A Traveler’s Terrene

You only live once. What are you going to remember the most?

Life’s Possibilities… June 3, 2009

Before I begin this post, I would like to say a short prayer for the victims of a horrible car accident that took place last weekend.

God, I pray that you are with each person filling them with the strength and courage towards a fast recovery. Please help them to be okay.

Now…to start at the beginning.

I arrived at the local pool (which is turned into a bar/discoteca at night) with a group of friends, but since it is a small town ran into different friends and acquaintances I’ve met over the past few months living here.  On this particular night I saw a girl I met a month or so prior.  She has an extraordinary effervescent and friendly personality and is fun to be around so when she invited me to join her four girlfriends to go to another bar I momentarily thought about going–after all, I love spontaneity and what she was suggesting sounded like a lot of fun! However, after a moment’s consideration I decided to stay, after all I didn’t want to ditch the group of friends I originally came with.

“Definitely, another time,” I had said before they left.

The following afternoon I received a phone call from a mutual friend informing me there had been a car accident leaving all of them in the hospital. My first thought was for them—are they are okay? My second thought was a flashback to the night before–that could have been me….

One constant aspect of life is that there is always possibility. Possibilities are both a beauty and tragedy in one. Being an optimistic I tend to think more about the beautiful possibilities in life: finding true love, making new incredible friends, witnessing a natural event etc.

Yet, thinking about the negative things in life and what if scenarios are extremely important: what if the plane crashes, what if I choke on this food, what if I get in an accident and lose a limb? These are definitely not warm fuzzy feelings, but it helps to reign in to the present and to GIVE THANKS for everything you have in this moment: my plane didn’t crash, I’m not choking and I have my arms and legs in tact. In this moment, I give thanks for the beautiful life I am living. In this moment, I forget about stress from work or petty feelings towards a friend.  In this moment I remember that here, right now, I am extremely fortunate for all that I have because from a moment from now–everything can change.

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Flying Bread and a Scratched Eye March 29, 2009

Instead of trying to back track and describe all of the amazing and incredible experiences of living in Italy for the past month and two days, I am going to simply flash forward to the present. Well, the present minus one day…last night…

I accompanied a handful of my new Italian friend to a birthday party celebration at a restaurant they had rented out for the evening. I planned to stay for dinner and afterward, while the rest of the fifty-some group of friends were going to a discoteca to dance, I was going to a fashion show! Yes, my night was beautifully planned out and I was looking forward to both occasions.

The dinner party started out great. A buffet of exquisite Italian appetizers: asparagus topped with polenta, varieties of focaccia and pizza, rice and pasta salads, veal layered with tuna spread and one of my favorites, l’erbazzone , a thin pastry bread filled with baked spinach.

The main course was on it’s way out of the kitchen and while the rest of the group had found their seats, there were four of us still standing in conversation.  Unintentional, and certainly wine-induced, a fellow friend threw a piece of bread at the man standing in front of me to get his attention to join everyone at the table. Well, unfortunately he had horrible aim in hitting a large target and a surprisingly impeccable ability in hitting a bulls eye….that being my eye. Not above, below, to the left or right of my eye–but smack dab in the middle, and so quickly that my eyelashes didn’t have the opportunity to defend itself from it’s attacker: the sharp edge of a crusty piece of bread.

Time nor eye-drops made the pain in my eye go away and after a half an hour of not being able to open, or even see out of my left eye, I let a few friends drive me to the emergency room. The doctor cleaned my eye (to the point where I wanted to scream it hurt so bad) it then the pain was more or less abated. He prescribed some medicine to help heal the corneal abrasion and although I could get the gyst of what the doctor was saying, I was glad to have my friend Lucio there to translate, especially the dosage for the prescriptions.  Fifteen minutes later, I was exiting the E.R. with my wallet still full of money—it didn’t cost a cent. Got to love Italian health care…I could only imagine the fees this little episode would set me back in the states.

Lessons learned: be thankful for every part of your body every second of the day as you never know when something unexpected like a piece of flying bread could change your life. Fortunately for me, this incident should clear up in a few days, but some accidents don’t. So, right now where ever you are, just count your blessing for the health you currently have.