Saturday, January 21, 2017
While I was in Crete earlier this week, I had an interview for a summer internship. My parents and I happened to be in Lidl (a grocery store) when I got the phone call. We had a nice chat for half an hour, and I thought I answered the questions well despite being on ‘vacation mode’. One of the questions I was asked was something like, “What are your plans for after graduation? Do you want to stick around in Vermont or get out as fast as you can?” I thought about what to say for a brief moment before I answered, but I’ve continued to think about it after the phone call was over.
That question led me to the conclusion that I could not be more grateful to have grown up in Vermont and embark on this adventure. Throughout my childhood, I grew to value community and life in a small town. I practically knew everyone in Manchester’s surrounding towns, and I couldn’t go to Shaws without seeing a familiar face. I continue to enjoy that aspect of Vermont. Simultaneously, I knew there was more in the world outside Vermont’s small borders. I craved to explore new places, live in a city, and be somewhere with more diversity in its people, culture, and scenes.
Florence has certainly fulfilled my desire. I am so awestruck by the European way of life. I have now traveled to cities in Italy, Spain, Hungary, Germany, and Greece. Vasudha said to me the other day along the lines of, “You rarely complain when you travel because you truly appreciate where you are for what it is.” It was quite the compliment, and she continued to say “It must have to do with the fact that you’re from Vermont.” Come to think of it, I think she’s right. After living in Vermont for so long, I am completely mesmerized by everywhere I’ve been. They’re so unique and different than the Green Mountain State, so I spend more time treasuring them than focusing on their imperfections. I also don’t have as many expectations as people who grew up in a city might have. They can compare their homes in Boston or New York to Prague or Rome. But you can’t really compare Bennington with Athens. Living in Vermont makes me feel like everywhere I else I go is bigger in a lot of ways.
I’m very thankful to have spent my earliest years in Vermont because I grew up in an environment where people (for the most part) are down to earth and genuinely caring. My life in Vermont has also allowed me to appreciate a life both inside and outside of it. It’s taught me to find the beauty in things that many people wouldn’t consider beautiful. It’s taught me that bigger doesn’t always mean better. It’s taught me that I am proud to be from Vermont, and Vermont will always be considered home. With all that said, I have loved breaking through its boundaries by temporarily living 4,000 miles away. I have seen, learned, and listened to things I could have never dreamt of in Vermont. I encourage my fellow Vermonters to get out and adventure in other parts of the country and the world. Get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself in a foreign environment. You’ll find there’s a bigger part of Vermont in you that you may have realized… xo ~ e.