Cultural Experience | All Experiences

One Moment To Relive

The One Moment I Would Choose to Relive, and Why.

“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more” – Mother Teresa

Life is full of moments—the good and the bad, the surprising and the expected, those that make us question ourselves and those that reaffirm where we’re heading. Even in my 21 short years, I have lived through countless moments. Some are dull and dusty, others are well polished, but a few shine brighter than the rest.

If I could relive one moment, which would I choose?

It’s a question that I’ve been asked more than once, and it always leaves me struggling for an answer. I have left a bit of my heart in so many places that it’s hard to pick one. Of those, however, my memory of a rainy night I spent in a tiny Venetian bar still comes to mind so clearly.

A few days after I finished my study abroad program in Angers, I found myself in Venice, Italy getting lost in the wonders of that hauntingly beautiful city. It was a warm night in July 2015, but with the kind of air that hangs heavy in anticipation of a summer storm. I sat in a dimly lit bar at a rickety table with my new hostel friends from Argentina, Chile, and Mexico. We had crowded ourselves into a back corner, the only other people in the bar a group of Venetian girls speaking Italian next to us. At a lull in our conversation, Rodrigo decided to strike up a conversation with the girls, and to my new friends’ delight, he discovered one of the girls was a Cuban refugee. Immediately, the four broke into rapid Spanish.

As I sat back and listened to the conversation, I realized in amazement that I could generally understand their Spanish as a result of my French and English knowledge. Rodrigo paused every so often to translate for me, but I just grinned back at him euphorically, nodding as he summarized what I had already understood. Even from the Venetians, I picked up bits and pieces. For two hours, we simply talked. We laughed at our travel misadventures, we shared her pain as the Cuban described her family’s escape, and we debated current world politics. I remember when a sharp crack of thunder split the sky, we all jumped, then laughed at each other all over again. We shared a moment so incredibly human, bonding quickly in our passion for travel, our frustration with corruption, and our desire for a better world.

In that moment, I realized how truly connected we are, how languages and cultures are not barriers, but beautiful differences that make life so much richer. In that moment, I realized what it means to be human.

This is the moment that, even among the bad news that trends today, comforts me.

This is the moment I will always remember.

With love,


See More From Courtney on her Blog

Courtney Van Hoosen

University of Nebraska-Lincoln | 10 stories

Courtney is a current senior studying International Business and French with a Japanese minor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Despite being a Nebraska native, Courtney has dedicated herself to being a global citizen and has visited 15 countries so far. After studying abroad in Angers, France in July 2015 and working as a Public Affairs intern at the U.S. Mission to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium this summer, Courtney hopes to share her stories and travel adventures with her fellow peers.

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