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  noun 1. The act of immersing oneself in other cultures without crossing national borders. 2. Local cultural diversification. 3. Traveling on a budget. 4. A website that will allow you to accomplish all the above from the very seat in which you sit.

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31.8.06

NYC to Italia: truly border hopping

posted by Jamila


photo by JoelZimmer

I left New York in the rain.

My lightly packed suitcase, tote, and laptop left what will be my new apartment come four months—when I return to NYC—and hopped onto a "Super Shuttle" to catch a flight to Paris, en route to Florence. Firenze. My long vacation. Sitting quietly in the shared shuttle, the three people in front of me began a conversation in a familiar language to my ears.

La città più bella... è... Roma. ("The most beautiful city... is... Rome.")

I understood the words perfectly. Did I agree with them? I could not decide. My entire life up until now has been a constant progression towards living in New York City and I will always have a particular fondness in my heart for it—all of it. Not just its breadth and diversity, the sheer beauty of such a large, lighted island. What strikes me most about the City is how it teams with brilliant contradictions, and I love watching the beauty of a supermodel against the trash collected on curbsides, the freshly constructed condominium hovering over a fishy stench. I witness it; I own it; it becomes an integral part of me and I am all I know. New York is where I discovered my patriotism and what it means to be an American without the usual shame and cynicism of my earlier political sentiments. Because New York is where, for the first time in my life, I felt no shame or cynicism towards myself. I was reborn in New York, like so many of us are.

I left New York in the rain. Just how I like it. And after two flights and some border hopping, I forgot it. All of it.


photo by Jamila


For I found the sun in Tuscany.

The past few months have been a true test of my ambition, and I have discovered that I cannot do anything I want. I can only do what I want, and unearthing my desires is probably the hardest thing for a self-proclaimed hedonist to do.

More coming. Voglio restare per la notte...

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