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Anna: Home sweet home, Firenze

March 20, 2011

On Thursday of this week it was Italy’s 150th Unification Celebration! So if you were Italian, you wouldn’t have to go to school or work that day. All of the festivities happened on Wednesday night. There was a band playing at Santa Croce, and then fireworks were set off on top of Palazzo Vecchio (old Medici Palace). There was Italian flags EVERYWHERE. Even the Ponte Vecchio had the light outline of the Italian flag on it. My adorable old man landlord left us a note saying “I hope you don’t mind I put a Italian flag outside of your apartment balcony. I like being Italian.” It was a fun and proud moment for me to be able to say I am Italian!

Later that night I had the opportunity to attend the birthday party of my friend Natalie’s homestay brother, Pietro, who was turning 18. We walked in and the bartender looked at us and knew we were all 20 + years old. It was really hilarious to see these boys get excited American girls were there. Our main lines for the night were “Sono vecchia.” I am old and “Io ho venti anni, tu hai deicisette anni.” I am twenty, you are seventeen. Regardless it was really interesting to be around Italians and not Americans for once.

This past week it had been overcast and rainy. But I woke up Friday morning and it was beautiful out! Since I don’t have class on Friday, my friend Ellen and I decided to roam the city center and also go to the Boboli Gardens. The Boboli Gardens were huge and really beautiful. Whenever I walk through all the historical sites around the city I am so amazed they are the same rooms and gardens people lived in hundreds of years ago! We also were able to see a costume gallery inside Palazzo Pitti. That was fascinating to guess what year the garments were made.

We had made plans to go to the market and then make dinner together that night since I had my whole apartment to myself this weekend. The market is my new favorite place to shop. Everything is fresh and affordable, especially for cooking for one or two. We ended up buying pear and pecorino ravioli, french bread, garlic and parsley chicken meatballs, fresh tomatoes, squash, asparagus, and for dessert a chocolate raspberry torte brownie. It ended up being really delicious. We enjoyed dinner with my bottle of Chianti Classico I bought from a vineyard visit a few weeks back. As Ellen says we are both foodies and that is probably why we get along so well. Being here in Italy has really made me want to try new things and experiment with my cooking skills more. I am looking into taking a cooking class the last few weeks of the semester, hopefully.

Yesterday was Saturday and I went to Fiesole, a town full of hills and villas. Also, part of my reasoning for making a trip to Fiesole is that I have heard that is where all the soccer players live. It ended up being a very overcast day, but it didn’t rain on us which is all we cared about. We hiked through the woods and it was really fun, we didn’t feel like we were in Italy it felt like we were back home in Minnesota!

Overall, I had a really great week. It is scary to count forward because I only have 4 weekends counting next weekend left of my program. It will be bittersweet for me because I miss my family and friends so much at home, but I have become sentimental about Florence. I love it so much here! I know at home when I order a caffe I won’t be receiving an espresso for 1 euro but a cup of gross American coffee for 3 dollars. I won’t be able to walk anywhere, or buy fresh mozzarella for 40 euro cents, or have free passes to see museums. But at the same time, I am fortunate enough to have studied abroad, for many people are not able to. At the end my parents are visiting and we will be going to see my family around Italy.  I am also going to Prague with a high school friend, Elizabeth Mountain who is studying at Gonzaga in Florence.

I also got great news that Lady Gaga and possibly other artists will be giving a free concert on April 20th just a couple days before my program is over at Santa Croce! Very excited for that.

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