365 days ago, I was here.
That “here” is Salerno, Italy. That morning I had said goodbye to Heather in Rome – she headed back to Scotland to finish off her semester at Aberdeen and I had a day before I took the 8 hour train ride, just across the French/Italian border to Nice.
It’s more than a little weird to me that four months of my life existed almost entirely outside the realm of context of anyone who has been walking through life with me. Not to say that there are any regrets or that I have concluded solo-travel does not interest me (rather the opposite, in fact). But there is something to be said for the sharing of life with friends and family.
As I’m sure everyone experiences, there are moments when the mind wanders. When you can’t quite anchor your train of thought to the tangible reality in front of you. For me, these moments are constituted of any number of things. Thinking about what tasks I should be accomplishing. Contemplating some of life’s great mysteries (why does chicken turn white and beef turn brown? – ok, I do think deeper thoughts than that). And remembering.
Moreso than in previous years, I have noticed my thoughts not so much wandering back to my trip to Europe, but more arriving as the ghost of your favorite pet stepping out in front of your car as you speed down the freeway.
It’s rarely the monumental, that rush to a precision focus. It’s not the Eiffel Tower or the Colosseum or Westminster Abbey that I see. It’s Monoprix, the containers of shredded carrots, the aisle in the grocery store where I bought canned green beans. It’s waiting for the metro, climbing un-ending stairs to emerge finally into daylight. It’s the man who sold me sunglasses and the ricotta with shrimp that I had to de-shell. It’s gelato and walking down the street being a part of the world of Paris. It’s trying to find my host family’s house for the first time. It’s eating a sandwich at la plage (the beach).
It’s any number of mundane events that I know better than to bore you with. Or worse, make you think that I am somehow trying to flaunt that I went to Europe.
Since I shared this part of my life with so few people, it’s not like remembering a childhood toy or occasion that I can text my sister and say, “Oh! Remember when…” It’s an inside joke with myself.
I think – or maybe even know – that some people might have wanted me to share more of my experiences when I returned. But I think even now it’s not something I can go through chronologically and say I did this then this then this. Sure, with a trip to Disneyland, that works. But you can’t really summarize life that way.
I don’t think there’s any sort of neat conclusion for me to come to at the end of this. This isn’t a suggestion for you to ask into the mundane details or a closure of anything really. It’s just an observation that has been floating around, waiting to be made.