Beautiful Revelations

Probably the most shocking revelation of the past twelve months spent on my gap year has been about how much beauty and art surrounds me.

When starting my gap year journey, I made it a goal of mine to focus on my creativity because I felt like I had neglected it for much of my life. Especially during high school, I focused heavily on my academics and grades but didn’t make enough time for the things that made me really happy, like drawing. Thus, when establishing my goals for my gap year I vowed to find ways to incorporate artistic skills into my everyday activities. At first, it began with sketching. I made sure to set aside a minimum of an hour every single day with a pencil and paper and I would sketch anything that came to mind. Then, I began incorporating color with colored pencils and makers. Soon, I moved from 2D to 3D and taught myself to crochet. I made gloves, skirts, and tops in a matter of no time and it became one of the most anticipated parts of my day.

Over time, I came to realize that art doesn’t have to just be something I physically created with my hands or that I must go out of my way to do, but it can also be digital and something I had already been doing. To me, nature has always been the most beautiful artist, so I started taking pictures of flowers, which quickly transformed into the palm trees the lined every street, the beautiful shorelines that carved the coast, and even the mango trees that grew in my backyard. It was moving to Florence that my greatest joy evolved into capturing beauty in whatever means possible. I not only took photos but also filled up my phone with countless videos of the historic architecture and gardens that I found along the way. I even began editing the clips together and making short films of what I saw. I then realized that Florence’s beauty was not just the physical manifestations of its history but also its language and the languages of the thousands of people that I walked by every day. In this realization, I noticed the parallels of my two worlds. When I walked around Miami, I was surrounded by this same art and beauty that I adored in Florence. There were Art Deco, Spanish, and even Roman influences in every building I passed. The distinct cultures of the Latino population were apparent with every street I went down. The languages of the people filled the air like instruments in a symphony. If I had just looked a little harder, there was art and beauty everywhere.

Having this gap year has truly made an incredible impact in my perspective of the world. What started as an attempt to grow my own personal skills became a much larger love for the world around me. What I had found in Italy wasn’t as far from where I started as I thought it had to be. Having challenged myself to think creatively grew my admiration not only for the possibilities abroad, but also for where I live and grew up, and made me realize just how beautiful my home is. More than ever, I’m excited to explore and expand my mind both locally and internationally.

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