Hi! It has been forever since I’ve posted anything, figuratively speaking.
I became wildly jet lagged upon my return home to California at the end of April, and took my time recovering. Adjusting to life back at home is odd. It’s weird to feel out-of-place in your regular house and miss a city in a foreign country across the Atlantic. Of course the perks of coming home were getting to see my family, pet my dog Leonard again, and spend real-life time with my boyfriend again. Surprisingly, I got to work my entire summer job alongside one of my study abroad buddies, Olivia 🙂
Even though I’ve adjusted now, I still miss Italy. Florence was a new and exciting home, a new life. A mysterious and romantic existence of late night walks in a shining city. Rain on a misty river, and sunshine on a hundred rooftops. A life I got to share with a new group of friends, who pretty much became my family there. I miss tea with Talita and Katerina. I miss baking with Jen. I miss Chanie’s voice — her laughter and shouts of amusement. I miss the isolation which allowed me to meet myself for the first time, away from the clamour of my regular Californian life.
Without my family, I met myself, and realised my strengths and weaknesses. It’s been so long since I’ve written anything. After being nudged to finish this lovely blog by my mom all summer, here I suddenly find myself sitting and typing. I realise I never really said good-bye to Florence.
But that city will always be there, waiting for me. What I’ll miss most is the special time I had there studying abroad. My Italian shopkeeper and restaurant friends, my late night walks around the city. Risotto for dinner with my girl friends. The gluten-free cinnamon rolls Jen made me. The good friends I discovered in the most unexpected people. I cherish the time I had in Florence, and I could go on and on, and get really sappy, so I’ll stop now.
Florence, I love you, and thank you for helping me grow up and remember how to love life. I pasted a quote I like onto my face below 🙂 Arrivederci! -F
Hello! It’s definitely been a while since I’ve managed to scrape aside time from life here to blog — I’ve been using every spare moment to get extra sleep, and I’ve also been enjoying the company of the friends I’ve made here.
It feels like a lifetime ago that I lived in California, ignorant of the everyday bits of life that make Florence special. I love living in Florence. I love Italy. I’ve made friends and good acquaintances here, American and Italian.
I’ve been locked away indoors the past two weeks scrambling to work on final projects for all of my classes. I don’t think I’ll be able to see much of Florence these remaining few days; it’s the sacrifice I make to salvage my academics this semester — it’s been tough balancing this adventure with schoolwork when the outside world is fascinating.
I won’t make this blog post my final good bye to Italy.
I’ve just had so many thoughts go through my head these past many days. In some ways it’s a pity I’ll be leaving just as I feel I’ve gotten the hang of things here, but there are also things I’m excited for when I return home — seeing friends, my boyfriend, and dogs. Getting to mountain bike again, and take the liberty of sleeping in. I’m excited to have access to certain foods too, like good Mexican food and all the gluten-free things that await me at home.
However, I’m also aware of the things I’ll lose; I’ll lose the freedom of stepping out my front door and entering a city of adventure. I’ll miss being able to take a stroll around the city and stopping by my friends’ apartments to say hello or have some tea. I’ll miss seeing my Italian buddies around the city in restaurants and my neighborhood Tabacchi (a small store that sells stamps, loto tickets, cigarettes, candy, water and the like), from which I’d manically buy stamps and water bottles.
I drew on a postcard and gave it to the Via dei Macci Tabbachi store owners yesterday. Buona Pasqua = Happy Easter. I’ll be trying to draw little things for my Florentine buddies before I go.
I’ll miss laughing at the creeper Italian men with my friends, and maybe even the gypsies (only a little).
What I’m counting on is that I’ll take with me the things that matter. I’ll keep the moments, stories and the things I’ve seen.
View of the Arno out of the Vasari Corridor.
View out of the Vasari Corridor (the hallway that runs along the top of the Ponte Vecchio).
