I Finally Made It!
This blog has been a long time coming and there’s so much I need to catch everyone up on, so let’s get right to it! I apologize in advance for the length of this post =/
Flying — Let’s just say it’s not my favorite. I got kinda flustered at airport security because I forgot to put certain things on the belt, I didn’t take off my shoes, etc. The TSA officer was shouting things at me and I was holding up ten people behind me… Oops! After that whole ordeal, my friend Richelle and I waved goodbye to our parents from across the airport and made our way to the gate to catch our flight out of Buffalo.
I’m not claustrophobic, but that plane from Buffalo to Washington Dulles made me want to scream. Not only was it cramped but the man next to me was leaning against me the whole hour and a half it took to get to D.C.
After exiting the plane (directly on the tarmac mind you) we made our way into Washington Dulles International Airport, which is pretty much a city in of itself. It has it’s own subway system and is divided into four different terminals. After finding our gate after a good 20 minutes or so, I had a brief moment to call home and then before I knew it our plane was boarding.
This plane was operated by Brussels Airlines and was massive and quite roomy. The flight crew was absolutely amazing and each of them spoke multiple languages. We were served both dinner and breakfast over the course of this eight-hour flight and both were surprisingly good.
The only bad thing about the flight was a baby was screaming, I am not exaggerating when I say this, the ENTIRE flight! I maybe got two hours of sleep because of his bloodcurdling shrieks!
I was so thankful to touch down in Brussels, Belgium because I could finally stretch out my legs and regain feeling in my buttocks (or lack thereof). At the Brussels Airport we met some other students attending Lorenzo de’ Medici and we exchanged numbers and travel horror stories.
Up until this point my nerves were fine, but I think reality was finally settling in, and there was only one more flight that stood between me and the semester of a lifetime.
The flight was very smooth, yet the building anticipation made me feel uneasy. Just as I thought we were close the pilot informs us that the winds are too stong for the plane to land in Florence, so we had to be redirected to Bologna, Italy (not to be confused with the Oscar Mayer variety).
Needless to say, everyone on the flight was not happy with this terrible news. We were told that buses would be waiting for us at the airport to take us to the Florence Airport, which they claimed was only an hour drive…
The one good thing that happened was neither Richelle or I lost our checked luggage. When our bags showed up on the luggage belt, I ran over and hugged my suitcase as if I was seeing an old friend.
We made our way through the Bologna Airport, sure enough there were buses waiting for us. Sweating, tired, and starving, we rode the bus for over an hour to the Florence Airport. There we got a cab to the city, checked in with our school to receive our apartment keys, and made our way through the streets of Florence to find our new homes for the next three months.
Apartment & Roomies—Naturally my apartment would be on the top floor of the building, so I trudged up the, what seemed like endless, flights of stairs. I finally got to my apartment door, swung it open, and met my roommates (wheezing, sweating, and hallucinating from exhaustion, hunger, and heat).
I wiped off my sweaty hands on my pants and introduced myself, gasping for air between each introduction. Jon, Dan, and Jeremiah all seemed pretty chill and offered to help me with my bags which I thought was very kind of them.
I lugged my bags into my room, took in a deep breath, and slowly unpacked my life from my suitcases. After about an hour or so, I was pretty much settled. So, my roomates and I went out to get some gelato, and experienced a glimpse of Florentine nightlife.
When we came back to the apartment, I got ready for bed because I was so jet-lagged. Even though it was humid and stuffy, I was able to fall asleep in to time.
The next morning felt surreal because it still did not settle in that I was in a foreign country. I took a shower and got ready for the day as usual, and decided to have breakfast at a local bar (it’s what they call cafés). I had a cappuccino and a fruit tart for only €3 (roughly $4). I’m not sure if it was because I was caught in the moment, but it was probably one of the best things I ever ate.
I went back to the apartment and met my roommate Nick who had just arrived.
First Night Out—That night, I met up with Richelle, her roommates, and my roommate Nick, and we went out to our first Italian dinner.
We chose to go to Giubbe Rosse, which means “redcoats” in English, in the Piazza della Repubblica. I had a margherita pizza and shared a bottle of chardonnay with table. It was absolutely amazing, and we even made friends with our waiter Ervin (better known as Vinny).
I could probably go on and on about my first week in Florence, but I’ll break it up in chunks, especially because this post was so long. But until then: Ciao!