Benvenuti a Firenze!

I have officially been in Italy for a week, and the only word I seem to utter is ‘wow’. From the famous tourist spots to the small family-owned restaurants and shops, the beautiful city of Florence has it all.

I’ll begin by saying that I decided to blog about my adventures abroad so my friends and family can get a glimpse into how a born n’ raised Texas girl adjusts to the new European lifestyle. My posts will consist of a variety of things, from my new apartment living to restaurant recommendations to the different street styles I see in Europe (and if you know me, you know I love fashion and hope to one day work in the fashion industry). Plus who wouldn’t want to read about/see pictures of the trips I take and the amazing Italian food I have already grown to love?

The purpose of this first post is to give some insight into a few of the things I have already experienced in Florence that are so different from what we are accustomed to at home. For a girl who’s never been to Europe, adjusting to the lifestyle here has been quite interesting. I’m living with five other girls in an apartment in the heart of the city, a five minute walk from the famous Duomo (we got extremely lucky with the location and the size- it’s HUGE). We also conveniently have a grocery store a few doors down from us. You know how we go to Tom Thumb or Kroger at home and buy groceries to last an entire week then load everything in our cars and drive home? Yeah, that’s not a thing here. The norm is to buy what you need to only last a couple days then walk home with groceries in hand. So you can imagine all the looks I got on my first trip to the grocery store when I bought enough food to last me a week. Note to self, don’t ever buy food to last more than three days unless you want the locals to stare at you like you’re crazy.

Moving on — If you know me, you know I smile at just about anyone I see, regardless of where I am. As Buddy the Elf once said, “I love to smile. Smiling’s my favorite!” Well I quickly caught on to the fact that smiling at strangers isn’t a thing either when I realized no one was smiling back at me. At orientation, we were advised to not smile at strangers, for this could give off the impression that you’re interested in them. This is a weird concept for me and will take some getting used to, as I’ve grown up smiling at everyone because it’s a nice gesture and makes people, or at least myself, feel good inside. So for now, I will continue to smile at people when I walk down the street, but will be cautious of who I’m smiling at.

Another luxury we have in the U.S. are dryers. Here, you hang dry your clothes, so you can imagine how creative six girls can get when we all have clothes that need drying. We like to think of this as our way of “decorating” the apartment. For example, a t-shirt drying by the window could be thought of as a curtain — you get the idea.

All of this being said, adjusting to the lifestyle hasn’t been easy, but this is an opportunity I wouldn’t trade for the world. God has blessed me tremendously with amazing parents who have made my dream of studying abroad a reality, and I am so excited to see what all He has in store for me this semester. So come along for the ride and keep up to date with this amazing adventure I am about to embark on.

And don’t forget to follow my Instagram account @KenzInFirenze to see what else I’m up to on a daily basis!

Until next time, Ciao!

McKenzie

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