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Anna: First Days in Florence

January 18, 2011

Ponte Vecchio and River Arno

Everyone…I am alive! Even though I have been in the country since Friday…I have been totally out of Internet or phone connection until yesterday, but here I am in Florence, Italy. While some people went out their first night, my roommates and I were extremely jet lagged. But we are finally getting adjusted to our sleep and of course the 9pm dinners. My roommates are all super nice, two are from Indiana and the other is a U of M student as well. It is comforting because we all seem to all have the same worries, goals, and excitements for our stay here.

Kitchen and balcony in our apartment

The city is absolutely beautiful. Everything is old and has so much character I love it. My apartment is across the river Arno so our walk to the city center everyday is really incredible. We cross the Ponte Vecchio daily, which I learned is the oldest bridge in the world and the only one Hitler declared not to bomb in WWII. Our apartment is ADORABLE. Great size, we like the location, only problem is it is colder inside than out! We haven’t been the smartest in some cases, buying a wine opener and realizing we had three in our apartment. Also buying our first cappuccinos and being scolded for offering a Visa.

Now, to get to the point…what has Anna eaten? Our first night out we ordered pizza, bruschetta and wine. Our second night out we ordered arugula pesto pasta with pancetta and grilled chicken. I have discovered splitting things is the best of both worlds—cheaper and try more! Also, nutella gelato is my new best friend costing only 2.5 euro! Thank goodness we walk everywhere, because that is definitely going to help me out this semester not gaining any “Italian food weight.” I am even convinced my foot is swollen from all the walking!

When we went out last night we ended up at a pub that was well…very American. That will not be happening again. Lesson learned. Even though it was funny to hear CeeLo Green’s version of “Forget You” play miles away from home, it wasn’t exactly a place to learn about Italian culture. We enjoyed people watching especially the American girls who were wearing heels on cobblestone streets, short skirts and well…not following the rules our program told us to blend in. Our goal is to find the bars that locals go to. Here in Italy getting wasted or having more than a couple drinks is very looked down upon.

My friends, Ellen, Kristen and I enjoying dinner

We were told Florentines are all very cold mannered. So far we have not seen this! Some women do look intimidating in their all black, high fashion outfits but for the most part the Florentines have been very welcoming and helpful. We loved a woman in a leather store who sold my friend Kristin her first leather jacket. She was so sweet and offered her a great price considering she makes jackets for Versace. The shopaholic side of me has not come out yet. I have been very tempted but also very cautious of my money. Fortunately there is a sale season in Italy that lasts until the end of February.

My Italian teacher was impressed with the few words I know…I can thank my dad who tutored me for the past few weeks for that. Her name is also Anna and loved when she called on me asking my name, realizing it was the same as hers.

It will take me a while to figure out how to get to class…my dad passed being directionally disabled on to me that’s for sure. Kristin, my roommate, seems to know where everything is. I told her she isn’t leaving my side all trip. This week we hope to walk to the top of the Duomo, check out the San Lorenzo Market, and the Uffizi museum.

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