After too long away from the ocean, I get restless. Growing up in a beach town means that the waves became my earliest form of therapy; I am happiest when I can get to the water to clear my head on a regular basis.
You can imagine, then, that I love Venice.
I first came to Venice on a family trip through Italy five years ago, and I fell in love with the city immediately. Jet lag had me up early wandering through the Venetian alleyways before cruise ships deposited thousands of tourists onto the city's shores, and the rosy light was unlike anything I'd ever seen. I've wanted to come back ever since.
Today, after a one-hour delay, two-hour flight, and half-hour bus ride, I finally found myself back on a vaporetto, which is Venice's aquatic version of intra-city buses. Canals rather than streets knit the city together, and so a vespa is the largest land-bound vehicle you'll find in the city center. I leaned over the side of the boat and sighed. Jacket open, bare hands open on cold metal, I allowed the familiar sense of relief to wash over me. I never lose my sea legs. Balancing away from the railing, I tilted my face up to the night sky.
This is why I came here.
Coming back to earth, I swept my gaze over the lights dancing on the water and saw the boat driver's face turned towards me out of the corner of my eye. I looked at him and glimpsed a knowing smile on his face as he looked straight ahead again. Caught him. He must experience this feeling, too. To live in Venice is to live half in the sea, which is why I love it here. There's something comforting about knowing that I'm in a city full of people who understand this part of me. I breathe easier.