Monday, June 13, 2011
As I sit here at my computer, belly full of my last Italian pizza, I am in utter awe of the experiences I’ve had over the past four and a half months. As I began this trip I never in my wildest dreams imagined what I would have seen and experienced. Regardless of all the places I’ve travelled while in Europe I feel that I have learned the most from living in Trieste. I jumped into a completely different culture, language, and attitude on life and this is what I learned.
Simple is Beautiful. Three simple ingredients can make the most delicious pizza in the world. Italians have a keen way of taking the fewest ingredients possible and enjoying them to the fullest extent. This speaks to their overall opinion on life, enjoy every tiny moment and don’t fuss over throwing too many things in the pot, or on the pizza whichever metaphor you prefer.
Relax. Train strikes happen, but you will eventually get there. When you’re meeting someone for dinner 7:30 may wind up being 8:30 and you may not finish until 11. It may take 8 visits to the police station to become legal. Nothing is rushed; you have to accept that everything happens on its own time, regardless of how frustrated you are.
Keep Smiling. Ever day for three and a half months I smiled and greeted the old man down the street, his response was always to look away or at his dog. Finally, two weeks ago, he smiled back and said “Ciao.” It took a while but I finally won him over which would not have happened had I not kept on smiling. More times than I would like to admit I was frustrated to the point of tears, no one warned me how hard it would be to buy cheese, but smiling always got me through.
Enjoy every Moment. A good Italian dinner lasts two hours because every moment is consumed by good food, wine, and conversation. In the evening everyone walks to enjoy the beauty of the world around them and the company of a loved one. Every aspect of Italian culture is centered on soaking in all the love and splendor that the universe has to offer, truly living in the moment.
I could go on for ages. I came to Italy as an extremely “type A,” success driven American. I am not a complete convert into the “art of doing nothing,” but I have learned to stop, take a deep breath, and truly savor the world around me. Before this experience I entitled this blog La Dolce Vita, the sweet life, envisioning the typical Hollywood portrayal a lot of wine drinking, pasta eating, and loud talking with copious amounts of hand gestures. But the sweet life is so much more than that, it’s taking the time to live your life and cherish every miniscule part. It’s relaxing, not fretting over being five minutes early to every appointment. It’s sipping a cappuccino for an hour with a friend. It’s the little things. Thank you Italy for showing me how to live La Dolce Vita.