I’m sad to say that I’m closing this blog up. With my time in Italy being done a week ago it’s time to move on. Italy and the entire adventure seems like a blur of time that was a dream. It doesn’t feel real and I don’t think it’ll hit me that I was in Europe until much later.
I do have good news.
I’m going to try and keep a weekly blog about my adventures from now on. just skip over to: Drake House
to check in and keep up with me post Italy. I already have my first post up and it’s only Monday. Don’t worry I’ll still have the same amount of humor and snark as before although it might be a bit more horsey as I dive into my summer with Pirate, the-not-so-pony, pony and my endeavor to finally get him to realize and pick up all four hooves (half the time I swear he’s drunk when I’m riding or doing ground work with him). Either way there is sure to be more hilarity and most definitely some very blonde moments on my part.
yes, that IS my very unimpressed fat cat named Sassy; and yes, she WILL be making more silly appearances on Drake House!
I’ve safely made it home to my green hills and silver waters. I’m happy to be home and very relieved to be done with traveling. It was strange being able to read every sign in the airport as I came out of customs. I was happy to see my parents again although somehow my mom didn’t recognize me. I did have the mishap of having all of my bags being overweight and a couple of friends helped me out. I passed out in the car on the way out of Boston, my-ass-chews-it (I’m not a big fan of driving in Boston) after only sleeping a couple of hours on the planes and not sleeping the night before.
Once my bags were inside I happily grabbed my dynamic duo and had my proper reunion.
Sassy, the tabby, and Gretta, the grey merl.
Obviously they weren’t exactly thrilled. I will tell you that after when I went to bed Sassy was on my pillow and ended up being my pillow and Gretta was a love bug in her corner of my bed. Today as I was putzing around my house (yes MY house in Vermont!!!) and Gretta was my little shadow the entire time. I’m glad to be home and I do miss Italy but I feel like I truly belong here even if it’s not as glamorous as the birthplace of the renaissance.
I may post some more things on here but I think I’ll be transitioning into a new blog that I can maintain as I go through my last year of undergrad and even beyond that.
As the music poured into my ears from my ear-buds I couldn’t help but feel happy. My hand was getting colder by the second from my freshly purchased coke as the warm pizza created a contrast on my arm. I had bought myself an extra large piece of pizza from my favorite pizza place in all of Florence; a little hole in the wall place run by an older gentleman and a man who seemed to be his son—even if he wasn’t from the Italy works he was most likely related.
It seemed weird that I’d just come from my last workshop of the semester and today was the golden day. Quite simply in fourteen days id be returning to the U.S. and today also happened to be the fourteenth of April, thus making today a golden day. As my hand got to the point of being uncomfortably cold and I turn the corner to my piazza I couldn’t help but actually feel sad. I was going to miss Florence—yes I know a very stark contrast to how I felt in the beginning of the semester. Walking up my stairs and into the now familiar rooms of my apartment I sat down and began munching on my extra big slice of pizza and slowly sipping my cold coke. Maybe because of today being the golden day of my first European adventure I was being sentimental. Either way I had my favorite pizza and I was fed on my golden day.
The bells pealed out over and over. Their sound was repetitive and reminding of the grand cathedral the helped to make the city famous. Giotto’s bells kept speaking over and over. It told the city that today was a day of importance. I could hear them all the way across the city. I hadn’t even realized how disconnected I had been from Catholicism here even while being in this city and so close to the seat of my faith. Of course I had done the Vatican visit when I went to Rome, but the level of connection seemed so thin. I was in Florence for lent, however I missed the feeling that came from going to mass each Sunday. Then the singing came. The sound of people singing filtered through the windows of my apartment. Outside an altar bearer held a cross aloft that was decorated in palms. Behind came the priest and the rest of the congregation, they sang as they carried palms and walked through the piazzas. On this Sunday, one of the holiest in the catholic calendar, I felt a bit more connected—even if for just a moment.
I was very lucky that for my birthday week my parents came to visit me. They got in on the day of my birthday all the way from Vermont. To give you an idea of just how very far away home is according to google maps its approximately 3,984 miles, a two hour drive, two planes flights (the Florence airport is too small for intercontinental planes), and a crazy taxi ride to get to Florence. It was nice that my parents had come but it left me feeling every bit more home sick. Looking back on it I’m glad they had come. I dragged them all over Florence in the two short days they were here (they had the audacity to travel all over Italy for the week they were here and have fun ( a bit of humor)). My Mom and I climbed Giotto’s Bell tower that sits adjacent to the Duomo and then the Duomo the next day with a quick gawk in the Baptistry that predates both structures and set the program of the architecture. Both views were spectacular. We managed to be descending when the bells began pealing to announce the evening mass. I’m back to sorely missing my family as the last two weeks of school start adn I get ready to go home. I’m ready to go home.
