A week before leaving L.A. for Florence, my family and I went to see “The Trip to Italy”, a comedy starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. The premise of the movie finds the two actors playing themselves, on all expenses paid trip for a British newspaper. The assignment: to document their travels through the beautiful countryside of Italy, all while eating beautiful food and staying in beautiful hotels. The whole movie was in fact, beautiful. I left the theatre at the end of the film anxiously awaiting my imminent departure and excited for a remarkable semester abroad. It was then that my mom turned to me and said, ” You know, that’s not what it will be like. It’s not going to be boutique hotels and Michelin star restaurants every night”. I knew it wouldn’t- but my imagination had yet to realize. The truth is, I did over-romanticize the idea of living in Florence. A part of me did believe that it would be chianti in the countryside and weekend trips staying in glamorous Italian resorts. I’m not saying that Italy isn’t incredible, it is, ( as we speak I’m on my way to a small beach town to attend a truffle festival), but sometimes the anticipation and expectation can overshadow your experience. The trip may indeed be worth it, but we forget about the early morning wake up, a bus, a train, and a hike to the destination. Isn’t it easier to just relax at home? It’s impossible to stop your imagination from idealizing the journey, so it’s important to change your mood once you arrive. This has been my goal for the past few weeks.
Last weekend, my friends took me to the most incredible place in Verona, a small city a few hours north of Florence. Its called the Piazzale Castel San Pietro and its one of the quietest and highest points in the whole town. For generations the Verona’s “precious gem” has been used as a meeting point for tourists and locals alike. Below the city has expanded miles, growing out and around the San Pietro. To me, the outlook represented more that a pretty view. It has attentively watched its beloved city below grow and fall, shift and prosper. I looked around at this place, at the chaos it has witnessed, the change it has had to endure, and I was reassured. Maybe the idea of change isn’t so scary. Maybe giving in is the answer and the real trap is is getting too attached the comfortable and the familiar. Change is a gift- it represents the road to new experiences and exciting challenges. I try to remind myself of this when after a long day of classes- I begin to crave the typical night in with Netflix. There is plenty of time for television- now is the time for adventure.