Friday, August 26, 2016
We made it—all 46 of us! In twelve hours, we traveled from JFK to Italy. We left behind our family, sense of familiarity, and our high school lives. Now we anticipate adventure, learning, and an appreciation for a new culture. The feeling I feel is blessed.
We are currently at our hotel in Tarquinia, and I am blogging from my hotel room. We flew 8 hours from JFK to Rome. At Rome, we ate near our gate (the food on the plane was not very good) and talked to each other. Our flight from Rome to Florence was brief—only half an hour including departure and landing. Flying across Italy is absolutely spectacular. It was clear during our flights, so when I looked down, I saw lots of vineyards, pools, trees as well as fields and squares of what looked like dirt. The houses are different shades of yellow, and most of the roofs are a tint of red. It’s exactly like what I’ve seen in the pictures only better because it’s not a picture.
We were only in Florence for an hour in the airport. We were greeted by Marist Italy staff and other members of our program who flew from other destinations. We all hopped on a bus and fell immediately to sleep. We were exhausted from our flights! The bus ride was four hours to Tarquinia, but we stopped for a bathroom break at a little gas station. When we got on the bus, we all fell back to sleep!
Once we got to the hotel, we got our room assignments. They paired us alphabetically by last name. I’m in a room with a girl from New Jersey and a girl from Long Island. Our room is quite large (and air conditioned), and we hope to have a restful sleep. Before dinner, we walked one minute down to the beach! It’s gorgeous. There are chairs with umbrellas with a panoramic view of the ocean. I unfortunately packed my bathing suit in my checked bag, but I’m hoping I can borrow from a friend. For dinner, we ate at the hotel. They served us pasta, potatoes with olive and rosemary, chicken, caprese salad, and lemon sorbet. It was quite the welcome meal!
We’re excited to be in Italy yet eager to be in Florence where we can fully unpack and familiarize ourselves with the city before classes start. However, I am going to enjoy these next few days of orientation, despite the long meetings and awkward ice breakers. Our group seems to be very diverse; we have people coming from all over the world to spend their first year of college in Florence. There’s even a girl from Taiwan who I can practice my Chinese with! Everyone is friendly and easy to talk to. This type of setting forces us to talk to each other because there aren’t too many of us, we’re all in the same place, and there’s not convenient access to wifi (culture shock)! It’s fun getting to know new people though and discover why they chose to do this program too. I think we’ll all have an incredible year together.
So not a bad first day in Italy. I’m finally starting to believe that this is home for the next nine months! Ciao for now! xo ~e.
Word of the day: ciao (hello; goodbye)