Saturday, October 22, 2016
Today I had an unusual and somewhat scary experience. I walked to Mama’s Bakery, a bakery I’ve always wanted to check out, by myself on a Saturday afternoon (2:30 PM). I had a lovely stroll there, talking to Aunt Leslie on the phone and navigating my way through unfamiliar and quieter streets.I try to not use my GPS live all the time, but I’ll look up the directions beforehand and follow those to test my navigation skills. I also ran into my favorite Florence blogger, Girl in Florence! I read her blog before coming to Italy, and I knew I would see her at some point. I didn’t stop her because I wasn’t positive it was her, but she told me afterwards (via Instagram) that it probably was.
I arrived at Mama’s at 2 PM to enjoy a shortbread cookie and write a letter to my parents. I discovered that I will be spending more time at Mama’s Bakery! It reminds me a lot of Spiral Press in Manchester.
I headed back at 2:30 PM, and before I left, I debated whether or not I should go the way I came (to get to know the quickest route by heart) or go the longer way home on a busier street. I decided to go the way I came, and I had a moment of karma.
I was walking on one of the smaller streets, and I heard two people following closely behind me. Next thing I knew two young men (a couple years older than me) sandwiched me as we continued to walk. The one on the right had his iPhone out and recorded a video of him saying “I love you” and hoping to get a reaction out of me. I kept walking, not really knowing what to do. I saw the busier streets not far ahead, but there weren’t any people on the street. No escape. I stopped briefly at one point, and they stopped too. My mind went to worst case scenario (rape, kidnap, being held up, murder, you name it). In reality, they were having ‘harmless fun.’ I kept walking, and the guy said “Do you not love me back?” I did not saying anything and kept walking, and a few seconds later they turned the other direction; I never saw them again.
This experience shook me up a little. I’m glad and lucky that it wasn’t a life threatening situation, but my safety did feel in danger. It scared me that I didn’t know what to do or have a plan to escape. I thought I would be safe walking on these streets by myself mid day. I called my mom immediately after I got home (I booked it home), and she said to stick to the busy streets when I’m by myself. She’s right. I told my friends too, and they said “Why were you walking alone?” It’s funny because we walk alone here all the time– to class, to the grocery store, etc… It’s normal to us; we don’t think much of it. However, I will now, and it might not be a bad idea to look into mace or something like that. Hopefully I won’t have too many run ins like that! xo ~e.