I’m back from Italy and have some quick comments about my experience:
1. The country is very clean. No trash in the streets at all (until you get to a city like Rome, that has a bazillion tourists. That’s an exact number).
2. The coffee comes in tiny cups and is very strong.
3. Nearly everyone rides a vespa, including well-dressed women wearing motorcycle helmets with their high heels and dresses.
4. I ate pizza/pasta, gelato, apple pies, pastries and drank coke, and coffee sweetened with sugar and cream and still lost 6 lbs. Upon seeing me at the airport, my stepdad said, “Jeez, you look like you lost ten pounds. You almost look peaked.”
5. My mom and brother are awesome and I’m glad to have spent the time with them. My mom is a real trooper; I know after a day of walking up and down the steps of Venice her legs were bothering her pretty bad (she has nearly constant leg pain from all the chemotherapy she’s taken). She never complained though (she seldom complains in general). It was good just hanging out with them.
6. I would move to Trieste in a heartbeat.
7. The Sistine Chapel is spectacular beyond belief.
8. Toward the end of the trip I started having some bouts of existential anxiety. Really, is there anything stupider than existential anxiety? (I’m being totally earnest when I call it this and I’ll refer to as EA from here on, just to make it easier to type.) Situational anxiety is understandable and, perhaps, remediable, but EA is really an exercise in futility, when my mind starts to linger on the strangeness of everything, on the arbitrariness of life and the solitary quality with which it’s lived (because we can only know/live our own experience). Why these thoughts create anxiety for me, I’m not sure. But when it happens, it’s like I’m wrapped in a haze and my heart is being squeezed in a vice. What’s strange is that, generally speaking, I don’t have issues with anxiety–I’m pretty mellow and happy about life and my role in it. So it sucks when EA rears its head (and it’s done so maybe three or four times in the 34 years I’ve been alive), and it can be a difficult mindset to get out of. I’m considering acupuncture to realign my qi. Perhaps that will help.
9. Italy is magnificent and the food is delicious.
10. I was happy to finally return home.