This last week has been nothing short of amazing and absolutely chaotic. In one week, I’ve had a man follow me, I’ve withdrawn from Florence University of the Arts, traveled to Venice, returned to Cinque Terre, and I’ve grown closer than imaginable with my family.
Aggressive non-Italian Men
I can recall walking towards the Santa Maria Novella Train Station with La Kita, when someone on a bike called out to me. It was a non-Italian man on a touring bike. He tried to shower me with compliments and get my information. He kept asking for a phone number or address, but I kept denying him. I tried to walk away countless times, but he’d just ride the tour bike to a spot in front of us, so I’d stop walking.
In the end, he got my Instagram and we walked into the nearest store. He has attempted to follow me and send me a message, but I didn’t respond to either. So far, I’ve been able to evade him. Well, there was the instance when I had to act like I didn’t see him waving through the crowd. But, all is good now.
My Beautiful Mother
Within the span of 24-hours, I withdrew from the university, searched the web for “cheap” flights home, recanted my statement, and tried to fix the hasty choices I made.
Just imagine, receiving phone calls and texts saying your mother is dying and you need to come home. So, that’s what I tried to do. The rumor had spread that there was nothing else the doctors could do for my mother and they were sending her home. But, in reality, she’s an incredibly strong woman fighting for her life and at the moment she’s succeeding.
My mother has stage four Liver Cancer and she has developed pneumonia. But, when I talked to her about my withdrawal, she told me that I had to stay. My mother told me I have to finish what I started here and she’ll be home waiting for me to get back. I’ve never admired someone more than I admire my mother. She wants me to finish my stay here and have as much fun as I can. So, that’s what I’ll do.
Venice was the first trip I booked once I recanted my statement, after I agreed to stay. It took a four and a half hour bus ride, an approximately thirty minute train ride, and a ferry to reach the island. And it was worth every bit of it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen something so beautiful, up close. There was marble everywhere and everything looked so ethereal.
We walked through the beautiful city, witnessed glassblowing being done by a nice man, and tried pasta in a cup. It was said that pesto was created in that region, so I had to try the pesto pasta. I’ve come to love pesto with pine nuts… we continued through the small, narrow pathways going over bridges and seeing others on gondolas.
La Kita, Briana, and I found cute a souvenir shop, and Briana and I bought loads of candy. We took unreal pictures in front of the cathedral and by the water, but the coolest part was the gondola ride. Gondolas are portrayed to be these massive, long boats, but really they’re extremely narrow and you fit in very tightly. But, it was amazing sitting so close to the water and seeing the island from the water.
Once our Verona trip got canceled, I knew I had to return to Cinque Terre. The friendly people, the amazing seafood, and beautiful beaches will forever be ingrained into my mind.
Seeing the view of Manarola from the lookout point was still breathtaking and walking down the inclines was still challenging. I can’t imagine living somewhere so beautiful, yet so isolated. I learned that Cinque Terre means five lands. The five lands that were once remote villages, that no one could access. The people survived off of agriculture and the sea. Planting their own foods and fishing.
The journey to the top of the mountain was filled with amazing views. Views of the sea and of the terraces that have been curved into the land. Once we got to the beach, the rocks were still pointy and hot, but La Kita and I had so much fun nearly drowning every five minutes. We got really nice frozen drinks and wore ourselves out in the water.
Overall, this week was definitely one to remember. As always, thank you so much if you made it this far!
“In order to find ourselves we have to get so lost that we can’t see a path out. Then we become forced to create our own” -Lindsay Adkinson