Day 11: Milan


It’s been a whirlwind today. After that brief moment in Florence…with wifi, since it’s hopefully obvious I do not have it for this post. But we safely arrived in Milan, the fashion capital….and let me just say I don’t care what you call high fashion but it should only be called expensive. I’ve seen shirts…shirts for over 300 euros.
            Besides that issue its interesting to be here in Milan, because it is a lot more modern than any of the other cities we’ve visited. It may have something to do to reconstruction after WWII, but its definitely a different place. The part of town we are based in is a bit more of downtown, and with that comes expensive things, rich cars, fancy clothes, and a cleaner/ sharper look landscape. It’s still weird to adjust to, and I definitely notice that It’s not at all my favorite compared even to Rome.

            We managed to get over to their Duomo, which is a late Gothic period and its gorgeous. I stood and walked around it for a good half hour as I studied the sculptures and the beautiful scenes of the birth and death of Christ. The pieces were moving, and it continues to build in me a desire for fine art and excellence in it. I don’t know beyond hard work how to get there, but I hope this trip helps clarify that. These ancient pieces are truly incredible, and they remind me how beautiful and rich (in a non-monetary way) art can be. Even the inside is mind blowing, less ornate than the Basilica’s of Florence or Rome, but the sheer size of them and their stain glasses transform the air of the place. It definitely reinforces worship.
            It was beautiful around the city, and when I went exploring I found beautiful gardens, futurist sculptures, and just new buildings. This is definitely more of a modern city. It’s not even the buildings that show it but just the lifestyles. The people and the things they buy show this modern culture.
            Something I noticed today about the people and lifestyle here, probably more in comparison to what I’ve seen thus far.. Appearance is by far the most important thing…well visibly that is. It sort of made me sick and distraught seeing it all. The cars, the clothes, the jewelry, the way people held themselves, and threw their appearance and at the essence of that, their bodies out there. Now, don’t go crazy and think that I’m a strictly Goodwill kind of guy, because I seriously love a good suit, a nice sweater vest and tie, and generally looking sharp. BUT, please take a moment…

Is it necessary?

Is it really necessary, for all of it? I don’t think so, I guess I shouldn’t rush into judgment, and I hope it doesn’t come off that way. I just keep thinking about how this city is a good example of how things in modern cultures, such as ours in American are so consumeristic and so materialistic. Assisi had very little of that. People looked well presented, yet weren’t gaudy, or uncomfortable looking. Beyond the tourists, it almost seemed like everyone was trying to be the next Hollister (American example for the sake of helping you understand this following image),….name some girls fashion brand, or run way model. It was interesting, and on my tired state… I have to admit annoying when it maybe should have been more sad.
            Especially down in the fashion district, I noticed just excess. It got me thinking, and its definitely something I need to be aware of when I’m home. I know I’m not to the level I noticed here, and in truth its subtle here, it seems normal, but still I need to learn to have this type of perspective even on myself. I need to be able to analyze myself.
            It made me enjoy the simplest thing today as well. Walking along a sidewalk with the gentle breeze moving around me and through the dancing trees that shaded the walk next to a artistically done graffiti wall. It smelled like clean air (because if I haven’t mentioned it in any of these….Italians smoke worse that coal plants. I’ve never seen so many walking around with cigarettes even unlit ones just waiting to light up.) It even smelled a bit like home. I loved it. It smelled like my West Michigan, and it smelled like grass and trees, and gentle summer breeze. It felt like walking down any sidewalk back home. I needed it, and I’m grateful that God helps me recognize that He blessed me with that. It was so needed, it rejuvenated me for the day tomorrow (hopefully) so I can enjoy this short time here in Milan before heading off to the Alps!