Students should go outside their comfort zone, ‘live a little’

Published by adviser, Author: Ashley Cook - Commentary, Date: October 3, 2013

While in Italy, on our way to the Piazzale Michelangelo, my group stopped on the Ponte Vecchio to snap some photos of the bridge at night. After a couple of photos, we noticed that an Italian musician was setting up and beginning to play some songs. Oh, and he was good. A particularly wild Italian woman was trying to convince the crowd to get up and dance with her to no avail. She even got up and gave the musician a sloppy kiss on the cheek when he played “Sweet Dreams” by Eurythmics. I took a picture of our little group then asked a stranger to take a group photo (none of which turned out) and while I was posing, the woman continued trying to recruit dancers. An image appeared in my mind of us all jumping up and dancing with the woman after someone re-taking the, what I imagined to be, perfect photo (it wasn’t).

However, when I turned around and told the group of my image, everyone stared at me like I had five heads. I mimed dancing to encourage them and the woman caught sight and grabbed me dragging me out onto the street. So, of course, I started wildly dancing with her after she kissed and hugged me several times while thanking me endlessly. I turned to the group and saw that they all had out their cameras. The song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” came on and my friend, Susie, joined us in our dance. After making fools of ourselves for what seemed like endless minutes, some other girls joined us. The Italian woman was ecstatic. I must say, my favorite part about it all was that the dancing wasn’t even good; it was horrible and silly. At one point, she started doing what appeared to be an Irish jig.

Soon after the jig, several more people joined the dance until the song ended. Everyone cheered and tipped the musician. I’d like to note that NONE of the men of our group joined the dance. I scolded them after, my main argument being that when would you ever have such a perfect, spontaneous moment like this in a foreign country? Alas, some people have no sense of adventure it seems.

We all retreated to the side of the road to finish our drinks and enjoy the music. When Susie and I noticed the song “Mad World” came on, we realized that a slow dance was in order. A couple was already engaged in a very convincing waltz-esque dance and Susie insisted she needed a dance partner. Once again, none of the boys seemed up to it but one, who upon briefly demonstrating his talents, was quickly ruled out as an acceptable dance partner. Finally, Susie asked our friend Coleman. He agreed. A romantic Italian song began and the two ran off to center stage to dance. Needless to say, the moment was moving and magical. The song ended and everyone sat back down and enjoyed the music. Coleman complimented Susie on her taking charge and asking him to dance. We sipped our drinks until the musician packed up and we went home. Piazzale Michelangelo would have to wait for another day. For most of us, it was a night to remember.

So, the moral here is that the next time you are offered the chance to make a fool of yourself and have a good time, remember, when’s the last time you danced on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence at night while listening to an Italian musician play “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”?

When you get the choice to sit it out or dance, dance!


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