I should note that I would typically do this in a blog style, but I did get sick from the trip over and have seemed to lose my voice for the time being.
Until then please enjoy reading a little about my journey so far:
So much has happened since I have arrived in Italia and I have plenty to share, but for now I was going to discuss some of the big differences from here and the states that I have seen so far. So here we go!
First off, most of the Italians I have met are very lovely people. Especially living in Florence, which thrives off tourists. Still there are some things I have been having to get used to, which I will try to share to the best of my ability. As an American, I do often get targeted from vendors on the street or restaurant owners that want my business. The best thing to do in this situation is to simply ignore them, but if they continue to bug you just repeat “No grazie” as you walk away from them. Thankfully I have not had any issues with pickpockets, as they are a common warning to tourists. I have however kept my things close to me and carry a large purse with the outside pocket facing me opposed to a backpack, this way I always have an eye on my bag. As a woman, I am warned to not travel the streets alone at night since it can be dangerous and seen as inappropriate. However, I do have a late class so when I walk home at night, I do make sure to walk in well lit and crowded areas.
Speaking of walking! I probably have not walked as much in life as the time I have been here. Everything is relatively close so there is no reason to drive or take taxis, plus the streets and traffic are so crazy here, I would not want to be a part of it all. The roads,or should I say cobblestone, that people walk on is the same road that cars drive on so it is important to be aware of your surroundings at all times to avoid being run over by the cars and trucks zooming by. There are also many motorcycles, vespas, and bikes in the streets which I could always rent while I am here, but the way I see it all the walking will equal out the amount of food I eat here.
There are gelaterias on virtually every corner of the city and I can already tell I need to limit just how many times a week I can actually get gelato without going broke. The downside to Florence being a big tourist area, I have been picky of where I want to eat because some places are simply there to please Americans and are not very authentic. Still, most places I have eaten and even food from the grocery store is delicious.
Everything in Florence was made for mice, by that I mean it is filled with close corners. Especially when there are so many gorgeous views, the streets and plazas are constantly packed. Even the stores have the strangest angles to them. Just trying to go grocery shopping was similar to being in a maze.
One thing that has been difficult for me is that so many Italians still smoke. It is astonishing to me and makes me further realize how much smoking rates have visually dropped in places, like Arizona and California, compared to that of Florence. Now I find myself holding my breath as I walk down smoked filled alleys. Even in the clubs and airports here people are smoking, fortunately in those cases they have private glass wall rooms for the smokers. Frankly, I would hate to sit in a little glass box and have people stare at you as you pass, as if you were in a fish bowl or a zoo animal. Still, I cannot hold judgement as I have never had to deal with the addiction, but I do hope the smoking rates decrease here as time goes on
As far as Italian’s view on America, I have heard some interesting political comments. A few of my professors through jives at Donald Trump, this of which I expected as I have read articles about how foreigners to America see Donald Trump as unprofessional and unqualified. One professor went as far to compare him to Hitler and Mussolini or “like a mother whispering in your ear, meanwhile he is f*cking you.” I was however surprise to hear my professors follow their comments with something along the lines of, “but all in all, this is no surprise to us in Italia as we have the politician Berlusconi, who is very similar to Trump as he is also a tycoon, but he was elected Prime Minister and served for several years.” All of this I plan to look further into as get accustomed to Italy and the way they speak politically.
I have and will continue to have plenty more to share with you all so I cannot wait!