Friday, May 11, 2012

On My Journey to Becoming a Local...

Well today started off with a bang as we met our tour guide from ACCENT (this stands for something that means it's the name of our school here in Florence) at 9am for a practical walking tour of the city. We learned where the Post Office was, how to find a English-speaking doctor, and what bookstore won't kick us out for "just looking" and I can't remember any of it. Talk about JET-LAG. It caught up with me with a vangeance at least four times today. We then continued our day with an orientation about how not to get robbed, raped, or run over. Very informative (and yes, Mom, I do remember THAT part). Then a two hour break to find food before our Survival Italian class for 2 and a half hours where my second jet-lag attack had me dozing in class. Sort've wish we'd had that class before I had to walk up to a very busy Italian restaurant owner and tell him I wanted the Rustici sandwich (the contents of which remain unknown) in the worst Italian accent ever. However, after this class I feel much better about my Italian skills and even got a chance to use them with confidence later the same day...but you don't get to hear/read that story yet :)
After this LONG and information-slammed day I ventured with Michelle (not one of my roommates, which is important to know in a few sentences) to look for grocery stores because we needed toilet paper, laundry detergent, breakfast food, and tissues. And lo and behold we found several stores, but as we wandered around exploring the goods we realized just how clueless we still were when it came to finding what we needed, but we took a stab at it and from the above list we ended up with paper towels instead of toilet paper (hold your laughter please), fabric softener instead of laundry detergent (ok, now you can laugh), some breakfast  food (VICTORY!!!), tissues and no trash bags because I forgot (...classic). We will be executing Grocery Shopping: Take Two tomorrow.
The next part of the story is far less discouraging (or hilarious depending on your perspective). Michelle and I both needed to get ready for our evening adventure to the Opera so we had to part ways half-way home since we don't live together (told you this part was important) and, yes, I DID successfully navigate my way back to my apt. all by myself!! Mom, at this point I just need you to start breathing again. Our ACCENT program director said that walking alone in the daytime is perfectly safe. Also it was only a few blocks, but this should not in ANY way minimize the outstanding nature of my victory because after last night, finding my apartment at all was amazing and without the help of my's applause worthy.
The next noteworthy event was the eternal walk we had to take to the German opera we went to go see. Jason, I'm gonna be FIT whether or not I end up intentionally training for this triathlon. The walking is awesome because your view is stunning; however because you're so wrapped up in the breath-taking architecture, stunning sculptures, and beautiful views of the river, you don't notice the DOG POOP you are walking through. Apparently, there are no pooper-scoopers in Italy. Or laws against leaving your dog's "flowers" all over the sidewalk. Bummer.
The Opera was aMaZiNg. And yes I DID just use alternating capital letters so you know I mean it. I could tell you everything, but that would take FIVE hours. Yes, you read correctly, FIVE hours of very high German. I am not even going to lie. I fell asleep in the first act, but using my newly acquired Italian skills I was able to order a cappuccino from the concession stand flawlessly before the second act. *high five* Stayed awake for the rest of the performance and was blown away. These people could sing like nobody's business. And it was visually stunning. Loved it.
Made it back home with no issues and I'm ready to sleep a little extra tomorrow so I can finish up some assignments and explore our neighborhood a little more.
With all this walking, navigating and Just Saying No to Street Hecklers (in their own language of course), I am well on my way to becoming a local!

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