Interlaken may have been the most breathtaking and beautiful place I had ever been to until I got to Cinque Terre. I am writing this blog post on a train headed toward Florence, and, although, I am excited for our next destination, it is sad to say goodbye.
Cinque Terre was incredible for many reasons. First, the glistening water crashing on the cliffs, the lush greenery blossoming from the hill side, and serene aurora of stillness forced me to pause in this place. It forced me to reflect. During one of our days, our group took a long hike to the top of a hill where an abandoned church stood. The view from that spot was unbeatable. After many minutes taking in this delight to my sensorys, I found Gabby Douthitt sitting by herself at the steps of the church. She, similarly to my thoughts, described how she sees the vastness of God’s power by observing his magnificent creation. She also explained how it is crazy to think that amongst all of the beauty of nature in Cinque Terre and the world, humans are still God’s prized creation. That He sees us, people, as the prized creation. Wow. I had never thought about that before, and I think that it is incredibly accurate. What this told me is that I need to do a better job in find the beauty and goodness in people that I interact with. If humans are, truly, the prized creation, then it should be just as easy, if not easier, to find the beauty in people as it is observing the view from a hilltop in Cinque Terre.
These are the conversations that make CR what it is. We find ourselves in destinations that scream significance, whether through history or beauty, which leads to important and spontaneous dialogues. We support each other along the way and try to give each other different perspectives or ideas to think about. Another example, on the way down from the hike, Dr. P., Madelyn Hicks, and I had a conversation about why bad things happen to good people. These conversations make me feel as if I gain knowledge about the world and gain a really cool connection with someone as well.
Cinque Terre provided many opportunities for this to take place because of the atmosphere it creates, and for that, I am very grateful.
Another thing that really struck me was the simplicity of the lifestyle locales seemingly experienced and I felt during my time there. My feeling being in Berlin was quite different to my feeling being in Cinque Terre. The people of Berlin seem to constantly be on the move, hustling and bustling through the city, while the people of Cinque Terre seemed to have a different lifestyle. In Cinque Terre, there seemed to be a slower pace of life. Workers got there jobs done but with purpose not with speed. Throughout it all, the citizens of Cinque Terre seemed to appreciate their surroundings and the beauty of nature as well.
Sometimes, during the school year, I find myself being so locked in on getting things done that I miss the beauty of the journey. I can sometimes be so focus and serious on completing assignments or preparing for tests that I miss out on the incredible things happening around me. I think, coming this next school year and the rest of my life, I need to work on taking time to slow down. This intentionality allows me to be loose, have fun, and not be so serious. Sometimes focusing on a simple life is the key to a joyful life.
Cinque Terre may have been my favorite stop of Cultural Routes thus far. It provided much quality time to simply enjoy the company of the people we are with and bask in the beauty of nature. I am incredibly grateful for the time we had in Cinque Terre, and I know that I will be back some time soon.