Monday, November 13, 2006

Great Expectations, God Laughs

I have been planning a trip to Paris for the past 2 months: December 8, Immaculate Conception, three day weekend, Eurail pass, train ticket to Paris, awesome. I decided I would buy the ticket returning from Ravenna today, but upon consulting the man at the ticket booth he informed me that all the trains were booked solid. Okay fine, I can solve this, I can leave a day earlier. Wandering around the TrenItalia website, I felt like everyone had already planned their trips to Paris, everyone in Ferrara was going to Paris on every single possible day that I wanted to go. Man plans and God laughs, wise words offered in good humour by my mother. Great expectations, they’re bound to screw you over.

I just decided I’ll go to a travel agent tomorrow morning, we’ll figure something out. My great plans at being thrifty have perhaps failed. Fine. I accept defeat, and after a few hours of agonizing, it is a bit funny. I’ve been looking at that train possibility for months, and the day I decide to purchase, slam down. Tomorrow, maybe I’ll be able to find a plan B, another destination en route to Paree, or else I’ll just let someone else deal with my problems.

I had a strange weekend: I wandered around dazed in the super huge supermarket (it seems to get me every time) on Saturday with Sarah (we managed to get lost in there for an hour and a half), Chris arrived with Greg, both roommates from school from last year, one in Florence for the semester the other in Paris, on Saturday night and we hopped over to Ravenna on Sunday. The English got whipped out in a major way with the arrival of Greg who knows no Italian whatsoever. Me, Sarah and Chris would usually speak Italian amongst ourselves, but with the addition of Greg, our mother tongue and French became the options. So it was a linguistically complicated weekend. Of course I dreamed in an English landscape that I was trying to return Italian textbooks, cursing in French on Saturday night.

After a night of weird sleep, periods of hot and cold, we caught our train to Ravenna and discovered the quiet town with shining Byzantine mosaics. The tiled works of art are in magnificent shape, but somehow I wasn’t struck by the art as I have been in other places. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood. Plenty of art, lovely lunch, all spent among friends, a mix of languages, the ups and downs of emotions…

This life is so weird, you have good moments, you have great moments, and then things slam into you with a force you never anticipated. You never expect it: the pain, the love, the bad, the good. It’s that much more potent that way. Why do we try to expect things? Plan things? Navigate? You just get lost, thrown off course, sent hunting for whatever it was you were looking for. Loss and randomness are much more solid ingredients to life than solidity and schedules. I still love being punctual, I guess I am holding on to the little order I can control. Learning life: it takes a good long while. I’m still learning that more than usual, nothing ever goes as planned. So, in the end, Man too should laugh with God. He’s got right attitude, He knows what this life is all about. After all, he made it.

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