Friday morning, May 7th, the hotel called for a car to take Dad and Annie back to the Rome airport and me to Roma Termini for the train back to Florence. I had missed almost a full week of classes to be in Rome which set me back on my work for “Art in the Streets”, Lorenzo de’Medici’s annual student art show that takes place… in the street. I had once piece to set up for photography, another for drawing, and promised Lena I would model her “New Romantic” outfit in the fashion show. My Friday was spent setting up my pieces and rehearsing for the show. I didn’t even go back to my apartment after the train from Rome on Friday and had my luggage with me until about 4 pm that day.
Saturday, opening day of the exhibit, Lena and I walked around early to look at the student exhibitions set up inside and outside the shops and cafés on Via Faenza. Around one o’clock we both went in for “hair and makeup” (she was modeling, too) and were completely blown away by the fashion show’s level of seriousness. They had professional hairstylists and make up artists for the 60 or so girls participating. Most of the models were also designers so I was one of the few who did not make what I was wearing.
The catwalk was on the cobblestone street outside the guidance building, not ideal for heels but, thankfully, (despite several bottles of vino being passed around in the dressing room to ease nerves) no one tripped. From the street we entered into the church attached to the Lorenzo de’Medici main office, did a little spin, and headed back. From where we were waiting inside it was impossible to tell how many people came to watch the show. For most of the girls, including myself, this was the first time doing any sort of modeling and the energy backstage was a mix of nerves and excitement. Luckily, we all had years of America’s Next Top Model footage to mentally review and “Tyra says…” tips were being passed around rapidly in the final moments. The first thing I saw when I got outside to begin the walk was four or five of my photography class friends yelling and snapping pictures. It was hard to tell how many people were there but it was enough to fill the entire street the length of the catwalk and the inside of the church. Halfway down the runway I heard Becca scream my name so loud and I had to laugh – even though Guido, the head of the fashion department, strictly forbade expressions that conveyed non-seriousness.
After the show, we went back to Libby and Lena’s apartment to get ready for our last weekend out in Florence. We stopped by Via San Gallo to meet with Becca and Katie before heading to Shot Café. I didn’t stay out late since I still had work to catch up on. Most everyone had planned to make Saturday the big “last-Florence-hoorah” and I wanted to save my energy for then.
Saturday, our last weekend night in Firenze, the street from Bigallow’s bar on Via Proconsolo to Lion’s Fountain on Corso was absolutely packed with LdM students. I ended up losing Lena and Libby early on as we were all tied up saying our last goodbyes to classmates we were meeting on the way. I’ve never had to say goodbye to so many close friends, knowing there was a good chance I would not see them for a very long time if ever again. Katie and Becca are back in Colorado, Lena in Sweden, Haley in Florida, so on etc. There were many friends I made who lived closer – mostly New York and New Jersey – for whom saying goodbye was more of a “see ya down the shore!” The night was bittersweet but considering the circumstances could not have been more perfect.