Tis the Season for Final Projects

It’s that time of the year when the weather starts getting cold and you know that the season of holiday songs, festive lights and Christmas trees, is just a few weeks away. In Florence, they hang lights like banners between buildings and as you look up you can’t help but feel the anticipation for the day when they turn the lights on. Another joy of the up coming season is the realization that final projects for classes are being started and finished. In first year semester one draping, the whole class has finished draping our final dresses and have started to cut them out and sew them. It is a bit like looking up at those lights waiting for them to turn on. I don’t know how my dress will look when it’s finished but the anticipation is killing me! It’s incredible to think that I have pulled from my head a design for a dress, have taken hours to puzzle the pieces together (much like those who find a tangle of lights from last year and have to untangle them without giving in to the desire to just cut their way through the wires) and now get to watch as my creation ‘illuminates’.  I cannot believe I am making my first draped garment in Florence…Thank you FIT!

Good Food & Great Company

To those that celebrate, hope everybody had an amazing Thanksgiving with lots of yummy food!!
Thanksgiving obviously isn’t celebrated in Italy, but since most of us are from the states, FITSA held an amazing potluck dinner! It was so successful thanks to everyone bringing in delicious food that brought us all back home :) It’s that time of year when we all want to be home with our families celebrating Thanksgiving and the coming holidays, but while we’re here, FIT has become family. All the food was incredible and way more than enough!

{we had an endless amount of food}
{so delicious, then went into a food coma..}
{FMM girls dressed in shades of autumn}
{Picked up Pocahontas, a few Indians & a pilgrim on the way}
{festive stones}
{some bubbly & smiles after dinner}

{oh, fashion design}
{FIT family}

I’m so glad so many people came out including a few professors :) Felt like a real Thanksgiving dinner away from home. But let’s not forget the most important part of Thanksgiving- giving thanks! I am truly grateful for this opportunity to be studying abroad with these people, who were once all strangers and now family! And while living in the moment, it’s difficult to realize what we’ve got, especially with the stress of upcoming finals… but um hello.. I’m living in Italy!! Must make the most of the rest of the semester as it comes to an end in just about a month!

Just Another Local

I never get bored siting in class when I’m learning about fashion, but often the rush of school, projects and homework cause me to forget where I am. Often I find myself mindlessly walking home staring at my feet trying to remember what I need to do when I get home. But suddenly I look up for a second and can’t help but gasp as I look out along the Arno river and see the lights of the city dancing on the water, and then I remember… I am attending F.I.T. in Florence.

Earlier this week, coming from a long day at school, I chanced to stumble upon a small little liberia e cafe (bookstore and cafe) by the name of Meykadeh. When I first walked in I saw a fantastic assortment of drinks glued to the wall with light radiating from them. At the time I only had 3 euro in my pocket and was craving some Italian Chocolate. Usually I am dubious about trying new places but I sat down at the bar and ordered cioccolate calda con panna (hot chocolate with whipped cream). The barista and co-owner, whose name I discovered to be Jan, asked me if I would like Mint, Orange, Dark, or Milk. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a hard time decided over hot chocolate, but I went with the milk chocolate just to be safe. We talked as she concocted my drink like a careful scientist. I discovered that we had a mutual appreciation for Rugby and the fact that she is from New Zealand, we also had a similar satisfaction in the results of the Rugby World Cup. It was nice hearing about how she came to Italy and about her new age love story that resulted in the little cafe, Meykadeh. When she passed me the large cup filled past the rim with whipped cream, dusted with chocolate and accented with a biscotti, I couldn’t help but feel like a local. I wrapped my hands around the cup watched the steam and thought to myself, “Next time, Orange.”

Olives Galore!

Last weekend FITSA (FITStudent Activities) decided to have an event that would partake in the Italianritual of olive picking. Our trip began with a bus ride from Florence into the hills of Tuscany, to one of our advisors home, where we were promptly led tothe gorgeous olive grove.

We each chose one of two pre-selected trees and began getting down the olives into nets below. The olives were clumped onto the branches. The key of the entire endeavor was to be able to remove the olive clumps from the branch, without harming the tree or the leaves, which would need to remain intact for future seasons of olive growth. As such, the greatest care and ease was needed for the picking.

After picking for a two hours straight, we had thoroughly gotten all of the olives off the tree, and had filled two large containers. We were then led back to the home, for a mini-meal. The meal featured fresh Italian bread, excellent cheeses, and Italian prosciutto. Of course, there was also A LOT of olive oil, made from olives from the same trees that we had been picking from. I was stuffed from all of the great food.

The entire experience was a fantastic adventure. Not only did I enjoy picking the olives, but appreciated learning the techniques involved. The meal at the end was also an excellent capstone to a great day!

San Lorenzo Market

The San Lorenzo Market has everything from authentic Italian leather goods to the most fresh produce ever & the most beautiful flowers!! I love going to the market to buy fresh produce, freshly baked bread, homemade pastas, all the wine and cheese you can think of, and etc. As much as I love Whole Foods and Trader Joes when I’m in New York, hands down, San Lorenzo Market has to be the best place to buy groceries in Florence. Everything is as organic and fresh as it can get, which means you won’t be able to find certain fruits when they’re not in season, etc. But what makes it even better are the prices! Because everything is locally grown or made, everything is affordable even to us college students! :)
Of course a lot of us still make use of the ever-so convenient super market like Esselunga, which is across the street from school, and also very wallet-friendly, but I think shopping at the San Lorenzo Market is part of what makes the living experience here in Firenze so different than America. Yes, I know there are many farmers markets in the states, but the San Lorenzo Market is a whole different experience!

Can you tell they’re fake? :)

If you’d rather buy your groceries at the super market, at least go here for the widest selection of dried fruit. If you don’t like raisins, go try the dry melons, mango, kiwi, papaya, etc. Promise they are super delicious! :)