Homemade Pasta & Cappuccinos

Thursday, September 29, 2016

It’s Thursday in Florence which means it’s the weekend! Today I had my first speech for my Public Speaking & Presentation Skills class. It was a celebratory speech that went very well! I am happy with my delivery, as was my professor. I will post the text to the speech later this weekend.

Today in cooking class we made homemade spaghetti with tomato sauce. It was one of the most satisfying bowls of pasta I’ve ever consumed! We made the dough by hand, kneaded it, put it through the pasta stretcher, and cut it into skinny strands on a “guitar.” For the sauce, we used a vacuum machine and steamers before emulsifying it and boiling it on the stove. Cherry tomatoes, garlic, evoo, and basil never tasted so good! Louis and I are still the dream team in the cooking classroom. We have a tendency to be finished first 🙂 Today was our last class in the Mercato Centrale. It’s such a beautiful kitchen. I thoroughly enjoyed our four classes there and look forward (sort of) to being at the Lorenzo de’Medici Institute cooking classroom for the rest of the semester.

Sasha’s friend from Uzbekistan, Michael, is in Florence for a few days, and we picked him up at the train station. He bought us white roses at La Ménagère! Such a sweet gesture. We took him for a walk and out to dinner. We feel like Florence tour guides! It is cool when Americans come up to us and ask for directions. Most of the time we can offer them accurate advice!

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Today is National Coffee Day in the U.S.! This morning I got up at 7 and went to La Ménagère to relax before my speech at 9. I had a croissant and cappuccino, served by the cute barista. It was so refreshing being there so early in the morning with only a few other locals and workers; normally it’s packed and buzzing. Definitely one of my favorite spots! Reminds me of my go-to spot: South St. Café in Bennington, Vermont.

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Tomorrow is a homework day and a planning for Ibiza day. Then Saturday I’ll be in Cinque Terre! Exciting weekend ahead to welcome October. xo ~e.

word of the day: bianca (white)

Upcoming Travel Plans

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Ciao! I am so excited to share my upcoming travel plans for the rest of the semester with you now that they are (almost) all set in stone.

This weekend I am taking Saturday to explore the magnificent Cinque Terre! Cinque Terre is a 3 hour train ride from Firenze (33 euros roundtrip), and it’s known for its five colorful towns on the northern coast of Italy. Cinque Terre is somewhere I have been dying to go to before I came to Italy. The weather forecast is calling for rain, but I know it’s going to be amazing no matter what! Hopefully we can take a dip in the chilly water.

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Source: cntraveler.com

For fall break in October, I’m planning on going to Venice for my First Year Seminar pilgrimage (more details to come). I want to spend a night there alone and explore one of Italy’s gems solo.

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Source: andrewharper.com

In addition, my friend and I are going to Ibiza, Spain! We are so excited. We found a cheap flight on Ryan Air (30 euros roundtrip), a 30 euro roundtrip train ticket from Florence to Pisa (where we are flying out from), and an 80 euro air b n b for three nights. That’s traveling on a budget! We are going to enjoy some island time exploring, relaxing on the beautiful beaches, and eating delicious food– not partying all night long like the island is known for! It will be interesting going during the non-touristy season. Can’t complain!

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Source: ibizatraveller.com

Stay tuned! I can’t wait to travel and share my experiences with you. xo ~e.

Voting Abroad

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I voted today! Before I left for Italy, I registered to vote at my town clerk’s office. The town clerk emailed me my ballot a few days ago, and I filled it out today and dropped it in the mail drop on Via del Giglio.

It felt very strange voting! It’s something I’ve only seen my parents do before now. I remember going in the little voting booth with my mom and playing in the navy blue curtain. I’d ask who she voted for, and she was kind enough to tell me; it didn’t matter since I had no idea who any of the candidates were. At that age, I couldn’t believe that I had to be 18 to vote. It felt like too many years ahead.

Another prime example of how time passes so quickly. I never could’ve guessed I would be voting for the 2016 Presidential Election in Italy. I have not been exposed to the politics back in the States like I would be if I was there. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I read a little about the debate that took place last night, but that’s it. I filled out the bubbles next to the names on my desk in my apartment. It brought me back to taking the SAT! Ha. I had to sign a certificate and put both papers in an envelope to mail to Vermont.

It was exciting voting, even though I didn’t get the full effect since I’m not in the U.S. There will be more elections to come, but as I thought about it the other day, you really don’t vote for a president too often in your lifetime. All I can say is that this election will certainly be one for the books. I’ll surely remember it. Make sure to vote on November 8! xo ~e.

Month #1 in Firenze

Monday, September 26, 2016

Well, here I am. One month ago I arrived in Italia, and here I am one month later.

This month has been absolutely life changing. I hopped off a plane in Rome a month ago and went to orientation in Tarquinia for a few days before arriving in Florence and moving into our apartments. I’ve survived three full weeks of college classes and have already created friendships that will last for the next four years and beyond. I also embarked on a weekend getaway to Rome.

