Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I'll admit it: I had a rough start with Florence. I went into the experience with such a different perspective from everyone else around me. For many people this was their first time in Italy, and definitely their first study abroad experience. Every time I explained how and why I knew Italian I felt like I was cheating. I'd done this before, and it was much more difficult. I had this jaded attitude towards study abroad. Been there done that, and at 17 too boot. It took me a little while to get over myself, to put it so brutally. I needed to accept Florence for what it is (Disneyland Tuscany) and get on to enjoying it already!

What I need to realize about Florence was what no one ever told me while I was figuring out my whole year last spring: It's a tourist town. The local 'Italian" culture is just not the same as place more isolated from the crowds. Florence exists for the tourists and the students, and the lifestyle and better part of the city have adapted to that. You go into a shop with blonde hair and they will speak English to you. But right now I am done with the complaining, I've done enough of that. Florence was much different than Lecce, another world of difference. But one thing that both of my study abroad experiences have in common, which ended up taking me by surprise, was the friendships. Granted these are two very different groups of friends, but great friends just the same. As I've written about before, I've got my girls in Lecce, and little did I know it, but I had my girls in Florence too.

It wasn't until the end of the semester that I realized just how blessed I had been in my roommates. I must say that roommate karma paid off. I had a downright nasty experience freshman year of college, add mine to the long list of horror stories of college roommates. But this semester made it all worth it. For six girls to be living in one rather small apartment, considering how many we were, and never have one fight is something just short of a miracle. We ended up getting along so incredibly well, with each person incredibly different with their own contribution to the friendship. I won't wax poetic too much about the beauty of union in difference, but needless to say, I will really miss these girls.


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