The last days in Florence entry

Trip Start Aug 28, 2009
Trip End Nov 24, 2009

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Flag of Italy  , Tuscany,
Monday, September 28, 2009

Wow.  I have so much to write about, I don't know if I can do it all in one entry!  Let's see, the last time I wrote was my second to last lesson... 

Thursday:  My last lesson was hmm...bad.  I mean, it wasn't bad, it was just boring, so in my book, bad.  But I was done, and that was all that mattered.  Those of us who taught late went to aperitivo with some of the students.  Aperitivo is awesome.  You pay 5 euros for a drink then just eat all the buffet food they put out.  We got there kinda late so by the time we went to the food table it was just bread, but since I am a carboholic, I'm not complaining.  Then they brought out dessert.  My God the Italians know dessert.  It was almost so pretty I didn't want to eat it.  But then I had a bite and decided it would be ok to ruin the beautiful display.  It was fun, but since all I'd had for dinner was sweet stuff, I had a massive headache.  Plus, I hadn't put together my portfolio for the next day so I had to get up early to go buy a binder and dividers.

Friday:  I had gotten directions how to get to the Italian version of Target, which went a different way than I am used to.  I was up early enough that I figured I would have extra time to go this new way.  Unfortunately, the streets in Italy are incredibly confusing.  They wind and merge with other streets, and there's always construction, and the names aren't advertised like they are in America, so needless to say, I got lost.  I was pretty ticked off, cuz I had to backtrack to the main road and go the way I knew which basically would have taken me in a big circle that took more time instead of cutting it in half.  I asked a guy how to get to it and he told me to take my next right.  So, I cross the street and walk a block and...tada!  There is the store!  I literally laughed at loud.  It was like I knew what I was doing.  So I got to school, in a better mood, but, the reason I had a headache the night before and was in a bad mood that morning is because this guy Nate who I ran track with in college, was in a motorcycle accident, and is in the hospital in critical condition.  When I heard, I just felt sick.  He's stable right now, but I don't praying for him.  I actually ended up crying once I got to school because I realized that even if he does survive, he will most likely never run again.  And he was a great runner, and such a nice guy.  So yeah, be thinking of him and his family.  So we had to break into groups of 4 to go over our portfolios and talk about what we'd change, what we liked, etc etc, and then we met with the director of the school one on one.  As soon as she shut the door, she asked what was wrong, because I was acting totally out of it, and usually am happy and smiling all the time.  I broke down and told her, but collected myself enough to finish the meeting.  The teachers all said I was a joy to have, and that the only thing I need to work on is being more assertive.  After that we had a little party and received our certificates.  Most of us agreed to meet up that night to celebrate, but some couldn't make it, so we said our first goodbyes.  And it was really sad!  These people have been so fun, and I've seen them pretty much everyday for a month, so it was strange to know I'll probably never see some of them again.  That night was so amazing though.  We all went to Bar Amadeus and got drinks.  Everyone was way more relaxed and laid-back, knowing we were done with the course and could just enjoy ourselves.  We were there for a while, and then most everyone left to finish packing.  John, Meghan and I decided to go to our Danish teacher's bar, but never found it so we went to an Irish pub instead.  First of all, my first impression of this place was pure happiness.  It was so similar to Conor O'Neill's in Boulder, and they were playing American music, and it was just nice to have a beer instead of cheap red wine!  We went to the back to find a table, and on the ceiling were t-shirts from various schools, and over our table was a bright yellow one...that's right, CU's spirit tee from 2007!  I was so ecstatic to see it for some reason, I felt so proud that someone else had been there and was representin CU.  So we were there for a while and then Meghan left, but John and I ran into someone who worked at the pub crawl that John had gone to a couple weeks before and invited us to go to The Blob, an after-hours bar that technically is for members only and I'm pretty sure is illegal.  For some reason I agreed, so we arrive at this sketchy hole-in-the-wall place where men are standing outside shushing people as they enter and the gate is halfway closed so you have to duck to get inside.  Once there though, it turned out to be a normal bar, except that there were huge paintings of naked women and people were smokin up a storm right next to all the "no smoking" signs.  John, pub crawl boy and I were hanging out then John left to find the bathroom.  A girl came up to pub crawl boy and started workin her magic on him (puke-any girl that says "normally I don't trust guys but you seem different" is trouble) and so I stood there, at 2:30 in the morning in a secret bar in Florence, with the dumbest grin on my face because it was so amazingly random.  Once John got back we sat down with these people I had met while he was gone, a girl from Austria who worked at a bar nearby, and her boss Antonio.  She was super nice and told us to come to her bar the next night to say hi.  We agreed, and then at 4 in the morning, the bar closed down.  John and I went out in the beautiful night air and started to walk home.  We didn't make it but a block when two American women asked if we were trying to find the illegal underground pastry shop as well.  Naturally we weren't, but we were intrigued.  One of the women, Alexis, had been in Florence 10 years ago and went to this pastry shop and wanted to find it again.  She asked if we wanted to search with them, which actually I didn't really, but John said yes and I wasn't about to walk home by myself at that hour, so we set out with them, wandering the streets.  They actually turned out to be really cool, but we kept doing circles, so we asked a group of 3 Italian men if they knew where it was.  They didn't, but wanted to help look, so our group of 7 complete strangers ended up walking up and down the streets of Florence, looking for a secret pastry shop.  Have I mentioned how random this night was?  One of the men was a police officer and thought his badge would impress me but he annoyed me, so I started talking to one of the others, Pier Paolo, who was so much fun.  He is an aspiring actor who desperately wants to go to America to pursue his dream, and wants to practice his English.  He was a very nice guy, didn't seem to be a typical Italian, like his friend "I don't take a hint" police officer and "I'm smitten with this American girl" other guy, who fell head over heels for Alexis's friend Kara.  We ran into the Austrian girl again, and Antonio, and he told us where the place was.  I have to give Alexis credit, I was thinking after 10 years there was no way this place still existed, but she knew the general area, we were only a couple blocks from it once we exited The Blob.  By that time though (5am) it was closed, so we ended up going to a 24 hour pastry shop near my apartment.  So we sat there, 7 people from different backgrounds, laughing and talking and hanging out like it wasn't a completely bizarre thing.  Mr. Smitten Italian took Kara's feet into his lap and started massaging them which was pretty awkward, but other than that, a fantastic time.  We finally said our goodbyes, and John and I got home at 6 in the freakin morning.  The last time I stayed up that late I was working in Studio.  It totally ruined my next day, 3 days later I'm still feeling tired, but it was such a fun, unique, spontaneous thing that I can't complain.  And the fun didn't stop there...

