If I had to sum up the last 10 days in one word it would be this: unconventional. You may perhaps deem it odd for me to describe the cradle of the Renaissance with such a word whose synonym is unusual, irregular, and uncustomary. Let me explain.
I find myself sitting in the Oblate Cafeteria when my favorite song of all time starts playing in my earbuds. I spot the top of the Duomo out of the corner of my right eye and can’t help by feel a sense of pride that my feet have brought me here, now with my espresso and apricot conetta, writing to you, dear reader.
I can also express to you five unconventional things I am experiencing as I am typing this. Bottled water. No napkin holders- or any napkins in sight for that matter. A family of four playing cards at a table. Something called an aperitivo is written on a menu on the wall. A student next to me is studying a book about yoga. I can catch people talking in several different languages. I, myself, ordered in a different language. Oh wait, that might have been six things.
You see, none of these would I have found myself subject to back at home.
Unconventional. Did you know this word also means distinctive, individualistic, and free-spirited? Like that of a dinner that lasts three hours, shutting your business down in the middle of the day to nap and spend time with family, walking everywhere. Even in the rain. Heaters and lights that are on timers.
Nothing, it seems, is convenient, if looked at through the eyes of an American: where everything is handed to us on a silver platter, where bigger is better and easy is always the favored route. But what I am learning, dear reader, is that inconvenience and unconventionality make for an interesting party. It’s one that I find myself waking up to each and every day, along with the sound of the bell tower ringing outside my window.
So, here’s to embracing the unfamiliar, the unusual, and the atypical. It may be someone else’s everyday. And this place, I believe, has a lot to teach me. My feet brought me here, after all.
Olivia is a spring 2019 SAI Florence student from Georgia State University.