Six years ago I went on a life changing trip to Italy. I was a junior in high school, 16 years old and ready for my first big adventure.
Although I never took the class, I somehow managed to weasel my way onto an art history class trip. We were to spend one week touring the best of Italy.
Verona, Venice, Florence, and Rome were on our agenda. (Yes, we did do this in a week and on a bus!)
Admiring the works of da Vinci, Botticelli, Donatello and Michelangelo we explored all that Italy had to offer and visited EVERY SINGLE *bleep* CHURCH!
I can’t truly say that I walked away with a new appreciation for Italian renaissance art, but I did, however, gain a few new passions that I haven’t since been able to shake.
TRAVEL, LANGUAGE & CULTURE
It all happened in Florence. Our chaperons took us hormonal teens out for a night on the town.
I’m embarrassed to admit this, but when I heard we were going to a “disco” I actually thought we’d be cutting a rug to the likes of Abba and the Bee Gees!
After I’d had my first alcoholic beverage of my life, a sex on the beach, I sat down to chat up a nice Italian boy. Within minutes we realized the conversation wasn’t going to get too far. It took me 5 minutes to explain I was from the United States, USA, the states for god’s sake! (He only understood America. Sorry latinos!).
Remembering my elementary Spanish I had learned in Español II, I was desperate to communicate with this boy. Realizing that Italian just wasn’t the same as Spanish, I was forced to surrender and “do as the Romans do” hand gesturing the night away. Finally at the end of the night I went in for the most awkward he-went-kiss-on-the-cheek-I-went-full hug ever (one I would repeat many times in my life).
From this day on I knew that I had to continue to travel and study languages to communicate with people of other cultures. I think the first thing I said to my mom when I got back home was, “Yeah, it was great. Can I go to Spain?!”
Don’t believe me? Check out this clip from an essay I wrote in my Elementary Spanish class way back in 2006!
And to Spain I went summer of that same year! And I haven’t really stopped since 🙂