Get Rid of It

My father, while tampering and eventually removing loose wires from the stove, broke the thermometer.  With a shrug, he said, “If you want to know what something does, get rid of it.”

We laughed—my dad, of course, the hardest, but the words stuck with me. He’s right. Truth often falls victim to cliché, but it doesn’t make it less true. You’ll never know what something means, and what it means to you, until it’s gone.

I’m sitting on the boat, riding back from a long weekend in Santorini, watching the sparkling blue-green waters wave to us ripple by ripple. Students are in clumps, eating, napping, arguing over the exact rules of the Michigan dominated card game, Euchre, and if being from New York and not knowing of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula classifies as having a severe gap in your knowledge. It does.

As their voices swirl around me, I find myself thinking of my dad, his words, his moment of accidental wisdom. Already a week has gone by studying abroad in Greece and I know now that there will be few things more beautiful. I suppose that means everything’s downhill from here.

The days spill one into the other and I keep telling myself to drink it all in, to see everything there is to see, talk to everyone there is to take to, have every smile, every laugh, that this experience will allow.

One of the first conversations I had in Greece was with another student about how studying abroad will, supposedly, be a life changing event. I don’t buy it. I’d like to think that three weeks in a different country can’t alter me enough to classify as such, but my dad’s words are there again.

If you want to know what something does, get rid of it.

I’ve tried to be aware while I’m here, to recognize those special moments while they’re happening, and maybe that’s possible, but I don’t think I’ll ever truly know what this trip will mean to me until it’s over. Until I go home and the beautiful things are out of view and all I have left are pictures that could never, never do it justice. Until the friends I’ve made are no longer a few doors away.

Sometimes while walking through town I force myself to stop, to sit, to stare, and just be. To take in a country devoted to color scheme, and family, and the unmatched stillness of siesta. To never take for granted the coupling of a sea breeze with unyielding heat. The clear, blue skies rain doesn’t dare touch. The sun setting in orange-pink streams, and the moon hiding between the mountains.

If you want to know what something does, get rid of it.

Side Note:  #DBT Mindfulness is a must when traveling, if you want to soak in all of the culture.


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