I turned 24 to little internal fanfare. I went to bed Thursday and realized, oh yeah, tomorrow is my birthday. And I woke up the next day, and it felt like just another day, which I guess is how Mature Adult People deal with birthdays. I guess I wanted that first birthday back home to be really special, to have more meaning than it should, but it didn't, and as an aspiring MAP, I should get used to that. I went to lunch with mom at a great little gourmet cafe in Newark, dinner with dad and friends at a dive bar with a roast beef sandwich I'd been lusting over for a few years, came home, cut the cake, and that was that. Nothing special, no fireworks, and yet it was really exactly what I wanted: a birthday with friends and family right there next to me.
Monday I begin my work as an
I've also been slowly going through the process of realizing a long-in-gestation goal. And I say realizing because, well, I think I'm finally coming 'round to seeing it as something I actually want to do, and not just something I'm shrugging my way toward. That goal: becoming a sub, becoming a teacher, and possibly going back to school for a full-time big boy career in education. Delaware has a good program in place to fast-track my teaching degree, and I could get a masters at Delaware for a fraction of the price I'd pay pretty much anywhere else. But we'll see; part of my still wants to do something surprising and scary for a year or two, maybe move to Peru to teach and learn Spanish or something, something that trumps China, something where I can be on the stage of life, shuffle the China experience behind me, and confidently say to the crowd, "And now for something completely different." But barring any more forays into the big beautiful world outside of America, that goal is otherwise moving, however glacially, forward.
And on top of that, I still haven't shared all my photos from Europe. Much like my journaling during the trip, Italy is such a bundle of awesome that it takes time to digest. So here we go: Venice! Florence! Rome!
Venice ... that floating city, that island-state, that strange canal-laden ad-hocracy of pre-modern urban design. So blisteringly Italian, and yet so uniquely Venetian. While it's hard not to be overwhelmed by the maze of alleyways and canals that cut through the city like veins, you ultimately leave Venice with too many pictures of lonely waterways and astounding architecture, which is not a bad thing to have a lot of.
Florence was perhaps my favorite city from my first tour of Europe back in 'aught 'aught (that's 2000 to you folks). I returned to Florence seven years later to see my friend David, and he hadn't changed a bit! We also sampled some of the best gelatto Italy had to offer; may I recommend the chocolate?
Rome ... Rome was my favorite city of the trip, a living breathing pollution-spewing awe-shattering city pulsing with history and life ... Rome. I've been to Beijing, I've been to DC and Bangkok and London and Paris ... something about Rome, I could live there.
Enjoy the slideshows; click 'em for more pictures. Maybe I'll get another blog in soon; I'll try to share all the awesome I saw in Greece.