The day before yesterday, our Student Activities Council (of which I am Vice President) put on a 1990’s-themed dinner/movie night. This event, if I recall correctly, was originally inspired by the…eclectic music taste of shops and restaurants around Arezzo (one night, we legitimately heard Bye, Bye, Bye; I’m Like a Bird; and I’ll Stand by You back to back to back), and ended up including a scrumptious 1990’s-themed dinner, a sing-along of The Goofy Movie, and a viewing of the classic and often-forgotten Disney Channel Original movie Brink!
When the chicken nuggets were all ready, we shuffled through the food line, bobbing our side ponytails to the Spice Girls, scooping mac and cheese and PBJ sandwiches onto our plates. Between bites of grilled cheese, someone commented that the night seemed less representative of the decade, and more like re-living our childhood….
Well duh, I argued. It made sense, since we all are definite 90’s kids.
So the night mmm’bopped on, but of course–being me–I couldn’t really get this thought out of my head. And by “this thought” I mean
**Am I seriously already old enough to be feeling the need to “relive my childhood?” **
I mean, last I checked, my childhood had not yet ended (though the premiere of the last Harry Potter movie felt like it at the time). But now, standing in a kitchen 5,000 miles away from my old playground, in a place where my wifi connection only sometimes allows me to talk to my parents (Hi, Dad!) there was no denying even to myself—I’m not a kid anymore. Even if I never technically “grew up” (at 5’2” most of the middle-schoolers I tutor are taller than me), I definitely became a grown-up somewhere along the line.
Okay, I’m nineteen years old, so this really isn’t news to anyone. But I’ve claimed to “feel like I’m thirty” since I was about fourteen, and never had a clue what I was talking about. I was petrified when I turned eighteen, because it was no longer acceptable to be the “kid who acts like an adult.” I was suddenly legally an adult, and I didn’t know how to handle it.
I had been conscious of this concept of “adulthood” for a while, but only the other night did I finally feel it, and even more than that, I finally feel happy about it.
I started thinking back to the past month here, and all that I have seen and done…
Before I even arrived in Italy, I backpacked through Scotland, England, and Luxembourg with only my best friend (and I made this
snazzy video about it). We navigated train systems and flight delays, language barriers and hostel rooming issues without any parents or teachers holding our hands. Once I arrived in Italy, alone, I started using a language other than the one I had grown up with. I moved into my first apartment. Then, a few weeks in, a couple friends and I decided on a Thursday to go out of town that weekend. We booked everything, made the four-hour journey, and then spent two days of total freedom in Cinque Terre—choosing where we ate, who we talked to, how far out we wanted to swim…. By day two, we hiked nine kilometers up and down a monstrous hill and through some scenic vineyards from one town to the next.
By the time we got home, nothing seemed impossible anymore.
In the past few weeks, I have started innumerable lists of road trips and vacations I want to make once I get back to the states; in the meantime, I’ve booked a trip to Spain and planned a trip that involves an overnight train to Vienna to see my favorite band over Thanksgiving break; I’ve accepted that I’m just on the tip of the iceberg of things I can do in my lifetime. I can really do these things. In the past month, I have passed out of the realm of “when I grow up, it’s my dream to…” and into something far more exciting. I am grown up now. And I have started watching in amazement as those dreams I used to talk about have started coming true.
Forgive me for the overly-sentimental self-analysis! Now onto the corny stuff!
One thing I learned about Italy – We are stuck in a Dr-Who-eque time warp. Music from the 1990s, festivals from the 1600s, and spaceship motorcycle cars of the future. When am I??
One thing I learned about myself – See the 600-word composition above. Also, I love hyperlinks; this is a new discovery.
Best thing I ate – No competition. Craig’s masterful macaroni and cheese, which he amazingly managed to create senza cheddar, as this country apparently laughs at such mainstream formaggio.
Italian Word of the Week: Well, technically it hasn’t been a full week since my last post, but what the heck? Today’s word of the week is “cervicalgia,” meaning “neck pain.” One of my roommates was using this word repeatedly, and I was quite baffled until I had the sense to pull up Google translate.
Travel Quote of the Day
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
“Follow your feet,”
(name the movie for brownie points!)