Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's really ending.

Today is the second to last day of class. Wow.

Rachel and I said goodbye to our Norwegian host sister this morning. That's when it sunk in for me that we're at the end.

One more final tomorrow. Then I have the weekend to say goodbye to Florence.

This is strange.

I don't quite believe it.

If you haven't noticed, I'm a bit short on words right now.

This is an odd feeling.

(Picture: The Arno at night-ish, taken from Ponte Carraia)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Final Countdown

9 days.

My flight leaves Rome on the 13th of December.

I have 4 more days of class.

It feels unreal, but it also feels like it's time. I love Italy, but it's not home.

Jodie opened Linguaviva this morning for people who wanted to come here and study. I came here to check my email actually, but I'm going to get some studying done as well. As I was walking here, as I do every morning, I noticed that everyone had little dogs with them. I think I just walk to school at dog time of morning, and Saturday is no exception. I miss Rusty. He would fit in in Florence. I should have just brought him with me. :)

Oh, and the picture attached is the view from Piazza Michelangelo. I took it several weeks ago, but I think it's one of the best pictures I have of the city.

Monday, November 29, 2010

No more Italian?

Italian class ended last Thursday, and now I have an afternoon full of... nothing planned. Nothing scheduled. Wow. I'll have to find something fun to do this afternoon.

Life got a little better when I was handed back two assignments from Celebrating the City, and I found out that I did better than expected. That's one major sigh of relief right there. I don't know why I stress so much about grades, they usually turn out fine in the end.

I had a quiet weekend. Rachel, my roommate, went to Pompeii, and she seems to have enjoyed it as much as I did when I went a few weeks ago. I tried to go out on Sunday and find something to do, but I ended up getting soaked in the rain and decided to head back home. I was standing at the station waiting for Bus 13 (which, I figured out later, wasn't running because of the marathon... brave people, to run a marathon in that weather), and I probably looked rather pitiful, and so this nice man, probably in his late 20s/early 30s, came over and handed me his umbrella. He wasn't creepy about it either. It was more a gesture of "Here, you look pitiful. Stop looking pitiful."

I stood there awhile longer, and when the bus never came, I decided to try an experiment and get on 22L, even though I had no idea where it was going. Maybe it would bring me closer to where I needed to be, and I wouldn't have to walk as far.

Turns out 22L went in exactly the opposite direction of Via Masaccio, and when it looked as if we were headed in the direction of the Autostrade (the highway), I quickly hopped off and tried to navigate where I was. I walked back in what I was pretty sure was the direction of the station, getting considerably less drenched thanks to Mr. Nice Italian Man and his umbrella. I ran into a main road called "Via Porta Nuova", which I was pretty sure would take me back in the right direction. And it would have, eventually, but just then, I came upon a tram stop.

There is one tram route in Florence, and all trams end up back at the station eventually. I figured I'd hop on one and hope it was going the right direction. The one that pulled up about 2 minutes after I got there was labeled "Stazione," and I hoped that meant it was going to the station, not coming from the station. Either way, I'd find out soon enough.

Sure enough, after standing on the (heated, thank GOD) tram for about 2 minutes, I ended up back at the station. This time I decided just to walk home. I had an umbrella, how bad could it be?

When I was crossing Piazza del Duomo, the wind flipped the umbrella inside out. This seemed to be a final "screw you" from the weather, and I made the 30-or-so-minute trek to Via Massacio bare-headed and drenched.

Gabriella gave me some chamomile tea when she found out about this. Though I'm looking forward to returning to my family in the U.S., I'm going to miss living with her. She and Nino are such nice people.

Moral of the story? Well, I guess there is none... except possibly, don't forget your umbrella. And bring an extra one. Maybe two extra ones.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving week...

All of my college friends are headed home for Thanksgiving.

Not me. I have an Italian final that day.

Our program is doing a dinner on Thursday night though, which will be fun.

Since we have less than three weeks left, Sunday night my host mom asked Rachel and I if we wanted her to repeat any meals before we leave. All of her cooking has been fantastic. Even though she serves a lot at a time, and it took awhile for my stomach to adjust, I'm going to miss her dinners.

Christmas decorations are going up around Florence, which is exciting. I still think it's a bit early for that, but it's still exciting. The holidays are not too far off... I'll have that time to go home and recuperate before moving out again, this time hopefully to an apartment, and then starting my spring semester at Wichita State. So much change.

Three more weeks. And then I finally get to see my dog. :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Piazza Santa Maria Novella

There was good lighting. :)
I need a better camera...

Cold November Rain

Apparently, this is as much winter as we'll get here in Florence. Right now, it's 46 degrees Fahrenheit, and pouring rain. The umbrella vendors must be doing good business.

I'm in the home stretch now. In exactly three weeks, the term will be over. Before then, I have about a gazillion things to get done. That's how semesters work, it seems like... stuff piles up at the end. I made a list the other day of everything I had to get done, and there were eight major items on it. Since then I've crossed off two of them, and I feel a lot better about life.

I had to mentally prepare myself for Florence, and I'm thinking I might have to do the same for my return home. Other students who have studied abroad have said that reverse culture shock does exist, and it takes awhile to adjust. At least I remember how to speak English, so language won't be an issue. However, I will be able to impress people with the fact that I can now speak some Italian. :)

So let's think here. What should I do to mentally prepare myself for my return home? Well here's the kicker: I'm in the middle of transferring schools, so once I land back in the US, I'm stepping into the great unknown yet again. The university I'm transferring to is in my hometown, and I know lots of people who go there, but it will still be a huge adjustment. I'm used to adjustments by now though. I mean, I've lived in Florence for almost three months. So this should be a piece of cake, right?

A good friend of mine always gives me this advice: "Don't think, just be." I think (hah, I think) that, for this transition, this is definitely the best advice. Don't think about it, don't analyze it... just embrace it.

Right now I need to embrace these piles of homework. But when that's finished, it will be time for a new phase of my life.

I'm excited.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I've been posting a lot lately, I realize. But it hit me recently that there's less than a month left of this program, and only so much I can document between now and then. AAAAAHHHH time pressure!

I'm talking to a friend who is studying in India right now, and her experience makes mine look extremely tame. While she's over there encountering monkeys and running into dangerous situations, I'm here complaining about cold and rain and subject matter I'm not interested in. Kind of puts things in perspective, really.

Today is as rainy as any other. I think this is winter for Florence. My host mom informed me that they rarely get snow here, and when they do it's a huge deal. Busses get shut down and such. I'm hoping for some snow when I get home, but with Kansas, you never know. Could be a blizzard, could be sunny and 70 degrees.

Number of projects I have to get done before the end of the semester: Five. One is due tomorrow. Two are due next Monday. Then only two more: One paper and one interview.
Looks like I can do this.

I'm starting to think about home.