Monday, February 18, 2008


Finally.... After almost three weeks in Florence, I am finally writing a blog! Goodness...I didn't think it would take me this long.

So...Florence, Italy is simply an amazing place. It is absolutely beautiful here! I live on the Arno River, near the famous Ponte Vecchio Bridge in the Santa Maria Novella district. My apartment is very European and full of character. We don't usually have hot water and we line dry our clothes because we don't have a dryer. However, I really don't mind it. I'm learning to embrace these differences! :) I live with my good friend Katherine from Baylor, as well as one girl from the University of Alabama and another girl from Colorado State. I really enjoy my roommates! I think it's a great experience to live with girls I would never ordinarily have the opportunity to live's teaching me a lot. Having Katherine here has also been a huge blessing for me. We are able to be there for each other if we're ever feeling homesick or want to talk about friends and familiar things back at Baylor.

I walk about 20 to 25 minutes to school each day from my apartment. This is becoming one of my favorite things. I stop by the same cafe each day on my way to school and have my cornetto (croissant) and my espresso shot (Italians love their morning espresso). I walk along the river each day, passing the Ponte Vecchio bridge and the famous Duomo cathedral. I literally pause at times, just to admire the beauty and remind myself how blessed I am to be here this semester.I am forming relationships with store owners at the cafe and restaurants I usually go to, and at the local market I shop at. I love that about Florence. This is a community and the Italian people here definitely view it as that. People here are very relational and intentional about their time with one another. For example, when someone says "Comestai?" (How are you?) -- they really want to know how you are doing. I think this is a foreign concept for most of us in America. "Hi, how are you?" in America is simply an everyday greeting. We don't usually care how someone really is. We just ask as a formality. It's not that way in Florence at all!

A few interesting things I've noticed about Florence so far...
1. The streets and sidewalks are very narrow here and sometimes you have to jump out of the way of cars, taxis, motorinos (mopeds), and intimidating Italian women.
2. Italians, and Europeans in general, love nutella (a hazelnut/chocolate spread). If you want peanut butter here, you can except to pay about 5.40 euro for a very small jar. This is about $7.20 in America!
3. Italians generally have pretty small refrigerators and so they usually go to the market every day.
4. Italian guys really do say things like "Ciao bella" when they pass you on the street. I thought people were just joking when they told me that.
5. Already mentioned this, but no dryers here for your's all line dry.
6. People love their dogs here! You can bring your dog into just about any cafe, hotel, or restaurant...they actually encourage it.

Overall, I can not believe I am really here most of the time. I saw THE David (yes, Michelangelo’s most famous sculpture) at the Academia museum here in Florence about a week ago. I also went to the Uffizi museum here in Florence and saw paintings like "The Birth of Venus" by Boticelli, paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Donatello...I could on and on. I couldn't believe I was actually seeing these original works of art. It was a very surreal and incredible experience. I am taking a class here called Renaissance Art in Florence and I am so excited about this class because we are learning all about these famous artists and their work and then going on site to visit these galleries. I feel so honored to learn about these things and then see them in real life.

I have dealt with a little homesickness and culture shock the past few weeks I’ve been here, but it seems to get better each day. I find myself missing the little things like…
1. Being able to pick up the phone and call my family and friends anytime I want
2. Peanut butter
3. Hot water
4. Driving my car

Just those little conveniences and nuisances about America we can often take for granted.

However, I am just pushing through any sadness I might feel at times and embracing the very short time I have here. I know this time will fly by and I don’t want to miss a minute of how interesting and beautiful Italy is!

More to come…!

Much love,

Katherine and I on the Ponte Vecchio

The Duomo Cathedral

1 comment:

Nicki W. said...

hey lauren!!

you are in my favorite place!! i look forward to seeing all your adventures!! if you get a chance, go on a bike tour with "i bike italy" it is super fun and gorgeous ride across tuscany!