Heart of Stone

A few months ago, back in August, I took the trip of a lifetime. My boyfriend and I went on a month and half long backpacking trip through Europe, starting in Paris, ending in Cinque Terra, Italy, and stopping everywhere and anywhere in between. To say that the trip was spontaneous and off the cuff would be a sincere understatement…we landed in Paris with absolutely no plan and no idea of where we were even going to stay, and utilized that same game plan in every city that we ventured to. I have officially dubbed the trip as my “Eating My Way Through Europe” trip, simply for the fact that I was more excited to dive into a margarita pizza than see the Colosseum. The same held true in every city we went to; find the best local grub before figuring out how to tackle the endless sea of monuments, statues, and museums.

Alongside the 5,000 calories a day diet that I adopted, the trip was overwhelmingly eye-opening and enlightening. Every city has a story to tell, every brick on the street has a history. I am proud of the fact that unlike other historical tours that I’ve been on in my life, I retained about 80% of the things I learned while on this trip. Between analyzing the murals on the Sistine Chapel, hearing about how beer saved the economy in Munich (big surprise, right?), and uncovering the deepest, darkest secrets in the Vatican (haha, gotcha), the learning and developing of self on this trip was something that I had never experienced with such an intensity before. Every corner you turned, every building you stumbled upon, was rich with layers upon layers of history that they just cannot convey to you accurately in history books.

And I have never felt smaller in my life. Not in the sense that I was unimportant and insignificant, but rather in the sense that I had to reevaluate the trials and tribulations going on in my life and think “Is this really important?” “Is it really worth wasting time and thought on something that will not matter in the future?”

Here I was, standing before a rickity-rockity building that has clearly stood the test of time, having lasted through civil wars, treacherous storms, adversity, renovation, vandalism, and revolutions, and while weathered, it’s still there, standing as sturdy and strong as ever. It’s as if the building is smirking and thinking, “TRY ME, you will not break me down.” Walking through these century-old structures, and walking the same hallways that people 400 years ago have walked through and thousands of eyes have seen, it’s actually easy, for the first time in many peoples’ lives, to see beyond their world; to realize that they are apart of something bigger and greater than themselves.

You see a building, a monument, a statue, that has survived more change than any of us will in our lifetime, and you think to yourself, “If that building can do it, that building made of rock, and brick, and clay, so can I.” The problems and issues that we face, while they may feel significant at that present time, only play a small role in the Broadway production called “LIFE,” and sometimes it just takes something ancient and weathered and rustic to help us open our eyes.

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