FRI. JULY 17 – SUN. JULY 19: Day 39-41
This weekend, I took my only trip outside of Italy to Albania to visit my friend Ashique who is stationed there for the Peace Corp. I will not be blogging about this period, but wanted to mention that this is why three days of my trip are missing.
MON. JULY 20: Day 42
As I sat with Molly at Trattoria Antellesi (which I recommend to everyone!!!), surrounded by new friends made that night, she says to me, “It’s our last week in Italy, so you know it’s going to be the most incredible one.”
Our night started out as a quest to finally try wild boar, and took an unexpected but exciting turn. We ended up sitting next to Teresa and Johannes, a couple from Austria, who were the sweetest, most loving, genuine, down-to-earth people we met.
Johannes bought me and Molly limoncello! The generosity in Europe astounds me.
There’s a plastic, severed arm at the restaurant. Why? I don’t know.
Teresa loves to document memories through writing and photography.
She took a polaroid of all of us, wrote her address on it, and said, “If you ever visit Austria, you must stay with us.”
“My name is Margherita like the pizza, not Margarita like the drink.”
TUES. JULY 21 – WED. JULY 22: Day 43-44
And external. I never stop sweating. Profusely. Drenched. This heat makes me miss the cold, which is saying a lot because I despise the cold. Today, it rained and went from 97 to 77 and it feels like Christmas morning! It was the first time under 97 in three weeks.
THURS. JULY 23: Day 45
So, what did we do? We did everything that could qualify to be in an Italian romance novel. I tried my first caffe corretto, which was hard to swallow. I decided quickly that I prefer my coffee and my liqueur separate.
We exhausted every topic of discussion to such deep lengths that before we knew it, it was 4:30 a.m. We spent six entire hours together and it was glorious.
I decided there was no use in going to bed because I accidentally pulled an all-nighter, and took photographs around the city instead, starting with my street—finally, photos of Florence without three million tourists.
FRI. JULY 24: Day 46
– I had dinner with a stranger.
So when the bartender this morning asked me, “Come stai?” my response was a beaming, “Felicissima!” followed by a hearty sip of my cappuccino. He also refused to let me pay, and handed me a cookie on a plate that he drew a stick figure carrying a balloon on in chocolate. I would ask, “Why are Italian people so lovely?” but I’ve been told not to question the good things in life.
“To see Florence.”
I asked a complete stranger out to dinner and it was entirely grand and fantastic in every aspect. I now have a Norwegian friend named Olav.
After dinner, we walked towards the Piazza and met a young Swedish couple along the way, who asked me for bar suggestions.
We escorted them to my favorite hipster bar, Volume, and then made our way to the steps of the church where all the Italians hang out at night. They showed up a few minutes later and generously surprised me and Olav with drinks. Europeans are so nice.
When I took my first step back into the corridor of my apartment at the end of the night, I couldn’t even make it up the steps. I curled into myself and began to cry. I called my friend Ashique in Albania and garbled a bunch of words and sobs and muffled sentences all together. He listened and comforted me at 2 a.m. until I composed myself.
Knowing that I had to leave for the airport at 6:00 am, I decided to pull my second all-nighter and spent my time packing. I really could have used an instruction manual on how to pack for my return home without bawling my eyes out every ten minutes.
SAT. JULY 25: Day 47
So, how do I feel now that I am back? I will be writing more about this in a separate post, but at this moment, this is how I feel:
I feel like someone took me out of a storybook and stuck me in another. Or maybe like Alice from Alice in Wonderland. She spends the whole book trying to get back home, but what she doesn’t realize is that everything around her becomes her home too.
Maybe you can have more than one home, but right now, I feel like half of my body is here and the other half has her nails dug into the Florence cobblestone begging not to go.
It’ll just take time. Ohio feels like I’m a temporary guest, just like I felt in Italy during my first week. The more I’m here, the more I’ll be adjusted, but I don’t know how I feel about that.
I want to believe that all my experiences there were valid and that the emotion was real, but there’s a part deep inside me that worries, “What if you were in the honeymoon phase the entire trip?”
I want to go back. I want to spend more time there so I can prove to myself that it is actually possible to have had an experience so incredible in such a short time.
Also, I fell asleep at 5 p.m. and just woke up thinking it was 7 p.m., but it’s 7 a.m. HAHA.