I’ll be seeing Leonard! He’s a service dog in training from Bergin University of Canine Studies that my mom and I have been raising. I’m excited to see (and hug) this boy when I get home! I’ve been skyping him 🙂
(Not my photo)
And finally, Ibarra will be coming to visit me. He is one of the other service dogs I’ve raised for a year. He’s currently in-training with an associate student at Bergin University of Canine Studies.
More posts to follow, as I fill this blog with all of my adventures (and photos) 🙂
My last morning in Rome during my weekend visit there through AIFS (my study abroad program here).
I visited the Borghese Gallery with some buddies thanks to a recommendation from a teacher. It’s so beautiful and gorgeous, I absolutely loved it. There are only two floors of artwork, the painting gallery and the sculpture gallery. There’s also a 2 hour time limit, and tickets need to be booked ahead of time, here.
I’m an art kid, and I’ve spend many an hour in a gallery scribbling up a gallery review or sketching pieces. I honestly have to say that the Borghese is my favourite gallery of all time — the time limit seems counter intuitive, but it’s nice to not have to worry that you didn’t spend enough time there, and the size of the gallery is appropriate in terms of the time limit. It’s so pretty, and the actual pieces inside the gallery really appealed to me personally.
Go to see Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne. It’s an amazing sculpture carved out of ONE BLOCK of marble. That is so incomprehensible on its own. This piece depicts the nymph Daphne escaping the amorous advances of Apollo, who is being very insistent, to put it mildly. Daphne cries out to her river god father for help, and (as my teacher put it) “wildly overreacts” and transforms her into a tree.
Bernini was an incredibly skilled artist. He even used the movement of the viewer to create motion in this piece. As you walk around the piece counter-clockwise, the nymph appears to change into a tree.
Bernini’s David (also an amazing sculpture!) is actually a self-portrait. The expression on the face is incredibly true to the emotion of concentration. I love this sculpture. My Italian Renaissance Teacher said “there are a million things in there, but that doensn’t matter because you only need to see two things.” Those are Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne and his David.
Jen H., Tyler A. and I took a quick stroll around the Villa Borghese Gardens.
Guards or Police on horseback! 🙂
Me and the map of the gardens, which looks like a heart! ❤
Some portion of the city walls as we leave the gardens and walk back into the centre of the city.
A metro stop!
We walked to the Spanish Steps.
Me on the steps. They’re pretty much only famous because of that one movie, Roman Holiday.
We then walked to the Pantheon. The horses had raincoats on!
Rainy-day horse head gear.
Me and the Pantheon!
Inside the Pantheon; there’s an opening in the ceiling, so when it rains it rains within the Pantheon.
The Pantheon was built about 2,000 years ago, and still possesses the largest, unreinforced concrete dome.
Interior view of the front doors of the Pantheon.
Last visit to the Trevi Fountain.
The horses are definitely hybrids of some sort.
My jog back to the hotel.
There was some sort of parade as we loaded up on the bus to the train station.
My thoughts on Rome: It was interesting to see, and I definitely got a lot of mixed feed back from all of my classmates. Most of them really loved it, and a number of them thought they’d prefer studying abroad in Rome. Rome doesn’t seem that much larger than Florence, but everything in it was constructed on such a large-scale.
Tips for Rome:
Book tickets and visit the Borghese Gallery and gardens.
Take a map with you — Rome is pretty confusing to get around.
See the Colosseum of course, it’s pretty cool.
Try to see the Vatican City with a tour group — you’ll likely get to skip the line that way.
Mail something from the Vatican city; they have their own post service!
There are some really cheap pizza places near the Trevi Fountain. I don’t eat pizza, but I heard the other kids talking about it.
I head the Catacombs were really cool.
Don’t be afraid of the metro — it looks really sketchy, but it’s a pretty straight-forward system.
Bring water proofs if the weather looks rainy.
Bring a small/foldable umbrella if you plan on visiting the Vatican.
Throw three pennies/coins over your shoulder into the Trevi Fountain for good luck/wishes.