Arrividerci Freshman Year!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

I am officially a sophomore in college! Finished up my last two exams today. They were more challenging than I expected, and I was pretty fried when I sat down to take them, but I gave it my best. Now it’s Summer 2017! It came so quickly and in full force.

Olivia and I had a little photo shoot this evening; we both took our cameras out for a passeggiata. We took some very nice photos of each other in our temporary city. I will post them when I am States bound 🙂 Which is SATURDAY. Yikes!!! The next 72 hours is going to be an absolute whirlwind. With less than 48 hours in Florence, sleep is not a priority!! Soaking in every last moment is! We’re starting to say goodbye to our favorite locals at our favorite places, leaving them with polaroids of us. And the last gelatos are sadly winding down.

For dinner tonight, a big group of us went to Yellow Bar. My gnocchi was stellar!

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After dinner, we went to Kitsch (a really popular aperitivo spot right across from our building we hadn’t checked out all year) for some class Italian Aperol Spritzes. Aperol, prosecco, and soda water isn’t a bad combo!

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Here’s a photo of me refusing that this European adventure is nearly over.

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Final goodbyes and packing touches tomorrow! Can’t wait to see my family and Kiara! xo ~ e.

Hump Day

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Hump(h), there’s only 3 days left in Florence 😦 I’m going to miss a lot of things about Florence. The big things and the little things. Like going to La Ménagère with Sasha on Wednesday mornings before our 9 AMs in Piazza Strozzi, eating gelato at My Sugar for lunch (a frequent occurrence this week), snuggling with Hanks and Colleen, listening to the door to my apartment building buzz, waving at the kind workers in Sandwichic, smiling at the Duomo every time I pass it, listening to the soothing sounds of Italian, and hanging laundry on my Florentine terrace.

Two more finals left! Tomorrow all the American study abroad kids will be out drinking wine at Piazzale Michelangelo during golden hour to witness a final sunset and will continue their evenings at Florence’s many bars and clubs and secret bakeries. We just may join them (safely & in moderation), because we will have officially completed our first year of college in Italy! Being able to kick off summer 2017 in Firenze isn’t a regular gig.

Today Julia and I had our last brunch at Le Vespe. We can’t comprehend how fast our time in Florence went. We both know we want to work abroad in our careers! I’m grateful for our friendship and Florence, because we probably wouldn’t have hung out if we didn’t study here together. I always looked forward talking to someone older, from home, and outside of FFE. She’ll be a senior at UVM next year which is hard for her to believe!

We had a little potluck tonight on our RD’s terrace. It was so relaxing and a great study break! Another hot day in Florence, but it made the sky a perfect pink.

Fun fact: When Sasha and I were at La Ménagère this morning, we told one of our favorite waitresses, “We’re leaving on Saturday.” She said, “Oh, no. This is bad news for the middle of the week. *Pouty face*” #thefeels

My article I wrote for Her Campus (interview with Girl in Florence) went live a few days ago!!! Give it a read here. I had fun with this one 🙂

A domani! xo ~ e.

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We love you, La Ménagère

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Have to pack this bad boy!

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Tuesday Ragazze

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Lauren, Colleen, and I coined the name ‘Tuesday Ragazze’ in our group chat, because last semester the three of us didn’t have classes on Tuesday, so we spent the day together. This semester we all have classes on Tuesday, but we still hang out together in the afternoon! Today we went to Cascine Park (Krish, our friend from soccer came too) to relax on the lawn and stroll through the huge Cascine Market. We were tempted to buy turtles, fish, kittens, and bunnies, but we didn’t. That was on my list, and I’m glad I got to go! It’s only two stops away via the tram you catch at the train station (10 minute walk from our apartment).

No exams for me today but lots of rest and packing. Transitions are tough. There’s a lot of emotion, stress, fatigue, and anxiety involved. But it’s really starting to feel like summer with the warm breeze and sticky air. We’ll be homebound soon whether we’re ready or not (we aren’t). xo ~ e.

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Bruno the Bulldog

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Market passeggiata

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‘Studying’

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The ‘We should be studying’ selfie at its finest

The Final(s) Week

Monday, May 15, 2017

I feel like I’m in a bit of a lull. It’s very hard to focus on studying, knowing that I will be on a plane in five days that won’t land in Italy or Europe! All of us are in a tizzy, but we are trying our best to prepare and execute these exams while enjoying our last week in Florence. It doesn’t seem real. Fashion and COM were today, and gelato was for lunch! I ordered delivery (for the first time this year) with Colleen and Olivia for dinner tonight, and it was wonderful. The sun’s been shining; tourists are piling in. It’s nearly summer. xo ~ e.

