The sudden comprehension of a problem or situation that our brain has been unconsciously working in the background is called an insight (Aha Moment). These moments often happen when we are at rest, or on auto-pilot, allowing our mind to wander and « connect dots ». The hot September days in Tuscany have provided me with ample opportunity to spend time by the pool, eyes closed, doing just that.
I was basking in the sun, relieved to finally have some respite from the dreaded zanzare. Like their North American cousin, Italian mosquitoes do not come out in full sun, during the day. They will sneak into your house though, if you left some windows open, and find a spot to hide until the cooler air of night comes about. The mosquitoes in Italy come in all sizes, but the smaller ones, which are almost imperceptible to the naked eye have the worse bite.
As novice travellers to Tuscany, we were immediately taken by the charm and romantism of opening windows, so that we could extend the feeling of living all’aperto. We enjoy sitting on the terrace in early morning, late afternoon and evening dining and the idea of leaving windows opened was simply an extension of keeping that feeling of living in the fresh open air. Why we suddenly lost all knowledge and experience about bugs at night and the need for screens is a mystery to me. At our age, with the amount of experience we had with warm summer months in the country, and camping, I still can’t answer why we thought Italy would be different. Was our view of Italy so idyllic as to think it could not have bugs? Probably, and why my dear brother’s remark, “so, heaven has bugs! Who knew?!” , was all the more fitting.
Our outdoor knowledge came rapidly back to us after a few days of waking with numerous bug bites, making us feel rather sheepish and silly. The windows got closed, and the bites were scratched. It took a few more days for all the mosquitoes we were hosting to come out of their hiding place and feast but eventually we were rid of them. My physical reaction to these bites was allergic and it pushed us to the internet, for further knowledge. How had I missed all the warnings and advice about mosquitoes in Tuscany from May to September during my research?
Fast forward to my Aha Moment. From now on, I would be able to speak knowledgeably about protecting oneself from mosquitoes in Italy. I knew where they were most prominent, how to treat the bites and more importantly, the practices the locals employed to keep them away. My knowledge and credibility would be authenticated by my recent experience. AHA! Indeed, experience is always preferred….and here was a perfect example of why.
Of course, knowledge acquired through personal experience (mine, or others who shared their experiences on travel blogs) is always of higher value.
The purpose of this trip was to learn about Italy, and live like the locals. Slowly, through our everyday experiences, we are doing just that.