I have been thinking about this post for a good 72 hours now. It has been that devil-on-my-shoulder kind of thought, haunting me constantly. I have known since day one that it would have to be done, that I would have to go back to Phoenix. There were some moments of the trip that I didn’t mind that reality, but others made it a painful thought.
There were some parts of Europe that I really were not too fond of. Rome, for instance, has a special way of infusing their metro stations with the most disgusting smells. They also have so much garbage on the street that I doubt that one garbage truck exists in the whole city. All of the cities make you pay to use restrooms. It’s fifty cents usually and, if you are lucky enough to find one in the first place, it usually has no toilet seat. In Cinque Terre’s case, it was a hole in the ground! I kid you not. Every menu in Italy has the same dishes too. I love them all but, if you can’t eat pasta, pizza, seafood (if you dine upscale), a salad, or bruschetta every single day, you might be in trouble. Paris, gosh, I could never rip on Paris. I love it too much. It’s the place in which I truly fell head over heels in love with Europe. Whoops, my bad, we are talking negatives for now! Well, the guys trying to sell me light up Eiffel Towers on every single street corner could easily be left out of the City of Love. And the whole language barrier thing gets frustrating sometimes. As far as Europe in general, their currency has WAY too many coins. I’m sorry Europe, but you do not need .01, .05, .10, .20, .50, 1, AND 2 euro coins. It’s just too much.
And, while these little pesky flaws can be such hindrances at first, by the time the first week is over, it’s just your way of life. You learn to dance to the rhythm of Europe and let loose a bit. That’s when the fun starts.
When you get frustrated with the language barrier, you remember that it’s your turn to be like the Asians in the salon that all know the secret language. You can have private conversations with your traveling buddies and have fun with things. When you get tired of your food options, you run into a grocery store and spend an hour on your translator trying to figure out what half of the labels mean. WiFi is a novelty that you remember you can live without. You learn to laugh when you take the train in the completely wrong direction or have no idea where the heck you are on the map. You laugh at the guys selling the junk on the street, take pictures of the hole in the ground that you paid money to pee in so someone back home believes you, and count your blessings in bites of gelato. You wake up some days and decide to leave for another city, or even country, that's only a cheap train ride away. Sometimes things work out, and sometimes they don’t. The part when you get to enjoy yourself begins as soon as you let it; as soon as you loosen your grip on those American expectations and let them go for a while. It won’t be the same as home, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth trying. Maybe, just maybe, you can be stretched.
With that said, the battle is won. I’m sitting on this plane, half of me wondering why I don’t just pick up and move while I’m young and I don’t have anything to tie me down, the other half laughing at the thought of me in a foreign country, all alone, when even San Diego seemed too far from home. I’m here, for now, probably for a long time, maybe even forever. But I will be back. I have more to learn from those people and places. Until then, I guess I will continue to rep my new I love Berlin t-shirt through the New York airport and attempt to explain myself to the offended New Yorkers.
See you later, Europe.