florence; take one.

September 14, 2008

two weeks into my stay at florence. its been a range of feelings. what i expected differs largely from what i first encountered and now, what i am trying to establish/experience. whatnot. in coming to italy, i thought how great of an opportunity this would be to open my eyes. and i mean, they did open.. just in a different lense than i had hoped for? i wanted to be submerged in a culture that was foreign to me, that was challenging and would make me diverse my view on things and establish connections that bond me with a place that i dont at all call my home. and there is a sort of culture here that i have to accustom myself to. there are foreign things to me. there are certainly challenges. just all in different ways that i had imagined.

florence is so far from what true italian culture could be. the amount of tourists, travelers, study abroad students, anyone not being an authentic italian.. is pretty sad. so much is targeted towards the tourist, the traveler, the study abroad student. it drives me insane. how can i fully integrate myself with whats foreign when the consumerism and whatnot is aimed towards people who speak inglese. there is a very heavy stereotype of the american student here. that of noisy drunken disrespectful and intrusive. and i dont blame them. i see my peers getting sloshed at bars and acting oh so rude and not even caring that hey, this is someones home.

ive been in loner drive since i got here. i mean, i do group activity at night and when we go out. but i seem to stay by myself throughout the days here. its not a bad thing. its definitely something i need right now. its perfect for me. but the whole group mentality thing i havent been so good at. going out in huge groups just screams tourist and i really want to break that mold. i want to be submerged. even if its overwhelming. and im trying.

gosh. its not all negative though. i sound like such a fucking negative nancy. its beautiful here. i cant even fathom some of the things that i am seeing. theres so much richness here that new places like the united states lacks. theres so much to savor. breathing this all in helps with all the above mentioned challenges. a lot. i love the time im getting to do the things i want to do. even if its as simple as walking around and exploring places that seem interesting and new and foreign and NOT touristy to me. even if its reading just reading a book outside with the duormo in the background. even if its nothing significant at all. i love the classes that im taking. i love art history and the idea that im so close to where it all went down just makes it that much more interesting. so doesnt the fact that my professors are all so eager to teach us abt it. theyre so involved and want to get us involved. it makes the learning process that much better. ive also recently found some spots that are fun and what id call authentic, out side of mainstream downtown florence.

things are working out. im missing some people back home. but im so lucky to get to be here. this is so incredible.

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