I plopped on my crinkly and stale hostel bed, utterly frustrated. As I moved around to get comfortable, I flipped through the photos I had taken that day. What was my problem? This was my dream–a spontaneous adventure around the cities of Europe, starting with my own Roman Holiday (Audrey Hepburn style). After a wonderful summer studying abroad in Geneva, Switzerland, all I wanted to do was wander Europe by myself, much to my parents’ dismay. The thriving city of Rome had already surpassed my expectations by its eloquently mixed old and new. Besides, I just spent half my day frolicking around ancient ruins. Then it hit me: contrary to my pre-conceived notion that I’m perfectly capable of fully experiencing Europe on my own, I need people. Realizing this, I hopped out of my bed, grabbed my bag, and ran downstairs to the hostel’s common room.
I saw a guy. He was in a red chair. I decided to talk to said guy. I had no idea what kind of guy he was or where he was from. All I knew about him was he had blonde hair, a slighty awkward swag, and he was a fellow homo sapien. The only question was how to start.
“It’s so hot here, right?” Eloquent, I know. I mean, it was hot. I barely slept the night before in my crowded 5th floor hostel room, fighting off my sheets as well as the collective scent of nine others’ sweat.
“Oh yeah, tell me about. This is worse than the time I…” he replied.
Before I knew it, we were quoting Cool Runnings and going out for pizza, joined by a strong Ecuadorian woman. Soon I was exploring St. Peter’s Cathedral with a Japanese girl, looking for the Pope “in disguise” all around Rome with Czech guys, plopping down in Venice by some German girls, playing cards with British folk, dancing away with some French girls, and talking politics with Polish air force men. I went wherever the wind blew, or more accurately, wherever I smelled something delicious.
Everything runs perfectly in these magical moments. You don’t think about the way you look when you’re doing this or what you’ll say to that person. You don’t think about that awkward conversation you just had or what you have to do in a few hours…a few minutes. You don’t really think, well, at all. No, there’s no time for thinking because time doesn’t really exist and you’re too busy laughing. In just a few moments, you can see into someone’s soul and you let them take a glimpse into yours. You don’t have to know about his or her past or future plans, what he or she does for a living, or about his or her recent life trauma. Yet, somehow, they know you.
Life at BU isn’t quite the same. So, what’s the difference? Was it the setting—old European cities? The fact that art, beauty, and new experiences invigorate conversation?
Was it the people—from distinct, different cultures? Were they more open? Was there more to talk about? Was it lack of responsibilities or plans? Maybe, but people are people and places are places, each unique and beautiful in their own right. It was me. I lived in the moment because I only had a moment to share with people. I had to get as much of them as possible. The potential of the moment far outweighed the fear of rejection. At BU, I have this warped sense of long-lasting time. But really, it’s just a moment, a blink of time in the monumental journey of my life. In that case, what am I waiting for?