Saturday:  Like I said, I was pretty tired all day, but it was ok because it was just a day of cleaning and packing and meeting the new people moving in.  Later in the day John, our new roommate for one day Paul and I went out to the museum where the original David is (Galleria dell'Accademia).  Normally it's like 10 euros to get in, but we lucked out cuz it was European Heritage Days so we got in for free.  David was incredible.  You could see the veins in his massive hands, and is just unbelievable.  There was an instrument gallery where I saw a hurdy gurdy even though I don't know what it is, I just like the name of it (makes me think of that "I'm on a Boat" song--"with my flippy floppys") and an upright piano.  Both were from about the 1300s.  We saw all these old paintings that they took from churches to preserve them, and they are just incredible.  I saw some things from as early as the 1200s.  I can't wrap my head around that.  It's just so amazing to see.  Afterwards we were pretty hungry so we went to Amadeus for the last time.  We had told Alexis and Kara we'd meet them at 8 at Naima, the Austrian girl's bar, so we went there and not 10 minutes later they showed up.  I think both parties were kinda worried the others wouldn't show up, but we had a great time.  We played with the idea of going back to the illegal pastry shop, but we were all so tired from the night before...well technically, just earlier in the day, that we didn't stay out long.  As we were leaving, Antonio and Austria girl waved goodbye and told us they hoped we'd come see them again, and Alexis and Kara gave us hugs, the kind of hugs you give when you're really sad to see someone go.  They were so genuine, and I'm actually really, really sad that I won't see them again.  I can't explain it, and I know it sounds cheesy, but I feel like we bonded that night.  John, Paul and I walked home, for the last night in the apartment.