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Pre-exam view at RED

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My favorite gelato shop will be greatly missed

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Cheap Chinese delivery always hits the spot

Buona Festa Della Mamma

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother’s Day to my beautiful, intelligent, brave, patient, and adventurous mama. I would not be chasing my dreams without her encouragement, role model quality, and support. I have missed my best friend so much this year and cannot wait to reunite next weekend. So here’s to you, Mom. Thank you for everything– the lessons, wisdom, time, motivation, and more. Good luck starting your new job tomorrow, and although I’m not cooking you breakfast in bed this morning, you know I will soon! Here are some of my favorite photos throughout the years. I can only hope I will be a mother, daughter, wife, sister, and worker like you someday. xo ~ e.

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My Athena

Last Saturday in Flo

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Last Saturday in Florence (for now) 😦 Trying not to get too hung up on the fact and instead am enjoying the day! I slept in till 9:30, and Sasha & I headed to Ditta Oltrarno. We stopped by San Lorenzo to admire Isabel’s amazing outfit she designed and sewed! She is SO talented. She drew everything you see here by hand! I would so wear this out and about (she says it fits her). There were many other talented artists exhibiting their works they completed at LdM throughout the semester too.

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Ditta brunch is the best brunch. Sasha and I journaled, talked about yesterday and summer and fall, and each had two coffees. Vasuhda joined as as well.

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I made a list in my journal of Florence and home ‘equivalents.’ Here’s a few:

Florence → Vermont

Arno → Battenkill

Ditta/La Ménagère→ South St./Spiral/Brown Cow

Roma→ NYC

Siena→ Burlington

Piazzale Michelangelo→ Nana & Pop’s backyard

Mercato→ Co-op and Farmers’ Market

Uffizi→ MASS MoCA

My Sugar/Edoardo’s→ Moxie’s/Battenkill Creamery/Ice Cream Man

This afternoon is dedicated to studying and resting before going out on the town for a final weekend hurrah. xo ~ e.

FFE Retreat

Friday, May 12, 2017

Today we had an FFE End of Year Orientation hosted by Marist Italy in a nearby surrounding hill/villa called Settignano. The panoramic and distance view of Florence’s historic city center was unbelievable! A mix of city and greenery in one shot.

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Can you spot the Duomo?

It was again so comforting being all together; we started this journey as strangers in Tarquinia nine months ago, and now we’ll leave as friends and abroad companions. We did some free writing and reflection which we desperately needed. We have been so busy and stressed about packing, finalizing papers, and studying for finals, that we haven’t had a lot of time dedicated to thinking about how much we have learned and grown during our freshman year.

We had 3-4 minutes to write about these prompts in our journals:

  • Write about anything that you’re feeling
  • What’s an assumption you had upon arrival in Italy?
  • What advice do you have for your Fall 2017 self?
  • I came to Florence in late August of 2016, and I saw…
  • I came to Florence in late August of 2016, and I thought…
  • I came to Florence in late August of 2016, and I felt…
  • I’m leaving Florence in late May 2017, and I am…

We split up into small groups after and had discussions facilitated by Marist Italy staff members. Those were nice, because we talked more about our individual takeaways from the program and year.

They fed us well in the refectory. The villa we were at also hosted Dutch college students. It was neat seeing them in Florence, because Sasha and I saw them in Amsterdam in March!

After lunch, we started to look forward. Current Marist students talked about their experiences in Poughkeepsie, housing people gave us logistics, and an Italian professor gave us some advice about transitioning to an American college campus. We also Skyped our Marist professors from first semester! It was so comforting hearing their voices and seeing their faces; they will be excellent resources for us on campus. We move in August 23 (before the freshmen) to get our bearings down. It will be another adventure and a new beginning. As sad as we are to leave, the end of the school year is always exciting. Nothing can compare to our freshman year abroad, so we have to enter Marist in Poughkeepsie with an open mind and without the intention of comparing it to Marist in Florence.

We concluded the emotionally exhausting day with a prosecco toast and snack outside on the patio. I still am not good with opening bottles, so Lauren had to help me out.

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We left Settignano around 5:30 PM. Colleen, Louis, and I got a photo before we left. The three of us bonded so much this year through soccer club and small town struggles 🙂

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This evening I did more packing, bought some souvenirs for friends and family, and went out for pizza and cannolis at the Mercato. It was a really satisfying day. It’s time to start winding down and preparing for a challenging yet temporary ‘arrivderci.’ xo ~ e.