A Wonderful World

April 22, 2014 at 2:04 pm | Posted in Life and Living | 2 Comments
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photo-21Back in 2005, I went on my first trip to Italy.  I went with my mother starting in Rome, then Florence and Venice.  In Rome, we visited the Trevi Fountain. I made a wish and through a coin in the large pool of water.  This was to signify that I would one day come back to Rome. And I did.

I spent this spring break touring Rome, Naples and the Amalfi Coast with my husband on his first trip abroad.  I wanted him to see the country where his ancestors came from, to experience what the world outside of America is really like.  And for me, I had a goal of going abroad every four years.  This time, I made it back in five.

Seeing the world is something that has grown increasingly important to me over the years.  Seeing new places and revisiting past destinations is eye-opening and inspiring.  After my first trip to Italy, I declared Florence my favorite city.  In revisiting Rome, I fell in love all over again.

There is such an elegance to the city — art all around you, beautiful people, small streets, vespas and small cars managing through. You can easily get lost, and we did, but around every corner there was unexpected discovery.  We ate gnocchi, frequented espresso bars, treated ourselves to gelato and spent the evenings admiring ancient architecture amongst the locals as we sipped beer and wine on the streets until our heart’s content.

Moving into Naples was truly eye-opening.  My GPS led us up this small street with laundry and buckets hanging from people’s windows. We were approached right away at the train station by some guys trying to sell us lighters that looked like bullets.  It was loud, chaotic and a bit dirty, — a gritty experience. We had been warned of Naples.  We almost let that fear get the best of us, but once we got to our hotel, found the main roads and the famed pizza with mozzarella di bufala, we realized how lucky we were to be seeing real life the way many Italians live it.  If Rome is Manhattan, Trastevere is Brooklyn, and Naples is Harlem.  It’s where the culture of the people comes alive.

From Naples, we had easy access to Mount Vesuvius and the ruins of Pompeii.  We first scaled this active volcano  then got lost in the ruins, overwhelmed by the juxtaposition of this powerful natural force and these ancient man made structures that have stood the test of time.  Pompeii was destroyed in 79 AD when Vesuvius erupted without warning.  The population was completely wiped out but the structures of this town still stand, though incomplete, today, fragments of art on the walls and a people who once thrived in this city by the bay.

After Naples, I got to live out my mother’s dream of visiting the Amalfi Coast.  Basing ourselves in Sorrento, kind of like the Hamptons of New York, we took a long bus ride along the winding streets to Amalfi and Positano, 2 towns built vertically along the water – one of the most amazing sights I have ever seen in person.  We sipped on limoncello and ate cornettos and simply took in the beautiful views.

We scaled many stairs up and down, climbed many hills, and got lost in a country where we didn’t speak the language.  But at the end of each flight of stairs, each hill, at the end of each day, we had experienced something great. Traveling is exhausting, frustrating, confusing, frightening and anxiety-causing, but traveling is also exciting, educational, inspiring, thrilling, fun, and well worth it.

And before we left Rome, I once again made a wish and through a coin in the fountain.  I will be back.

Reunited (and it feels so good)

June 9, 2011 at 7:37 am | Posted in Friends Then and Now | 3 Comments
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Ever since I was little, I was always known as the friend who kept in touch.  I arranged many a reunion (I guess this falls in line with my obsession with planning) and wrote letters (and like, put a stamp on an envelope and mailed them, remember that?).  But as the years have gone by, I have to admit I haven’t been as good at keeping in touch, even with the advent of  Facebook.  Still, I try and lately I’ve employed a new method for reuniting with old friends.

Whenever I go away on business, I find out who is living in that area and I try to make plans.  A lot of my friends have moved to other places and with a job like mine that requires monthly business trips, I like to take these opportunities to reconnect.  I look for other opportunities as well.  On my recent trip to Miami, which was not a business trip, I met up with a former classmate who was attending the same blogger conference as me, and we ended up spending a lot of time together down there. My one-on-one reunions are not totally limited to business trips. I’ve had some reunions with old friends who live locally as well.

Of course all the reunions have different outcomes.  Sometimes you make a true reconnection with an old friend.  Sometimes you get to know someone on a level you never knew them on before.  And sometimes, you realize that, while you were close when you were young, you went down completely different paths, and it can be hard to relate to each other anymore.

But I don’t like to think negatively about those last kinds of reunions.  Not every reunion is going to reignite a friendship.  But a lucky few will.  With a lucky few, you will be able to pick up where you left off, or in a better place. You will be able to forget whatever tore you apart in the first place (if there really was anything).  Sometimes time can heal old wounds, and sometimes time, and revisiting faces of the past, can help us understand how far we have come.

What I enjoy most about these reunions is the memories they spark from my past.  Everyone remembers different aspects of growing up and hearing new perspectives on old situations can be eye opening.  All in all, I just like to hear the journey that different people take in their lives, the journey that led them to meet up with me at that moment in time.

Everyone has a story to tell, and you will play a role in many people’s stories.  Why not pick up a few books?

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