Do any of you have awesome friends? The ones who are the family we choose, who we don’t have to speak with everyday to pick up exactly where we left off. When I lived in Denmark, there were ten volunteers at the school, including myself, and we quickly became family. Two of them are from Serbia, Tatjana and Nash. A few days after I bought my plane ticket, Nash put on our Facebook group that he was getting married in Serbia on July 24. My ticket was for July 11 and I excitedly Nash that I’d be there for his wedding. I got to Novi Sad a day or so before the wedding to explore the area. The wedding was beautiful and although I hadn’t seen Nash or Tatjana in four years, it was as if I had seen them only days before. A day or so after the wedding, I took a bus up north to Kikinda where Tatjana is from and spent a day with her before continuing my trip.
During high school, I was in an English hand bell group and my sophomore year we went to Poland, Czech Republic, and Slovakia. It was my first time in Europe and I loved it. We weren’t in Prague for very long and I decided to include it on this trip to get a better sense of the city. The idea to go to Budapest came from the song Budapest by George Ezra. Something about his deep, sultry voice singing about being miles from Budapest got me hook, line, and sinker.
Wandering through Rome, I was overwhelmed. Everywhere I looked there was another historical site. “Dang. This place is history on steroids.” Little did I know that at that same moment, Florence whispered, “You know nothing.”
Rome is amazing. The Colosseum, the Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, The Roman Forum, the food. Gelato. And just as overwhelming the second time around.
Stepping off the train in Florence, I’m amazed. It’s quiet. There aren’t 10 million people walking the same way I am. The old and new don’t clash. There’s uniformity, consistency. The city flows with quiet confidence, the perfect balance, as if the city hasn’t changed much since it began.
Someone at the table next to me at dinner tries to order sangria. The waiter responds with a cheeky “We don’t have that. This is Florence.” I grin. This city has no need to change for anyone, unnecessarily. It knows it’s worth, what it brings to the table. It’s a city that doesn’t try and be anything other than itself. It’s taken a changing world and progressed gracefully, refinishing a foundation already made strong.
Can I say the same about myself? Am I completely confident in where I’ve been and where I’m going? Do I take my insecurities and shortcomings and learn from them, grow. Or do I ignore them, shoved in a corner, hoping they’ll leave forever. It’s not a matter of whether or not change happens, it does. The question is how I take past, present and future and use it to be more confident and fluid as a person.