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}...

One of my roommates has traveled here twice so she took us to one of her favorite's Acquaa Al 2 for dinner. I was delighted to see their second restaurant is in San Diego of all places! Kait & I split the salad sampler and pasta sampler so we could try a few different pastas and salads. We ate every bite!

We spent the next two days in orientation for the program and the school, learning the customs of living in Italy and our way around. Did you know ambulances are free and that when in the market it is considered unsanitary to touch the produce without gloves? The only thing I've yet to pick up on is how to turn on my stove-top. I'm hoping the pilot light is out as I feel like a bit of an idiot! After trying a few times we gave up and went to the Osteria La Pentola dell'Oro{neighborhood eatery} down the street where I learned how to ask for the bill & tried the typical Crostini di Fegato {chicken liver}, finding out what it was only after taking a bite.

Each night we enjoyed welcome dinners in beautiful spaces that introduced us to the food of Florence. The pasta and bruschetta is {better} than they said! Last night we crossed the Arno via Ponte Vecchio {sooo beautiful at night} & found the best gelato shop-Cantina del Gelato. It's off the tourist path, homemade, & after going tonight, we've become regulars. I think I've mastered ordering gelato in Italian after two lessons! As you can tell, I'm an eager student.

Speaking of Italian, I managed to buy all my produce & fresh gnocchi this morning with very little English! Many of the vendors liked me trying to learn how to say it all and we ended up with a free onion, tomato, extra green beans, and a big smile from the pasta lady. I've tried to observe how the Italians order, carry themselves, and eat so I can be a respectful participant in the culture. It's still very clear I'm an American but by trying I've been very accepted here.

What's made being here so easy is the ability to check-in at home. I can call & get a clear line or skype my parents from anywhere. I even was able to skype my Grandpa tonight. These small comforts allow me to enjoy Firenze in the fullest. Can't wait to see what's next!

Tomorrow we're doing a little more exploring of the city & going to Ikea to purchase a few items to make the apartment home. We've begun planning trips to Cinque Terre, Paris, Nice, Zurich, & Morocco so send any recommendations you have my way!

Buona notte from Firenze-I'll check in soon!

No comments: