There have been several differences I have noticed just walking around Florence in the past week. One of these is the concept of time. Everyone walks much slower than in New York City and has a much different concept of time. NYC is fast-paced, and god forbid one walks too slowly they will hear cussing and be pushed out of the way. I must admit, I have now become the New Yorker I never wanted to become in such a beautiful, calm city like Florence. I too am guilty of the NYC rush to get somewhere. Just this morning, while walking from my apartment to San Marco Square to catch the 25 Bus to campus, a middle-aged woman was on the phone and walked slowly in front of me. In a rush, already late to class, I quickly zoomed by her and angrily shook my head. I felt bad after, but in time I should be able to adjust to the relaxed walking.
Throughout the last week, I have had several difficulties while adjusting to living in Florence. Much to my delight, Italian language and navigating the city have not been among these difficulties. Taking a semester of Italian proved to be worth every second, as I am able to navigate around, ask for help and communicate when I need to with others. Occasionally, I will consult Google Maps as well as Google Translate, but for the most part, I find myself using storefronts as landmarks to my apartment or the Duomo. Cultural differences have made it difficult at times to locate a specific place. For example, on the third day I woke up in Florence, I met a friend at an American cafe called Rooster Caffè. I walked past the front of the caffè probably three times without realizing, because there was no sign on the front with its name. I’m sure Italians have also had similar problems trying to find this caffè, but it has happened to me since with other stores and a market as well.
Since moving in and (finally!) getting back my other piece of luggage, I have created a routine for myself. I became a member of a local gym and will either workout or take a workout class at the gym at least 3 times per week. I have limited myself to one gelato per week, which seems almost impossible here. Venchi makes an amazing stracciatella gelato that takes seconds for me to inhale. Usually, after I do the dishes after dinner, I will take a walk and either buy groceries or check out a new store. One night I had to miss dinner after realizing that most of the restaurants on Via Del Corso (the street my apartment is located on,) have small dinner plates called “apertivi” after around 7 pm. Instead of getting frustrated when the unexpected happens, I have learned to go with the flow. It is a pleasant surprise when I discover something that much different than what I am used to because I feel like a true explorer!
I have had quite a wake-up call today because my mom alerted me that I had completely maxed-out my credit card. I felt terrible mostly because I had tried to be so conscious of how much money I was spending while here…and I have only been here for a week! I’m also hoping that I will figure out how to save money. I’ve booked several trips and spent way more than I spend on a regular basis at home. Also, the Euro is much stronger than the US Dollar, so I spend more just on food or essentials.