“Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. You’re only here for a short visit so be sure to smell the flowers along the way.”
I opened my journal to find this quote by Walter Hagen written finely at the bottom of today’s page. It is no coincidence how a cheesy quote like this completely changed my attitude on life right now. It’s not that I am not enjoying myself (because I am more than enjoying myself!), it’s that I am eager to travel anywhere and everywhere, and have little time to do so…It’s that my focus often drifts to my tomorrows and I forget about the joys of today. I am in one of the most beautiful and quaint little towns in the world, but wanderlust continues to captivate me as I daydream about my weekend trips to Barcelona, London, and Prague. This quote was a wakeup call, and I am ever so thankful for reminders like it to be present and be content with where I am.
Don’t let my words confuse you about how WONDERFUL Ariccia, Italy is. It is truly all that I imagined: the friendliest of people, incredible Italian food, beautiful orange and pink sunsets, the wisest of teachers, and lots of wonderful people to share all of these things. How could I even think about tomorrow when there is so much to enjoy today?
I am truly blown away by all that Ariccia has to offer, but most of all I am thankful for the instructors, their knowledge, and the example they are setting for us as we experience so much newness. Mrs. Mary Lou, our Italian cooking teacher, is a prime example of someone who has experienced life to the fullest and who has used her experiences to grow and enjoy life fully. Just listening to her talk as she delicately cuts, pours, stirs, and creates, is proof of how living in the moment and learning from the past brings her contentment! You can literally tell through her sweet spirit how much joy the Italian culture and way of life has brought her. One thing I am learning through Italian culture and my teachers is this idea of simple living. Italians seem to be gripped by the enjoyment they find in their daily routines. They wake up for work and school at reasonable hours, grab an espresso and a yummy pastry, visit the local market very often for fresh, all natural foods, close their stores at random times just because, enjoy aperitivo after work, and focus on enjoying each bite of dinner in the company of friends and family. It’s these small things in life that we can so easily miss when our goal is not to simply enjoy, but to get to the next destination. As an American who goes through each day fast-paced, with a mindset of efficiency, I struggle with simply living in the moment. I don’t want to pack my bags and head back to the states in 9 weeks wondering if I truly lived every moment to the fullest. I want to know that I got all that I could out of my interesting classes, field trips, leisure time, and incredible teachers. For now, I want to live as the Italians do – enjoying the simplicity of my daily life here in beautiful Ariccia – So, I will focus on the present, enjoy today, and not forget to smell the flowers along the way.
This is a view of the bridge from an upstairs window in the Chigi Palace. It’s not a bad view! In fact, this bridge is one of my favorite parts about Ariccia. I’m so thankful for my time here in such a beautiful place!
Fino alla prossima volta,