Fall Break | Part I: Florence

Ciao famiglia e amici! It’s been a crazy past two weeks. The good kind of crazy, though.

Last week was our fall break for school! I’ve never had a fall break before since Americans get Thanksgiving off, and it was much appreciated. All of us students seemed to be exhausted and really in need of a break, we all had plans and were desperately looking forward to traveling and spending time doing anything but homework.

As you guys know, I was lucky enough to have some of my family come and visit me ๐Ÿ™‚ My mom, dad, and older brother Dallas came to see me here in Florence!! Dani and Nathan are still in school, so they had to be left at home. We started here in Florence for 4 days (starting Friday the 20th) and left for a day in Venice on Tuesday the 24th. Then from Venice, on the 25th, we went to Rome for a few days. The trip went by so fast, faster than I imagined it would. Time flies when you’re having fun (and spending it with your people – who actually think you’re funny).

Let me say, if you talk to my parents and Dallas about how the trip went, they’re probably gonna mention that I was a little crabby during some parts. If not, I’m just throwing it out there. It was honestly a really confusing experience to have them here in my head and heart, as stupid as that sounds. I had adjusted here in Florence, I have my bearings and know where I’m going and what I like to do, etc. Then my wonderful family comes, and I felt totally out of whack. I stayed in their Airbnb with them, so I was totally out of my routine of my host home, my normal foods and room and chill-out space. It was the first time this whole semester that I didn’t have almost any space to myself, and I almost forgot what that was like!

I was really struggling because my heart and head were both incredibly happy to have my family here. I missed themย soย much, but I was just so crabby!! And then I felt horrible for being crabby because I love them so much and I was being such a brat to them. I was crabby on and off for the whole trip, going back and forth in my mind of how I actually feel vs. how I should feel. Towards the end of our trip, they said they had to leave early (flying standby is chaotic), and I just couldn’t stop being sad/crying about that. Emotionally, it was a rollercoaster of a week. I wouldn’t have traded it for anything! I am so thankful that they were able to join me, so I could share Florence with them, and then we could make new memories and have new experiences in Venice and Rome – memories that are going to last a lifetime too!

For our days in Florence, I showed the fam some of the places I love – SimBIOsi Pizza, Arnold Coffee (LOL @ DALLAS, ask my parents about that one ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), i’Tosto. We got to tour the Duomo together which was awesome (and stressful). I’m terrified of heights to the point where it’s crippling depending on what I’m doing. We were waiting in line for the Duomo, and I didn’t realize it was for climbing to the top of it!!! So I walked inside with everyone and then we started going up staircase after staircase, climbing up higher and higher in the dome, which was a little cramped but not horrible. We did get to the point where looking out of the little windows in the staircases made me feel uneasy and scared, and then we walk INTO THE DOME. RIGHT NEXT TO THE WALL. The only thing keeping us from our deaths was a railing. We were probably well over 100ft up. I couldn’t look at anything but the wall next to me, I was so terrified.

We kept having to climb up, until we reached the point of the exit (before you continue up to the top – it’s for those coming back down), and I immediately dipped out of there with Dallas. One thing I didn’t realize, is that we had to walk ALONG THE WALL INSIDE OF THE DOME AGAIN. THIS TIME HIGHER THAN BEFORE. I was not a fan of this at all. And people kept stopping to take pictures, and it was taking everything in me to not break down in tears. Eventually, Dallas and I made it all the way back down to the ground, and we sat outside and waited for my parents to join us. There was an awkward photo shoot taking place with this model and his group of people and photographer and stylists, etc. That was weird, but not uncommon around here.

On one of the days in Florence, my dad got to go up to the top of the tower in the Palazzo Vecchio (like I did for class), and he got some awesome pictures of the city like he wanted! My mom and I walked through the inside of the Palazzo and got to see all the rooms which was fun for us. Dallas stayed home this day so he could rest and decompress. I was also crabby with him and I think he felt bad and didn’t want to bug me. I’m a really bad person sometimes. However, some people might treat Dallas differently because of his Asperger’s. I don’t because he’s my brother and he drives me crazy regardless of his Asperger’s or not. And I still love him fiercely and will be there for him no matter what!!!!! Anyway, before we went to meet back up with Dallas, I took my mom and dad up to Piazzale Michelangelo which was awesome – the view you get of Florence is amazing from the hill! It’s a real trek up the stairs and my parents were both laughing at how hard I was breathing walking up the stairs — they were fine, of course. I was dying and it was embarrassing but not surprising. Hey, at least I know myself!!

We also got to walk through the Boboli Gardens and see part of Palazzo Pitti, which was so cool! I actually went through there today (and it wasย significantly colder than it was last week with them) with my Palaces of Florence class. My mom really wanted to see the gardens and walk through them since she had heard wonderful things about them and it is one of the best things to do in Florence if you want some exercise! The views of Florence were really beautiful, and the weather was still surprisingly hot! We enjoyed our time there, but Dallas was ready to leave by the end and got impatient with our slow walking (hehehehe).

I’m so happy that I got to share Florence with my family. This place has truly become my home, and I will be very sad to leave it in just 5ish weeks. I feel like I just got used to it! However, having my fam here has definitely made me more homesick than I was before. I really just miss my people. I miss all my friends and roommates and church and family and Austen a LOT. It’s harder to be here knowing that I’ve got all of that waiting for me at home!! But I know I’ll be very sad to leave Francesca and this wonderful host family that I have here a lot.

Here are some pics from our time in Florence together ๐Ÿ™‚ I forgot to take a lot of pictures with my family in them, so I only have a few! Trust me, Venice and Rome we have a lot more pics!!

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