Ready or not, I have decided to write a blog capturing my trip to Florence Italy from the very early moments, until my ending days. Writing about my experience will allow me to share with you (all my loving family/friends/etc.) by way of words of course, all the beautiful things I have seen and heard while in this distant land. Be prepared for a wacky adventure of a nomad seeking his land.
So here goes nothing:
I said it was to help with singing in a foreign language when I first started college, but taking Italian has progressed into a passion for learning fully about another culture. Attending my first day of class at the University of Pittsburgh in 2006, the sound of "ciao" was a distant and unfamiliar feeling. I couldn't understand a single word of my more-than-fluent classmates and don't even get me started on my native speaking teacher. Nevertheless, I decided to stick it out for the chance to learn something new -- challenge myself. And after countless exams, speaking finals, conversing one-on-one and generally being miserable when I got poor grades (or ecstatic when I got A's), it paid off.
I can speak the language well enough to survive (Dov'e' il bagno?...That's right, I can ask where's the bathroom!) but look forward to the moment when I can go to a market and order food without a single word of English used. Lord help me.
Florence Italy is a city of over 300,00 (compare that to Rome's over 6 million and it's like water in a bucket) but that "small town" vibe was the one I decided on. After two and a half years of Italian classes, countless Tavolas (Italian conversations at a coffee house in Oakland) and a bit of a struggle to comprehend the congiuntivo form versus the imperfetto, I prevailed. I will be leaving for the city on January 26th.
I will fly thousands of miles, deprived of sleep and doped up on sleeping pills I'm sure, to a land where I barely know the language and will be living with complete strangers, whilst taking classes taught by NATIVE ITALIAN SPEAKERS. Needless to say, I am more than excited.
I have always been one to take on a challenge and living in Florence for four months will be just that. Whether it's the pane (bread) or vino (wine), I will certainly be enamored with the smells, sights, sounds, tastes, images (you get the idea) of a place totally unfamiliar.
Here is me, donning an American Tourister luggage bag (ironic, no?) with a Nikon D80 slung around my neck (oh God, they'll hate me!) and I will single-handedly (that's right, I will be totally and utterly alone) take on Europe.
I guess after that vivid image I think: "Is Italy really ready for me?"
And as I sit in the Tuscan sunsets, sipping wine and reading E.M. Forster's "A Room with a View," while listening to Jovanotti and eating biscotti, I will be thinking of all of you. Stick with me. I am sure you, and I, can make it through.
And if nothing else, I'll have a wicked story to tell anybody that's willing to listen after it's all said (written) and done.
Fino alla prossima volta!