It came as a bit of a surprise to me that in speaking with my family after my last blog post, some concern was expressed regarding my overall well-being here in Italy. In their minds, the fact that I’m alone and admitting to some of my fears is cause for worry. But on the contrary, when I speak of my solitude or having trepidation about the things I’m doing, know that it’s because of these things, and not in spite of them, that I am so happy. My life here is exciting and unpredictable and filled with the most beautiful things. I’m energized and exhilarated by the fact that me being here alone necessitates me pushing myself and examining myself and all the while bettering myself.
Bearing this in mind, what I’m about to say isn’t a negative reflection on my time here, but rather a collection of my observations as I spend time alone enjoying this country. Because as I’m seeing all of these amazing sights and experiencing all of these wonderful things, there isn’t an hour that goes by that I don’t think of my friends and family in some way. I wish so and so were here to taste this food, to give me advice, to go grab a drink, to see this unbelievable sunset. There is certainly value in doing these things on my own, but there’s always a piece of me that wants to share these phenomenons with people that I think are deserving of it, people with whom I could make memories with.
I’ve been enrolled in Italian language courses for the past three weeks, and have learned so much about this beautiful language. Some things are reminders of what I learned once before, and some are things I’m learning for the first time. I’m growing to have such a deep appreciation for this language for all its nuances – the rolled R’s, the impassioned expressions and gestures paired with nearly every phrase, and the way in which the sentences are structured. One of my favorite things I’ve learned so far is the verb “mancare.” In the English language, when we miss someone we say “I miss you” – it’s a singular feeling of the person speaking the phrase, in relation to the other person it is spoken to. Simply put, it’s a feeling you are experiencing on account of someone else. In the Italian language, if you miss someone you say “Mi manchi” which translates to “you are missing to me.” This slight turn of phrase is in my mind so beautiful, and so profoundly different than the way I’m used to expressing this sentiment. Rather than telling you my feeling about you not being here, I’m putting the action on you – because the act of you not being here is detrimental to me. It quite justly puts the emphasis on the affect of your absence in relation to my feelings – that you are missing in my eyes. Yes, it means the same thing in both languages. But the way that the Italians phrase it makes it feel reciprocal and palpable, and to me that is touching.
So to all of you, my family and friends: Mi mancate molto, to me you are all missing. Know that every thing I do, every trip I take, every delicious meal I eat or beautiful sight I see, know that you are here with me. One day maybe I can return here with some of you. I’m fortunate enough that I will be with some of you here in just a bit of time. But for now I will keep you with me every step of the way, and look forward to sharing the memories with you when I return.