Living here in Florence has been a dream come true. I live in the PERFECT location. It sits right near the COOLEST market/hip new food court, San Lorenzo Cathedral, a bunch of shopping, my campus, and of course a 5 minute walk from the heart of the city; The DUOMO!!! I couldn’t be more lucky.
Im so thankful for such a nice, clean and new apartment. I was definitely preparing for the worst! We have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room and a full kitchen!. We have great views but 6 fights of stairs (ouch) with no elevator!.
My roommate and I love to sleep with our windows open at night, however we are woken up by LOUD Italians every morning around 5:30AM. But I know one day soon enough I will miss that.
Im trying to soak in every new experience as much as I can!!!
I cannot begin to tell you how in love I am with this country. I had major nerves that I would not adjust well to a completely new culture. I can sit here now and tell you that its been nothing but a humbling breeze. I came into this journey ready for something new, to learn, to grow, and to be out what I knew as comfortable, and boy has it been nothing but a sweet surprise.
Every day here in Florence is a new experience. Its one of the most vibrant, alive and bustling places I have ever been in. The one word I would use to describe it would be “character”. Florence has endless character. On any given day, I will walk out of my apartment and will hear live music playing. The other day there was a man playing the cello by San Lorenzo Cathedral, and as cheesy as I sounds, it stopped my square in my tracks and made my heart melt. And how could I forget about the sweet old man who plays the saxophone by the Duomo, in the same location every day. It makes walking to class that much more enjoyable.
Now lets talk about the streets. Two words Cobblestones and PEOPLE. Don’t even think about wearing any type of shoes with any kind of heel. You are guaranteed to fall on your face or break an ankle, take your pick. Flat comfy shoes it is. While sometimes a pain, these uneven streets draw my eye in the same way art does, and sparks my curiosity on who the poor people were thousands of years ago that had to lay all of them. Second off, PEOPLE. The best people watching. You have your tourists who are EASY to spot…usually carrying a large camera, selfie stick, or map (looking completely lost). But hey I guess to the true locals I’m still a tourist;) Next we have the locals. They are all about their own business, walk with a purpose and have places to be. You can spot the older generation of Italians just by the way they dress. Always dressed to the nines: hat, briefcase, suit and all. Always looking classy and gentleman like. The Italian teenagers here walk in large packs. When they are let out of school they gang up in groups and sit on the San Lorenzo steps and hang out for hours. It reminds me of a movie scene.. Many store and restaurant owners bug you with complements to try and get you to come into their places, which can be annoying but still adds to that character I’m talking about. There are also gypsys who beg for money, tons of dogs being walked on leashes, and the cutest groups of small Italian school kids that walk in lines throughout the city. I love these Italians. While I do stick out as an American, they have been nothing but loving and accepting.
The amazing friends I have met here have been such a blessing! Im so grateful that I have met people that I can travel with on the weekends. We have been to so many cool places, some being Switzerland, Greece, Amsterdam, Budapest and Croatia!
The food, open air market, and cafes are always giving me something new to do, see and experience. The grocery stores have all fresh ingredients, and hardly ANY processed food. Its impossible to find peanut butter, and the only American foods I’ve seen are Oreos LOL. But this is definitely a good change up. Also, the grocery stores here have one entrance, then they wind you trough the store (almost like a maze), and you have only one exit. Another weird thing would be that you have to weigh all of your produce and get a printed price tag in order to check out and buy it. However, I had to learn this by experience…..got to the register after waiting in a long line, and then got yelled at in Italian, to later figure out I had to go back and get a tag.
I have visited a few museums, The Boboli Gardens here in Florence, many major landmarks and cathedrals since being here. Its always a great time to go out and explore the city!
I have class Tuesday-Thursday, which is nice because it leaves me time to travel on the weekends! All of my classes have been WONDERFUL so far. Food and wine paring has been my favorite class because I get to wear a chefs coat, hat, apron and I am learning how to cook Italian dishes. My teachers all speak English, and have very interesting background stories. Im very pleased with my school, LDM, so far:)
Florence has no doubt already brought me new perspective on my life, myself, people, and the world.
Im definitely not ready for my time to be over here in Florence. It honestly has been the time of my life so far. If you’re considering studying abroad, you MUST put yourself out there and GO FOR IT!!! The world awaits you!