Trans: Remember to watch the moon
“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.” -Steven Hawking
Several years ago when I was perusing a bookstore in central Cosenza, Italy I came across a book with the title “Ricordati a Guardare La Luna”. Although I knew this book was based off of the English “Dear John” by Nicholas Sparks the title completely caught my eye. During this time in my exchange I was a sixteen year-old high school student very unaware of my surroundings. I still had a tough time learning the Italian language and branching out from my very timid self. I missed my friends, I missed my family, my dog, my bed even materialistic things like gushers and peanut butter.
I felt like I was completely betraying myself for thinking about everything that could-be instead of everything that was directly in front of me. I was giving the opportunity of a lifetime to study abroad as a high school student and learn a whole new culture. Yet I focused on missing things?
I found myself again in this position a month before my departure. I hadn’t even left on my journey, yet I was plagued with thoughts of sadness. I started to doubt everything I had so wanted and worked hard for. I was crying, a lot. I was missing friends I still had the chance to hug. This time was just so different though than the time I was sixteen. In high school I was looking for a way to get out of the picture perfect Orange County bubble of California. I wanted to be challenged. I wanted to feel that life wasn’t just about nice cars and big houses but about connecting. That’s what made it so hard for me to face my departure. I was truly connected with those around me.
I spent the month prior to leaving taking so much time to myself and those that I loved. Although I desperately needed to continue my job right up until my flight to save money I knew I needed the love and support of my friends and family more. It had been decided a while back that I would say hasta luego to my job September 6th and spend till October 2nd exploring.
It was hard at first, I spent time with my dad, brother and other close relatives. That’s when the panic truly set in. I kept silently thinking “Why would I leave my life here if it’s good?” We spent our time kayaking, dining at new restaurants, walking around town and watching the Oregon Ducks beat the Huskers. It felt like more of a vacation than a good-bye trip.
It wasn’t until one night though, that I sat on the porch of my relatives house looking up at the star-laced sky. I just continued to sit there as the moon kept illuminating with thanks to Bend’s lack of street lighting. I then thought back to that book I picked up in Italy. “Ricordati a Guardare La Luna” For that moment I pondered… how many people are looking at the moon right now with me? Hundreds? Thousands? Millions? Of course i’ve realized it many times before but it still amazes me that we are all looking at the same moon.
After returning from Bend I began to unpack and repack myself to go venture back into Southern California. First with a trip to my brother and sister-in-law and then a music festival with one of my absolute best friends. It seemed like these trips so easily went from fun to sorrow as I constantly thought of leaving. I reminded myself to stay in the best spirits possible so that I wouldn’t look back and regret the time that we had but boy was that hard.
The visit to California flew by fast until I found myself sitting on a hammock after the music festival had ended crying my eyes out to my best friend. Some deep-rooted mental battles really started to hit me hard as I knew my big trip was getting closer. As she proceeded to console me all while downing bud lights I looked up in the sky and saw the moon. “Ricordati a Guardare La Luna” I though. Although I know it’s still the same moon I saw in Bend it came again as such a comfort.
When I got back to Eugene before I had to do the major packing-my-life-in-suitcases-for-a-year ordeal I took my dog on a walk. It was raining but I was able to look up and in between a few scattered clouds I saw the luminous moon looking right down at me. I finally felt that no matter where I was, no matter how scared I might be the moon will be there for me…. And whenever I’m missing you, you’ll be looking at the same moon too.
See you Tuesday Spain.