GALLERIA DELL’ACCADEMIA, Florence — I was very surprised to find him on his lonesome, at the far end of the gallery. Michelangelo’s other statues that stood along the hall were half-done. Struggling to emerge from their marble cocoon, hunched down almost as if in shame to be in the same room. Sometimes I like to imagine statues coming to life when nobody is around, maybe finding a mirror to flex their muscles or check if a toe was missing. Then, when they hear footsteps, they rush back to their pedestal, get their props, and pose.

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The Brrrrnina Express

The day we rode the Bernina Express was one of my favorite memories from our trip to Italy last year. It felt like time went on for ages, but like all good things it was over so quickly.

Bernina Express is a red mountain train that travels through several postcard-pretty landscapes along the Swiss Alps. It travels at least 120 kilometers on a route that, combined with some amazing engineering magic, was officially labeled a UNESCO World Heritage Site ten years ago. The train departs from a town in northern Italy called Tirano, which is about 3 hours away from Milan. I liked Milan. Or the little we saw of it at least. If the city were a person I see it as an androgynous young adult in couture doing graffiti. I wish we could have stayed longer.

Anyway, the plan was to arrive in Milan a day earlier, catch the first train to Tirano in the morning, and make it in time for Bernina Express at 10. And then, before the day ends, catch another set of trains back to Milan. It was going to be a very long Monday ahead.

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One Wednesday night in January

I’m writing with the smell of tai chi oil and a familiar ache all over my body. My legs, unwaxed and so unladylike, stretch out like noodles. My arms are happily free of red spots for once, and heaven forbid the rashes return tomorrow; Benadryl is not a driver’s best friend. For a long time sweat seemed to be a foreign concept to my body, but now I believe I’m coping fairly well.

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When my parents said they couldn’t remember some of their classmates, I was so confused. “I can still name EVERYONE in my first grade class,” I used to say. This was back in high school. I took out our class pictures and wrote their names on the back because I can.

Now…I’m a decade older. Now, it takes me a long moment to even remember the people around me in college: their names and their faces and how I even came to know them. I’m confused. I ask myself once in a while — is this a price we pay for getting older?