Its my first post from Italy :)
The trip here was long and rough, but I made it and thats all that matters.
I left Memphis early afternoon on the 13th. I flew from there to Charlotte and that trip was perfectly fine. Then came the 8 hour flight from Charlotte to Frankfurt, Germany. Thats where things went downhill. For starters, I was seated next to an extremely large man who complained for the first 15 minutes of the flight about how the seats were so "freaking teeny". The only thing worse than his body oder was his breath. Also, bless his heart, I guess he was semi-deaf because he was yelling when he spoke, then expecting me to reply but could only hear me if I was yelling back. We got a lot of stares. Needless to say, it was a less than ideal way to spend 8 hours. However, the flight actually went by semi-fast. I watched two movies, and unfortunately only slept for about an hour. It wasnt too bad. So, when we arrived in Germany I was a little nervous because I didnt have my boarding pass for the next flight yet, which, in the US is fairly normal, and it wouldn't have been a problem. That was not the case in Germany. I made it to the terminal where my flight into Florence was supposed to leave from, but in Germany you have to go through security again before entering the terminal, so I couldnt go past this point. By this time I had about 45 minutes to get to my connecting flight. The man sent me to the information desk. There a girl, in broken English, seemed to understand my problem and sent me looking for this other desk which I didnt not understand the name she was saying so I took a stab in the dark and was right. BUT then this lady sent me to another desk and so on and so on. By the time I finally got to where I was supposed to be and waited in a short line, my flight was leaving in 2 minutes so I had missed it. So this lady gives me a specific number and name of a desk and precise directions politely, in good English for the first time all day but this desk didnt open until 8am and it was about 7am at this point. So, I go to the bathroom to cry so I dont scare foriegners or look like a crazy American, give myself a small pep talk on how I am capable of doing this, then Im on my way, good to go. So I get to the desk early so Ill be one of the first in line. Mission accomplished, Im second. Lucky huh? wrong. I wait another 45 minutes for the desk to open, then once its open wait two hours behind this ONE Swiss guy. I was literally sitting indian style on the floor with my backpack in my lap. Then when I make it to the front the lady says "Oh, my apologies, I dont know why they send me people with your problem all the time. I can not help you here." SO, I again go on a wild goose chase looking for the right place and for people who speak English. Long story short, I get a temporary boarding pass, then FINALLY a real one for a flight at 12:30 that afternoon after 6 and a half hours in the maze that is the Frankfurt airport. Also, take into consideration that Ive had one hour of sleep and nothing to eat or drink since about 5:30am. Okay. The negativity is over, promise.
Because THEN, I made it to Florence :) Its incredible. It is what I expected in a lot of ways, and totally different than I expected in others. Im living in an apartment in the center of Florence with 5 roommates from all over the country. My actual roommate is Alyssa from Salt Lake City, Utah. The next room over is Vicky from LA, and Caroline who is actually from Chattanooga and she goes to school at Ole Miss. Then next there is Jaclyn from Cincinatti and today we just got Cassie from San Jose, California. We are all very different but, seem to embrace that about each other and appreciate our differences. So far we get along great. In the Study Abroad Italy program, since this is the last session its very small and there are only 10 of us, which is kind of cool because we have all been doing everything together. We've had two days of orientation which have been very helpful because they actually inform you on how to get away from touristy spots and live life like a true Itallian in the time we have here. The past two nights we have gone out to an area fairly close to our apartment. Im not sure what its really called but we've been refering to it at "the festival" ha. There's live music in several spots, DJs and dancing in others, some carnival games, etc etc. Its open every night during the summer.
So far the biggest adjustment has been life without air conditioning in 95-100 degree weather. Most apartments in Florence are not air conditioned, ours included. However we are learning the tricks. We have fans and we leave the windows closed during the day and open at night. It helps. Also, the school is on the other side of the city from our apartment, so it takes about 30 minutes to walk there as of now. Im sure we'll learn shortcuts as time goes on. I start my class on monday, and I am so excited. Ive already taken so many pictures. Im hoping the class will provide assignments that require that I think outside the realms of basic pictures of buildings and scenery and I end up with some pretty cool stuff.
Tomorrow we are taking a guided day trip to Tuscany through a place reccomended by SAI. We leave around 830am and get back around 9 at night i think. Im not sure what all it consists of. I believe its Pisa (the leaning tower), Sienna, and lunch and a small wine tasting in Tuscany. It should be amazing.
I could go on and on but this is getting long and its getting late. Im going to try to put pictures of the apartment up soon. I dont have the internet on my computer set up yet so I am using Alyssa's until Monday. Oh, we have also befriended the computer tech guy, Fabriccio (is the way Im going to pretend his name is spelled). He is our age and a local. He came out with us tonight and will hopefully be able to show us around to more local spots.
For those of you who dont know, it is free for me to receive texts, so text away, but it does cost money to reply so I may not be able to. Facebook is probably the best way to talk to me, and on there we can set up a time to skype! Miss you all :)