Phoneless in Firenze: Navigating a New Environment

Ciao di nuovo!

This experience is one I expected to learn, but could have never anticipated the amount of growth I would truly experience in just three weeks. My first night, my phone was stolen by a pickpocketer. While I always imagined that this would be a traumatic ordeal, it was so much worse than I thought. Like most of us, I’ve never had to go without my phone for any extensive period of time, and this ordeal really exposed my relationship with this expensive, little device. Not only is it a means of escape, but my sense of safety, my source of feeling connected with the ones I love when we can’t be physically together, my avenue to engage with my love for music, and lens to capture life’s most precious memories. Being stripped of this initially left me at such a loss, and it was so disheartening I almost didn’t know what to do with myself. But as someone who believes in turning all things into lessons, I was determined to flip the switch. So after an adequate amount of grieving, I was determined to make the most of the situation. The process of acquiring a placeholder phone until my return to the States was rather stressful, but one that has equipped me with the skills of navigating new environments.

I think the most beautiful thing that came out of this event was my growth in patience and being present to my surroundings. I have always been aware of the fact that I am not a very patient person; I am someone who lives her life in 2x speed, always thinking about the next thing that needs to be done on my check list and hyper aware of the fact that it just always feels like there are not enough hours in the day. But existing in a country where patience was vital really taught me to slow down and as a result, I found myself so present and cognizant of everything I was experiencing around me. 

One of my most favorite memories from this trip was our trip to Orbetello. This field trip was originally off to a rocky start, with part of our excursion being canceled due to less than favorable weather. We were given some free time, and while the rain had cleared, the gloomy skies left us in temperatures of about 65 degrees Fahrenheit (or about 18 degrees Celsius as the Italians would say).  However, my roommates and I were determined to seize this opportunity, and we made our way out to the beach. We were determined to make our mark on the Mediterranean, and while the water was freezing, the views were beautiful. Once we plunged in we saw a place to rent paddle boards and kayaks, so we decided why not! 

This was a core memory for me; I had never paddle boarded before so I wanted to give it a shot, but the winds were determined to add some spice to my experience. One minute I was with the rest of my 7 roommates and the next, I was being swept farther and farther into the part of the Mediterranean past the dock we were told not to venture beyond. No amount of paddling was bringing me closer to shore, and so it was Sophia to the rescue! She rowed out to me and I was brought to safety by laying flat on my paddle board and gripping the back of her boat. When we were at sea, it was like time froze. All the beautiful things we may have missed from trying to get the best picture or updating our friends were all brought to life, and it really felt like we were living life as it was intended to be lived: existing in the beauty the world has to offer and the moments we have within it.

So to the pickpocketer who took my phone: I am so grateful for the power I took back, the perspective I gained, and the patience I profited.


Joy Gimei

One Comment Add yours

  1. ozyohthree says:

    Wow. What a great experience.

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