Sunday, January 31, 2010

Almost adjusted...

They say when you travel it takes one day to adjust for every hour time difference, therefore can use the jet-lag card for two more days of tiredness and after that I'm out of excuses. Besides the time change, my body is having some trouble figuring out the Italian eating schedule (mainly because my mind doesn't know it either). I'm still unsure what to eat and when to eat it. I have about a 4 days supply of Kashi bars and mini-pop kettle corn so hopefully I'll be adjusted to the 8:30 dinners and who knows what time lunches and breakfasts.
One aspect in which I can see myself getting better is everyday navigation of the city. Where two days ago I spent about fifteen minutes walking the wrong direction with my map out the whole time, today I felt confident leaving the apartment and walking to church without consulting it once. I am also working very hard on my italian and can see improvements already. The local Florentines seem to appreciate the effort and are always more friendly if you at least attempt their language.
Yesterday I went for "caffé" with Lena, Libby, and Cecilia up Via Giuseppe Verdi near Santa Croce. We talked a lot about the fact that Florence is overrun by American tourists and students and Cecilia showed us places to go where they could be avoided. Once I get a memory card for my camera I'll start putting pictures up on Flickr. I'm also looking for a scanner to get some of my sketches posted as well.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Why are you here?

I had a very interesting evening out with my roommate Haley (she's wonderful - she cooks) and a few friends from Marist College in NY. We met them today on our way to buy our "Amici Degli Uffizi" cards (for €40 we have unlimited access to many of the museums/gardens in Florence) and decided it would be a great idea to try a club called "Twenty-One". First red flag - in Florence, any establishment proudly displaying a blatantly English title should be avoided at all costs. Why? When walking around the city, it is clear that a large portion of the population is American students. Students who, one would think, chose Florence as their study abroad destination of choice because they had a desire to engage in the experiences a different culture might offer. For some, this is absolutely the case. Not so for the 150+ nineteen and twenty year old American students in "Twenty-One". I am not interested in the actions of my peers while in Italy (except for the way their behavior reflects upon the study abroad students as a whole - welcome to the stereotyped minority), I have much more exciting things to think about.
After I finally pushed my way out of Twenty-One, I immediately text messaged my friend Cecilia from Lorenzo de'Medici (who is Swedish but speaks fluent Italian and English and has lived in Florence for a year) and told her of my experience. She is very aware of the issue and promised me a dinner with some of her local Florentine friends next week. (Also, "Caffé tomorrow?") So after all that ranting about not embracing the culture I have to get to bed -

big IKEA trip tomorrow.

Okay, so I'm a hypocrite (I also bought gloves and a scarf from H & M). But they gave us about five hangers, what do you expect me to do with that? I also see it as a way to limit the culture shock they keep saying will hit us at any moment and, I don't know, we'll start having seizures in the middle of Piazza della Repubblica or something terrible. Anyway, my next post will be only positive things. (Unless I am somehow disappointed by the Italian IKEA cafeteria. It's highly unlikely.) Buonanotte!

Ciao Amici!

Finally here! The trip to Florence was... we'll just call it a learning experience and leave it on a positive note. I just got internet about an hour ago so I wanted to post quick and let everyone know I made it. More details soon!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Almost Gone!

Winter break has been a lot of Italy preparation and not too much sketching - updates will be coming soon. I am leaving next Tuesday the 26th and returning in late May. I promise to keep up with my blog as an alternative to reactivating Facebook so keep checking back!