“Ricordati a Guardare La Luna”

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.

An Ode to My Last Day

A recent college graduate, I found myself unemployed

Ready to enter the workforce, boy was I sorely overjoyed

One-hundred applications later I couldn’t help but scream

At this point even flipping burgers started to seem like a dream

 

I grazed the career center’s website for the fifthteenth time that day

Happened upon a job posting and decided to apply right away

“I’ve never worked in hospitality” I thought

But who knows, maybe this will be worth a shot

 

A few hours later I saw I had a missed call

I listened to the voicemail assuming it was nothing at all

“They want to see me tomorrow!” I shouted out with glee

Hopefully I’ll impress them with my bachelor’s degree

 

The interview went better than all the ones before

This time I didn’t feel like escaping out the door

Twenty-four hours later I got the news!

I could finally stop singing the unemployed blues

 

My first day was great everyone was so kind

I truly felt welcome for the very first time

Open 24/7 365 days a year

I really thought this could become my career

 

There were many hard working days, many late nights

Wearing our black suits, our dress shirts of white

No request was too big, no problem too small

We were there to help our guests, that’s it, that’s all!

 

I knew it would be tough when I said I was leaving

But truthfully I didn’t imagine having so many mixed feelings

My co workers quickly went from friends to family

Especially on busy days when we all lost our sanity

 

I will always cherish those memories we had

Clocking out for the last time today left me quite sad

Thank you to the job that gave me so much experience

Even those moments I had to be a little more serious

 

Although I’ll be living many time zones away

I hope you won’t forget me the very next day

Now I’ve walked out for the very last time

It’s just a “I’ll see you later” because I don’t like goodbyes

 

We Accept The Love We Think We Deserve

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” What kind of crap is that statement? Of course words hurt me. It hurt me the first time you uttered that five-letter word meant to describe female dogs or other carnivorous mammals. The irony of this statement is that eventually the words didn’t hurt me. In fact, they didn’t even bother me, and that was the biggest invisible issue it took me so long to see.

 

I knew my relationship was going downhill, but I wasn’t going to do anything to stop it.

 

Instead, I coped by daydreaming, working vigorously to push out other dreams that were plagued with the vision of being a future housewife submissive to any of your demands. I tried to distract myself from haunted dreams of trying to protect our future children from hearing all the awful things that I learned to become so numb to. All my mind could picture was my life as a meek unassertive wife, when in reality, we weren’t even close to talking about marriage or even moving in together.

 

Needless to say, I knew we weren’t going to last. The warning signs sunk in about six months before we actually broke up. You would drive down to see me, yet fail to greet me without a warming hug or hello. When I offered a fun movie night with a homemade meal and some movie snacks, you opted to go out and drink with friends instead. You began to get annoyed with my dog and his overjoyed welcomes. You’d get mad when I wouldn’t respond to your texts fast enough, yet you remained distant when we’d spend one-on-one time together.

 

Our relationship clock began ticking as soon as the clock struck midnight on January 1st of 2017. To this day, I’m not sure where I heard this statement, but I recall someone saying, “The way you spend New Year’s Eve is how you spend the rest of your year.” The funny thing is, I spent New Year’s Eve dancing alone while you were puking in a trashcan nearby. At midnight, I looked around as all the couples shared a special kiss. I couldn’t help but feel sad. I even asked you to kiss me with your tainted breath because a New Year’s traditions we had carried out the last three years (was it four years? I can’t remember). This year was different though. You refused, and it wasn’t out of courtesy because of what took place five minutes before. It was because you thought it was dumb, and by association, I should think it was too. I just nodded obediently, and said, “Yeah…you’re right.”

 

The month to follow was terrible. It was filled with hurtful comments and even less of a desire to spend time with me. We lived two hours apart, so you were my primary focus when I visited you, but you always asked if you could go see your friends. And of course, trying to be a good girlfriend, I’d reply, “Sure, I’m tired I can just sleep.” I just kept quiet, patiently waiting for the next time you flared out at me, and I knew it would happen soon.

