My journey getting to Florence was a long, hauled out, highly anticipated journey. When I told my study abroad counselor 1 year ago I wanted to study abroad in Florence during the spring semester, he told me I was too early and to come back in the fall semester when applications actually opened. I have known since the beginning of college that I wanted to come to Italy. And naturally, I wanted to come because of the food and culture that is so abundant here.
Once the day arrived, I was overjoyed with excitement and hope, because I knew this trip could change my life forever! When landing at the Florence airport I could not handle myself, and ever since that moment I have not stopped smiling.
If I try to choose my favorite moment, well I can’t. I can’t because every movement here has been my favorite moment. My roommates have been wonderful, my apartment is in a great location, my classes all have to do with Italy (such as a Food and Culture class, Photojournalism and Italian Architecture), and I LIVE IN FLORENCE! Every day I find something new which makes me love Florence even more. The families that live here makes walking around into a time for sightseeing. Even walking to class a different way is one of the most thrilling parts of the day for me because then I find new shops, cafes and streets I’ve never seen before.
Something that has been very eye opening is the food. I knew it was going to be great, but once you live here, it makes you want to eat this way for the rest of your life. Because of my food class, I am learning how to cook, where to buy fresh foods, and how to judge restaurants and gelaterias. The thing is, everywhere you go in Italy the food is fresh, delicious and new. When I went to Sienna I had Piti pasta, which is known in Sienna and boy was that meal delicious. I didn’t know how good pasta could be until that point. Gusta Pizza here in Florence has also been eye opening for me because their crust is life changing. I am going to have major pizza withdraws when I go back to the states.
One perfect part about being in Florence is that it is in the center of Italy, meaning everything is about an hour and a half train ride away. Being able to travel around Italy on day trips and weekends, so easily, is a privilege I have already taken for granted.
But the most amazing times I have had here are on my runs along the river. Florence is already gorgeous, but then add the Arno River and it becomes breathtaking. I love running down to the end of the river where the park, Le Cascine is, and run along the park at sunset.
You get to see all the kids playing in the grass, other runners, bikers, dogs, and locals which gives you a sense of community. Running through there turns a very a populated city into your own home. Running brings me back to the reality that I am living in a place I only dreamed about a few months ago. Florence is better than my dreams and anything I could have hoped for. I can’t choose one favorite because living a wonderful life in Italy is coming true right before my eyes.
Olivia is a current student at Baylor University studying at Florence University of the Arts (FUA) in Italy during the Spring 2016 term.