Hi friends! It feels longer than a week since I last wrote a post, but that’s probably because I didn’t give an update last week (since there wasn’t much to update on). This week however, I actually got out of Florence for a day and I’ve been up to some slightly-cooler stuff! I’ve got some more fun picture collages and stories to tell., so let’s do this.
This past week, I went to Arezzo, Italy with my housemate Nellie, and we went to their insanely huge antique festival. It’s massive! We also went to the famous Uffizi Gallery here in Florence on Sunday. I got more homework in class, got feedback and help on a project I was struggling with, etc. Today with my Palaces of Florence class, I walked up to the top of the tower in the Palazzo Vecchio, and that was amazing. I also am learning and relearning grace and patience continually.
AREZZO, ITALY: This city is so amazing. Nellie my housemate booked us the trip for last Saturday – so shoutout to her for doing legit all the planning. I am a broke joke while I’m here, so I’ve not been able to really travel as much as a lot of other students have been. But Nellie found us train tickets for 13,50 euro to Arezzo (less than an hour away from Florence, about 40-50 mins), and wanted to go after she saw that they have an amazing antique festival that they put on the first weekend of every month.
We first arrived at the train station and had to figure out where to go. Approaching the tents, we saw around 10, and we thought that was it. Not too impressive, it’s like a small farmer’s market, no big deal. Then, we turned the corner, and saw that this market goes up the street. And then it just KEEPS GOING. Me and Nellie were a little surprised, honestly. Sometimes it feels like America’s the only country that really does anything BIG like this.
We found a beautiful spot to have our snacks we brought (to save money), shopped around and took pictures, and each got a ring from one of the booths that gave us a student discount, which is cool. We ate some amazing food, and headed home, and we were exhausted. We walked over 23,000 steps that day!
UFFIZI GALLERY: On Sunday morning, my roommates and I woke up early around 7 to get ready to go to the Uffizi for the morning. It was the free admission Sunday, which is a thing that state museums in Florence do the first Sunday of every month. We got in line which was about a half mile long (no joke), and waited for about an hour and a half to get in. At peak time, I heard the line takes like 3 hours, since they can only allow a certain number of people in at a time.
I needed to go to the Uffizi for my Color Theory class and choose 3 paintings that I liked and that inspire me, so I can create a new painting for class. My roommates were troopers. Ash went and got us espresso while we waited in line to get in, and that was really nice! We got cut in line by this old couple (super rude) that kept looking at us like we were annoying them… when they cut in front of us after we had been waiting for 30 mins. Then, we got cut in line AGAIN right before we were about to go into the gallery, because this woman invited her 4 friends to join her. SO RUDE PEOPLE. COME ON.
I have high standards for museum etiquette, to be honest with you. There’s just a certain way you should be, because otherwise it’s disrespectful to the other patrons and the staff, and it’s just rude. Florence has an extremely high Asian tourist population, and I’m not exactly sure why, but the large groups of tourists in the museums were incredibly disrespectful to all the other people in the museum — they were using flash photography (even after they get yelled at), standing directly in front of the art so that people can’t see around them, bringing kids and let them run around and push each other AROUND CENTURY OLD STATUES, budging people in line constantly to see specific rooms when there is CLEARLY A LINE, standing in front of the same painting in front of everyone and taking pictures on their phone, then their camera, and then going back to their phone to zoom in and take detail shots of the entire painting…. Seriously. It was one of the most frustrating museum experiences of my life and I just wanted to get out of there. Afterwards we tried this toast place and got some toasted sandwiches and they were amazing and the bread is bigger than your face, so it’s awesome.
Here are some pictures of the paintings I chose for class, and some other famous paintings in the Uffizi.
Next stop is the Academia Museum so I can finally see the David!!
CLASSES: Most of my classes I’m doing fine. Interior design is a struggle when you have to all of a sudden design in the metric system, and that’s been a huge challenge for me. I’m finally starting to get the hang of it! Color Theory is awesome and my professor is hilarious.
This week for my Palaces of Florence class (which I actually had this morning), we toured the Palazzo Vecchio, which served as the house of the priors for a long time — the government in the early years of Florence. Anyway, the original structure was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, who also designed the cathedral attached to the Duomo. He’s a big deal architect, and this is one of his famous projects in Florence. So we got to tour it which is awesome! Apparently last year it was closed because Tom Hanks was in town and decided to go. How random and annoying, especially because the prof has to reserve tickets in advance.
Anyway, no Tom Hanks for us to ruin our experience. We got to see a lot of the palace, and it was beautiful. We then got to walk all the way up to the top of the original tower, and let me tell you: today, I have walked 44 flights of stairs. The tower was around 25 alone. It was insanity. My legs feel like jello tonight. However the view from the top of the tower is amazing! Here are some pictures from that today:
Okay, so this grace and patience thing. I honestly thought I had a handle on it before I got here. Like I thought that I was pretty good at being patient, and that I am good at waiting for things (lol so not true). I thought I was good at giving grace out like it’s free candy, and that is also not true.
God’s really been challenging me. He put me in this place for so many reasons, and I’m not even kidding, I thought I knew them. I came into this trip assuming he was going to show me how to let go of control (to an extent I am learning this), not grace and patience. Because I thought I was okay with those already, why would I need to learn more? OH ELISSE, YOU LITTLE NAIVE CHILD. BUCKLE UP. (that’s what God said) (obviously). Ashleigh and I are very different in a lot of ways, and God’s using those differences to soften my heart and change me more than he needs me to try to change her. Mind blown, when I realized this.
I’m good at being a roommate. My roommate here though, has never had a roommate before. Never. On my end, I’ve shared a room with Dani and my college roommate Emilie for a total of… 18.5 years. So we have a diverse range of experience in the roommate and sharing a room department. Ash also likes to go out to the bars and clubs at night which is fine, I just am not interested in that life and stay home and watch Full House on Netflix or chill out with YouTube or my books. Ash is a little loud and opinionated and fiery, and I’m the more reserved one who tends to keep to myself (sometimes). Ash loves to meet people and try new things, and she challenges me to get out of my comfort zone, and I would rather sit still and not talk to strangers all the time. But we really do get along well, and we have been good roommates so far.
All those differences are challenges for me though, because I don’t understand some of the things she does and says and sometimes I get frustrated with having to share a room with someone who doesn’t know me. I have had to constantly be reminding myself that living a Christian life isn’t on everyone’s agenda, because not everyone’s a Christian (DUH). I have to remind myself to have grace and have it abundantly, showing it to anyone and everyone – especially those I’m closer too. I also need to have patience with people, and like Ashleigh, because she’s never had a roommate before, it’s gonna take time for her to get used to constantly sharing a space (and a space with someone that’s really different from her). I have been and consistently need to remind myself of patience and grace every single day.
Thanks for reading my blog and for keeping up with my journey here in Italy, it means a lot to me to know I have a lot of support from home!