Category Archives: Italy

Fun Cultural Differences

  • There is no tipping here! When it comes to splitting the bill up, it’s really easy!
  • You don’t just say “Ciao” to anyone on the street, people take that as hitting on them
  • Drink espresso standing up (they do have to go cups, but it’s rare to use them)!
  • Italians are very affectionate! There is always a couple committing wayyy to much PDA near the Duomo
  • Driving is a sport here! They all drive so crazy (Kate would fit in great)
  • If you are being loud, your neighbor has the right to call the police versus coming and telling you to be quiet
  • They drink luke warm whole milk
  • Italians don’t go out until 1:30am
  • Lunch is the biggest meal of the day…and Italians always serve pasta first

Today we bus to the Swiss Alps! I will keep you all posted!


The First Escape

I just got back from a visit to my ancestor’s home town: Lucca, Italy!
(I tried calling but couldn’t ever reach them…I plan on going back to see them)

I am about a 10 minute walk from the train station in Firenze. Me and four other of my friends, hoped on a 5,30 euro train to Lucca for the day. It was our first adventure on our own. We all had travel trauma nightmares before leaving. However, we made it there and back safe with the only issue being that we forgot to issue our train ticket before we got on the train.

When we arrived in Lucca, we were less then 10 minutes to the wall. Once inside, there was a antique sort of flea market going on. There were tents set up for days. We immediately were hungry and ended up at Osteria, which was the first restaurant that I opted out of pasta and into chicken and peas (it was amazing!)…I cannot gain the freshman fifteen again, aka the study abroad seventeen!

After lunch we decided to ride bikes around the city (2.6 miles) and detoured into the main amphitheater. Although it was cold it was so nice to get blood flowing and our bodies moving! It was definitely one of the best things I have done so far abroad.

On our way back we ended up meeting up with two other girls in the GIF program who are here for the year. They took us over to the BEST kabob restaurant in Firenze (and it’s open ALL night)! Let me tell you, these things have everything: chicken, lettuce, cabbage, hot sauce, french fries, onions, tomatoes, and more! It is going to be my Chipotle while I am here!

Also, on Friday night, my pension (85 Cavour) decided to have a group bonding dinner. So all 24 of us met up and walked to a restaurant called Tijuana. It’s a mexican restaurant in Firenze, and although it isn’t authentic, it was pretty good! It was also a really good break from all the pasta!

I feel like I can now get around Firenze, for the most part. I can navigate around the Duomo, to the train station, to Santa Croce, and our favorite restaurants. It’s so exciting! I still has yet to hit me I am living here, but I feel a sense of home towards my pension and Firenze!

First Day: Orientation

The coffee is strong in Italy. My roommates and I were able to get through the day thanks to the concentrated/potent but delicious coffee this morning. The time change hasn’t been to bad so far, but it’s only been one day so I will continue to acquire and adapt to the new time.

Today was the first day of school…sort of. We met at the campus of Gonzaga in Florence (GIF), and walked to another building for orientation. The campus is in a gated community and is adorable. There is a small gym downstairs, which I will be trying to visit, and a library as well.
[BTW, it’s gonzAGa NOT gonzAHga for pronunication]

The orientation was three hours long, but thanks to the coffee I was able to sit through without falling asleep from jet lag. It was very useful. We were introduced to the faculty and classes. Most of the professors are Italian/European and my finance teacher came out introducing his class as “Religion of the 21st Century” aka Intro to Finance. I cannot wait to get started in the class, it is going to be phenomenal. We were also introduced to extracurricular activities: intramural soccer teams, community service, Italian conversation partners***, cultural activities, fitness classes*, ambassador programs, Glee nights***, and many more! I want to join it all!!
*Maybe joining
** Definitely joining!!Carly, Montana, me, and Cassie--my new rommies and I on our first day in Firenze

After orientation we enjoyed a glass of wine on Via Cavour, followed by lunch provided by the pension. Later we strolled through the Duomo down to the Pointe Vecchio where we enjoyed italian cappuccinos (SENSATIONAL!) and watched the rain fall outside the cafe.

After a long 24 hour day of travel I have found my new home in Italy

Carly and I leaving SFO!

My flight left out of SFO on January 2, 2012 at 10:57am. I flew with a friend, Carly, thank goodness because it was quite a whirlwind of excitement, and if I were alone there would have been some tears. We had no idea there was a layover in Chicago, which ended in a ten minute layover, including us literally sprinting through tunnels, up and down staircases, and through tour groups, where we eventually made our flight AND beat our bags on to the plane!

The flight from Chicago to Munich was not a bad flight. If you want to enjoy a funny movie, I suggest Our Idiot Brother. The flight succeeded with a five-hour layover in Munich, however, we were able to hang out in the Italian flight area where we mingled with some locals. After butchering my italian to an elderly couple, we made a new friend from Turin (aka Torino), who gave us excellent advice on travel in Italy and Europe. She also offered to make us home-made gnocchi if we ever made it up to Turin.

The last leg of the trip was the most exciting. It was a 55 minute flight into Florence and it included a scenic view of the snow-covered Alps (Krambeck’s made a mistake not coming here) and the Tuscan country side. Our taxi ride was the scariest part of the trip so far, we literally almost took out a group of bikers and a few buses. Note: do not try to drive in Florence.

The pension that I am currently residing in is located a few blocks from school. I have three roommates and about 23 other study abroad students in our program. Upon moving in, I faced my fear of elevators, in this case a very small one with all of my luggage. However, we were greeted at the door by Renaldo, an elderly italian man (his daughter’s name is Laura), and another man whom I cannot remember his name, last name of Verducci, who owns the pension.

However, after twenty-four hours of travel, Carly and I took a walk down a few blocks to find ourselves eating prosciutto and formaggio pizza upon the steps of the Duomo and I can not be more excited to be enjoying such an amazing, once in a lifetime opportunity.