I have always been a friendly person. I went to sleep away camp by myself, and on the first day made three new friends. I have never had a problem feeling comfortable in new settings, and had mastered the art of small talk pretty early on. So when I signed up for a six month study abroad program in Italy through a school that I didn’t go to, I wasn’t too worried. And I was right. Continue reading
I stepped out of my apartment on Via Ricasoli and immediately jumped back against the wall of my building. Throngs of tour groups were making their way down the narrow street, toward the Accademia Gallery, home to The David. Coursing down the street like a river, I knew that if I tried to cross the street I would be caught up in their current and forced to continue on down the road with them. After standing against my door for what seemed like an eternity, the crowds finally slowed down to a trickle and I could safely cross the street and walk in the opposite direction towards the Duomo, the center of Florence.
This is a huge mistake. My mind was racing with disastrous scenarios as I approached my gate. Looking around, I saw two other students sitting in the waiting area. Great, I thought to myself, the three losers who arrive too early and I’m one of them. In my haste to get to JFK, I had given myself too much time, and now I would be stuck waiting in this terminal for hours. I sat down on the small, springy airport chair and looked at the girl sitting across from me. She had long, straight brown hair, a huge Louis Vuitton bag and a silver knuckle ring on her middle fingers. She was reading A Room With A View; our study abroad assigned reading intended to prepare us for life in Florence. I had gotten as far as the first chapter before I tossed it aside and declared it useless. How was a book written in the fifties supposed to prepare me for modern-day Italy?
Typical NYU ideology.
Perhaps one of the top tourist destinations in the world, Florence, Italy has a hidden charm just waiting to be discovered. While many visitors feel overwhelmed by the vast amount of art, history, food and architectural sights, the key to enjoying this city is a mixture of flavor, observation, and relaxation. Take your time to see the classic sights, but allow yourself the opportunity to sit in a café and take in the true Florentine experience. La Dolce Vita is not just for the Italian born.
I have always been a fan of ice cream. As a child, my ears would perk up at the sound of that familiar bell and I would race down the street, trying to catch the ice cream truck. It became a family tradition every weekend to go for an ice cream run and eat it on the porch during those lazy summer days. As I grew older, the local ice cream shop in town became a fun hangout with my friends where we loved to check out the cute new guy behind the register. It was a sweet, sticky constant and one that I knew I would always love. Until, that is I moved to Italy and discovered the joys of Gelato.
During my six months living in Florence, Italy I learned the joys of riding a train. Unlike the homeless filled subways of New York, the Eurostar, (and its cheaper equivalents) was a pleasant experience with large windows, clean seats and usually a small café on board. Although I was always eager to reach my final destination, I began to enjoy the ride through the Italian countryside as a trip of its own. I saw small villages with herds of sheep being shepherded into a pen, and beautiful valleys filled with flowers. It was a peaceful experience and each time I returned from a trip, I eagerly looked forward to the next time.