Riomaggiore is a one of a kind city. A small town on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, it was a place dominated by colorful buildings, hidden stairways, and natural beauty. I enjoyed watching neighbors excitedly talk to each other from one balcony or open window to another, and hearing “Buongiorno!” as we passed shop-owners in the morning. Sipping on lemon soda while sitting by the waves as I munched on the most incredible sandwich of my life (pesto, basil, sun dried tomatoes, and goat cheese) was one of my favorite simple pleasures of all time.
This was the place where I believe CR11 became one cohesive unit. We recognized our differences, showed each other grace, and embraced each person for who they are. Upon arrival, we immediately headed down to the beach. After several slightly embarrassing minutes of stumbling across the rocky shores and hesitantly wading into the freezing water, we then all got our very first group gelato together (a crucial CR moment) and admired the massive amounts of pure beauty this city had to offer.
One of my new favorite gals, Chloe Creed, described our boat tour across La Spezia as a “movie moment.” I am fully confident in stating that the time spent on the water was indescribable for us all. From Claire asking our driver, Luca, to “pump up the jams,” enjoying the beautiful views as we cruised over the waves, relishing the presence of every individual, and the eventual thrill of jumping in the sea (and my quick exit from the water at the announcement of jellyfish,) it was truly a moment I don’t think I will ever be able to put into words.
A more personal movie moment for me was reaching the top of a massive hill that came at the end of about an hour and a half long hike. The long walk up forced fruitful conversation in the best way possible. As we went along, we translated small sculptures imprinted along the rocks. One that resonated with me said, “My soul will magnify the Lord.” Once we reached the top however, I experienced a sensation I had never felt in my life prior to this. It was a feeling of peace and comfort much beyond what I imagined was ever possible. I could only seem to focus on the shades of blue unlike any other I had ever seen, the blues from the sea and the sky so blurred together it was hard to make any sort of distinction. All my thoughts escaped me, which was something pretty crazy for me to grasp considering I’m almost always thinking about something in this head of mine. Essentially, I came to the conclusion that Rio Maggiore is simply magical in the best way. I’m someone who finds a great deal of value in human emotions. Exploring what you feel and why you feel that way is something that is incredibly beneficial and often overlooked. When you try to understand how you process the little and big moments in life, revelations of yourself and others are bound to take place. I will always remember this spot as one in which I experienced a brand new emotion and was reminded of God’s never-ending love in the process.
What Riomaggiore Taught Me–
There are two major things my time in Riomaggiore taught me about myself. I learned that I believe holding people accountable is something of utmost importance to me as it helps maintain integrity and justice on a societal level. Though difficult at times, challenging people when you deem necessary can lead to growth in many ways. I also learned that at times in my life I have to surrender control, and that in itself can be beautiful.
Take it easy,