Tuesday, March 27, 2012


It is 8:11AM in the morning, and I am waiting for my flight to begin boarding, and for my worst airport experience ever to end. Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris will continue to be my least favorite airport in the world.

Upon arriving we were ushered off the plane and into the shuttle—standard procedure, of course—and then without any notice or inkling to let us know where we would be dropped off, since many people had connecting flights, stopped at a gate and rushed us off. We arrived at gate 2G, which we found out when we entered the terminal and were given know help or direction as to where we should go or what we should do  to make our connecting flights or find out where they’d be leaving from. Luckily, our boarding passes had the terminal on it so we knew what general vicinity we needed to be in.

Since we had an overnight layover, and there are two sections of terminal 2E we were pretty confused as to where we would need to go. After asking multiple people we were finally told that we needed to go to the other section of 2E we needed to figure out how to exit the terminal to take a shuttle to the other one. This took about 20 minutes until someone finally showed us how to get out.

Then we got to the right part of 2E and found out that since we didn’t have visas we couldn’t sleep inside the terminal where our flights were, even though we had boarding passes and were making a connecting flight. So we had to go to the airport entrance to sleep because at this point it was too late to get a hotel, and it was late enough that we couldn’t go explore the city and make it back before the trains stopped. We were stuck.

So, we set up camp in a café area right at the entrance, since there were no other viable places to sleep. As we sat there eating the few snacks we had (at this time it was about 10PM and basically everything in the main airport was closed) we watched homeless people come in from the outside and set up on the opposite side of the eating area with presumably the same purpose. There were other people there that had overnight layovers as well, and it was obvious that we were all equally disconcerted by this. True, all homeless people aren’t dangerous, but when you are in an airport late at night alone with valuable things like laptops, money, and passports, everyone is potentially dangerous.

After a couple hours we were abruptly rounded up and forced to the opposite end of the terminal. Apparently, there was unattended baggage in the check-in area and it had been there unclaimed for quite sometime. Nothing says icing like a bomb scare in an airport. Fortunately for us they removed the luggage—sans bomb—and there is probably some poor schmuck who was so completely confused and disoriented by the CDG airport that he/she forgot their luggage. About an hour later, when we were finally allowed to go back to our sleeping quarters (haha.) we were all pretty over it and just wanted to go to sleep.

Clearly airport security had other things in mind and at about 1 or 2 in the morning came through with a security dog making sure all the people sleeping in the airport were actually passengers. Sure, this made a feel safer, but when we all had to get up early, and had barely gotten to sleep it was a rude awakening in every sense of the phrase. Finally we were able to go to sleep, it wasn’t particularly good sleep, but sleep none the less.

All-in-all, this has probably been my worse experience in an airport, fittingly it was in my least favorite airport, and I hope to god that this is the pinnacle of my bad airport experiences…

Au revior CDG, may we never meet again!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Arrivederci Firenze!

When I woke up this morning I was ready to leave Firenze. Partially because I was ready to not be surrounded by tourists and stuck with my mother all day, and also because of a bad personal experience I had with a Florentine friend Saturday night. I was so ready to get on the plane and leave Florence behind me, I even spouted off a 10 minute list of reasons why I wouldn’t miss Florence.

Then a trip to the market and a conversation with a guy I’d met several times through out my trip brought all the positive things about Florence to the forefront of my mind. All the amazing people that I’d met outnumbered the sucky ones, the good food, the awe inspiring places, and the fond memories all outweighed the bad and suddenly I was hit with a huge brick to my heart.

I was leaving Firenze. The place I’d called home for almost 3 months and learned to love and hate. And then I was wishing for 3 more months, 3 more months of sitting in piazze soaking in the sun, people watching, and eating great food, going to the marcato and getting clementini, and above all meeting new people and trying out my molto cattivo italiano.

I will miss Ponte Carraia, the bridge at the end of my street where I walked every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday to get gelato (my favorite in the city) before drawing class. I will miss our crazy British drawing instructors who always seemed so exasperated with us. I will miss family dinners with my host family, many of which were better than restaurant quality, and my host brothers bickering at the table about which James Bond actor was the best. I will miss the wonderful ACM people that I met and became friends with, whether we argued or not and the professors that were not only teachers, but mentors through out the whole experience. I will miss walking everywhere, thinking everything is just a 10 minute walk away, and wondering around the city at all odd hours. I’ll miss the shopping trips that always ended up at Zara and H&M because everything else in Firenze was just so expensive and the walks to class that always led me past all the stores I would die to shop in (they change the window displays every week.)

There are so many happy memories that I will take with me back to the states. As I sit here in the CDG airport, reflecting on the last time I was here waiting for a flight, I feel like I’ve come full circle. I can’t imagine my life without this experience, and I hope that all the things that I’ve done and the people that I’ve met stay vivid in my mind and don’t just fade away to a dream like haze.

