Saturday, August 31, 2013

Exploring Our New Home

Buon pomeriggio! I have finally taken the day today to do pretty much nothing. The past few days have been filled with so many new experiences and information about our new home that many of us have felt a bit overwhelmed and exhausted. "Culture shock" was a concept that I was prepared to face however no matter how much you prepare there will always be things that take a little more time to adjust to. Being organized and bringing items from home however has certainly helped with these adjustments. For future study abroad students I would definitely recommend bringing items such as: a bath towel, wash cloths, shampoo, soap, sheets, maps, a water bottle etc. so long as weight in your suitcase permits. When you first arrive in a foreign country the last thing you want to worry about is where to buy toothpaste!

With that being said- I'll briefly update you all on what I have been up to for the past few days! Since I last wrote, I have been able to see more of the city and I have already memorized how to get to certain places including the main center where the Duomo is from our apartment. Unfortunately, our apartment is a decent hike to the main attractions, while some students I have met live right above the Hard Rock Cafe in the main center! A little extra excerise doesn't hurt so I'm not complaining but my terrible walking feet are struggling lol! We're also fortunate to be able to explore a part of the city that we most likely wouldn't often go to if we lived so close to everything.

Thursday night I had my first gelato. We had to walk to the center at 10 pm to find one that was still open! I must say- maybe the first Gelateria I went to wasn't the best but I haven't figured out what the big deal is about gelato compared to regular ice cream. If I experience the life-altering moment that others seem to rave about after eating gelato I'll make sure to make note! Also on Thursday night we met the landlord of our apartment. He is a cute little Italian man probably late 50s who was very sweet, helpful and very welcoming!

Yesterday we met with our advisor who gave us loads of information. The Italians talk very fast even when they're speaking Enlgish so most of what she said went through one ear and out the other. We were able to explore the area where most of our classes will be which is jam packed with tourists! I'm looking forward to Autumn when suppossedly the amount toursits dies down a little. After a long morning we went to dinner at a fun Restaurant called ZaZa's near the San Lorenzo market. I had a delicious fettucini bolognese dish. Dining at restaurants in Italy is very different from America in several ways. First- water is not free. I drink a lot of water during the day and I have found myself on the verge of feeling very dehydrated often. Also- they include a "gratitude" charge in the bill. Last night we ate outside right by the street with a party of 7 and they included a 15 charge.
After dinner we experienced our first night out in Florence! We pregamed at our neighbors apartment and went to a club called Space. It took us about an hour to get there when it should have taken us 18 minutes because none of us knew where we were going! Once we got there the first floor was empty until we discovered the second floor which was filled with people from all over the world. When you arrive at the club you get a card that allows you one free drink and each time you order they punch your card. At the end of the night you pay at a checkout point for all of your drinks- definitely very different from how we go out in the US! To summarize our night at Space I will say it was a crazy experience and that it won't be our last time going but it most likely will not be a regular spot! Lol

Today and tomorrow before classes start on Monday I plan on enjoying some down time and exploring the city to become more comfortable finding where my classes are. I already have trips booked for each weekend up to October 5th so far so I'm taking advantage of the down time I have in Florence before we start school.

Overall I've felt like I was meant to study abroad in the Fall of 2013. I have already made some great friends and I feel very comfortable with my decision to study abroad. Everything happens for a reason and  I can't wait to see what the rest of my journey holds! So far- I never want it to end!!

Fun fact about Florence- so many of the locals have dogs. The other day I saw a golden retreiver and a black lab and of course immediately it made me miss my Richie. I did not expect to see so many people with pets considering Florence only has a few parks in our area where they can run and play. But I'm such a crazy dog lover so I love seeing them!


The beautiful Duomo

Club Space

Drying clothes-Italy style!


Left to Right: Courtney, Me, Melanie, Kirsten, Savannah, Maria, Caroline

Chocolate, Vanilla & Cookies and cream!


  1. Wow my Reg - it all sounds Fantastico!! I cannot wait to visit :) Hopefully, your card at "Space" wasn't full with punches by the end of the night :/ Hahaha! Love all of your pics - I just realized if you "click" on them, it enlarges them! The one with all of the girls is so fabulous - it looks so surreal with the amazing background!! And, the Duomo cathedral - just breathtaking! To see it in person must be unbelievable ... I can't believe they started building it in the 15th century - and it took six centuries to complete!!! I have "goosebumps" realizing that you are walking the same, cobblestone roads where the masters like Michelangelo, da Vinci, and Botticelli created their works of art - and great minds like Machiavelli and Galileo strolled the piazzas!!!!! Just amazing! Hey, I recently learned that Michelangelo was Galileo's baby brother - did anyone know that?!? I'm sure many others are enjoying your posts - please chime in ... :) For clarification on who "Richie" is - , we call Sunny "Richard Parker" sometimes ... he reminds us of the tiger in Life of Pi :)) Anyway Reg, as Pops says, ciao for now!

  2. Hey Reeg...just testing to make sure I can blog now...more to come.

  3. I love seeing all of the doggies, too!

  4. Reg,
    Florence sure looks as though it's living up to it's reputation. All the pic's you have sent home are beautiful and, I'm sure, can't compare to being there in person.

    I would have to agree that you were destined to study abroad and travel in general. You remind me of your great-grandmother so much, it's scary. Irma was a teacher, as you know, and travelled almost every summer. It was hard to keep track of where she was during the summer when I was a kid! Gene's are amazing. There are many things you have in common with her, and yet you never met her. She and Dawse won't miss a minute of your semester!! :)

    You'll get used to the walking love, I promise. Take a different route every day, you may find some hidden gems. The food looks amazing...I'm jealous!

    Your upcoming trips will be so much fun. It's nice to know that you have nice roommates as well as a bunch of new one week!

    God Bless and watch over you my Reegs. Be careful and keep that pretty head on a swivel (LOL). I'll blog again soon.

    Love You,

    PS I'm taking good care of Richie!!

  5. Come stai! Heard you've been posting some great pics on Facebook - please don't forget me and my fellow "bloggers" who aren't on Facebooko' ... we Love your pics =)

    Tua Mamma

  6. Hi Regan,

    It sounds like you are easing right into Italian culture just fine! What an incredible are so lucky and fortunate to experience a semester abroad. We know you will have a wonderful time and we are all living vicariously through you via your blog, so keep the pictures and information coming. Your room is cozy and your friends look awesome. The food looks delicious!! Hey maybe next you will find a nice Italian boy to bring home to Hebron in December! HAHA!

    Love ya lots!

    Auntie Brenda