New Life in Firenze
Michaela, Florence, Fall 2015
September 29, 2015

It’s been 12 days since I’ve moved to Florence (Firenze) and there are all sorts of emotions going through my head. For once in my life I feel homesick, often. How am I feeling homesick in a city that’s so beautiful, full of culture and places to discover, a place that feels so right? Well, even I cannot give you that answer. Adjusting to any new place will take time, especially when that place is in another country.

Michaela K - Florence - Fall 15

Michaela K - Florence - Fall 15

Moving from Boston to Florence is a HUGE adjustment to pretty much everything. All summer I’ve pictured it being an easy transition…yah know, move in to my apartment halfway across the world and instantly have a fabulous life in Europe…realistic right? Well no actually…unfortunately it hasn’t been that simple. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m already so in love with this city BUT there is a lot of adapting that needs to happen before I can fully take it all in.

Michaela K - Florence - Fall 15

Just to give you an idea of my daily lessons:

-LANGUAGE BARRIERS ARE SO REAL. Yeah duh Michaela, you’re going to Italy…where they speak Italian, obviously. But keep laughing when you’re trying to find class across town and you find yourself playing charades with the deli guy.

Michaela K - Florence - Fall 15

-People here grocery shop every.single.day. I learned that the hard way when my week of groceries went bad in 3 days. At least it’s all fresh food my body will love! (:

Michaela K - Florence - Fall 15

-Continuation: You have to weigh your fruits and vegetables before you check out, wear plastic gloves while picking your produce, and they do not bag your groceries for you. On top of that, they charge you for every plastic bag you need, so bring reusable bags when shopping!

-It is not expected to tip. Tip is included in the total of your bill, wait staff is paid hourly for their service.

Michaela K - Florence - Fall 15

-Your transportation is your feet, always. Now I have a love- hate relationship with this. My feet are hating me and I still find it hard to believe I can’t hop in my car to drive across town, let’s be realistic…I’m so lazy. BUT on the plus side, I haven’t gained 50+ lbs. from all the carbs I’ve consumed because I burn it off from walking everywhere. :D (no wonder why Europeans can eat bread, cheese, and wine everyday and still look like super models)

Michaela K - Florence - Fall 15

-Gluten is the top of the food chain. That sounds like heaven right? Pasta, pizza, fresh bread, pastries…yes so so delicious and heavenly…but not with a gluten allergy ): 5 weeks before I left for my new tasty life abroad I found out that my years of stomach problems were caused by gluten and dairy. This is the biggest struggle thus far.

Michaela K - Florence - Fall 15

-Water at restaurants isn’t free. In the states you go out to dinner and there’s water poured for you as soon as you sit. In Italy it’s an additional charge. Apparently it’s a courtesy thing. They feel like it’s not courteous to serve their customers tap water, so they give you a glass bottle.

-Pedestrians do NOT have the right away. Feel like crossing the street while a car is coming? You will get hit. Here the motto is “the fit of the strongest” and a car is clearly stronger than a person. Just the way it is!

-The libraries all close at 6, so get your books copied in the library if you need them at home.

Michaela K - Florence - Fall 15

-Grazie isn’t pronounced “Grat- Z”, it’s pronounced “Grat-Z-A”.

Despite all of this, any new, unfamiliar place will take time to adapt to and my journey here has just begun. I am so taken back by all the beauty in this Country and still can’t believe I am living here!

____

Michaela is a current student at Lasell College studying at Florence University of the Arts in Italy during the Fall 2015 term.

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SAI is dedicated to providing academic and cultural learning experiences abroad that enhance global awareness, professional development and social responsibility. We concentrate our programs in Europe, with a focus on in-depth learning of individual European countries and their unique global role in the geopolitical economy, humanities, and in the arts.