So here I finally am…Florence. Italy. This semester is here and happening and I am loving absolutely every minute of it!
Florence really and truly is one of the most gorgeous places I have ever seen! I honestly find myself catching my breath every time I see the Duomo or the Ponte Vecchio…and everywhere else for that matter. How can you look at a structure that is over 2000 years old and not be impressed by the sheer beauty, magnitude and detail that was put into it!
So far I understand the hardships that I’ll face abroad. Like losing my luggage for the first two days I was in Florence and having to accept it and move on with my travels. I did pretty well with handling the situation with a positive attitude, but by the end of day two I really needed a shower. ASAP.
Italian language is definitely something I didn’t prepare myself for. Everyone here knows basic words in English mostly and a lot know enough to talk with customers (think waitresses and store clerks). Their knowledge of English matches my knowledge of Italian…which is piccolo, unfortunately. However, ciao, gratzia, scusi, and bene get you fairly far in the main areas of Florence. I can’t wait to start my Italian class on Monday so that I can start to learn more vocabulary..and how to form sentences.
So far I’ve had an apertivo (wine and something to munch on…think happy hour Italian style), gone shopping at the San Lorenzo leather market, bought my groceries at the Central Market, gone on a walking tour of the city center, gotten very lost multiple times, and eaten some of the best pizza of my life. We also had a delicious seafood brushette last night at dinner that was pure heaven!
As I reflect on my first few days here, it’s starting to set in that I have the choice of what my study abroad semester will be like for me. I see others who are trying to grasp very tightly onto their American customs and mindset while I am trying to push myself to delve into the Italian culture…even if it just one cobblestoned step at a time. It’s not going to be easy by any means but I think that the more people are fighting it, the worse the culture shock can be.
I am really keeping my positive attitude though and I’m proud of that and I’m trying really hard to be open and talk with everyone I meet. I know I still have some time to adjust but I guess it’s just more exciting to settle in. My apartment is finally all set up with my clothes hung up and I will be cooking dinner tonight with my roommates. Then it’s out for another night of bar hopping. Tomorrow we are going to a vintage market I read about here. I am hoping to visit some museums on Sunday and explore the city by myself a little bit. I also need to keep reminding myself to actually use my camera a little more!!
I was so worried about making friends and having someone to confide in here and while I do have Monica here as someone I really know very well – I am starting to understand that I want to be alone when I am here. There is nothing wrong with going out by myself during the day and exploring a piazza or reading a book while drinking my caffe latte con panna. I wanted to get away from the TCU scene and I think for me it really just meant I wanted to get away by myself.