This is the story of the name behind the blog. It also highlights the fact that I do, in fact, have the coolest grandmother in the world.
When I was 14 years old, my grandmother (whom we call Nanny) was living in Florence, Italy while writing a book. I don’t know whose idea it was, or how we got so lucky, but during Thanksgiving break of my 9th grade year, my sister and I found ourselves on a plane to Italy to visit her. It was the first time we traveled without an adult, and the first time we went out of the country. It was the most eye opening and spectacular trip. Nanny has always told us that if we learned a language she would take us to the country where the language is spoken. During my Junior year of high school, I was in my third year of French. So, Nanny had the idea to take us to Paris. She also took our cousins, Thomas and Danielle, on this trip. After that, Nanny took us all to a different country every year. Believe me, these amazing opportunities we were given were not wasted on us. Each trip, we grew closer as a family and our minds expanded exponentially. I will never not be grateful for these experiences. It should be noted that these trips were taken during our formative years. We all experienced the world in different ways, and it happened 10 years ago. This is the story of getting delightfully lost how I remember it.
Often times on our trips, Nanny would give us recommendations of things to do and see that day and send us on our way. We were ecstatic at the freedom. We could eat what we wanted, do what we wanted, see what we wanted. Recently, I was reminiscing with my sister about our first trip (the one to Florence). We noted that we made it a point to eat gelato every. single. day. Nothing could stop us! On these Nanny trips, the world was ours. We would spend the day exploring museums or wandering around whatever new city we were in, and then we would meet up with Nanny to go out to dinner. The story of delightfully lost took place in Athens, Greece. After a long day of sightseeing in the searing sun with my cousins and sister, we met up with Nanny at the hotel to go to dinner. Nanny was leading the way, and we were off.
Plans with Nanny usually yielded unexpected results. For example, on an earlier trip in Paris, she surprised my cousin Danielle and I with tickets to see Swan Lake. We were excited to see the graceful classic. When the show started, however, all of the dancers were men. I didn’t fully understand it until intermission when I leaned over to Nanny and asked “aren’t there usually female ballet dancers in Swan Lake too?” She laughed. Danielle and I laughed. We stayed until the end of the ballet and loved it. The surprise led to a myriad of conversations about the piece which might or might not have been a gay version on Swan Lake. It was better than I could have ever imagined.
We didn’t know where we were going for dinner this particular night in Athens, but Nanny was walking confidently, so we just followed her lead. We kept walking and walking. We kept making seemingly random turns, winding in and out of alleyways. We started to pass some shady characters. Nanny was still walking confidently, so we still followed. After what seemed like an hour (also like we should have already arrived at our destination) Nanny suddenly stopped and turned around to face us. “Anyone know where we are?” We didn’t. We were hungry, and quickly made a plan to duck into the next restaurant we found. We ordered our new favorite appetizer- tzatziki, and Nanny leaned in. “Sometimes,” she said slowly and simply “you find the best places when you’re delightfully lost.”
Dinner was actually not the best, if I remember correctly. (However, the best dinner I have ever had in my life was on a Nanny trip, at a place she probably found while delightfully lost.) But the message still stands, and has stuck with me for all these years. Nanny seems to truly live by these words, seeing the beauty in what is around her every second. She doesn’t fear being lost, she revels in the adventure of it. With Nanny, we have probably been lost more times than we can count. It has led us to delicious roasted chestnuts, beautiful scenery, magnificent art, and people we never would have met otherwise. The lesson of becoming delightfully lost applies to both the short term and the long term. The simplicity and truth of this concept make me so grateful that it brings tears to my eyes. It takes away the fear of being lost, geographically, physically, even emotionally throughout life. It takes away the fear of the future when you are unsure of what that may be.