Back in Florence

Trip Start Jan 08, 2013
Trip End May 05, 2013

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Flag of Italy  , Tuscany,
Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I have finally become accustomed to the bells! When I'm sleeping, the random exclamations from the bell tower across the street now just work their way into my dreams and allow for my sleep cycle to continue. Thank goodness. I am finally starting to feel like a local and not a tourist. I definitely still stand out as an American though. Merchants at the leather market kept calling me Brittany (as in Spears). I tried to explain to them that I look nothing like her and that comment is more of an insult than a complement, but they continued to have fun with the joke. They called Megan Shakira I think too. It makes me think that in the US we make stereotypes very similar to this due to small things such as blonde hair.

The pigeons here are like the squirrels at Penn State. They are not afraid of people, and they will be annoying. This is not pleasing to me because everyone knows how much I hate birds. Sometimes when they're flying the fly really close to your head (not as high as the birds at home) and it freaks me out! Ill be able to get used to them though.

Another difference that I have noticed is the Italians cell phone use. At Penn State every single person is using their phone while they're walking to class. In Italy, Florence specifically, I have yet to see someone walking and looking down at their phone. It's great because I actually absorb so much more while walking around and notice small details (like the birds) that I would never have noticed if I was busy checking my emails. Also, I am always walking faster than everyone else and I wonder if my legs are just longer or if I'm still being high strung and rusting around like I am forced to do at home. Maybe I'll try walking slower.

In class we always have field trips and continue to see more of the city, which I really enjoy. We saw the Medici Palace, and learned about the courtyard and the functions of the home.

We decided to go shopping the other night just to look around, but ended up spending hours in the leather market. Once you start, it's kind of addicting and you have to keep going and see what else you find. Megan found a perfect leather jacket. It seemed as though the store owners were watching us as we walked in and out of stores because they knew exactly what we were looking for, and each store got slightly cheaper as we continued on.... Kind of weird but they clearly know how to make sales! Megan bargained hard at our last place and got this wonderful jacket for only 100 euros. I had been on the lookout for new boots, because the ones I brought were ripping and smelly. We came across this place called something descii. I need to figure out the specific name because it was authentic Italain leather shoes, and the only customers inside were Italians who had been shopping there their entire life. Amy and I couldn't resist, so we splurged on our first Italian purchase of the semester.

Last night we were looking for Santa Croce, and I asked an Italian man (in Italian) and he responded to me in Italian! Finally! Normally, we make the effort to speak in Italian, but it is so obvious that we are American that they immediately respond in English. Anyways, I obviously didn't understand his response, but I just smiled and said Grazie just like professor Marini told us to do.
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