Arrival
Shelbie, Florence, Fall 2013
September 4, 2013

These last two days have been the longest of my life.

I left the airport for the Airport on Monday at 5 am and didn’t actually get to my home stay until 3pm Florence time, on Tuesday.

My host mama speaks no English but she is terribly funny and we communicate through the little Italian I know and hand motions. Last night she made me a traditional Italian meal. Spaghetti, which you eat before the main meal, and then tomatoes and beef in an olive oil and basil sauce with salad that had local olive oil and vinaigrette. Honestly, It’s probably the best meal I’ve had ever and Olive Garden, yeah that’s a joke. So delicious and fresh! I didn’t know how to say “I am not supposed to eat gluten because it makes me break out in hives,” in Italian. So I just ate a little of the pasta and more of the tomatoes and meat (I didn’t want to seem rude). However, The pasta was so good that I’ve decided to just go buy some anti itch cream and suffer. My family then began to discuss at dinner what kinds of meat I would eat. They asked if I would eat rabbit, fish, and lamb, and I replied with tutti! (which means all) My mama was surprised she said,”Most american girls, rabbit say EHHHHHHH!! NO!!” We laughed and I explained to them that I grew up on a ranch so I’ll pretty much eat any meat. So far my experience has been magnifico. I’m very blessed and I thank everyone for their prayers of safe travel. More to come soon!!

Thursday we signed up for excursions and went to the fresh air market near the SAI office. There are sooo many things to buy there! I need to constrain myself.

In Florence you have to be able to distinguish what is really Italian, and what is a tourist trap. I am slowly learning this. I realized also today after searching the city for the Sephora, that the makeup there is ridiculously expensive. But a local told me that KIKO is a Milano based company that has good makeup for a decent price. Also on Friday we did a walking tour of some of the hidden gems in Florence. There is this gelato place across the Ponte Vecchio that uses the freshest ingredients and it is so delicious, unlike the touristy gelato shops. My favorite part of the whole tour was our last stop at Carlo Cecchi’s Artisan Workshop. He has made things for Christian Dior, Neiman Marcus, and other well known designers. It was really amazing to see him make things right in front of us.

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Shelbie is a student at Austin College studying at Florence University of the Arts during the Fall 2013 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.