Starting to realize it's going to be impossible to update this thing everyday so were going to try one post a week updating everyone. Thank you for all of the love and support I've gotten. The comments I received from so many of my friends and family truly made my week. It means so much that all of you take time out of your busy days to check in and see what I'm up to. So please continue to do so!
This week has been unreal. It feels like I'm on a week vacation, it still hasn't hit me that I am actually living here. I have fallen so head over heals in love with this city and everyday I find more and more to obsess over. Between the food, the art, the people, the language, and of course, the wine, Firenze is truly the most incredible city in the world.
Week 1 Update Breakdown:
This week we started our intensive Italian classes. I came in knowing absolutely noting in Italian. Literally, "ciao bella" was pretty much the extent of it. Through speaking with my house family, people on the streets, practicing with my friends, and taking Italian 101, in just a few short days I am feeling so much more confident. I have decided to switch into two sections of Italian, so six credits, meaning I only have to attend class one extra day a week, and my grade will count for both classes. Basically, if I get an A in Italian 101 and hand in all the paper work satisfactory, I automatically get an A in Italian 102 on Blackboard, which is sicckkkk. My other three classes are Italian Food (basically a cooking class), Italian Wine (exactly what it sounds like), and an IDLS Teaching Internship class where we go to a local middle school and help them learn English. All of which start next week. I am really excited about my schedule, it is definitely easy and realistic and will allow me lots of free time to explore and travel. My Italian professor Suzanna is the most adorable Italian woman ever. She's an amazing professor and so bubbly and fun. She's also a sick artist. Like you know how in high school you're teachers would draw stick figures for examples, she drew this.
I have already felt like I learned so much Italian just from our two hour classes everday this week. It is also really helpful to learn through our homestay mama. As she has no problem correcting us and teaching us, as we help in her with American in return.
Just warning all of you now, these pictures may make you a little hungry and a little eager to hop on a plane and join me in Florence.
Since our host mom only cooks us dinner 3 nights a week, we got to experience a few different Italian restaruants this weekend. They were each ones that were highly recommended to us by past abroad students, and they truly got better and better every night.
Gusta Pizza (most amazing pizza EVER) & directly across the street from school.
Il Gatto & La Volpe - Family Style Antipaste
Ristorante Pizzeria Il Teatro
They also gave us free fruit for dessert! The Italians love giving us free things at meals...be it dessert, extra, wine, shots, etc
3 Steak Sampler at Aqua del 2
4 Dessert Sampler at Aqua del 2
Valentino - our new friend, the owner of Aqua del 2.
Side note - Aqua del 2 is incredible. They have a restaruant with the same menu in DC, and I HIGHLY recommend it.
Croissant from the Secret Bakery (this place is only open from 2am - 6am). Its shady but awesome and so close to our house. We are addicted. Dont mind the bite I have already taken...I just couldnt wait before I took the picture.
Its difficult to go into to detail about each restaurant or meal because there have already been so many stories and jokes behind each picture which I will be happy to share with you when I return home. By the way, I know youre all probably thinking. Uh oh Melissa has put up all this delicious food that shes eating, shell probably come home plus one hundred pounds, dont worry! We litterally walk miles upon miles each day and we cant really snack. One because were on a budget and two because were not allowed to cook in the homestay. So weve only really been eating at each meal. I also really hope I can bring home some recipes for my dad and sister to try and cook up some of these delicious sweets and incredible meals because I really dont know how Im going to enjoy the food in the US after all of these Italian dining experiences.
Funny story about this... so our first night out we met a few nice Italians who were trying to teach us Italian and we asked them how to say Live in the moment or Carpe Diem. And they told us a phrase which Im not goin to write in case any of you are so curious that you would google translate it and that would ruin the story. So since that night we have been yelling and cheersing this phrase at every meal. Litterally I mean every meal. Like every nice restaurant we would yell it. Turns out, last night at Aqua del 2, our friend Valentino (the owner) gave us some free strawberry wine to taste and we did cheers and yelled that phrase. All of a sudden, he looks at us in disbelief and starts hysterically laughing. At that moment, we knew that we were the truly definition of stupid gullible americans. This phrase weve been cheersing all weekend is actually an extremely inappropriate phrase that should definitely not be yelled anywhere. We were all crying laughing and it was probably the funniest moment of our week so far. Just our luck! If youd like to know the phrase, whats app me and I will fill you in, but definitely cant be posting it on the world wide web.
Additionally, youve probably been wondering (or maybe you havent) what the heck FIFA is in the title of the post. It means F It [were in] Florence Abroad. Its kind of our way of saying YOLO, but much cooler. Everytime we want to try something new or do something crazy we say it. Its definitely helped us to truly live up every moment of this trip.
Speaking of every moment, we have actually been awake and enjoying Florence more since we got here than we have been sleeping. I havent gotten home before 4 am one day this week and I have loved every minute of it. We spend most of the time at different bars and clubs and then exploring the streets, meeting new people and practicing our Italian. Its actually so indescribable. Honestly, every day and every night has gotten better and I just cant believe it hasnt even been a week.
Last night at Red Garter, an American bar, we went for a happy hour my four closest friends and I (Chelsea, Peg, Meg & Blair) and ordered a beer tower. It came out with a sparkler on top and it was so awesome! We finished all of it which was pretty impressive, but it was actually the first time weve drank beer all week. Italian beer is much better than the Natty Light at JMU... no surprise there.
These are the girls Ive been doing everything with and will also be traveling with me for most of my trips!
From left to right (Chelsea my roommate, me, Meg, Peg & Blair...all of whom are also roommates down the street from us!)
On Saturday night we went to Space Night Club. It was the epitomy of fun. The entire JMU group got in VIP and we had our own stage to dance on together. We were being silly and crazy and even at one point got up to the balcony behind the DJs which is where I took this awesome picture.
It was nice to have a chance to just let loose and enjoy some great music and dancing with all of my new friends. Sounds cliche, but it really was one of the greatest nights of my life. Were looking forward to heading back there for the "Fat Joe" aka the guy who sings "Lean Back" free concert in a few weeks.
Thats all Ive got for you guys now. Were heading to the Rome vs Florence "futball" aka soccer game on Wednesday, Pisa Friday and Sienna Saturday. We also just booked our trip to Interlaken, Switzerland the next weekend from Thursday to Sunday through a tour group called Florence for Fun where we have made some awesome friends who will be our tour guides and have totally been hooking us up and showing us around in Florence. We hope to do some skiing, snowboarding, or night sledding on the Swiss Alps and then choosing between skydiving, canyon jumping or paragliding depending how brave we are feeling. Weve heard awesome things about this place (adventure capital of europe) so we are super pumped for this to be our first trip.
Hope to hear from all of you who read all of this. Thanks again for taking the time and hope you enjoy reading about all of these awesome adventures.
Love and miss you all!