The little things and the big things are both important, but often, it’s the little things that get us through the day. The simple things. Simple things allow us to find veiled beauty among the ordinary and simple things are intricacies that make our experiences unique in our memory.

The views. The scenery. The landscapes. The aesthetics. Little things are anything you can feel or see that captures your heart for a few moments and obligates you to stop and appreciate the fact you’re alive. Whether it’s the city-scape view from Piazza Michelangelo, the energy outside my apartment, the deepest of blue skies (when it finally stops raining), the Tuscan bridges hovering over the river, the Renaissance architecture, the massive size of the Duomo, the cobblestones, or the hidden details in the walls of the city, there seems to be perfection everywhere you look.

And that’s just in Florence.

There’s also beautiful Cinque Terre that makes me reminisce of the California coastline, the Tuscan valleys, and the unseen locations I have yet to see, like Venice, Rome or the Amalfi Coast.

Yes, there are stark cultural differences between the United States and Italy. Yes, there are tourists everywhere, making it difficult to see these striking little things. No, you can’t walk without stopping or bumping into someone every few seconds. No, you can’t use the bathroom whenever you want because public restrooms are a luxury. Yes, your diet sucks because you are limited to your college budget and you cannot seem to find ripe vegetables. No, there isn’t customer service. Yes, you have a language barrier and it is difficult to find your way around. Yes, you might get chased down the street by an angry mobster when you make a wrong turn. And yes, you might have your money stolen in a shopping center.

But I’ve learned that if you want to enjoy yourself in any situation, you must change your perspective. Every experience is one you can learn from, and learning and adventuring are about discovery. You must seize your moments, no matter when they come. Like today, when I stayed on the local side of the bridge where my apartment stands and went on a 4-mile run along the Arno. I felt free, I found a newly discovered path away from the crowds, and I could focus on how lucky I was to be in Italy. And I felt the same joy when my run was over, and I joined my roommate on the Ponte Vecchio, after tourist hours, to watch the sunset.

You might not always get what you expect, but lowering your expectations and coming out with stories you never imagined telling is always more extraordinary.


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