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The journey

July 2, 2007

After many, many hours, I am here. The flights went off without a hitch, and with the exception of the Milan-Florence flight, they were all on time (leave it to the Italians to be late).

SO, in a nutshell I am here. I left Cincinnati at 1:00 eastern time, and when I finally arrived, it was 6:30 AM eastern time the next day. I slept for barely 2 hours on the plane in between my meals.

The flights were not bad at all. This trip was my first experience flying in first class (or as AlItalia called it ‘Magnifica’ class). I sat next to a woman who was on her way to India to meet her husband and his family for a cousin’s wedding. Right when we got on the plane, a flight attendant (they were all male) took my bags and gave me a glass of champagne. He then fitted my seat with a DVD player, and gave me a pillow and blanket. The rest of the plane boarded and I felt bad seeing all of those people walking through the first class on their way to coach. I know what it is like to do the over-the-ocean flight in coach… it is miserable. After everyone was on the plane, the flight attendants came around with a menu listing all the things we were going to have to eat on the flight. They first served us a small plate with little pastas, sauce and polenta medallions. Then came the wine. They offered us either red or white, then one of two of those. I had a Cab, and it wasn’t bad. Then they came around with bread, and it was warm and they served it with butter. Next came the main course. I picked the mixed grill. It had chicken, beef, and pork served with rosemary roasted eggplant, zucchini, and potatoes. It was good. Although, why the little grill marks? I know and they know there isn’t someone actually cooking over a grill back there. Next, the fruit and cheese course. I had mostly strawberries and some parmigiano and something other kind of white cheese. By this time I am getting full, but they clear my plate and come around for the final (and best) course. DESSERT. I had petit fois and limoncello. Then they made everyone close their window shades and I was assuming that it was time to go to sleep. The fact that I had just had a little alcohol, and my seat was 100% reclining, and that it was dark and warm did not mean that my body was ready to go to sleep at all. I layed there, curled up with my eyes closed for what seemed like forever before I got a little sleep. The next thing I know, they are walking around handing us all assorted breakfast trays. It had a bowl of mixed fruit, toasted bread, a sweet bun, yogurt, this stuff they claimed to be “orange juice” (it tasted like Tang that they had forgotten to add all of the water) coffee, and they came around with omelets and grilled vegetables. I don’t know why, but I could not stomach anything. It was awful. I ate a small slice of melon and a piece of toast. My stomach didn’t necessarily hurt, but my appetite was gone. I later regretted that I didn’t eat anything because I was starving. There is one thing you can say about AlItalia, and its that they don’t let their passengers go hungry.

So, now on to Florence. At the airport, I got a cab to my school. He drove like Italians drive, but I made it safely. I paid him the fare, and got out and headed into SACI. I registered with the front desk, and they gave me my housing and explained I was lucky and was right next-door! I grabbed my stuff, and walked the 10 feet over to my apartment, and I can’t get the big front door open. A woman sees me from across the street and comes over and asks me about SACI. I say, yep, I’m with them and she walks back across the street. Strange. So I march back over to SACI, and feel stupid that I can’t figure out how to open my own door. Daniella, the housing coordinator comes over with me and shows me how to unlock the various doors. She opens my apartment with turns out to be really, really old. Like, I’m thinking 1700’s old. There are lots of different levels, steps up and steps down. We have a charming little balcony window that has a view of the school gardens. It’s beautiful. Because I was the first one here, I picked the room directly across from the balcony, so we get a cross breeze when the windows are open. It is much, much smaller than the other room, but I feel like it is nicer. I made my bed, and placed the ugliest comforter on there you most likely ever see. It’s home!

My first roommate arrived when I was napping. She is from California, and her name is Claire. I think we will get along great. I am really curious when the other two girls will come. Claire said that on the group flight, almost half the baggage was misplaced. I think that 1 of my roommates was affected, as Claire was on the same flight as her.

I took what felt like the best shower ever and walked around the block. I needed water badly. I found the Italian version of the dollar store and bought a bottle of sparkling water. Delicious.

That night Claire and I met her friend who had been in Florence for the previous 4 weeks for Gelato. I had a dark chocolate flavor and man, was it good. We stopped and sat on the Ponte Vecchio for awhile and I couldn’t stop thinking… I LIVE here! This is where I live! I can’t believe the beauty that this old city has, it is just incredible. I feel so lucky to be here, and be able to experience all of this.

After sitting and listening to a street musician, Clarie and I walked back to our apartment. It was dark, and all of the streets were confusing, so we got pretty lost. We were starving because the only think we had since our journeys was gelato, so we stopped at the first sandwich shop we saw. I ordered a
proiscuito and mozerella, and she got a mozerella, tomato and lettuce sandwich. We asked the guy if he could warm them up for us, and he said, “I only have microwave” and we said, “OK no thankyou”. So we walked home (getting lost again) and got out our sandwiches to eat them. THEY WERE AWFUl. claire and I managed to buy the worst sandwiches in all of Italy. We tried turning on our oven and stove, but never managed to do it. That night, our first in italy, we ate cold, dry panini.

By this point it is almost eleven, and we are exhausted. We climb into bed and fall asleep almost right away.

I absolutely love it here, but I miss all of my family and friends. I hope all of you keep in touch, as I have internet access next to where I live.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Teena permalink
    July 3, 2007 3:15 pm

    so happy you got there safely! Can’t wait to hear more about your wonderful experiences! 🙂

  2. kiwi permalink
    July 10, 2007 12:50 am

    such a surreal feeling to know that you’re gonna be living someplace, isn’t it. absolutely amazing. hope you love it.

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