It’s almost been a month since I’ve arrived in Florence (where did the time go???) and its been an emotional roller coaster. The first days of being here I went through the culture shock/ frustration of not knowing where I was, feeling lost all the time and getting annoyed that not everyone here spoke English. After gaining my senses of the city my emotions changed by believing this is the best place on Earth and one big party all of the time. The first week was spent drinking bottles of wine, coming home at 3 am and trying all of the best restaurants, panini’s and gelato. Sounds like a dream come true right? Well the second week came and reality sunk in that we are actually taking classes and hard classes at that. This week I’ve had a ton of homework, my first quiz and assigned a research paper. I quickly learned that I am going to have to study and work hard during the week if I want to travel to these amazing places on the weekend; I guess I’m okay with that.
I can already see how much my study abroad experience is changing me as a person as well. I have become more independent, cooking and buying groceries everyday, exploring the city on my own and meeting new people in my classes. I also find myself not complaining as much as at home. Whenever I want to complain about something I think about how I am in freakin Florence, Italy and I have nothing complain about. So what if I have to walk up four flights of stairs to my apartment or have a test I don’t want to study for, complaining about it is going to get you nowhere so why do it. I also appreciate so much more here. I don’t know if it is because it is all so beautiful but I’ll be going for a run and just stop and take in all the scenery because I am in one of the most breathtaking cities I know. Even on my trips sometimes I have to stop and say to my friends OMG we are in Germany right now or we are in Positano because we’ve been talking about these trips for so long and it’s crazy how it is all happening right now.
These three weeks have been a blast, but there has also been a lot of homesickness. It’s crazy to think over the summer I was so ready to leave for three months, thinking that I wouldn’t miss home too much, my family and I saying that I am not the type to get homesick but I guess we were wrong. Being in such an unfamiliar place makes me miss all the little things about America like Chipotle, Dunkin Donut Bagels or West Farms mall and of course the big things like my family, friends, mom’s cooking and my dogs. The biggest thing I’ve learned about being homesick is keeping yourself busy is the best thing you can do. You can’t let it stop you from traveling or experiencing all that Florence has to offer. Because at the end of the day, you are here whether you want to take the next flight home or not so you have to make the most out of it. I don’t want to wish for December because my biggest fear is that December will come and I will regret all the things I didn’t do because I was wishing time would fly.
Saying I am homesick does not mean that I want to come home though! I am having the experience of a lifetime and doing new things everyday that I would/could never do in America. For example, last night my friends and I went to the Fiorentina Soccer game against Bologna and bought jerseys and scarves and sat with Italians all around us. It was crazy to see how much spirit they have for their team and it was so cool to be a part of it. I am also trying all different types of food that I wouldn’t normally eat and I can honestly say I am no longer a picky eater. I am also learning how to cook amazing dishes I can’t wait to cook for everyone back home! One thing I also love about this city is that I am definitley getting my exercise. At home I do an average of 15,000 steps a day if I am lucky but here I average 25,000 to 30,000 steps a day. At first it was hard adjusting to walking twenty minutes to class when at Marist I could leave at 7:55 for my 8 am but I love how we are getting the city school experience, which is the opposite from what I am used to.
Saying that I am keeping myself busy is an understatement. Trying new restaurants, traveling, and homework consumes most of my time and for some reason I thought I wasn’t busy enough so I applied for a marketing internship through my school! One strength I have is time management so I know I will be able to handle it even if it means going to bed after 11 pm (I’m an early bird). I figured it is an opportunity of a lifetime to work with a company in Florence and gain global experience so I couldn’t pass it up. It has actually gotten me really excited and motivated to get the most out of my abroad experience. I’ll be interning at a local wine shop in Piazza Santa Croce where I will be doing their marketing via the web. I am meeting with them next week so I will keep you all updated!!
Trips/ Activities coming up:
Tomorrow (Friday): I”M GOING TO MILAN FASHION WEEK!!!
Saturday-Sunday: Switzerland & Lake Como
October 1-4: Barcelona for Janine’s Birthday!!