To say my adventure got off to an unexpected start would be an understatement, but I guess that’s why they’re called adventures. The 2015, record breaking blizzard Juno was headed right for Boston at the exact time I was supposed to fly out of the U.S. and into Europe. My original plan was to fly from Boston to Paris, meet up with my roommate Melissa who was flying from JFK, and then fly from Paris to Florence together. Unfortunately, the storm hit New York before it hit Boston and her flight was cancelled wouldn’t arrive in Florence until Friday. Luckily for me, they moved the takeoff time up about a half hour to try to get out before the storm really hit. Even though we didn’t board until the original time, we ended up sitting on the runway until 8:30 as they sprayed down the plane. For a few minutes I didn’t know if we were actually going to leave, and even though we took off after our originally scheduled time, by 8:40 I was off to Florence.
I watched the movie Gone Girl as I waited for takeoff and about an hour and a half into the flight it ended and I planned on going to sleep. This was not the case. While I was seated next to a very nice French man, he was not the best at airline etiquette. Three shots of cognac deep about 3 hours into the flight, instead of sleeping like most everyone else on the flight, he sat there with his overhead light on just staring at the seat in front of him. Even still, we were woken up around 1 AM as the flight attendants served us breakfast, which I desperately needed as I had only picked at my dinner of what they call chicken. So unfortunately for me, by the time we landed at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, I only had about 2 hours of sleep. I landed in Paris at about 9 AM their time, and the airport was nice enough to send an employee to escort all of the people on my flight who were connecting to Florence, to the terminal. There were about 15 study abroad students taking the exact same flights as I was to Florence, even though none of them were studying through to Marist Lorenzo de’ Medici program. The majority of people on my flight were fellow study abroad students as well as a hoard of French school kids who clapped when the flight landed so I’m sure you can infer how great they were the rest of the flight.
I arrived in Florence at around noon and took a taxi to pick up my key from the Marist office and then took another taxi to my apartment. My apartment is pretty spacious for Italy and is located about about 7 minutes from the Duomo, which aside from being a beautiful church to walk past each day, is what I consider to be the center of the city. Even though I’m not right in the center, the street I’m on has amazing restaurants and is right near Piazza de Santa Croce, which is another beautiful church (that seems to be the theme here in Florence). There are 3 double rooms, to accommodate the 6 of us that will be living here, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen, and a living area. The room I chose has 2 giant double windows that overlook this beautiful five star restaurant across the street. In addition to our beds, each of us has a desk and chair, desk lamp, side table, side table lamp, a closet, mirror and bulletin. There are cute maps and pictures of Florence all around the apartment that make it feel a little homier. As I was unpacking and celebrating to the Lizzie McGuire soundtrack, as a true 90’s girl visiting Italy does, one of my apartment-mates, Ingrid, arrived. Her mom was with her and after she dropped her stuff off, the three of us went out to dinner. We went to this cute little restaurant just a few minutes down my street. I had pasta, my first official Italian meal if we aren’t counting the sesame crackers I had on the plane. If that meal was any indication of the type of food I will be eating in the coming months, I’m in for a delicious semester. After dinner, I came back to the apartment and Ingrid went to her mom’s hotel. I ended up passing out on the couch around 5 pm, woke up at 7 pm, relocated to my bed and slept until noon. I only woke up around 1 am to loud saxophone playing from the bar down the street, which I’m still questioning the necessity of right now.
Now that I’m jet-lag free and have settled in to my home for the next three months, I’m hoping to head out into the streets and explore a little bit of Florence today. I have orientation bright and early tomorrow morning, so it will be nice to meet some other people in my program and find out where my classes and what my semester is going to look like.
Ciao for now,
All Photography by Emily Houston