I'm slowly entering my second week away from home on this trip with my mother in Europe. I've been spending time in Rome for the last 3 days, and tomorrow I'm leaving for France. So fast.
I started thinking, of course, about the world. It was my first (well, not exactly first, but I guess the first that I'll remember) time being surrounded by so many Caucasians, and being there I become even more conscious of the stories I'm surrounded with. So many different people! It's crazy! One minute you're walking past a beggar with a small baby, then you're walking past an Asian with red hair, and then a Mexican with a nose piercing, then an Italian with the perfect shade of red lipstick. It's absolutely overwhelming for me, and I love it.

Yesterday we took a day tour to Tuscany and it opened up my eyes even more. I was too young for a winery and wine tasting tour, but I did it for the views and scenery and cities and food and of course, people. Our tour guide, Lindy, was amazing at her job. She was absolutely wonderful, and I couldn't have asked for a better guide. And a better group actually! Well it was awkward mostly, for it was just a day and a group of 16, but it fascinated me in a lot of ways. A couple from Australia, another from Russia, a family from New England, a lone traveler from Perth, another from Canada, three adorable old people, and a woman with her mother from Brazil. It was such a great mix. I wish we did more than just say goodbye to Lindy after we got off the bus and at the end of the day just separating to our own ways.

What intrigued me most, and I thought of all of this on the bus ride home from Tuscany, was the connections. The world is rimming with beauty and greatness and people and places and stories, and all of this i love, but what tops it off is the connections. The world has a way of connecting people with people, and places with places, and stories with stories. It's my favorite constellation. Not the one in the galaxies, but the one right here, making its way through every corner of the earth. 

Here's what I mean: At lunch time, we started striking up a conversation with the girl from Perth. A quite pretty girl whom I talked to a few times but still I never got to know her name. She asked us where we were from, and we mentioned Indonesia. Surabaya, because she asked for whereabouts. And what do you know? She has an aunt, and her aunt lived there once because of her Indonesian uncle! Ha! I would say "What a small world!", but I like to believe there's more to it than that. I cannot fully grasp how this manages to happen. That we decided to take the exact same tour on the same day to the same place in Italy. The world's done it again! It might be doing it the whole time but we might not even notice, because we don't care enough to find out. To strike up a conversation.

I know I'm overly excited about these things. Oh Joanne, you're being way too sentimental. Oh Joanne, it's not THAT special, it's just normal stuff. Joanne, your excitement creeps people out. That I know. But watch me not care.
Another story is: When we were in Den Haag, we encountered a menu all written in Dutch, so we asked the waitress what it meant. She asked us then where we were from. After we answered Indonesia, she proceeded by telling us that she's half-Indonesian. Like what? Honestly, it is mind blowing. Her father was from Jakarta. How is that not an astounding thing? That we decided to have lunch in that restaurant in Den Haag, and that waiter decided to serve us, and again, on that exact same day!

Another? Yes? Well, I've recently stumbled upon an Instagram account, because this girl commented on a photo on my timeline. Her name is Joanne as well, and I thought that was great because we had the same name! Cool but nothing special right? It's a common name. So I opened her account and I realized we were the same age! Which was even crazier! Basically a twin, right? And another? She lives in France meanwhile I'm visiting France tomorrow! Is it not at all odd that I found out about all of this because she was on my timeline, the exact same time I logged in, and just a day before my trip in France?

I figured that the world holds every connection possible, and it's mysterious but wonderful. It's intriguing but it's just there. It's always there. And my goal in life is to do that for myself. The connecting thing. The world has done that for me, connecting me to all these other people and all these other places and things, but I want to do that for myself. To connect myself with as many things as possible. My goal is to find, to capture, to grasp as many as possible in my life. To transform my limited body and mind into a soul that sparks. A soul that reaches out. It doesn't take skill, it just takes curiosity, courage, and a dash of madness. Everything has a story, and this is not a form of speech. Not something you say to stop stereotypes from being so judgmental. But it is a fact. I figured that the world connects us not by the streets, the public transportation, the highways, the jobs, and not even the social media. These connections live in who we are, in where we come from. I think that's beautiful.