As beautiful as we imagined.

It’s the first day in Italy. You set your bags down and everyone decides to go explore a little. It’s as if today is the first and last day to see the city – you feel the need to see everything, all at once, all right now. Walking around, you can almost feel the drool start to form as your jaw has yet to return to its rightful place. You walk down the Arno river, over the bridges that belong in the photographs you’ve been looking at for months and months, wondering how different it will be once your there in person, once you’re here.

The streets, tiny, cozy, and beautifully historic. The people, frizzy haired, casually fashionable, and wonderfully lax bring you in, farther from the noise and aggression of New York City that you left not long ago. You pass the cafes and bars and gelaterias of the city in a mild state of shock. You don’t even realize the amount of time that’s passed since you started the walk together. Just like they told you, you really can see the Duomo from any point in the city, and you follow its burnt orange rooftop to the center of the city. You walk ahead of the group without even noticing. You turn the corner and there it is, in all its wonderful marble magic. How did you even get here?

Fast forward a few weeks and we’re all finally settling in. I no longer need to look at my maps to get around (most of the time), I’m finding it easier to speak in Italian on the fly (sometimes with google translate), and I’ve successfully gone on trips! Cinque Terre was beautiful. It was a welcomed day of extreme heat (95 degrees Fahrenheit) and hiking followed by a swim in the Mediterranean in which you look up at the mountains, slightly baffled by your hiking them but mostly that you’re here, in this water, at the foot of these mountains.

Tomorrow we wake up at an hour I wasn’t sure truly existed: 5:15AM. One of those times that you assume is there only cause it has be, but you’ve never really seen it on your alarm. But I suppose because we’ll be in Milan for the next three days straight going to concept stores, museums, and factory and archive visits, we’ll allow it. However, that does mean that my 11:00PM post is far too late. Wish me buona forte.