Sunday, May 8, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

Over the past four months, Florence has certainly become my home away from home. When I travelled to other countries, I was always so relieved to come back to Florence because it's become such a comfortable and familiar place over the course of the semester. The words, "Oh my gosh! It's so good to hear people speaking in Italian again!" have definitely left my mouth. At the end of this week, I'll be venturing back to my "home home" and, while there are things and people that I have missed, I don't have that same sense of relief that I always have when returning to Florence. People, it's gonna be weird. Despite my apprehension in regards to going back to the States, there are definitely pros and cons to both of my "homes".

Things about Florence/Italy that I definitely will NOT miss:
  • The smell. Yeah, there are good smells like garlic and nutella waffles but, for the most part, Italy smells like dirty butt.
Mmm. Nutella waffles...
  • Being harassed by Italian men. If you're a woman and you live in/visit Italy, expect to hear whistling and the phrase "Ciao Bella" A LOT.
  • The exchange rate. When I got here is was about $1.30/€1. Now, it's almost $1.50.
  • There is no such thing as a line in Italy; there are only mobs of people trying to push their way to the front. 
  • Dog poop everywhere. 
  • Cobblestones. The 400 year old stone streets lose their charm after you step in a massive puddle and trip everytime you go to the grocery store.
  • Italians can be downright rude at times. And being late is basically an olympic sport here. 
Things that I WILL miss:
  • Gelato. Ice cream will never measure up to the fresh ingredients, creamy texture, and lower-fatness of gelato. I truly believe that you haven't really lived until you've experience Italian gelato.  
  • Walking everywhere. It's nice to be able to just walk to the grocery store or to school.
  • The Central Market! Having copious amounts of fresh fruits, veggies, meat, cheese, and bread within walking distance of your home is the coolest thing ever. 
  • Sicilian blood oranges. Mmm...
  • My chicken vendor at the market. He's adorable. 
  • Delicious, cheap artisan-quality coffee on every corner.
  • The bidet in our bathroom. I know that at the beginning of the year, I said that I didn't even know how to use it and didn't see a point in it. Now, I don't know what I will do without it. Ladies, shaving your legs has never been easier. 
  • Amazing Chocolate!
  • Fabulous window shopping. Italians know how to dress a manikin.
  • The people. I've met some really amazing people here and I will miss them sorely.
  • The antiquity of Italy: the architecture, the history, the art...all of it. 
  • The adventure that is my daily life in Europe. Every weekend is a new location. Every day is a new story to tell. 
Things that I miss about the US:
  • Customer service. It doesn't exist in Italy. At all. 
  • Free refills and tap water! You can't get either at a restaurant here and soda is hella expensive. 
  • Free public restrooms. In the US, you can pretty much use any public establishment's restroom free of charge. In Italy, it's hard to even FIND a public restroom. 
  • Good, cheap sushi, Chick-fil-A and take-out Chinese. 
  • Driving. Though, I will miss walking everywhere. 
  • Baking. I know that Stanley, my Kitchenaid mixer, has missed me just as much as I've missed him.
  • The people. Most of all, I really look forward to seeing my friends and family. 
I'm still without a Mac so studying for finals is as brutal as I'd anticipated! I can't believe that I've gone almost a full week without it. It's left a void in my heart that I am currently filling with Stride gum and Diet Coke. Hopefully, I will get it back tomorrow! 
    A presto!

    1 comment:

    1. Hang in there Britt! I'm sure you'll be fine for finals! I agree with you on your pros/cons list. I definitely miss the bloody oranges and the Duomo. I'm glad that overall you had a fantastic time! But we miss you in the U.S.