Sunday:  A couple weeks ago, I saw an ad in the Florentine, a newspaper printed in English, that there was a race coming up.  I decided to do it even if others couldn't join me, but Vernon and the girls from class ended up deciding to do it as well.  The shirts were bright bright orange, but I didn't wear mine to the race because normally in America the participants don't wear their shirts to the actual race.  But apparently in Italy you do.  The starting place was swarmed with people decked out in orange.  I had on my Bolder Boulder shirt (which has some orange in it thank you very much) and a lady came up to me and said her family is from Boulder.  Represent, woot woot.  The five of us got together and slowly made our way to the starting line.  I should explain here that we weren't doing the race part, just the walk, which was only 5K instead of 10.  It took forever to get started though because there were so many people and the streets are so narrow that they were just clogged with orange Corri la Vita walkers.  But it was so cool.  The course hadn't been explained before, so when we got to the Duomo, people started going in two different directions.  There were people with flags throughout the course, supposedly keeping us on track, but they would just stand there like, "read my mind where you're supposed to go, I ain't tellin you" (all in Italian of course).  It was a very laid-back atmosphere, which I shouldn't be surprised by at this point, but a race?  Comon, you need to have some organization.  As we were walking along we noticed people breaking off into small museums along the course.  We stopped in one, which wasn't anything more than a courtyard, but we sat down and laughed at how good it felt.  We weren't working that hard, but it still felt good to rest.  Vernon tried doing a magic trick that entailed sucking in the smoke from a match and breathing it out afterwards but he ended up just burning his nostril.  We laughed pretty hard at that.  Finally we decided we were rested enough to keep going, and hopped back on the course.  I had told John that we'd be done by 11 at the latest and he looked at me like I was crazy, cuz I mean it makes sense, a 5K, walking, shouldn't take that long.  But by 11:00 we had just passed the 1K marker.  We made a detour into the Boboli Gardens, which again usually costs to get in, but we got in for free.  We had amazing views of Florence, and took pictures of the beautiful gardens.  By the time we got out, we were starving and somehow passed the 8K marker.  I don't know how much we really ended up walking, but we were all dead by the time we finished.  We went to a little cafe and ordered delicious pizza, and enjoyed our last time together.  John and Michael met up with us, and before I knew it, I had to go finish packing because my au pair family was coming to pick me up soon.  I hugged everyone goodbye and as I left I turned back and everyone had a sad look on their face.  It really was sad.  We agreed to meet up, since most of us are staying in Italy, but I don't know if that'll actually happen.  I power walked back to my apartment, and finished packing as some new guy took a shower in my old bathroom.  It felt so wrong, like he was trespassing in MY place, even though I was only there for a month.  It was great apartment.  I lugged my two huge suitcases, backpack, and laptop bag to the train station, where I met Luisa and Angelo.  They were totally judging my bags, I know it, and I felt silly for having so much.  They're really nice people though, very short, I'm like 2' taller than them, but they speak English and that's awesome.  We drove out of Florence into the hills, and they put Coldplay on, and it was a beautiful moment.  I couldn't believe how lucky I've been, how blessed I've been, to have this opportunity, and to meet such amazing people.  The drive up to Dello reminded me of the drive to Fort Collins, with mountains in the distance but more and more farms.  It took about 3 hours to get here, and it is incredible.  I won't write it here since this is a long enough entry, but yeah.  Italy is so much more than I ever imagined.  I've had so many more experiences, random and normal, and I have been so happy it almost doesn't seem fair.  I miss you all, but I wouldn't change this for the world.  I love the stories I've accumulated, and thank you for reading them and sharing in my joy.  Stay tuned for a Dello entry and pictures to accompany this one!
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harperbl on

totally righteous babe, what an awesome weekend... and what did i say about the gardens, huh? and you werent going to go....ha, well that is so great that you are getting settled with th angellis, and listening to coldpay while driving the italian countryside, remarkable! i love you allie, cant wait to read more.:)

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