Expectation. Tricky… I think I confuse it with Hope. And they’re not the same at all. One is a strong belief that something is most likely to happen in the future. The other is the desire for something to happen or to be true. The difference is subtle… but definitely present. To think something is going to happen or happen in a certain way means I probably have sound reason to think it will. Expectation is generated in my brain. To want it to happen is a feeling, often lacking circumstance or reason. Hope comes from my heart.
When I was 22 years old, my boyfriend (now my husband) and I backpacked around Europe. I had graduated college the year before, he was still in Law School, and we’d never done anything quite like that together before. Our student days were spent apart – my campus was a 2-hour flight or 12-hour drive away from his – and the longest time we’d ever consecutively spent together was a week. Clearly this story does not end with broken hearts – we’ve been married 16 years this month, and it took us five years to do that. But while we saw snow together for the first time in Switzerland, walked the canaled streets of Venice bent over double from the weight of our backpacks and delighted in Paris, we did have to manage expectations – of ourselves, of each other, of being together – no matter what hope we held in our hearts. Like in any relationship.
In a town in Italy – my almost-40-year-old brain has difficultly remembering which – I was tired of walking, and cold. I needed a hot drink. And a chair. Both of which I reasonably expected to find in any of the dozens of Italian cafés lining the streets. Hopefully I would be re-energized after just such a break.
The price of a hot tea increases some if you drink it while sitting in the cozy café – it is cheaper to take it to go, or to drink it standing at the counter. Neither of which were appealing to me right then. I just wanted to sit down.
But the rand-lira exchange was not favorable in 1995, and Boyfriend had planned it all out so carefully, and this detour and drink were already unexpected so there would definitely be no slow sipping of tea while seated.
I was disappointed. He was right. (Of course, at the time I did not tell him he was right – I told him how insensitive and idiotic he was, and I may have shed a few tired and frustrated tears). My expectations of tea and rest were not completely realized, and so I was disappointed. But I got the te caldo to go and I’m sure we found a lovely bench somewhere on the street, and the rest of the day went on as wonderfully as all the days before and after – which was what I had hoped for that trip: days of wonder discovering Florence and Zurich, the Spanish Steps, Avignon and the Eiffel Tower.