Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Like it or Love It? October Version

I'm sitting in Italy, it's 2005. I keep thinking it's 2006 but it's not. It's probably October (if it is, I'll laugh, because everything crazy/interesting/weird happens in October). I never thought I'd be in Italy. Eating pizza, real pizza, that would forever wreck me from eating fake pizza, which is what I call pizza in America. It's kind of like going to see a tribute band, which is something I've done. I went to see fake Dave Mathews Band, which closely resembles real Dave Mathews, but if you look hard, no, they are not the same people.

But, I digress.

Pizza. Italy. 2005. October?

My friend and Europe adventurer Mandy loved to gauge how we were doing when it came to trying new food in new countries.

So she'd ask us if we liked the food or loved it.

Swiss rosti, like it or love it?

Swiss chocolate, like it or love it (answer is always love it)?

Spaghetti (real spaghetti, similar to real pizza), like it or love it?

French crepes, like it or love it?

Maybe this experience overseas spoiled me forever on eating good food and the way I shop for groceries the European way, but other than my palate improving, something else that stuck out was the way my friend questioned us.

I don't ever remember her asking, "so, do you dislike it or like it?" But it was something like this: "Oh, you don't like it? You must LOVE it." That's Mandy for you.

It was Europe, what's not to like?! But really, I think there were a few times we didn't know what we were ordering and of course, could not read the menu (silly Americans!). These were few and far between because we lived adventure so...we reoriented our minds that we might never be back here again, so it was a like/love experience, not a love/hate experience.

I don't remember everything about that October. It was probably filled with challenges as much as it was with Swiss chocolate happiness and mountains to overlook. Actually, I know it was.

Every year when I do a series in October, I bring this up. Any stay overseas, even in the most beautiful country in the world, changes you.

This was one of my most favorite adventures. It taught me how to adventure.

I know I missed home. I know our neighbors got mad at us because we didn't do things the Swiss way. I know I about broke my feet from so much walking and got lost and missed trains and got locked in a school (yes, it happened).


We chose to like it.  We knew when to love it.

Sure, the beautiful mountains helped.

Every day wasn't easy, beautiful mountains aside. There were moments when I thought, what am I doing? I can't communicate with anyone from home unless we stand a mile from our flat at a pay phone and pay a billion Swiss francs, and I don't speak their language (s). Do you know Switzerland has four languages? A gold star to anyone who can name all of them.


Here is some food for thought from Shauna Niequist. If you don't know already, she's one of my most faves and I had to get her in the series somewhere.

"We all know people who are miserable on mountaintops, and we all know people who are brimming with contentedness even when bills are going unpaid or health problems loom. It’s about the insides..."

It is about the insides. Drat!

The whole article is good. She talks about finding lightness and soul again.

She talks about what happens when you don't let yourself say that you want to live differently, when you don't say that you are tired or forgetting how it feels to experience life. What if you say those things but you fail to do anything about them?

October always seems to include change and lots of effort. I can't believe I'm saying this, but this here marks 7 years I've lived in North Carolina. Right now -- 7 years! My Halloween anniversary. Scary stuff! Just kidding.

This year, I'm going to try the like it or love it scale with all the uncertainty I'm facing (umm...I like it?), and the once again changes October brings (I love it...?).
I'm still not sure about it. I think I need to go back to Switzerland to test the theory. My hypothesis is that it's a good idea to use the like it or love it scale but I think I'd know better with some Italian pizza in my hand.

Adventure time.

So, I wonder, what kind of adventure has October been for you?

What's the most surprising thing you've found this month that you like, that you love?

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