Life in Florence – The Adjustment Period

 

Arno River and Ponte Vecchio

Arno River and Ponte Vecchio

I have been in Florence for about six weeks now and it’s been a roller coaster in many ways. It started with a culture shock, adjusting to everything from a new city, to the language barrier and the sad rarity of peanut butter. I’m not going to lie, it’s not easy, but it is worth it to be in this amazing city.

Florence is a remarkable city that has such history, and it’s history you can see just by walking around. The result is a phenomenon that I noticed soon after I got here; because you can simply walk around the city and see something that astounds you. You turn the corner and all of a sudden the Duomo or Santa Maria Novella is in front of you, and for a moment you stop and can’t help but stare at the artistic marvel in front of you. Looking up at something last seen in a book.

Florence Skyline

Yet over time you get accustomed to Florence you start to learn the twisted streets, develop a love for cappuccinos and admit that you have a gelato problem. Your Italian starts to improve, albeit slowly, and you feel not just more comfortable but maybe just a little like Florence is a kind of home. You’ve adjusted, gotten past that first bout of homesickness, always the worst, and have come to terms with the fact you are completely out of your comfort zone. Realizing that this experience not only will change your life, but also is already is changing your life.

Duomo streetdrawing1

However it’s not just about living in Florence it’s also about going back to school and getting used to having classes again. Classes here are different, if anything they are harder, more is expected of you. Yet you are learning more at the same time. On a side note in Florence you do take the same classes you would in New York, just in Italy.

Santa Maria Novella

Second Year for fashion design is all about expanding your horizons, taking what you learned last year and seeing how far you can go with it. In many ways it is about expanding your creativity. Taking you from fashion student to fashion designer. The classes are designed to challenge you, so instead of first year when you designed smaller four, five, maybe ten look projects; you know design an entire collection of approximately forty different looks.

For a more in depth view on what our classes are like check out the student blog for my fashion past and present class.

http://mirroringlifestyles.tumblr.com

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.”