Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Lessons from the Real World

I have experienced joy, bliss, comfort, friendship, compassion, love, and warmth in Italy. I have experienced sorrow, disappointment, pity, jealousy, frustration, and fatigue in Italy. One emotion that seemed to slip by the wayside, however, was anger. Until today.

Today was supposed to be our wine tour, the tour Shelle and Barry, our friends from the farm, recommended to us two weeks ago. It was the tour I have been looking forward to, the tour I built up in my mind as a quintessential Italian experience. I even had Mollie excited about it, which is a dynamic feat. We woke up early and made it to the station for the 9am train. Only it was cancelled due to a strike. Mollie and I played it cool and bought a bus ticket. Only it was late. We sweated out the bus, and when it finally arrived, breathed a sigh of relief. Only there was traffic. The bus made it to Firenze, our meeting point for the tour, with about 10 minutes to spare. Only the meeting point for the tour was two miles from the bus station. So, Forrest Gump style, we ran. We ran with a healed broken toe that hasn't been run on since February; we ran with three knees that hurt; we ran with two cameras, five bottles of water, a large bag of dried fruit, a banana, and a fist full of maps. We ran. And when we arrived at Ponte Alle Grazie 20 minutes late, we ran out of luck. The tour had left. Mollie, sensing my disappointment, offered me consolation such as, "Well, at least we saved 140 euro," and "Now you can see all those Michelangelo...things you wanted to see." But not even my zeal for Michelangelo could overcome the intense anger I felt at that moment.

"I don't care about Michelangelo anymore," I lamented. I began to feel myself unravel. The cool, calm, collected persona I had adopted over the past two weeks was suddenly giving way to a slightly hysterical, lesser version of self. I wanted to throw the cell phone in the Arno River, or start swearing, but all I managed to do was engage in some self-deprication, which included calling myself an ass. This was not one of my finer moments. BUT, I did not cry.

After about a half hour of vascillating between feeling sorry for myself, and reprimanding myself for not having the courage and sense to just let it go and start having a blast in Firenze (despite it being our THIRD day in a row there), I started to forget about the wine tour. Mollie and I leisurely explored the city, both of us in a decent amount of knee pain after our heroic 2 mile sprint through the crowded streets of Florence. We climbed up to the Piazza di Michelangelo, where a fantastic view awaited us. Mollie did the climb only because, in some small stroke of fortune for me, she thought there was gelato at the top. By the time I dispelled that myth, she knew there was little point in asking me to turn back. Then we ambled over to the Piazza della Signoria, browsed the Ponte Vecchio, listened to talented street performers, ate gelato 3 different times, and had a delicious pizza for lunch. I even had a glass of wine. =)

Tomorrow morning, we leave for Roma. I don't think I will be writing any more entries, but I do plan to transcribe portions of my journal entries, as well as insert a video with our pictures into the blog, so check back later for full details if you're interested!

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