I know adjusting to life back home will be a challenge, it already is a challenge and I’m not even there yet. Just knowing that all of these things are in the past, that Florence will never be the same as it was in these past months, and that what my future holds may not involve these people that I’ve met makes my heart sink. We grew to be like a family, and even in that short time I really came to care for the ACM group.

So, for all of you that might read this, I hope you have the time of your life whether you are going on to London or going back home. I hope that you look back on Florence with all the fondness that I do, and that at some point we shared some great memories. And above all I wish you great luck and success in your future, and that your lives are filled with more happiness than sorrow, and more amazing experiences to come!

Voi voglio bene,


Saturday, March 24, 2012


So the past couple days I’ve been in Viareggio soaking up some sun and enjoying the beach atmosphere. It’s been great, but to be honest I’m just glad to get back to Florence and enjoy my last few days there. All of this is started to sink in, that my time in Italy is coming to a close soon, and I don’t want it to be over. Sure, I’m sick of all the tourists and I really wish they would go back home (even though international student isn’t much better) so that I can have back the Florence that I first saw. Now, you can barely get down the streets because they are packed with people sightseeing and searching more stores to blow their money in.

I feel like I have a love hate relationship with the city, I’ve come to meet a lot of really awesome people and I don’t want to leave them behind, I’ve found some great places that have become really comfortable places for me, and on top of everything, I’ve learned so much about this city, it’s problems and accomplishments alike, that I have become attached to it in a far from superficial way. On the other hand the touristy nature of the city makes me feel like I’m in the airport all the time which makes me anxious, everyone in looking for where they’re trying to go, no one knows quite what they are looking for. I wish there were more Florentines in Florence…

And now, I’m sitting in a hotel room, feeling much displaced from my home (or at least my temporary one up the street from Piazza della Reppublicca) and thrust into the world of the tourist. It isn’t a particularly friendly one, and I miss the days of having an address, even though that was only about a week ago. I’m glad that we came in the winter before all the spring breakers and school trips arrived, it was a great experience and I’ll always have my nights—or mornings rather—where the streets were completely deserted and I felt like I was the only kid left in Disney World after the park closed.

I’ll have to make these last moments last, as I probably won’t be back to Florence as soon as I would like. This city will always be apart of me, as I have learned a lot about myself and the world around me being here. I’ve learned that America has too much influence internationally, that TV really will be the death of civilization, that despite the long standing rumors about Italians, they are NOT all well dressed, it really just depends on where you are, and that no matter how good or bad your Italian is, all that matters is that you try. Even if you don’t make sense... and if you're looking for grand breakfasts filled with all sorts of yummy goodness, you've come to the wrong place.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

And it’s over…

Well, as of yesterday I am no longer an ACM student. It’s very weird, and luckily for me I still have time here in Italy con mia mammá. The weather has been beautiful and I’m really excited to try out all the restaurants and check out all the stores that I have been avoiding to save money. Parents really are great…

Yesterday after my exam I checked my mom into her hotel and the we walked around town for a bit. We went to The Diner because I was craving a burger something serious, my mom wasn’t too happy that I wanted to get American food on her first day, but it was necessary. Afterwards I went home and knocked out because I was so terribly tired and then had dinner with my family. Afterwards I went and had a couple glasses of wine with my mom. It was nice and I got to try this cute little wine bar called Isabelle off of Piazza Santa Trinita… pictures after the jump!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The road is coming to an end…

So, my time here in Florence is coming to an end. I’ve been here for almost 3 months and it only feels like 2 weeks. Next week is finals week, I have an oral exam with Professor Mariotti and we have a final showcase of our work for drawing. Unfortunately, they moved the show case to Wednesday, so my mom won’t be able to come, but I will be able show her my work when she comes.

This weekend is our last weekend, it’s kind of bittersweet. I love going out with all the girls in the program, I’ll definitely miss them, but I’m also missing my friends at home. I haven’t seen them in months and it’s kind of killing me. Hopefully when I get home, I’ll be able to visit them.

I’m working on my final paper for Mariotti’s class and clearly, I’ve been bitten by the procrastination bug. I have been doing research though, so I won’t call it a completely lost cause. It should be an interesting paper, so I’m not too worried about getting it done in time.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Wild ride… e La cittá di acqua!

I know, I am getting really bad at this whole updating thing.

SATURDAY (Feb 25th) UPDATE – We ended up going to Twice and Babylon which was an AWESOME club, they played the most random music and we danced until our feet hurt. Haven’t had that much fun in a while…

The unfortunate thing is that I don’t have much to talk about from last week except my weekend in Venice.

Last week we visited St. Appollonia which was a convent for an order of Benedictine nuns in a cloister. In the refectory of this cloister is a fresco of the Last Supper (a tradition in Florentine convents and monasteries since the gothic period) by Andrea Castagno. It is a really beautiful painting and a pretty important painting. We then talked about Dominico Veneziano, another important painter, who according to Vasari brought oil painting to Florence from Venice.