Saturday, July 2, 2011

2 Weeks In

Hi there. So I have finally calmed down enough to sit down, and make a blog. For those of you who don't know exactly what the hell I am doing in Florence (most of you who are bothering to read this probably do)... here is a brief summary:

I arrived in Florence on the 15th of June. I am studying Italian at one of the language institutes here to prepare me for going to University in Bologna. Whew. I'll be over here for a year, which still makes my head reel...

A lot has happened since I've been here, but I'm just going to give you a few highlights. A lot of the things that stand out in my memory are significant because they are milestones on my way to feeling like I actually belong here. Sometimes it is just a cafe barista that chats with me in Italian despite my terrible accent and sub-par vocabulary... or a local that laughs at my joke (which if you think about it is amazing since I tell terrible jokes in ENGLISH)... or a cheese shop owner who recognizes me and gives me discounts (and really good recommendations). Anyway. I'm starting to feel more comfortable here, and that makes learning so much easier. 

A Beloved Cappuccino at our favorite Caffe... That's my house-mate Julie.
You can tell how awesome the Cappuccino is.

 I'm reading Harry Potter in Italian (Harry Potter e La Pietra filosofale). There is lots of nice, relevent vocabulary there... Including "muggle" (babbano/babbani). Ha! I've been attempting to dress/act like an Italian (failing). It is very difficult to look so effortlessly put together. The locals can spot us from afar... Which means you are labeled before you even speak. 

 I think my favorite part so far is the relationships I am forming with the people in my favorite cafe... There is a cafe I always go to during my break from class. The barista has finally started chatting with us (my classmates and I), and there are other "regulars" who show up at the same time as us who have started to say good morning. One lovely older lady actually chatted with us. It always makes me feel hopeful and happy.... because a lot of florentines are fairly reserved and very judgmental of tourists, especially americans.There was also a really nice guy at a used bookstore (where I was trying to find Harry Potter). I explained -very lengthily- that I was an american student learning italian and I wanted to read a novel and did he have harry potter?? He looked around for a bit, but said he couldn't find it. He told me to wait, and then disappeared into the back. He reappeared and gave me a text book, "So that I could learn Italian". So sweet!

Yesterday we went on a field trip with the school to Siena and San Gimignano (a medieval hill-town). Siena was wonderful and very beautiful. The Palio horse races are happening there tomorrow, and the whole city is super excited. People were walking around today with their supporting banners tied around their necks. We went to the churches and some museums... but then as our lunch break ended it started to pour... and then to HAIL. This proved to be a vocab opportunity with the restaurant owner (Grandine= hail grandgrandine= really big hail... I might have misheard that... )  This morning it was clear skies and really hot, and by afternoon gob-stopper chunks of ice were falling from the sky. AH! It kept up for quite awhile, and eventually we had to run through the streets in our summer dresses to get to the meeting point. Of course, no one was there. So we camped out in a courtyard for awhile, and wrung out our clothes. Lightening and thunder and the works, and by the time everyone managed to meet up, we were soaked and there was no more time for the rest of our tour in Siena. 

Post down-pour... I am mostly dry after wringing out my clothes in a courtyard.
Ten minutes after this photo was taken it started to pour again...

Most people were done by this point, and opted to head back to Florence. So the big bus went back, but I figured that since I was already soaking so why not just go to San Gimignano? By the time we arrived it was all blue skies and really nice and warm. We had about an hour to wander... and I bought some meringues and nutella biscuits to keep me company. (ha!) It is such a beautiful city. The streets are really narrow and the towers really high. Everyone is super mellow and sweet and didn't mind me poking my nose over walls and into churches. 

San Gimignano

Until next time...

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