September 26, 2011

Old World Charm

What a week it's been! It's gotten to the point where I have so much to share & dwindling time to tell so I hope romanticizing about my weekend in Venice will do!

Kait and I decided a few weeks back we wanted to spend some time in Venice. I actually didn't expect to take this trip as many friends & family warned of the busy squares and dirty streets but Bami {my grandmother} sharing her memories of Venice and a few other nudges intrigued me to see the city but stay for more than a day. I found myself as entranced as my grandparents had been.

September 20, 2011

Finding Firenze

"That’s a part that I didn’t quite expect before I came here— the presence of ordinary in an extraordinary place."
-Claire Shalinsky, Claire Across the Pond

The more I deepen my ties here, the more I realize just what living abroad means. I'll never be a Florentine & I'm still in a state of enchantment as I see the Duomo on my walk to school, but I can see the difference between me & the dazed tourists as I walk down the street. I no longer hold a map and I turn corners without thinking twice. Yet, there is still a whole side of Florence I do not know and will only meet with time.

September 12, 2011

Tuscan Archipelago & Cinque Terre

Well, life has truly started! Classes started last Monday {Tuesday for me} so just as I thought I was getting settled I added a whole new layer to my adventure. I'm really looking forward to the discussions and global perspectives I'll encounter while studying Italian, Art History, Ethics, and International Management! I cooked a bit more this week, ate lunch on the steps on Santa Croce, and wandered around the city to take in the sites!

Friday morning I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to take a yacht cruise to the breathtaking islands of the Tuscan Archipelago. It meant waking up at 4:30 am, walking twenty minutes in the empty streets {not the wisest decision as the bars had just let out}, and taking a 2.5 hour bus ride but I would do it over and over again {and call a taxi next time}! We arrived at a dock in a typical Tuscan hillside town and boarded the boat for a day of exploration. I didn't know much about where I was other than that the Tuscan coast lies on the Tyrrhenian Sea and is home to a group of small islands, many of which are still natural preserves.As you can tell, little english was spoken on the excursion that day...

September 5, 2011

Gusta Gnocchi

The more I settle, the more I want to explore! Unfortunately it was a bit rainy this weekend which forced me to learn to do laundry {they do things a little different in Italy} & fight with my gas stove top that wouldn't light. I wasn't able to figure out the stove and my clothes ended up soaking wet, even after I had watched two YouTube videos & used Google translate to translate all the knob.

Let down by my American ways, I left the apartment {after it stopped raining} and ventured across the Arno for the promise of good pizza {thanks Allyson for the tip!}. It was a beautiful night and had cooled down to the high 70's. Walking from the city center where I live to the bridges that cross the Arno is quite the shift. On the other side of the Arno things are a bit more peaceful and trees fill the hillsides. I {LOVE} being in the center of the city and having everything at my fingertips {including listening to the bells of Santa Croce ring as I type} but sometimes escaping across the water is a nice change.

September 3, 2011

First Days in Firenze

Has it already been four days? Well my life abroad has officially begun and I love it.I've already been stretched & challenged but in ways only studying abroad can provide for. There's sooo much I could tell you but I'll try & keep it to the highlights!

I checked-in Wednesday and was promptly dropped at the apartment, bags and all, with the van driving off the second the door closed. Thankfully I had Kait with me! We spent the day adjusting, meeting our roommates, and settling in our apartment.

The apartment is beautiful! We're in the heart of the city, 5 minutes from the Duomo & 3 minutes from Santa Croce. The rooms are spacious and I found the comforts of home in the ice machine! I thought I'd be drinking room temperature water for four months {phew}...

September 1, 2011

Last Bliss in Ireland

The last few days in Ireland were pure bliss! I've only been in Firenze for a day but already it seems like a week ago! Let me see what I can recall...

We spent our last day in Skerries exploring Ardgillan Castle which was a 2 mile {walk} from the B&B. Along the way we enjoyed the beautiful coastline of the Irish sea & laughing as drivers glanced confused at the American girls in their fancy winter coats walking along the side of the road on a summer day.