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Trip Start Jan 14, 2008
Trip End Apr 28, 2008

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

I' ve almost had a full week of classes now and it' s been nice to have something to go do everyday!   The walk to school is about 30-35 minutes depending on how fast I can walk (or maybe how tired I am... ) it' s a really easy walk and it' s nice to get moving right away in the morning some days.   I have Italian three times a week for either 2 hours or 1.5 hours on those days.   The rest of my classes (cross cultural psychology, Italian life and culture, and international business) are all once a week but for 3 hours at a time.   Those classes seem to go on forever, but I' m sure I' ll get used to it as the semester goes on.
The classes are small so that is a nice change to what I' m used to!   The teachers all speak English well, and are all very animated and friendly.   They definitely make class more interesting than some other professors I' ve had in the past!  School is very cold though because they don' t use a lot of heat in Italy.  Everyone is always wearing the coats during class, while the teachers are used to it and are in T-shirts!   They actually have laws about using heat, and you can' t even turn it on before Nov. 15th.  It' s understandable because it' s very expensive to use energy over here, but it' s just not so comfortable for me since I always tend to be cold anyway!
Some days I have to be in town for most of the day so during my breaks I' ve been walking around the city, doing some errands, and grabbing a sandwich to go and eating it by the Santa Croce church piazza which is only a few blocks from school!  Yesterday it was very sunny and warm so it made sitting outside very enjoyable.
Speaking of such nice weather, I went running and wore shorts!  I was so excited because it was perfect running weather and there were so many other people on the path running and biking.  The parks across the street are always filled with children and their parents so it' s a nice safe neighborhood to be in and run around.  Since we live across the street from the soccer stadium that the Florentina play in, I saw them getting onto their coach bus to go to a game.  Those guys are like celebrities around here, so it was kinda cool to get to see them!
Amy and I got a cell phone to share while we are here and that has been nice to keep in touch with the other people on the program because pretty much everyone got one.   They are prepay and incoming calls are free so it' s also been nice to get calls from home!   My Mom and I figured out how to use Skype last night, and that was pretty exciting to use that too!  It' s so weird that it works to talk to someone over the internet!
Now that I' ve had some time to get used to things around here and know my way around, I' m really starting to get a since for Italian life!   Picking up on the little things has been very interesting.   For example, at the grocery store you can' t pick up fresh food with your hands, you have to wear a plastic glove to do it.  Everyone drives the tiniest cars as fast as they can, some I don' t even think are cars, more like carts with roofs!  When you walk down the street people don' t say hi and make much eye contact, and if you are going to cross paths with someone, you always have to move for older people, and men have to move for women.   People at restaurants think that if you don ' t finish your food, then you must not have liked it, even though it ' s only because you ' re full!   Those are just some of the examples I can think of off the top of my head, but learning about the way people live here is fascinating and there ' s always something more to pick up on.
There are a lot of upcoming events for us in the next couple of weekends.  Today the Chocolate Fair starts and I can' t wait to go try some delicious chocolates!   There is also a welcome dinner tonight for all the students in the CAPA program.   We might stay down in the city center after dinner and check out what the night life is like!   Depending on the weather Friday we might try to climb the Duomo or another look out spot so we can see the entire city!!   Saturday there is a hike in Fiesole up to Monte Ceceri.   After that we are planning on going to the opera in town.   Madaam Butterfly is the current one, so we are excitetd to get dressed up and experience our first opera!
Other upcoming things are going to a soccer game with Florence plays Milan and we also have plans for to watch the Super Bowl.  I suppose I' ll have to be a Patriot fan that game because I just can' t cheer for any team that beat the Packers!  
Amy and I are also trying to plan our first trip to either Prague or to visit her cousin in Munich!  We' re excited to go on our visit weekend getaway!
I created a Shutterfly photo album with some pictures in it so I didn' t have to keep uploading them into emails for my parents, so if anyone wants to see some pictures the link to that album is...
Hope everyone is staying warm back at home!!!
Ciao!! :)
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