Days 7-10 – Average Week
After my fiasco on my first day of classes the week went along smoothly [thankfully]. I went to all of my classes [and got there on time] and enjoyed the different atmosphere. Coming from an university of about 33,000 students I was unsure how I was going to deal with the very small class sizes [my largest class here is 20 people]. At first it was strange but since 3 out of my 4 classes have hands on projects, I am excited to see the outcome of my final projects. I went to the grocery store, got groceries, and made my first meal at my apartment. Overall I didn’t do anything overly exciting this week, unless you consider going to my first club exciting [which it was]. A mutual friend knows someone that works at a club, so we got in for a discounted price and got to hang out in the VIP section for the entire night.
Day 11 – Day Trip
One of the reasons I chose my study abroad program was because of the extra trips that were included in the price. The first trip was to Modena, Italy to visit the Ferrari Museum and the Malpighi’s family Balsamic Vinegar Factory. Our first stop was the balsamic vinegar factory. When arriving we went to the production room to learn about the creation process of the vinegar. The room had barrels that had been used since before 1800.
After learning about the production process and different types of balsamic vinegar we had the opportunity to taste eight different flavors of the vinegar. I have to admit it was weird try vinegar without any food to go along with it. Some of the flavors included classic balsamic vinegar, vanilla, orange, and even barbecue [which was my favorite]. There was also chocolate filled with balsamic vinegar, which was surprisingly better than I expected it to be.
Our next stop was the Ferrari Museum! The museum’s exhibit contained different models of cars focusing on “The California Dream”. It was great to see both the old and new models.
When we were done at the museum we were dropped off at the center of Modena to eat lunch and explore the city. I decided to explore on my own so I could go at my own pace. It was cold so I stopped at a cute shop to get a warm meal and warm up. I got a delicious lasagna then was on my way to explore. Since it was Saturday [and because Modena is a very small city] not all of the shops where opened. Part of my time I looked around the town and the other part I went into shops. Before leaving Modena, I got a strawberry and cheesecake gelato – it was by far my favorite gelato that I have had.
After getting back to Florence I rested for awhile and then ventured out for another gelato. This time I got banana and Nutella, surprisingly since I don’t like banana and hadn’t tried Nutella before but surprisingly it was amazing!
Day 12 – Local Tourist
When I woke up the sun was shinning for the first time [I think] since we had arrived and I was in a great mood. I met up with Heather for breakfast and to talk about trips we wanted to go on during our semester abroad. After deciding on the weekends we would travel we headed to the Piazza Santa Marie for the local chocolate fair. It was great seeing local vendors selling all of their yummy products.
Next we went to find the Piazzale Michelangelo [a birds eye view of Florence] After a few wrong turns and going back to the original place where we thought it was we found it – getting lost was well worth the view. At the top there were souvenirs, gelato, and a bunch of people. Looking across the skyline I realized that after less than two weeks I loved this city and it was going to be hard to leave. Once we had completely taken in the view we headed back down the hill.
When I got home my roommates were making burgers so I naturally ate with them! Then we headed to Ikea to get some essentials for our apartment. All in all it was a great first week living in Florence!
Things I’ve Learned
1. It is always good to have something to look forward to whether big, or small.
2. Culture shock is real.
3. This place is starting to feel like home.