When I travel I often think ‘is this place like home?’ Or ‘Could I see myself living here?’
Milan is the most similar to Los Angeles of all the places I’ve visited in Italy. First it’s the most metropolitan, there are old beautiful buildings but also new modern skyscrapers. For Italy, it is the most diverse city, and there are a bunch of Asian grocery stores, and lots of different varieties of food, besides Italian, which was awesome. People like to bring their dogs into all sorts of places dogs don’t belong, similar to L.A. There’s an excessive amount of sushi restaurants, but Milan isn’t super close to the ocean, which is weird to me. But it is a city full of really good looking people, who are just a little too cool, also like LA. There’s something about Milan that also makes me feel completely anonymous. And my first morning there questioned whether if I had made the right decision to keep traveling or come home.
I called my mom crying. I’m not sure if it’s because I was feeling homesick, especially in a place that felt so familiar to me. My mom suggested finding some friends. Friends, who needs those? I told her I was going to a yoga class, and she commented ‘Maybe you’ll meet people there?’
The class was at this woman’s home, and it was me and one other woman who spoke English, so the majority of it was in Italian. I’m not going to say yoga is the cure all magic pill that fixes everything. But I will say it certainly helps, and especially in traveling, it eases built up tension and stiffness that’s accumulated. There was something about this class that took away how I was feeling earlier, specifically the Savasana, also known as ‘corpse pose.’
Savasana is the last part of any practice, where you lay there with your eyes closed and wind down and let your body relax, and return to normal breathing. Any yoga class you take, the teacher will have their own variation of Savasana sometimes talking all the way through, or applying some sort of essential oil to each person practicing. I once went to a class when I lived in Long Beach, where the woman teaching it blew a didgeridoo over each persons face. It took everything I had to not laugh. It was also the last time I ever took her class. But there was something about this woman, in Milan the way she spoke, and listening to her in Italian, that was really great.
After class I began talking with the other woman who spoke English. Her name is Rana, and we ended up sharing a bottle of wine together and talking for hours. Rana had just moved to Milan and was studying for her masters in design. A friend! After the morning of talking to my mom, and then finding someone to talk to, I took it as a sign that I was going to be ok. My bout of loneliness/ homesickness was fading away. I hung out with Rana, the rest of the week, exploring neighborhoods, and going to different bars.
As for the rest of the time spent in Milan, I spent it walking around, enjoying the Prada Foundation. Which is the modern art museum collection started by Prada, the fashion house. At the Prada Foundation there’s a café designed by Wes Anderson, the director, that is stylized and so on the nose Wes Anderson, that I couldn’t help but like it.
Milan was the city where I stopped going into giant churches, I just couldn’t do it anymore, and while the Duomo is beautiful from the outside, I can’t tell you what it looks like from the inside. I did however go into a smaller church where there was a whole room decorated with bones. In the 1200’s there was a hospital, and they ran out of room in the graveyard, they then took the bones and built an ossuary, which is a room where bones of dead people are placed.
My other highlight in Milan I read about this super cool place to go for lunch, that was definitely a treat, but imaginative, and delicious. And bowls of salty broths, that if I hadn’t been in public I would have picked up drank from. It is one of my favorite meals I’ve had yet.