 

For whatever reason, February 5th was that chosen day. It wasn’t the first time I heard so many harsh comments spewed at me while you sat in a drunken rage, but I finally realized that it wouldn’t be the last. The last time we broke up, the police were involved. Rewind to two years earlier, and I was sitting in your living room, thinking about how you had nearly killed us both as you reached over and grabbed my steering wheel while driving to your house. A cop interrupted my mental playback of the event, staring into my eyes demanding, “Tell me if he hurt you.” For your sake, I stayed silent, yet after the cops left, I heard you furiously break all the Christmas presents I had worked so hard to buy you. You were still mad at me for whatever reason you imaginatively drummed up. I did nothing to stop you.

 

Those memories resonated in my head February 5th when it was just another one of those days. This time I was at work, surrounded by so many coworkers who I knew had gone through similar relationships of their own. Every time I checked my phone, I had more than 20 text messages describing what a terrible person I was. “This is it,” I thought to myself. I knew if I didn’t make the right move now I would end up with you forever.

 

Upon finalizing our breakup, I told everyone I knew. I showed everyone the text messages. I knew that the only way I would get myself out of this relationship was knowing I had my close family members and friends keep me accountable. The countless times it had happened before, I only ever told my pillow or my dog. My friends would say, “How are things going with ***?” I only ever really replied with “good.” I now believe that when anyone says they’re “good” they really aren’t all that “good.” We have too many beautiful words in the English language to describe ourselves as “good” all the damn time.

 

My dreams that were previously plagued with horrible visions of the future started getting replaced with more present, healthy goals. Instead of seeing myself as a submissive housewife, I saw myself on a boat off the coast of Cinque Terre. I saw myself drinking sangria and eating tapas with strangers in Barcelona. I saw myself smiling.

 

Soon after the breakup, one of my coworkers returned to work after being gone for six months with the National Guard. Considering I had already told everyone on planet earth we broke up, I had to run up and tell him, as well. His response astounded me. He confidently said, “I know you two broke up.” I asked him how, especially being away for so long and disconnected from social media. He simply replied with, “Because you’re happy.”

An Apology Letter to My Best Friend

An Apology Letter to My Best Friend

In less than a month I will step on a plane to begin the journey of a lifetime. It’s been a whirlwind of a year considering it’s only been since April that I decided to go teach English in Spain. I spent many sleepless nights after a bad long-term relationship ended trying to figure out what my purpose in life was. I constantly thought back to 8 years ago when 16 year-old me was living in Italy as an exchange student. She was so passionate and full of wanderlust, unwilling to succumb to societal norms. She left me with this traveling itch I’ve been trying to scratch for so long. When I stumbled upon this great opportunity, I just knew it was meant to be.

Unfortunately, it seems that everyone is excited for me in this new chapter in life except for you. You might not realize how much this will hurt quite yet until it’s 4 months in and you’re still walking around wondering where I went.  We’ve been through so much together this past year and you stuck through it all right by my side. You didn’t complain when we spent nights wide awake till 5 am and I was perpetually google searching “how to enrich my life at 24”. Sure, you might have dozed off every so often but I knew the moment I needed your help you were there.

I don’t want you to believe for one second that you’re the reason I left. I know it’s not going to make much sense at first but I really hope you’ll forgive me when I return. I truly wish that everything will be able to go back to the way it was before but I just can’t guarantee that I’ll come back as the same person I left.

As excited as I am, I’m embarking on this journey with a mind full of self-doubt, insecurities and trust issues. I look back to my past at all the times I got so close to achieving my dreams. I was constantly met with harsh words from someone I thought saw me as the love of their life. It’s rather amazing how much someone else can affect your mind. My world became so small when I was continuously thinking for two.

I’m sorry I spent so much time with him while completely ignoring you. I know you were overjoyed when we finally broke up. Some might say call that selfish, but I understood how you felt when you always saw me hurting. Truth is I wouldn’t be writing this apology letter now if things hadn’t ended between him and I.

I’m sorry you won’t be able to call or text me whenever you want to remind me how much you miss me. I’m sorry that you’ll have to rely on others to go on the adventures we used to take. I just want you to know that it won’t be forever, I’ll be back before you know it.

You were the best thing to ever happen to me. We’ve always had some sort of indescribable bond since the day I picked you up and brought you home. Sure, you cost me quite a bit of money early on but I know we were just getting used to each other. I never really knew what happened in your past but that never mattered much to me. At the end of the day, I was your hero and you were mine. 

“Whoever said diamonds were a girl’s best friend, never owned a dog.”