I'm almost twenty-three. Twenty-three. Isn't that the age of Rachel, Monica, and Phoebe in the beginning Friends episodes? How could I possibly be their age? When did this happen?
Two years ago I was at Play, a drag-show club in Nashville. Watching Carmella, the (beautiful?) tank of a transvestite, sing Beyonce. Her song ends and she starts talking- Mainly dirty jokes I feel uncomfortable repeating. But then she says something. She told us it was her birthday, and she was fifty.
"I love my birthday." She said. "And not because I get laid by a gay asian (she loves asians) in my hotel suite. Because I am thankful to have lived another year. Many don't get this blessing. And we should be happy to get older. Wiser. Smarter. I'm happy to age. I'm happy to get old. It is a blessing."
Mind you, this is coming from a 300 pound he-she in a glittering toga. But I still remember her (him?) saying this. And I liked it.
Next Tuesday is my birthday, and I have been thinking of Carmella. I don't want to be twenty-three. Twenty-two was a good year. Twenty-two is still a kid. Is twenty-three the age I need to start figuring things out? Will I ever figure anything out? I don't have a plan. Can my plan still be to be plan-less? But twenty-three is just a number. And I must love this number. I must love myself and what I am doing. I still have time to figure things out. Right?
Currently I am culturally spoiled. Living off of six different kinds of cheeses a day, making friends with Italians, and still adjusting to the fact that my life is in Italy. I'm happy. It's not cold in Bergamo anymore. And as the sun comes out I realize how beautiful this city is. Sitting outside at a little cafe next to a 10th century, sculpted merman fountain that people still drink water from, I adore how unchanged this city is. I got here with plans to stay only a few months. But I feel like in a few months, I'll finally be adjusted. I can't pick up and leave then. "Will you come visit home?" Dad asked me last night. This I would love. I miss home. I miss America. Nostalgia Di Casa is what they say in Italian. But I fear if I did go home, I would not come back. Italy is my home now. Going back to America to visit would be a teaser.
And so I'm sitting tight. Waiting patiently through the winter for the spring. Waiting patiently through awkward language barriers and misunderstandings. I've somehow scrambled enough money to get myself to Switzerland for some snowboarding this weekend. And next week I'm going to Barcelona. My mom and sisters come at the end of this month. Maybe twenty-three will be a good year?