We’d just gotten off a boat from Burano, and the colorful streets of the little fishing village left a lot to be desired when we disembarked into a grey city. We crossed Piazza San Marco back into the maze of streets and canals full of dead ends. There it began to rain. The precipitation poured into the narrow paths and washed away some grime and most of the visitors. I didn’t have an umbrella, and the rain fell unforgivingly. We torpedoed one after the other through the tight passages. We even got lost, enticed by a green archway that lead us to a quiet courtyard but nothing more. I discovered my lasting image of the city when we crossed the bridge. It was the same one we’d crossed earlier where hoards of people stood fighting for a bit of space to take a selfie. I spent only a few seconds watching the boats taxi up and down the Grand Canal. Each aqua bus was stuffed to capacity. Inside were the visitors that emptied the streets hoping to make a quick and dry escape. In that moment with the rain pelting down on me and worrying I’d lose my family as they chased each other further into the maze, there was still that moment of clarity. We were out there, and everyone else wasn’t. It didn’t matter that we were wet. We were individuals running in the rain, scampering and laughing one after the other. Having met only the night before, we were still nearly strangers, yet somehow the rain binded us into a singular experience. I couldn’t blame the rain for anything because it brought with it magic. It spared me a few moments to stand atop the bridge and see the city without rushing and rubbing elbows. It connected me to new people I hope to see again soon. The first time I visited Venice, it rained. It was inconvenient, and I’d caught a cold that lasted 2 weeks of my time in the country. But I’d have it no other way.
About the photo:
I snapped this on aforementioned bridge before the weather turned sour. We left Venice for Burano, and when we came back storm clouds came in. The second time I was on this bridge, I was moments away from loosing my family to the maze that is Venice. From head to toe, I was soaked through. I could feel the wet sponginess from my shoes and the general weight my clothes absorbed during the downpour. The purple dye in my hair might have also been running down my back and into my coat. None of that mattered though. It was worth getting wet and getting sick to run around the city with family whom I was only acquainted with the night before. The rain was like glue, binding us together into this one unique moment.
The sun is inviting. It streams in through the windows and washes everything in a translucent white. From floor to ceiling, the carrozza transforms. The walls and the seats turn into marble, warm and nearly sparkling as our speed train bullets across to Bologna. Life becomes still, fixed by flames of Roman heat. We’re only portraits now. The sun is pleading for us to stay. Don’t go. And I don’t want to. I want this moment to last a little longer. I want to keep feeling the serenity and satisfaction that life is perfect as it is, was, and will be. We are escaping the fire, hoping to find our own way home. That morning it consumed an airport terminal, canceled travel plans, and redirected traffic. It ruined routine. But the fire saved us from an untimely departure from a place that wasn’t ready to let us go and from a moment we weren’t ready to say goodbye to.
About the photo:
This particular photo wasn’t taken on the day of the fire. I was too caught up in the moment that morning to consider pausing my thoughts to take a picture. This was captured on a train ride from Bolzano to Bologna a week earlier. At the time, I didn’t expect to return to Bologna for a second time. But when we arrived, we were given a wonderful send off from friends and family, a more appropriate ending. In retrospect, I couldn’t imagine it happening any other way. Find a piece of my heart somewhere in Bologna Centrale train station.
I’m not materialistic. Although, I will admit, I was as a child. Somehow, I grew out of wanting the latest and greatest things. I should even mention that I’m working from an obsolete model of MacBook (even though you might assume a person in my field should have the latest edition) and taking photos from an iPhone 4S, which are somethings I’m not ashamed to admit. Nowadays, I find myself saving and spending money on travel. It’s far better. Memories never go out of style, after all.
But to get back to the point, there are still some moments I find myself mentally constructing a “wish list” of items I’d like to have. Most of the time, this occurs right before a trip.
If you follow me via Instagram or Facebook, you might be aware of my upcoming adventures starting this spring. And if you don’t, well, maybe you’ll consider adding me? I won’t disappoint your daily feed, I promise.
To name a few places from the list would include the Dolomites, Rome, Yosemite, Death Valley, Yellow Stone and Machu Picchu. As per usual, with my first departure approaching, I can’t help but spend my free time perusing online retailers and REI.
Here are some of my favorite finds that are on the more useful end of the spectrum:
- Kuhl Flight Jacket ($105): For early spring in the pre-Alps.
- Altra Olympus Trail Running Shoes ($65): For hikes and trail running in the Rockies.
- Better Together Pouch ($29): To keep my Livescribe pen and Moleskine notebook in one convenient carry-on.
And some that are just fun:
- Pikai Hipu’u top ($55) + Knotted bottom ($55): For any time, any day. And because this is just an excuse to add to my bikini collection.
- Sweet Pete’s Strawberry Gummy Bears ($19): For the long haul across the Atlantic and in betweens.
- All Things Mochi Dress ($190): For sun soaking and riposi in the Eternal City.
Anyone else traveling this spring?
We rented a boat and celebrated my studious achievements the weekend of my graduation. Or as I like to think of it, mourned the end of my undergrad career.
It turned out to be an ideal day for boating, and the calm waters created a serene atmosphere for some self-reflections.
I wasn’t ready to graduate. I’m still unsure that I have. These weeks immediately following graduation day feel ordinary—nothing profound. My life hasn’t magically rearranged itself with every piece in place like a finished puzzle. As a child, I imagined graduating to bear more finality. I thought life would make more sense after earning that piece of important paper. Instead, it feels the opposite. There are countless directions my life can go. I can feel every last one of them. They’re tugging at me from all different angles into dangerous and promising possibilities. I can’t make out any clarity.
But the mystery is kind of dazzling.
As I approach my graduation, I wish I’d blogged more often. I would’ve liked the opportunity to read about everything that happened within this year—my last year as an undergrad. I wish I would’ve written more about my experiences in Vienna, Nicaragua, and as an intern. I think it would’ve been nice to revisit the excitement of finding inspiration for stories and the hardships of nurturing a work of fiction. There’s much more than that.
This is why I’m starting now. I don’t want to regret, and I think it would be fun to share.
So, I welcome anyone who might be interested to acquaint yourself with me and my blog. Maybe you’ll follow me, or maybe you’ll just stop by from time to time. I’ll be posting entries about my travels (photos, tips, attempted travel lit), my experience as an editorial and creative fiction writer. But most importantly, I’ll be blogging about my adventures as a new college graduate (finding a job, applying for MFA programs, and other adult affairs). Hope you will join me.