Buon Natale e Buon Anno

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The tree lighting at the Duomo… yep, I can’t believe I took this picture either.

The city of Florence is currently decked out for Christmas even though both “Natale” and the New Year have passed. The storeowners on each street join together to determine how they will decorate each year and it creates a unique feel throughout the city as you walk from one street to the other enjoying the change in lights, all of them white and sparkling as they light up the gorgeous city of Florence. After a lot of

Via Romano

Via Romano and the bike lights

judging, my favorite street is the “bike light street,” Via Romano (see picture). On December 8th, amid studying, I went to the tree lighting by the Duomo and joined in to the countdown as they lit up a tree Rock Center style right in front of the Duomo. To put it simply, it was fun, beautiful, and filled with tradition.

At Polimoda, we ended classes on December 15th and finishing the semester almost came as a surprise. These past four months were the fastest of my life and I still cannot believe I am halfway done with my time here. I have been to over 12 major cities and five European countries. Nine months seemed so incredibly long, but suddenly I’m past the halfway point and completely baffled that I’ve made it this far and my time left is so short.

Unlike at FIT in New York where a sense of community can be hard to find in the Big Apple, I feel that I am friends (and not just acquaintances) with more than half the program here in Florence. I have more FIT friends abroad than I ever did in the city and for the first time I have a sense of community at school with Florence acting as our campus. All the FIT girls got together and enjoyed the last few days before the fall semester girls left. I had to say goodbye to some of my closest friends as they headed back to the states for next semester. Though they were happy to return home, they also were sad to leave such an amazing city and experience behind them.

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Chianti with my main men: my dad and brother!

Since the semester ended, my dad and brother came to visit me in Florence and than we traveled to Rome together for the New Year. It was unbelievable to see them and show them my life for the last four months. As we FaceTimed my family on Christmas, my grandma offered to fly me home for a few days if I found a decently priced flight. Though I had my mind set on staying in Florence until May, I definitely underestimated my homesickness. Once the offer was put in the air, I simply had to look into it and found a round-trip flight home for under 600 dollars (yes, dollars, not euros… This is not a joke). I am currently blogging from a five-hour layover in Frankfurt, Germany as I wait for a flight to bring me to the Empire State for 5 and a half days. I am ecstatic to arrive in New York for a few days, see my family, friends, and boyfriend, and then return to Florence, the city I currently call home, in less than a week.

I’ve been spending my break in Florence hanging out with the other full year FIT girls who are killing time over break, dying the tips of my hair a reddish pink (boredom), taking yoga (which is totally new to me and may become an addiction), and buying presents for everyone at home. As I purchased the gifts for those who couldn’t experience this with me I realized once again how grateful I have been for this opportunity and the opportunity that presents itself in the next semester. The people who got me not only to Florence, but also to this point in my life are the people who have stuck around through the ups and downs. I’m slightly embarrassed to write such a cliché, but clichés are clichés for a reason and I can’t not say it. Grateful is an understatement.

My dad clearly trusting the daughter that has lived in Florence for 4 months by using a map...

My dad clearly trusting the daughter that has lived in Florence for 4 months by using a map…

I ended my first semester abroad surrounded by amazing friends who created amazing memories. My bank account is lower than I can ever remember and I miss people more than I thought I would, yet I never doubt how worth it this is. I ended the semester with a great GPA and a better understanding of not only my major, but more importantly, myself. I secured an internship for next semester with The Florentine, a paper produced in English in Florence. In their next issue they are publishing an article I wrote and it will be distributed to the biggest reading base I have ever had (Eeekk!!). My family came to visit and see the sights and take in the beauty of this incredible Renaissance city that I’ve been lucky enough to call home. Now, I am fortunate enough to get a few blissful and exhausting – because lets be real, jetlag will beat me up first in New York and then when I return to Florence – days at home. So for now… arrivederci Firenze and and hello New York!

End of Semester

Florence at Christmas

The end of semester always comes with it’s own challenges. The hours get longer the work harder. It’s expected of you to be on the top of your game. Yet it comes with it’s own rewards, the time and energy you put in shows. The work you produce is commonly the best of the semester and is what shows your progress.

As most fashion design majors know it’s during those last few weeks that you forget what sleep is, or that normal people have a life outside of classes. You focus solely in the work and forget everything else. So by the time your final class roles around you’re both proud of your accomplishments and absolutely exhausted.

I think one of the things that always startles me about the end of the semester is that it seems to go by so quickly it’s as if four weeks go by in just over two. The next thing you know your almost done and its time to go home again. Living in Florence has been amazing and I’m so glad that I’ve had this opportunity. It’s given me a chance to grow as a person and to experience things I never would have been able had I not decided to study abroad.

So I will take this time as a break to enjoy the holidays and time spent with my family as an opportunity to rest and relax before diving back into school. So with the end of third semester comes the beginning of fourth, and next semester promises to be just as momentous as this semester has been. From the trip to Paris in February to the trials of fourth semester it promises to be an adventure.

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!