Italy was by-far the most amazing place I had ever been. The moment I found out last May that I would be able to go on the trip, I could hardly believe it. I had been so nervous for the auditions. See, my choir was going. Or rather, the music department for my school was setting up auditions for anyone in the music department (be you in Choir, Band, or Orchestra) to try out to go. I’d been in choir for two years at that time, going into my Junior year in high school, and the top choir the following year. Or course I was nervous! Yet, I was fairly confident that I would be able to go. A year of waiting and saving up passed quicker than I thought it ever could and I was there, sitting on the plan for an eight-hour flight to Rome.
We visited every major cathedral in Rome, Venice, Montecatini, Florence, Sienna, Cremona, and Verona, the very place where Shakespeare’s famous Romeo and Juliet took place. The experience was absolutely amazing! Everything was so beautiful, and the pictures just didn’t do it justice. Of all, though, Florence was the most beautiful. The view from the ridge over-looking the city was the most breathtaking sight I have ever seen, be it in person or from a well-taken photograph. That sight has been painted over in my memory, staining it sweetly for years and years to come. I will never forget that sight, or the taste of the air on my tongue, the scent of a world so different from home. It’s still imprinted in my mind, and I can experience it all over again just by closing my eyes. I’ve only been back for a few weeks and I’m still musing on the differences between scenery and culture.
The first thing I really realized was that compared to Italy, the US was so….flat! Especially the Midwest, where I live. Italy is rolling with hills and mountain ranges, rivets of valleys in the shadows of those hills and mountains, all so beautifully yet naturally sculpted. Even the most acclaimed artist couldn’t morph something so lovely from human hands. Even the idea is preposterous. More than the scenery, though, the people were so kind! We were only allowed a couple hours in each city to browse and explore, but all those who we came across we so understanding, I was surprised. On our first day in Rome (we spent two days there), my mom and I found ourselves in a market filled with fresh fruit. Neither of us spoke Italian, but we managed to communicate mostly with gestures and apologies what we wanted. My mother bought two peaches, and I bought a little box of strawberries. The lady selling the fruit was so kind, she even helped us figure out the money.
The only awkward part of the whole expedition, though, was singing in the masses. We were a choir, and we were touring Italy for a week, pretty much the only time we could perform in these amazing churches was during mass, with appropriate music. I respect the catholic religion, and the architecture of the buildings was absolutely amazing. At some points, the sight of these historical structures brought both my mother and I to tears. However, I do not follow the Catholic religion. I have my own spiritual and religious beliefs, and singing in the religious service of a religion not my own was just…awkward at some points. Still, the whole experience was something I will never forget!
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