During this month, I have eaten a lot of pasta, gelato, and sipped on too many cappuccinos. Luckily, I know how to order all three in Italian. I’ve also completed many adult tasks like weekly grocery shopping, laundry washing, cleaning, and balance of work and play. Although I did most of these at boarding school, doing them in another country ups the ante quite a bit.

It’s hard to believe that one month ago I had nine months in Italy. Now I have eight. Every day when I pass the Duomo or walk across the Ponte Vecchio, I’m reminded how lucky I am to be experiencing this global adventure. I’ve managed to make this city and the people I’m surrounded by feel like home. It’s important to remember that this is a temporary home. I’m not a born and bred Florentine, and I’ll only have the experience of living here as a student, but I’m very proud and humble to be able to call this place home for nine months. It’s not something everyone will be able to say.

While thinking about the word ‘home’, I’ve found myself missing several components to home but not my physical house. I miss my parents, my dog, my friends, driving in the Green Mountains during the fall, and Spiral Press. However, I haven’t really missed my house or Vermont. I’m sure I do to some extent, maybe in my subconscious, but I’m in such a unique place of the world that I won’t be in forever. Therefore, I’ve immersed myself into the belief that this is my temporary home, and I need to make the most out of it. Sure, there will be days when I don’t want to be here, but that’s anywhere. It’s mysterious, confusing, and invigorating simultaneously.

My favorite part about living in Florence thus far is living in a city. I’ve always wanted to live in a city, and it’s so incredible living in a European one so young. I walk everywhere, people watch constantly, hang out at cafés, and take advantage of what the city has to offer. This city has so much artwork and historic sites it’s unbelievable. Being in the presence of them every day is enlightening. I especially love listening to life music at night in the piazzas and seeing the Duomo at night while licking gelato. The best part is that it’s only a 10 minute walk away.

The hardest part of living in Florence so far is budgeting. I’m not used to having to buy my own groceries and using my money, but it’s something I’m getting the hang of. I haven’t been shopping for too much extra, and it’s nice that school expenses are out of the way for now. I will have to take a closer look for the rest of the year since I do hope to get more traveling in.

So one month down in Florence. I haven’t run away yet, and I don’t intend to. Feeling brave and blessed. xo ~e.

A MSS Reunion

Sunday, September 25, 2016

It’s starting to feel like fall in Firenze! This morning it was about 50 degrees when I woke up, but now it’s 80. This weekend my classmate from middle school, Maddie, came to visit me! She’s studying in Switzerland this semester and managed to come down here for a weekend. It was great spending time with her and seeing a familiar face in Florence. We ate good food, window shopped, and did lots of walking. We stayed at an air b n b about half an hour from my apartment; it was a different part of town that I wouldn’t have come across if we weren’t staying there!

Today was the Corri la Vita race for breast cancer awareness. I signed up a few weeks ago to run the 5K, but I ended up not finishing because there were so many people! The Piazza del Duomo was so packed we couldn’t move. I couldn’t get myself up to where the runners, so I was stuck with the walkers. I would have walked the entire time then eventually run, but I was pressed for time because Maddie’s train left at 1. I felt bad not finishing, especially because I was really looking forward to it, but it was an experience as well as motivation to start running daily! Here’s a photo from the Corri la Vita Instagram to get a sense of how many people were there:

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Courtesy of @corrilavita on Instagram

We’re heading into our fourth week of classes. I have a speech on Thursday and an essay due Friday. Starting to feel like a real college student! No travel plans for next weekend, but I might take a day trip to Cinque Terre while it’s still warm. Stay tuned! Hope everyone had a fabulous weekend. xo ~e.

Rome Slideshow

Thursday, September 22, 2016

As promised, here are some photos from Rome last weekend! I miss it already. Happy official day of fall, everyone! xo ~e.

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It’s Not Always “Gucci” in Florence

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

As lucky and grateful as I am to be spending the next nine months of my life in Florence, there are certainly moments that aren’t all positive. For example, today I learned that I did not receive a Marist Italy Office Assistant/Ambassador position. I spent a lot of time and put in a lot of effort into my resumé, references, and cover letter. Plus, I felt like I would be a great fit for the job with my previous experience as a tour guide and peer-ed at Emma Willard and an intern at MJG Interiors. I was also hopeful of getting one out of the three positions because I have a work study included in my financial aid package.

Turns out, it wasn’t in the cards for me. My roommate and Sasha both got the job, so I’m excited for them even with the twinge of my disappointment. I realized that the whole job process is kind of like the college admissions process. You could be exactly what they’re looking for, but it isn’t the right match. I just have to believe and trust that and move on with my life as a student. I’ll have more time to travel, study, write, cook, and blog! I knew coming into this experience, there would be positives and negatives, and as predicted, I reached a negative today. Luckily, there will be many more positives (and negatives) to come.

My Italian quiz went well today (I think I passed), and tomorrow is the start to the weekend! xo ~e.