Let me start out by apologizing for the '70s flashback, for this post being very hippie, but I can't help it. Today, I noticed all of the happy people in Florence. I will note that Florence has the northern stereotype for being cold and snobbish as northerners do at home, but today, I realized how less angry people are here.
As I was running from class to class, I grabbed a cappuccino at the library. One man's cup ended up flying off his plate, I'm not sure how. He tried to catch it, but there was no hope. His espresso splattered everywhere including all over the couple next to me. The woman looked a little upset. As she cleaned herself up, the man repeated, "Mi dispiace, mi dispiace." The man she was with looked down to see a bit of sprayed espresso on his light-washed jeans. He shrugged and kept drinking his coffee. He mumbled something in Italian which I can imagine being, "there's nothing I can do about it now." Then, the barista came out with a mop. He asked the light-washed jean man to move a second, and the man joked, "you can mop between my legs." Overall, the situation was laughed off. If this happened in a Starbucks in New York or New Jersey, forget about it. I could imagine a lot of yelling, veins popping, and women and children staring.
After this incident, I went to meet up with my classmates to do a Free Hug Project for our social media class. We were to walk around with two signs, one in English and one in Italian, saying free hugs. We video taped it, then we need to publicize it, getting as many viewers as possible (get ready to watch!).
It was a little strange at first, and we did get some rejection, but it was really a great experience. We made so many people smile. Before we started, I was a bit stressed out, worrying about setting up the summer and fall for classes, and just dealing with things at home. I realized I completely forgot about it while I was participating and then afterward, I figured, "everything will work itself out." Smiling and especially making other people smile, is a great skill we all have and should practice everyday. It really does keep you positive.
Then, I was walking home, with a smile on my face, and I ran into one of my friends. This is the second time I had bumped into her today. The first time, she invited me to lunch with her friend. "Hey, I'm just about to meet up with people for dinner, want to come?" she asked. "I love how every time I've been hungry today, I bump into you restaurant queen," I saw as I had lunch with her at a famous sandwich shop in Florence that I still had never been to (Pino's). We ended up meeting up with some friends and had a delicious meal (I had fried zucchini blossoms stuffed with tomato and cheese over arugula, YUM).
On my way home, happy with the day and the meal I had just had, I saw a family asking for directions. The person they were talking to was Italian and only spoke Italian. "Ti parli inglese?" I ask, thinking I could have just asked that in English. "Yes," what looks like the mother of the family responses. "Where are you looking to go?" "Piazza Repubblica." "I'll take you there," I say as I wave them on. I really was just going to the library and PIazza Repubblica was a bit farther than I needed to go, but I could use the walk after the meal. After talking and finding out that she was the mother, and her family of 5 was here for a week just landing from Mexico, she asked me question after question. Once we got around the Duomo, she said, "We know our way from here, thank you." "Non c'e` problema, buona serrata," I say and turn to go back to the library. "Oh, you weren't even going this way," she says with a smile. "It's okay, I needed the walk, have a great trip," I said to the family.
Hopefully the hugs and polite gestures I witnessed and took part in today will inspire someone else to do some good.
There was a theory by a terminally ill little girl who said that if a person does a good deed, two people will see it, and they will do a good deed. Then this will multiply and multiply until the whole world is full of good. How sweet. If this hasn't convinced you to do a good deed, realize all good deeds are selfish (as Joey tells Phoebe in Friends) because they make you feel good. Plus, a little good karma never hurt anyone.