I’ve arrived! After four days in Florence I’m feeling more comfortable in the city. Everyone is living in the same building (three apartments on two floors) and they are spacious! The last time I was in Italy all the apartments were very cramped and I wasn’t expecting anything more from the apartment, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Even on the inside I don’t forget I’m in Florence because of the beautiful wood floors, tile, high ceilings, and old fashioned windows. It’s hot here during the day, but luckily the apartment came with fans! Other surprises included hair dryers, curling irons, and straighteners already here, many hangers in the wardrobes, laundry detergent, cooking supplies, towels and sheets.
What’s made my transition a lot easier has been the apartment’s location. I’m in the city center and seconds from a grocery store, fresh produce market, Il Duomo di Firenze, and Ponte Vecchio. Just as the Italians take their time enjoying dinner (we’ve been spending three hours at the restaurants), I’ve taken my time to enjoy exploring Florence the past few days. There have been no planned routes or destinations, but rather aimless wandering with a group of people quickly becoming my friends that led to priceless discoveries and breathtaking views.
One thing I would do differently is come prepared with the essential phrases in Italian. From what I’ve seen so far, you need to know how to say that you’re sorry when you inevitably bump into someone on the crowded streets. If you don’t know how to ask for the check, the three hour dinners may stretch out as some waiters won’t bring the check until asked. When browsing the many shops around town or ordering gelato, “Quanto costa?” would have come in handy. Nothing makes you more self-conscious than rudely expecting everyone to speak English. Classes start tomorrow, and although I’m studying Michelangelo, I think it’s time to start learning some Italian.
Jenni Antane is a student at Northwestern University and is blogging from her summer abroad with the Italiana Langauge and Culture in Florence program, in Florence, Italy.