Barbara's Random Thoughts

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Ten years ago...

I got out the Italy journal last night and was reading through some of it--I'm sure you're all interested to know that 10 years ago today I was in Milan. One of the enduring references from that trip is a compulsion to say "Milan is...Milano" every time someone mentions Milan. (I really did have to restrain myself last night while talking to a roommate about how Milan is not in the south of Italy. I know! I've been there! And, Milan is....Milano!)

Small explanation: there were maps of the city in various languages available at the tourist office. The front of each map helpfully translated the city name from German, Chinese, Spanish, etc. into Italian. So the English map said "Milan is Milano" on the front. I was endlessly amused by this, and Melinda and I went around the entire weekend, quoting this phrase to each other in condescending tones. "Milan is........Milano."

My journal entries from Milan aren't terribly exciting (except that they all have "Milan is...Milano" written across the top, next to the date), so here are some other excerpts for you. The first one is very meta. It's funny to me to look back on this, because even now I have a similar reaction to a lot of my writing in this journal. But there are glimpses here and there of some pretty cool things I was thinking about and working through in my journal, like my reflections on the Basilica in Assisi. But I gloss over that here:

Florence, Sept. 25th, 1996

I am so frustrated with my writing lately…just looking through my journal...I've written so much--and what have I accomplished?! Melinda is laughing at me because I keep saying I'm shallow and write nothing meaningful. I guess I'm not a shallow person (I hope not!) but it just seems to come across that way as I write. I guess it just goes back to the whole thing of how it's hard for me to talk about what means the most. It's not that I have no depth, I just have a hard time talking about it and an even harder time writing about it, I guess because it's more permanent to write it down!

This was a theme I returned to a lot in these journals--about how my writing is sub-par. (And yes, Barbara, perhaps if you had refrained from using the word "rad" so frequently, this would sound a tad more intelligent. But hey, I was 18.) This is something I still struggle with--being a bit self-conscious about talking about meaningful things. Perhaps this is one of the reasons I'm so good at being flippant and sarcastic.

This next one describes one of my favorite afternoons in Florence, going off and exploring the city by myself. I have such vivid memories of this rainstorm and the view of Florence from Piazza Michelangelo.

Florence, Sept. 22nd

This afternoon, Melinda went out running and I stayed here for a while, studying. Around 2 or 2:30 I went up to Piazza Michelangelo. A bunch of people from our group were there, but I didn't find them. That was cool, though--I was really enjoying just being by myself, looking at the awesome view of the city!

It was so strange, I left the apartment, it was raining a little, but not that much. So I went on ahead and started walking up there. It started raining harder as I walked, but not too bad. Then once I got there, (the view was so rad!!) it started getting harder and harder and finally just poured. I had been just standing and marveling at the view...the city shrouded in the mists of the clouds and rain...the Duomo and Palazzo Vecchio rising above the rooftops...but when the rain started to drip through my umbrella, I ran for cover! It let up before too long, and this awesome, full-on rainbow came out over one side of the city. Not just the half of an arch like you normally see, but the full arc, with the grey/blue clouds behind it.

I can't wait to be back in Florence, to climb up to Piazza Michelangelo and look out over the tile roofs again. Rain is predicted for the time I'll be in Florence next week. Hmm.

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| posted by Barbara | 6:21 PM