Sunday, 12 January 2014

What I Learned in Italy

Welcome to 2014 everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic start to the New Year. They say the best thing about a new year is that it’s a brand new start for us all. Some may even say it’s a clean slate. During the holidays my family and I decided to go away and get out of one big city, only to land up in another. We went to the beautiful country known as Italy. This is one of my top 5 places I’ve ever wanted to go to. In fact, it probably ranks either number one or two…depending on my mood. If you are ever fortunate enough to travel, definitely consider Italy as your destination. To say that I was as excited as a kid in a candy store would be a massive under exaggeration.

We started off in Venice, seeing the amazing canals and going on a small gondola through some parts of the huge city. Venice was a great way to start off our trip, but I felt like a little icicle after just a few days there. Our journey then took us to Florence. Florence is pretty epic, from there you can see so much such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Sienna. More importantly, it is a city in Assassin’s Creed 2. In Assassin’s Creed 2 you run around the city in the 15th century, climbing buildings, doing spectacular feats. While we were there my main thought was “I climbed that building, I ran through there...” it was pretty cool. The great cathedrals that were built during those times, ones that still stand today, are just a testament to our desire to make things that last. Some of the buildings have survived for over 500 years. However, on our trip things would only get more interesting as we arrived in Rome...

Rome had a lot to live up to. With it being the capital of an empire about 2000 years ago, and then the “central hub” of Christianity some years later. Of course we went to see the main tourists attractions; the colossus that is the Coliseum, the magnificent Trevi Fountain, and of course we went to The Vatican, amongst many other places. One thing that stood out to me while we were there was something that my dad mentioned to us. As we gazed in awe at Saint Peter’s Basilica my dad turned to us and said something that I hopefully won’t ever forget. We were standing around and he said “One thing that came from Christians being persecuted is that they spread themselves out, going as far and as wide as possibly. This meant that people all over Europe were hearing the Gospel, people who maybe would not have heard it otherwise.”

My dad is probably one of the wisest people I know. So the fact that he said something so profound wasn’t a shock. In fact, on that trip he had something profound to say every second day. However, it was the thought process that followed that was quite mind blowing. I couldn’t help but think of how Christians 2000 years ago would feel if they knew that what they had fought and died for paid off. Christianity would become one of the biggest religions in the world, reaching all corners of this round world. This plays into some of my previous posts, the fact that we can never really see what will happen at the time. Sometimes we may never see what comes from the things we do with our lives. The Word was spread all across Europe because Christians at the time had to flee to safer parts of the world.

My trip to Italy was insightful in so many ways. I got to see a great country with amazing food (finally I can say that the pizza and pasta in Italy really is that good). The sights were magnificent, the history was rich, and I felt extremely blessed to be there.

Let me leave you with this thought to hold onto for the rest of this year. Are you going to do something worth remembering? It doesn’t have to be a huge monument, if Italy taught me anything, it’s that the great tragedy of the Roman Empire is that their legacy isn’t in all the gigantic buildings, because all those were destroyed by nature or by man. Instead, the legacy of this empire is in their actions and the things they did when they were at their most powerful.

So what will your actions be this year? Will you choose to be like Pinky and the Brain, doing the same thing every day? Or will you try something different? Maybe you could try better yourself every day, or help others be the best that they can be.

I wish you all the best for this brand new year. Make it the best you possibly can.

Stay awesome everyone.


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