We had check-in in one of the school buildings, and were given a little talk on housing then given our keys. Three other people in my group lived in the same apartment as me, so we all walked together. Our apartment is only five minutes down the road from the check-in building, and super close to a lot of other school buildings.
Have I mentioned that my apartment is home to eight girls? Yeah. More on them later. I was the first one to arrive, so I could check it all out in privacy. The apartment is very long, and the seven rooms are spread out across it.
There are only three apartments in the building. Kyle and Josh live below me with three other guys, and Krystal is above me with five other girls. The four of us, after acquainted ourselves with our apartments, went to explore the city we were going to call home for four months.
GORGEOUS. Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. The city looks absolutely untouched. If the people walking around were wearing tights and powdered wigs, I would not be surprised. In fact, I might look into getting that fashion popular again. We’ll see. All of the buildings are stones of different colors, and everywhere we walk is cobblestone. I should be taking more pictures than I am, but it’s hard to pull out a camera when I can’t tear my eyes away from the scenery.
We ate in a little hole in the wall restaurant for lunch. We had pizza, of course, for our first meal in Italy. Pizza and wine. Delizioso!
Afterwards, to walk off the whole pizza each of us ate, we went to the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, or the Duomo. The Duomo was completed in 1436, and is now one of the most popular attractions in Tuscany. The structure is in the shape of a Latin cross. It is also ENORMOUS. The dome was, and still is, the largest dome on a church in the world. It takes a couple minutes to walk from one end to the other. It was practically impossible to take a good picture that emphasizes the size, because if I back far enough away to get it, the buildings on either side block the ends.
We got lost on our way back, of course, but who cares about being lost if the view is nice?
Back at the apartment, other roommates were starting to arrive. Deborah, who’s from Belgium, arrived earlier with her mom, and she had been coming and going all day. Lana is from the Netherlands, but lives in Miami with her family, so her accent is much more American than Dutch. Hannah is also from HPU, and studied abroad in Austria last semester. My roommate, Livia, is from Holland, but her mum is from Britain so her accent sounds very British.
We went to a grocery store and got some food for the apartment, and Lana made some spaghetti with a vegetable sauce. It was so cool to sit and listen to Lana and Livia talk to each other in Dutch, in a language I don’t even understand. We set the table for one more, which was good because Eva (from Paris) walked in while we were eating and ate as well.
Later a second Hannah, from Sweden came, and some of us sat in my room (we’re the only room with wifi) and talked until I could get them out so I could fall asleep.
I woke up about twelve hours later for the first orientation, and our final roommate, Brittany, had arrived. She lives near Newark, and her flight had been cancelled. She had just arrived in Florence, and we walked together, with Eva and Deborah, to our orientation. It was annoyingly cold today. Annoying because the weather in Florence has been beautiful the past week or so (mid to high fifties), and now it was freezing. The coolest thing was on our walk to orientation it was SNOWING! We enjoyed little flurries of snow while I quietly froze to death.
The rest of the day was filled with meetings, with our advisor and our landlord, and a delicious dinner altogether at the Mercato Centrale. It’s a market a block away from us with a market on the first floor in the morning, and a load of restaurants on the second floor all day. We sat as close to a heater as we cold, and I bought some gnocchi with ricotta cheese, and a mignon millefeuille, which was a layer of custard between two layers of pastry, with frosting on top.
With food in my belly and heat in our apartment, I am ready for bed now, because I still have not had enough sleep. Nothing to do tomorrow, so Livia and I are going to find a warm coat for me and a blanket for her. We’ll see what hilarity ensues.