Right now I’m listening to this song, “Cheap Thrills” by Sia. It’s this really basic pop song that is big on Top 40 Radio, nothing special. But I happened to hear it a lot this summer during my adventures. It makes me forget where I am and takes me back.
London Gatwick Airport, checking in to my flight home:
I have been back at work at my old company, temporarily until next year when I go to grad school. Currently I’m at a hotel in Columbus, getting ready for bed to head into the office tomorrow. I’ve been home for over two months now and I’ve settled in nicely. It doesn’t feel weird to be in my old office doing my old job. What feels weird is to think that I was gone for seven months, doing something totally different.
The song takes me back to mountains in Italy, backpack on my back, to the days when my life consisted of train schedules and hostels, worrying about whether or not the guy in the bed next to me was going to snore that night. A life that doesn’t even seem real. It feels like ancient history but every so often something will pop up and bring me back. The song. The paper coffee cup that had random Italian words like “latte” and “caffe” written on it. The package of imported pasta that had one of my favorite features of European products, the label written in 6-7 different languages. Those things all bring me back. It all comes rushing back. I know I would love to go travel like this again someday.
I stubbornly want hang on to certain things. The clocks on my phone and computer are still set to 24 hour time and my phone still delivers temperatures in Celsius. When I cook I always follow Italian meal structure.
I have been trying to cook and learn more about Italian food. I have been searching the stores of Ohio for the best Italian coffee, prosciutto, and Parmesan cheese.
My dad took this picture of me when he picked me up at the airport, the first time we saw each other in seven months:
My host brothers text me often so I get to practice my Italian and I actually think it’s still in pretty good shape. I want to get into a class or a group – there is a group of Cleveland Italian speakers and I’m going to try to get to one of their events soon.
Walking in the door the first time:
There’s just one other thing that’s happened since I got back and I only want to touch on it briefly. During this trip, I gained a passion for cultural exchange and I gained the deeply held belief that the more you share with other people and other cultures, the less you will fear them and the better off the world will be. At the end of the day, that’s what this blog is all about. I also followed the story of my immigrant ancestors and gained a whole new appreciation for the struggles they went through to do what they did. Now, we are going to have a new president, and in my opinion, his campaign went against those values. Unfortunately, there are now also similar politicians coming up in some of the countries I visited. I hope and I pray that the countries of the world do not fall back into an era of only looking inwardly and fearing others. I will keep traveling and keep meeting people from other places and telling my stories, as my own personal protest.
A lot of people have been bugging me to write a blog post to “end” my blog, and that’s been a challenge. I don’t feel like it ended or like I can sum it all up. I’ll still be adding more to the blog as we go forward, and if I travel anywhere I will certainly add more. I also might go back and cover certain things in more detail. So, this is not really the end. I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving and I wish you a wonderful holiday season.