So many things to catch you up on. I don’t even know that I can remember all that has happened since I last wrote but I will try my best.
First of all the reality is finally setting in that this is home, at least for now. The first couple weeks felt more like a vacation but the other day I said I was going home, and that’s when it hit me, my quaint little apartment in Firenze is my home right now. An exciting, exhausting, comforting, and scary feeling all at the same time. I have begun to make more friends here and recognize the same random people on the streets each day. The cashiers at the grocery on our street know our faces now.
I also met a man outside the Duomo named Alfredo who was selling his artwork of the city in the piazza like so many others do here as well. He is a man probably in his early 40’s who studied art in England but came back to Florence to marry his wife. After I had picked out the small picture I wanted to buy, I asked for it in Italian, and of course because of my lack of experience with the language, not to mention my very blond hair and American appearance, he started asking where I was from and why I was in Florence. Now I did not tell him my address of course, or even the general direction, but we did have a very easy conversation. The next thing I knew we had been talking, he in his broken English, and I in my broken Italian, for close to a half an hour. I mentioned that I should get going, because I was going to Sunday Mass at the Duomo and it was starting soon. He mentioned that if I needed help with my Italian he would be willing to help if I happened to walk by his work again. It was nice. He didn’t judge or laugh at my horrible attempts at speaking to him, in fact he praised my attempts, and was willing to help. Because I walk through the Piazza every day I have seem him a couple more times since, and every time we briefly say hi and I move on with my day. I am so excited to meet more people, and create simple connections like this that just make the day a little better and this place feel a little more like home.
Later that Sunday afternoon I decided to go to Mass at the Duomo. The Priest asked if I was lost, because the mass was in Italian, and I obviously am not Italian. But I smiled, said no and that if I was welcome to stay for the Italian mass I would like to. It was cold because the church is all marble and is massive with no heating system. All I could think about was me and Grandma keeping each other warm when we get cold at Sacred Heart. I tried my best to fallow the readings and the songs. It was beautiful, and I plan to go back on most Sundays in hopes of being able to understand a mass by the time I leave Firenze.
After mass, I had the whole day to do pretty much nothing, so I decided I would climb the 414 steps to the top of the Bell Tower to see what the city looked like from up there. I was exhausted by the time I reached the top but it was absolutely worth it. I took my time and stopped at each level. Squeezing past the ridiculous amounts on Asian tourists on the steep and narrow stairs all the way to the top.
If you look just past the dome on the left side, you can see my street, and exactly where my apartment is. I wanted to stay up there all day but after a group of Asian boys asked me to be in one of their pictures with them I decided it was time to head back down.
By the time that Tuesday rolled around I had almost forgotten that I have classes to go to. But once I got over my “But I don’t wanna go to school!!!!”, I actually learned a lot this week.
In Whine Marketing we are learning more about the differences in the different wines produced and why they are produced that way based on the changing market and the variations of target audiences. Once I realized I knew absolutely nothing about wine other than what I learned at the Kappa Delta/Phi Sigma Kappa “Catalina Wine Mixer” social freshman year of college, I decided that I needed to do something to learn fast if I hoped to be able to market the product. So I went and added a course called “Tuscany and It’s Wines” and it is so interesting. On Thursday we started learning about the Sangiovese grape and how and where it is harvested and the different types of wines that it is used to make. During the lecture on Thursday, the professor started getting excited about what he was teaching, and it was obvious that he was very passionate about what he was teaching. Then he said something that I hope I never forget, He said “To me, Wine is not just a drink. It is an emotion. It is passion. And it is a way of life!”. Now as dumb as that may sound I got goosebumps. I hope that someday I can have that much passion behind something in my life. His words were so sincere and so passionate, that I actually felt was he was saying rather than just hearing words.
As for Italian, I am so lost! Not very surprising at all really. I do not know the difference between adverbs and helping verbs in English, so how in the world am I supposed to in Italian. And anyone who knows me knows that I am quite possibly the absolute worst speller in the entire world too. It’s all foreign to me!
But enough about class. There has been a Chocolate festival in Piazza Santa Croche all week, and it just so happens to be on the walk to and from school! I would be lying if I said I didn’t go at least three times this week, but who can blame me really? There were so many little truffles and candies that I just couldn’t help myself.
As much as I loved the little chocolate shoes, and the chocolate animals, I fell in love with the chocolate covered fruit. The strawberries were so fresh and the chocolate was phenomenal. Ummm, My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Aside from that Anna, Jen, Melissa, and I decided to go to Pisa on Friday. It’s so crazy that we can decided one day and just go the next. Pisa is a â‚¬5 train ride from Firenze so we thought, why not go. The city was dead, noting was going on there and the streets were basically empty. We did find the best gelato in all if Italy though! It was the cute little place in a square on the walk to the Tower. I got Nutella and Cookie, and I can’t even attempt to describe it’s fabulousness because I could never do it justice.
After walking down a few more sketchy streets, we finally got to the leaning tower. It was pretty, but that was literally all that was in Pisa. The tower itself was so pretty though. It was made entirely of white marble. And I couldn’t help myself, I had to be “that girl” who was a total tourist and take a ton of pictures holding up the tower. I feel like it has to be done, so I took at least 10.
Needless to say, I am settling into Firenze and starting to realize that my life really is changing. I have so much going for me, and this is such an amazing opportunity that I hope to be able to take advantage of every moment. I am falling in love with my life here,and if I am really lucky, Firenze will fall in love with me too.