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
I’ve been wildly busy; my days are filled with schoolwork, friends, food, some sleep, skyping my mom and boyfriend, photography and blogging, weekend trips, and Florence. I’ve finished blogging about Rome! I have Switzerland left, Vinci, Bologna and Prague, as well as the second soccer game, San Gimignano and Siena. I pour my heart and hours of time into my blog, which is why the posts are flowing s l o w and steady.
I requested gluten-free adjustments from AIFS before this cooking class — I had a great gluten-free meal! So happy!
My classmates with one of the chefs (the guy on the very right).
My Nor-Cal people: (L-R) Katerina S., Elizabeth M., Kaitlin J., Cameron F., and that one chef-guy. On the left are some of the So-Cal girls also studying abroad with AIFS.
Preparing the eggplant Caprese salad ingredients.
Mixing the gluten-free gnocchi at my table.
Then rolling them out into strips and chopping them up into little pieces!
Fun fact: the gluten-free gnocchi won’t stick to each other like the regular pieces will.
Our instructor Francesco instructing.
The gluten-free gnocchi and eggplant Caprese at my table!!
Elizabeth M. and Cameron F.’s hand trying to ruin her gnocchi-modelling.
Potato Gnocchi in Sugo al’Aglione (Tomato & Garlic Pasta Sauce).
Francesco demonstrating how to roll up the chocolatey dessert mix that is called “Sweet ‘Salami’.”
(It’s made of sugar, egg yolks, butter, bitter cocoa powder, sweet liquor, and crumbled cookies. They substituted the cookies for gluten-free ones!).
It’s wrapped up in foil, and its shape resembled a piece of salami. It is typically frozen for about 2 hours (but in the restaurant’s super-powerful freezer it only took 20 minutes).
My gluten-free “Sweet Salami” !!
It tasted really good! I had Elizabeth M. taste-test the difference between my gluten-free sweet salami and the regular one — mine tasted chocolatier and she liked it better.
The brave, gluten-free-Italian-cooking AIFS classmates at my table, including Katelyn C., Katie G., Carly B., Jackie P., and Ayla B.
Kaitlin J., Katerina S. and Elizabeth M., my dinner buddies!
I really like the AIFS cooking classes, and the efforts the restaurant (In Tavola) made to adjust to my food-needs was really awesome. I had a great, gluten-free vegetarian dinner with my AIFS people.
The restaurant did remarkably well tolerating me poking into every group to snap pictures and following Francesco about to listen to his instructions to other groups. We ate dinner below the restaurant like last time (see the previous Italian cooking class post here). We even all received little recipe menus afterward, just like last time 🙂
It’s a fun experience — I definitely recommend taking an Italian cooking class, especially through AIFS! Just let AIFS/your program know before-hand if you have any dietary-restrictions 🙂
Tips for Italian cooking classes:
Definitely take one!
Don’t wear black/clothes you’re worried about getting dirty. It’s unlikely, but it could happen.
Don’t walk home alone afterward if it ends late in the evening!!! Have someone walk you. I walked with some AIFS girls that live near my house this time.
Bring a jacket for when it gets cold on the way home.
Hi everyone! I’m enjoying Spring break at the moment!Today I visited Vinci, a small town in the Italian countryside between Pisa and Florence, and the birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci (da Vinci means “of Vinci”). I walked a lot and got pretty tired!
I’ve been wildly busy and have been doing my best to catch up on all my blog posts!
Check out my post about the Italian cooking class I took! I learned how to make ravioli and panna cotta in my Italian Cooking Class.
And I also went to Viareggio’s carnevale!! I have pictures of the huge parade floats in my post Carnevale di Viareggio.
I found an organic health food store!!! Sugar Blues is across the river from where I live (near Santo Spirito) — they sell gluten free and organic food. Here’s my post: Organic Grocery Store: Sugar Blues.
What’s up and what I still need to blog about:
Rome– I went to Rome for a weekend with my AIFS program! (posts are still in the works for Rome!).
Interlaken, Switzerland — I spend this last weekend (my first few days of Spring break!) in Interlaken, Switzerland, which was gorgeous! I saw the snowy mountains, lakes and the city of Bern.
Bologna — just visited yesterday.
Empoli and Vinci — today!!!
Posts of all of these will appear, I set the date as the day I actually went, so it may be easiest to ‘follow’ my blog and receive email updates when I post all of these things.
This coming weekend: in less than 24 hours I will be on the bus to visit Prague in the Czech Republic.
I found a tiny health food store called Sugar Blues in Florence! I was so excited.
Vegguide.org calls it “[a] heath food store sells fresh and packaged organic food, macrobiotic items, health products, herbs, flower remedies, products for personal care, and books.”
They sell a lot of gluten free food options, like rice-based pasta and many gluten free breads. I was so excited! They also sell these adorable chocolate-covered rice cakes for 1 euro (I really liked them!)
I also found coconut oil, organic tomato sauce, and gluten-free tamari sauce (soy sauce).
It’s a small store on the south side of the Arno river, only a few blocks away from the Santo Spirito church.
The Santo Spirito. I passed it on my way from Sugar Blues to the Ponte Vecchio, where I met up with my group to go to the Italian Cooking Class I had scheduled that same evening. I showed up to the cooking class with three bulging bags of groceries.