Yesterday, I left Italy and came back to Germany. Tomorrow, I should be leaving for Romania with my boyfriend, to complete the second half of my I Can’t Believe It’s So Long Holiday. While I do somewhat look forward to another two weeks of vacation with my boyfriend, I can’t pretend leaving Italy was not particularly hard for me this time.
It took me moving to Germany to realize how much I had taken living near the sea for granted. Here, hundreds of kilometers away from any salty water at all, I felt a sort of claustrophobia I had never anticipated. Due to my extremely heavy workload I had not been back to the sea for two years, and if I hadn’t gone this time, it would have become three. I had started dreaming about it regularly, swimming in the sea and crying with happiness. A particular turn of events lead me to not take my first swim until my third day in Italy, and it was as close as this athiest could get to having a religious experience. The sand under my feet, the current flowing past me, the salt on my lips that later makes any water taste as sweet as syrup, these things made my heart soar and I realized just how badly I missed all of it.
This is one of those cultural difference moments in which some of you wont get what I mean. Some, like those who grew up far from the sea, will probably find this hyperbolic, or plain elitist and chock full of #FirstWorldProblems. Others, like those who did live near the sea for their whole lives, will marvel at how I managed to go a full two years without going completely insane.
The fact is, if I had to choose between big city, country, mountains or seaside as to where to live out the rest of my days, I would choose sea without batting an eye. There are a lot of downsides to living by the sea: the salt water and wind corrodes everything meaning four times as much maintenance on everything you own, it wreaks havoc on your skin and hair, the winters are cold, lonely and mouldy, and if you’re not careful the sand becomes ubiquitous and your bed feels like you’re trying to sleep on a cheese grater. But none of that bothers me in the slightest, if it means I never have to be parted from the sea. That last swim I took before leaving, where the sea was just right, just fresh enough and deep enough, I will keep that memory to sustain me for months.
What about you? If you had to choose just one, where would you live?