I've always loved this quote by Maya Angelou because it so perfectly expresses the way I experience my memories. When I recall moments of my life, the emotions I felt at the time resurface quickly and crisply, standing resolutely as the other details trickle lazily into my consciousness, taunting me with the knowledge that its only a matter of time before they don't show up at all.
In retelling the stories of my travels, this pattern is especially true. I forgot the ludicrous things that the "one-upper-hiker" said, the things I found so hilarious that I howled with laughter when he was out of earshot. I forgot which arrondissement I stayed in during each visit to Paris. I forgot what my girlfriends and I did on our trip to Belgium after we learned that our Couchsurfing host was a total creep.
What I remember is the emotions that each place, with it's unique personality and pulse, stirred within me. Like the people in the Maya Angelou quote, these places make you feel something, and that's the stuff that sticks with you, even when the other details fade away. I can tell you with certainty that Paris made me feel grown up. Rome made me feel sexy for the first time in my life. In Munich, I felt utterly alone.
Having spent only one day in Uruguay, I didn't expect to make dent in exploring the country. Even so, Uruguay left its mark on me. Maite and I arrived in Colonia del Sacremento from Buenos Aires, just as the sleepy city was waking. As we wandered the empty cobblestone streets of the historic quarter, cafe owners slowly set up their outdoor patio furniture. We lunched in riverside cafes, shopped in quaint stores for items we didn't need (but were too cute to pass up), and enjoyed the afternoon sun as we strolled.
I felt transported back to a simpler time. I felt at peace. And this is exactly how I shall remember it.