Definition: Marked by the intense irrational reality of a dream;
very strange or unusual : having the quality of a dream (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
Truth: The past seven weeks I have been living in Rome. During my days I go to school, wander through what feels like the same alleyways – since they all look the same, eat much good food, and attempt to speak Italian.
Although this has been my reality it feels like a dream. Normal people don’t do this. If you had asked me four months ago if I thought I’d be studying in Rome next semester I would have laughed and said I wish. I am literally living the dream.
When I broke the news to my friends and told them about my impending sudden leave of absence from the university they stood in front of me speechless. How could I talk so casually about studying abroad in Rome, Italy?! One of the most beautiful cities in the world.
This is what happened:
After a particular series of events last semester I decided to pick up and leave. Not only would I leave the school and state – I was going to leave the country. I picked up my computer and did a mad dash for about 72 hours. I had an overwhelming sense of peace about my spontaneous decision to go to Rome. For whatever reason the Lord put it in my head and said “Go.” so I ran. All the deadlines were past and I hit wall after wall, but I had a sense this was my path so I took my sledgehammer and steel-toed boots smashed down every wall and stomped my way through. Three months later and here we are.
Maybe it’s culture shock and maybe it’s not, but consistently the past week I’ve walked around and stopped with a dumbfounded smile on my face. I look like an absolute goof. My friends look at me knowing something is coming next, and typically this is how it goes. I grab their shoulders and look them in the eyes with my stupid grin and say, “We. Are in. ROME. Do you KNOW how crazy that is?? We live here. I mean we are actually living here for the next 3 months. We get to take casual walks around ancient ruins and see the Pope whenever he decides to make an appearance. WHAT?! That’s. Not. Real. It’s a beautiful day and we get to do whatever we feel like in one of the most enchanting places. People vacation here for a week because they want to see it and we are living here. No. I just can’t believe it.” And that concludes my rant.
The thing is when I have those moments I am so grateful for them. They mean: HELLO. Wake up call. Live your life and enjoy where you are because it’s temporary – just like every other moment in time. I may be in unbelief about my physical location and others I may be so disenchanted that I don’t even care that they are filming the new James Bond movie in front of my university.
The lesson remains the same. It’s an oldie, but a goodie. Cherish every moment – no matter where you are. The people will make the places whether it’s a life long friend or someone you met while waiting for the tram whom you shared a laugh with. The thing is people may come and go, but you will always have the memories. What my reality looks like will always be different than the person next to me and sometimes you get to live in Rome for 5 months, but mostly you just get to live. Nothing has to be ordinary. It may be another day in the same old neighborhood, but think about how many people walked those same streets before you. How many stories would they have been able to tell?
Live consciously, not critically – there is a difference you know.
Awaken the inner curiosity in you. Live your life, not everyone has the same privilege. Take a walk and get lost (physically, in conversation, in thought) – it happens to be one of my favorite pastimes.