Ruins, Pizza, Men

Amalfi Coast– Day 2 and 3

The night of Positano, Andrea, Rosie, Claudia, Claire, and our other roommate Lucy walk to the hostel, which is where the other half of our group apparently lives in luxury. We have a buffet dinner and grab some happy hour drinks, filling up on Coronas and shots. The bartender makes Lucy and I “special drinks,” which seem to be just Sex on the Beach. The wines and beers running through us makes it easy to sit on the rooftop bar and talk as we over look the lights of Sorrento until Andrea calls me.

“Come down here to the dance party!” she says. Expecting a packed group crowding the DJ, we take the elevator down only to see an exuberant Claire and Andrea rocking out to themselves next to a DJ who kind of looks like he wants to go home. We dance with them for awhile, shooing away the creepy Italian boys until Lucy, Claudia, Rosie, and I walk home only to have Andrea and Claire stumble home an hour later.

The next morning, we get on another bus to go to Pompeii in Naples, which we are told only has “men, pizza, and ruins.” A little Italian man named Franco who is dressed in a Hustler shirt and hat gives us a tour of Pompeii, a huge city originally of 15,000, in which 3,000 suffocated under the ash of Mt. Vesuvius, which is visible in the distance along with a little crater at the top which was busted off from lava. We see the sauna, the little homes, and the very first red light district, which is full of stone beds and erotic pictures on the walls that foreigners could point to for the girls. After a couple of cheap souvenirs, gelato (as usual) and some pizza, we are told there’s nothing else left in Naples and we stretch out on a nearly empty seven-hour bus to go home sweet home– Florence.



Amalfi Coast– Day 2

The next morning, we’re all a little better rested and we get on the bus a little easier before heading to Positano. Before we get on another boat in Positano, we kill some time by eating gelato (again) and watching a wedding go by and listening to the music from outside the church. Once the boat comes and we hop on, we dock by a secluded beach and all of the students pour out and jump into the ocean to swim to the shore and proceed to climb up a cliff before toppling off back into the Mediterranean.

After I do the medium jump (there are three), I’m playing in the water with Claudia, Rosie’s roommate. We’re splashing around like seven-year-olds and watching actual seven-year-olds, who I think are the boat driver’s kids, effortlessly jump off cliffs a good 20 feet higher than ours without a second thought.

It is here that I realize that most likely, I will never be in Positano ever again. Never again will I be able to say that I climbed this cliff and jumped off. So, as the last one in line, I climb the cliffs again. To get to the highest point, you must shimmy up some rock, in which it is necessary to have another person help you over or else you are prematurely going over that cliff. Thankfully, since I am last, an old Italian man who happens to be wandering by (?) lifts me over like I am his own daughter. He doesn’t speak a word of English but luckily sees I am stuck from the distraught look on my face.

It is standing here, teetering off this cliff and the last one in line, that I kind of figure that jumping is a lot like leaving your friends and family to study abroad.

At first, you think, Why bother? I’m perfectly safe and happy sitting here in my own ocean, my own space. Then, when you see others doing it– blazing fiercely outside their comfort zone and emerging even brighter than before, it’s like this little lightbulb implants itself in your mind, whispering just quiet enough, that you know, you could do this too. As you climb the rock and mentally prepare yourself, you look down, and you start to lose your nerve. You think how easy it would be to turn around, to go back to where it is safe. For whatever reason, though, you truck on anyway, and then you reach the edge, you close your eyes, and you jump.