Marco Polo crossed a variety of borders throughout his journeys afar, and as I reflect on my past two months here in Italy I realize that I, too, have crossed several different types of borders. When I hear the term ‘border’ I naturally (being a science major), think of the obvious dictionary definition of the word. According to Webster’s, a border is “the line that separates one country, state, province, ext. from one another; frontier line.”However, I have stepped beyond my usual way of thinking, and created my own definition of a border. According to me, a border is an at hand limitation which impedes one’s ability to freely, and completely enter into an experience. In terms of physical boarders, I have crossed quite a few, from Rome, Thessaloniki, Venice, Florence, Paris, Subiaco, Sorrento, Pompeii, Madrid, and very shortly, London. However, the physical borders do not even compare to the psychological ones I have crossed. Physical boarders are clear and easily crossed; with a passport, map, small trolley, and a one and a half liter water bottle I can cross any physical border put forward. Physiological borders, however, are perplexing and difficult to overcome. They require a different kind of strength to cross. The most powerful one I have crossed during this trip was the idea of living in the moment. I have quickly found that two months in Italy comes and goes very quickly, and I have had to deal with the concern of returning to my original, conventional world, filled with traditional classes rather than having beautiful Rome as my daily classroom, studying on Friday nights rather than traveling to different countries, and monotonously serving costumers at a less than genuine Italian restaurant rather than being served delicious authentic Italian styled meals.
I remember having a dream the very first night in Italy; I was back in Ohio, working at Gervasi, being yelled at by my boss and repetitively bussing tables until the wee hours of the morning. From day one I was both consciously and subconsciously concerned with returning to daily life in the States, and this concern has continued throughout my entire trip. I found myself battling this mental border of simply living in the moment, and not thinking about what is to come once I cross the U.S. border. I love my family, and I love my life in the States, however being in Italy has led me to find the beauties and opportunities that exist outside the edges of Ohio. As I said before, physiological borders are the hardest to cross, simply because they are intangible. It has taken me much thought and reflection to cross this powerful border. However, I have ultimately come to the realization that all good things must eventually come to an end. Living in Rome has given me the chance of a life time, and it has completely changed the way I view my future. I am thankful for this opportunity, and even more grateful for the insight it has granted me in my current, and future life. Earlier, I described a border as an “at hand limitation”, I did so because for a very specific reason. Despite a border being a limitation in the present moment, I have learned that it eventually returns as a way to broaden your horizons.