Ciao from Firenze!

I got my first passport stamp in Dusseldorf, Germany, and I can’t wait to get many more!

Ciao from Italia! I have now been in Europe for almost a week and it’s safe to say that I am in love with everything about this beautiful place that I get to call home for the month of May. After a long flight with a layover in Dusseldorf, Germany, I arrived in Florence last Tuesday and moved into an apartment with my fabulous roommates: Taylor, Michelle, Ilana and Savana. Our apartment is beautiful, spacious and in the perfect location. We ate our first Italian meal (lasagna and a glass of Pinot Grigio for me) right in front of the Duomo.

Our view for dinner was the Duomo.

Wednesday was spent adjusting to the city and our program. After an orientation in the morning, we ate lunch at a restaurant called Lo Spronte. It is located across the Fiume Arno, or the Arno River, and has an amazing pesto ravioli dish. In the afternoon, we did a walking tour around Florence and learned about the history of the city. That night, after my first Italian pizza (amazing), we ventured out to a bar called Lion’s Fountain, where we met two girls from Minnesota and New York who have been studying in Florence since January. They were so sweet and gave us a list of all the best food and activities that we need to experience in our short time in Florence. It was so refreshing to hear from people who were in our shoes just a few months ago.

The Fiume Arno is just a few blocks from my apartment.

On Thursday, I had my first classes (yes, I am actually here to study). My classes are very small, so I’m looking forward to getting to know my classmates, as well as my professor, Dr. Lewis. Thursday night was our group welcome dinner, which consisted of four courses, including food such as bruschetta, salami, prosciutto, pasta, steak, potatoes and a creamy custard-like dish, which tasted like cheesecake and was topped with berries. And of course, a red wine that was surprisingly delicious.

Overall, I am adjusting well to Florence. The people are nice, the food is delicious and everything is beautiful. I have picked up a few important phrases, which are helpful because the locals love when visitors try to learn the language. There are just two things that I will need some time to adjust to: the driving and the time difference.

My first meal in Florence was perfetto!

The roads are basically a free-for-all, and cars are always speeding down side streets and alleys with no regard to the lines painted on the roads. However, the drivers are surprisingly calm. Only once have I heard a driver yell out the window at a pedestrian. Then there is the time difference. While I did not experience jetlag (it’s more of a general lack of sleep), I still have a difficult time remembering how far behind the time is back home (6 hours), usually when I post on Facebook or Instagram and I don’t receive any response for several hours. I suppose that’s just something I’ll have to work on!

I spent the past weekend on an incredible trip to Croatia, which was so special that it needs a post of its own. Trust me, you’re going to want the details. Ciao for now!