of a culture that emphasizes family values and a love of food built by an ancient civilization highlighting fine art. There is a new world to be discovered, one that it is only a continent away.
~Early Summer Vibes~
I drank with my boss last weekend.
It was pretty cool. I work as a life guard now, doing absolutely nothing for 8 hours a day and getting paid minimum wage for it. The other day I spend a straight 3 hours playing cards games with my fellow guards. Later we watched movies and ordered Chinese food. I left with a solid $67.2 and not a single person drowned. Not a bad deal if you ask me.
Chris is the head life guard over at my pool. He’s a short guy with a big personality. Recently turning 24, he’s a bit older than my friends and I in age, but I think we’re at his level in other things…
Dani kinda likes Chris. I can see why, he’s not terribly good looking but it’s something with his persona, maybe the way he smiles or the way he manages a pool. I’m not sure what it is, but I can see it. So I got close with Chris at work, it wasn’t difficult. He’s so open and talkative. He’s probably my favorite person to spend 8 hours with at this place.
I’m not sure when I noticed it, maybe I’m just imagining it, but from my first day at work I thought there was something fishy about the way he treated me. Always making others do my work, complimenting me at every chance, and texting me outside of work. I wanted to get close with him for Dani, for my friend, not for myself. The worst part is that I’m actually loving the attention.
He noticeably became upset when I told him about Mark. Well, I didn’t tell him. It slipped out from others. He jumped right back up from it though, which I was happy about. But he hasn’t stopped treating me with extra attention. Maybe he hasn’t been flirting with me and that’s just how he talks to women? A lot of guys have flirty personalities. Or perhaps he’s not giving up despite my being in a relationship with another man for 3 1/2 years.
I invited him to come hang out with us last Friday night. I wanted him to get closer to Dani, whose also a life guard for the same company. It looked like it was working. We went to some fair by his house for an hour, got pizza, played pool and then he suggested he buy us alcohol. Now what kind of 20 year old would pass that up? One too many shots later I was buzzed and eventually gone. Our next stop was karaoke and I killed that mic with every fiber of my being. That dance floor is still oozing from my sweat. I knew my actions were completely unattractive and that was somewhat done on purpose. Mark was there too, and surprisingly got along with Chris very well. They’re Bro’s now, I guess you could say.
From the corner of my eye I could see Dani leaning on his shoulder, he’s drawing her in closer, smiling and laughing, probably at my terrible mic skills and dance moves. That’s beyond the point. I don’t know what happened, maybe nothing at all. But it was sweet to see them together. And I probably will, since he wants to hang out with us again.
I came into work the next day with a hangover and sun glasses to hide the shame. Chris was smirking at me as I walked in, and I knew what he was thinking. So I said it first. “Please, don’t fire me!”
We had a good laugh, then took out the playing cards and continued on our shifts. Our long, but not ever boring shifts.
The city life is never, can never be discreet. Heavy metal polls with green glowing men signal for pedestrians to cross.
The crowd moves forward. Men and women in gray and black business suites step confidently into the street. Beside them are skinny teenagers with baggy clothing and large headphones to block out the city noise. They stare down at their feet, shoved aside by the occasional skater, kicking his back foot off the pavement to zoom past Cruella and her tiny, pocketbook-sized puppy. The skater skims her fur coat as he passes her by, causing Cruella to lose her footing and lurch heal first in a liquid filled pothole. The water is dark and muddled. Her fist is raised at the young man as she inspects her ruined louboutin, but he is already gone. Businessmen and women walk on by, not even a glance in her direction. The dog begins to bark assertively, until a young boy pushes passed the crowed to aid the distraught lady and her petite companion. He helps Cruella finish down the crosswalk with only 2 seconds left before the green man turns red. She is not grateful, but the boy is not fazed by her thanklessness, there is only kindness in his heart.
The green man is gone, he has moved across the street to let a heap of new pedestrians make their way down the crosswalk: another confident businessman, another quiet teen, another discourteous skater, another Cruella Deville, and another kindhearted civilian.
Bear Mountain is about an hour away from us. Em, Nattles and I hiked up the “Appalachian trail” to the top where we spotted three state lines and four states in total. We were even able to spot the New York Skyline.
I never went hiking before this, although I always wanted to. My dad was never that into it and my mom is terrified of heights. My sister is just uninterested in anything that doesn’t have to do with a computer screen. Not to mention we don’t really live near mountains back home.
It was so freeing to battle the rocks and trees in order to reach our goal. Three miles up and three miles down, it was worth every second. The most wonderful part, passing by a stream of flowing water clean enough to wash away sins. We let it trickle down our arms and legs, rubbing us like silk. We held out our palms and gulped it down. The purest water I have ever tasted.
I’m extremely happy that we did this. Making it to the top was a great accomplishment, considering how tired we were a quarter of the way through. I wish I could go hiking more often, and maybe I could. I’ll do some more research on other trails near me. looking out over the tops of mountains, I felt like I could conquer the world. Something inside of me felt complete, that nature girl whose always dying to escape real life.
Hitting the pause button on
This lousy routine