all that from a piece of chocolate!!! good grief!

My Roommate's Boyfriend Nereus just returned home from a vacation in Italy. Am I jealous??? Maybe a little. It was really fun to listen to some of his stories, stories that made sense to me because they connect to my own memories.

At one point he dipped through Switzerland since he was so close and like any smart person would do, he bought some chocolate!!! And like an even smarter person would do, he brought back an entire bag of it to share with Katie and me.

Last night, sitting on the couch, listening to his stories of Venice, Cinque Terre, espresso, and dramatic Italian speech, I reached for a piece of milk chocolate. The moment the taste registered, there was a wave of emotions that rushed through my body and almost had me crying. That is not an exaggeration.
I've always heard stories that certain smells or tastes have the strength to bring back significant memories, I guess I've just never experienced it before.
I sat there with the chocolate melting in my mouth and instantly feeling the presence of close friends, pure community, fresh baked bread, bus rides up to Villars, standing in the chocolate isle of Migros or the CoOp, day trips to Montreux and Lake Geneva, lectures in the chapel, sack lunches on Thursdays and Sundays, laughter, knitting, down comforters, thick snow, burning sunsets, wool blankets... Everything felt present, alive, fresh, right there with me as if it were coating my skin, as if I were holding it all in my hands. It was an incredibly intense feeling.

2 years have passed and I still haven't fully adjusted to this "normal" American way of living. 2 years and I still feel like I'm doing everything wrong. How do you take a rich experience and keep it close without trying to recreate it? Sometimes change feels like progress, and sometimes change feels like coping. I'm fighting with that balance I think. I know that I need to move on and stretch my boundaries and challenge my insecurities. I have learned so much and yet I have so much more to learn. As I continue to take steps forward I'm afraid that I'll lose those moments, I'm afraid that I'll forget the beauty of it all.

I wrote this last summer and posted it on my blog. These are words that capture it all. Cheers!

The sights and sounds memorable of a place that has shaped my soul
cave my heart to the craved comfort of home.
My eyes closed, I can still feel the breeze whispering over the hills,
around the bend, across my face.
The fog drops, sticks to my skin like frosting.
The blue bus arrives on schedule bringing new people, new faces, another lovely, seeking, broken, humble soul-- another friend.
Through the village the donkey wails, the locals build, the land rests.
The mountain tips burn like amber coals, the sun sets, the day ends,
my heart beats with life life life, i'm alive alive alive, i'm in love love love
with this moment.
I'm pricked, my eyes shocked open,
I'm here, not there.
I'm restless, foreign, homesick.
My heart moves my mind moves my hands to inspire creativity, to unfold hope
to unveil the beauty that must be here...there must be beauty here.
I reach for hands to touch my hands,
my skin to feel, my eyes to see you,
to see you again, to find you, to love you, to hold you...
My hand stretches to the sky, holding on to love that must never expire.
I walk on, my footprints left exposed,
then abandoned,
then covered by dust and I soak in the hope that I will return.


Momma Amy said...

I know exactly what you mean. I've experienced it mostly with smells. They can truly transport you instantly to a memory and a place.

I love when that happens and you can just pause and experience the moment. Aaaahhhh.

Daniel especially experiences that with growing up in Nepal for 16+ yrs. He hasn't been back since our Honeymoon 7 1/2 yrs. ago. :( We do plan on making a family trip over there when the kids are older and we can save up for it!

Nick said...

You've sold me: I absolutely must go there. I think few things can compare to sitting outside of a European cafe, feet resting on ancient cobblestones, reading a book or conversing with a friend to the backdrop of the late-afternoon murmur of people leaving work for the day. Thank you for spilling your experience.