"Tomorrow is April." Many people reading this blog already know this phrase we used all the time back in Florence. The program ended in April, and saying it reminded us that time would slip away far too quickly. We needed to make the most of every moment because before we knew it, it would be April. It would be over.
The motto dictated a lot of the choices we made.
In October 2006, I debated booking a last-minute ticket to Rome to watch the Italian national team play in a friendly against Sweden. It was awfully expensive, and I was on a budget. But tomorrow is April.
During midterms, I remember sitting in my room preparing for an upcoming exam. Some friends asked if I wanted to join them at the Triangle Bridge across from the Ponte Vecchio to drink some wine. I still had some studying to do. But tomorrow is April.
In February, we finally walked into the fancy suit shop we had been eyeing all year. The Italian tailor excitedly fitted us with our "perfect suits," urging us to make the purchase. My mom will kill me for spending this much money on clothing, I told her. But tomorrow is April.
On March 31, 2007, a huge group of us had a party in Piazza Santa Maria Novella. We ordered a giant cask of wine and celebrated the night away. Tomorrow was literally April. People were dancing in the streets, even jumping in the fountain. I didn't understand all the happiness. I had dreaded this moment all year, and now it was here. The next morning I woke up, hoping it wasn't true, but my watch confirmed it: 4/1/07. April was today. It was over.
But the strangest thing happened. The world didn't turn dark. The joy didn't expire. Even when I departed Europe later that month and returned to the U.S., the party continued. Sure, I missed Florence deeply, but the adventures, friendships, and beauty were still just as present as ever before.
This past Monday, I headed up to Mokuleia with some friends to catch the sunset and then watch the lunar eclipse. Out at Ka'ena Point, we watched giant albatross hover in the wind above us. Less than 100 yards out to sea, a couple humpback whales dove down, their huge tails breaking above the surface. The sun gave way to the stars, and then the moon.
Bright at first, a shadow started to overtake it, and the moon got smaller and smaller. At about 9 p.m., only a sliver of light remained. You could almost see the sun fighting to shine its last, dwindling light. It made me think about my time here in Hawaii. Within a few minutes, the last of the light disappeared.
But instead of vanishing, the moon turned a captivating shade of red. The stars grew brighter than ever before. I saw a shooting star flash over the ocean. Instead of darkness, the eclipse brought new light.
I never should have dreaded April. I won't dread July. I carry all the good things with me wherever I go. Love, joy, and wonder don't have an expiration date.