It has been about a week now since I’ve been living in Firenze. The first few days have been spent in a travel daze, wondering what the semester is going to be like and trying grasp the very fact that I will be living in a foreign country rooted in history, art, fashion, wine, food, and culture for the next four months. A week later, I am still in a state of disbelief. When I pass the Duomo on the way to class. When I stroll the streets with a prosciutto and mozzarella stuffed panini in hand. When I enjoy the sunset by the Ponte Vecchio. I can’t believe it. This is surreal.
In the first few days of Florence we had orientation at a hotel right outside of the city. During the orientation we were warned of certain feelings we may experience and thoughts we may have. The number one: culture shock. I expected to struggle adjusting to the language, the time, and living in a big(ish) foreign city. The big things have been relatively easy to overcome. The small stuff? That’s been a little harder.
My first experience in a grocery store was not an easy going one. How do you bag the fruit? Do you even bag it? Do you weigh it? Maybe I just shouldn’t get any for now. Why aren’t eggs refrigerated? Do you put them in the fridge after you open them? What about the boxed milk? Do you refrigerate it upon opening? Is this dish soap or body soap? Why is the store so small? Why is everything in here so small? I had so many questions but no one there who could answer them– at least not in my language. About half an hour later I left with groceries that would last me a few days and a bottle of 3euro wine. Apparently grocery shopping is something I’m going to have to do more often here, which is slightly problematic considering I’d go weeks without grocery shopping at school in Philly.
Let’s talk about this heat and humidity: it needs to go. I was prepared to wear my hair natural 90% of the time but the humidity had other plans for me. Luckily my new roommates were kind enough to share their straightener with me, and I hope to invest in my own soon. I may also need to make some adjustments regarding clothing, specifically shoes. I knew I’d be walking a lot and invested in some comfortable booties and New Balances before leaving the States, however it’s too hot for them. The sandals I packed are definitely not suited for walking 5+ miles a day on cobblestone. The discomfort isn’t my concern. The problem is they’re slightly falling apart after only a week. I had considered just waiting it out until the fall but with this intense heat I have a feeling it may take awhile before I can bring out the booties. A purchase of Birkenstocks may be in order.
My apartment, much to my surprise, is in a great location in the city. Tucked away on a side street, I am just minutes away from the Duomo, the grocery store, most of my classes, one of the best gelato spots in the city, a fun American bar, and a cute little cafe called Artigianale where I’m currently sitting in a window and sipping on a cappuccino while typing. Could it get any better?