As I sat outside the studio door playing Candy Crush™ the environment reminded me of camp. This morning was cool and crisp in Florence. There was a refreshing feel to the air and the feeling of solitude as I pinged away at the obstacle on my screen. A bird was calling out over the small plant filled courtyard. I felt a slight chill and couldn’t help but think of summers in Vermont. As a child I went to the day camp I now work at. I fondly remember getting ready for a true New England type day during camp season. In the mornings we’d arrive bundled in sweatpants and warm clothes against the chill. I remember distinctly always hating swim lessons because we were in the un-heated pool learning strokes at eight o’clock in the morning. Shivering and damp we’d scamper back to hike trails, build forts and eat our snack. Slowly throughout the day we would take off layers of clothing as the sun rose. I remember eating lunch under tents trying to avoid the heat that always magically appeared. Sitting there in the middle of Florence I breathed in the cool crisp air that was so much like home. Sitting there I realized that I had come to terms with being in Italy, that I felt okay being here and that I sort of actually like Italy—a lot. As I gathered my sweatshirt closer to me against the chill I smiled, in an almost relieved way. With exactly forty one days left on my study abroad I knew I would go back to my beloved green hills and silver waters and that they were my home, however, I also knew the piazzas, cathedrals and open air markets were becoming home too.
It seems that with the recent lack of rain that I’ve realized something. I interact less with people when it’s not rainy, simply because we’re not doing the umbrella dance that Florence does. It’s almost a magical thing to watch the people navigate the streets and other pedestrians while keeping the rather rebellious umbrellas in check. The streets, and consequently the sidewalks on the majority of the streets I travel on, are narrow and barely fit one person with their unruly umbrella, let alone two people with umbrellas. As a result an unspoken coordination happens. Umbrellas are raised and lowered in synchronization of the passing of their tamers. I almost see the umbrellas as wild animals being held back by their tamers. If I close my eyes and look with my mind’s eye I instead see wondrous beasts flitting this way and that while floating above the heads of their hapless handlers. As the handlers meet others, akin to them, they complete the crossing of paths. I vividly imagine see a majority of success happening.
Of course the beasts are territorial and lunge at each other. Most of the time the handlers keep the multi-coloured and patterned beasts in check, keeping the ferocious beings from harming each other. Sometimes the creatures do happen to sneak a swipe in here or there rendering small scratches and openings in the pelt of the passerby. In fact I had to patch up my own black beast from an encounter with a Scottish plaid from the other day. It is all in a day’s work of the rain obsessed flitter flutterers.
Returning to the real world I’ve made it home. I’ve unfurled my black umbrella that had a slight collision with a plaid umbrella to repair a small hole. Dabbing clear nail polish onto the hole I gently seal it to keep it from dripping water on my nose the next time I use the umbrella to dance with the Florentines.
My parents bought me the coliseum. Not the actual coliseum but a small sterling silver charm of the monument for my Pandora bracelet. I adore it and all of the charms on my bracelet. I can actually tell you what each charm was for. The majority of them celebrate the major achievements in life and some celebrate the mundane.
My studio mates hate it. Supposedly as a studio jeweler I subscribe to the end of art jewelry that coincides with the absolute disdain for “fad” jewelry that is mass-produced by a faceless corporation. I can understand, however, as a person that finds family and the idea of fleeting easily manipulated memories precious I also stand apart from their view. I’m not stating that my studio mates don’t understand this and that they themselves are also not those people. For me I see a bracelet from this company and all of the mass-produced charms to be within the same aspect of Walter Benjamin’s essay “Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. Each item is lacking an aura (the ability to have been found throughout time since item’s creation) upon production as a consequence of not being a single unique item.
I believe that the tiny shining coliseum may not have had an inherent aura but has instead a created or rather curated aura. For myself the small dangling charm tangibly represents my time so far in Florence and will represent my twenty first birthday, my parents visiting me all the way from a very frozen Vermont and my collective experiences here in Italy and Europe. Such a small item, that was perceived to be a spawn of a soulless production house, actually holds the entire meaning of endearment in my biased eyes. It’s incredible, the meaning in things we hold on to that others can’t see. It also makes the point that memories are a fleeting thing to be valued and treasured even if your parents didn’t buy the real coliseum.
As he turned around I thought to myself, no he can’t, he won’t. Then as he slid his pants down to reveal his smooth baby bottom I was disappointed. Then when he repeated the act of mooning me the slight inkling of romance that was Italy was gone. I suppose that gawking at a group of people on the street at one in the morning from my apartment window didn’t help. Still I thought I’d left the frat-boy type who commit these types of acts at home in the U.S. Sadly I was very wrong. So as he slid his pants back up and wandered away chugging limenocello out of the bottle like it was a hard alcohol I was in shock.
I will admit I had the very un-lady-like thought to immediately flip them off as a response. Remorsefully as I posed the question to my roommate as to whether or not “flipping the bird” would garner the same affect as the U.S., she informed me that we were in our apartment and to do such would be a poor life choice.
Sometimes I like to make poor life choices. Usually they’re not dramatic like a scandalous and terribly done tattoo—my tattoo is done quite well and is tasteful content—or a love child born out of wedlock from a tryst only spanning a fore-night. No, usually my poor life decisions are those along the lines of working diligently all along or procrastination. I can quite proudly brag that I am in fact an excellent procrastinator! I have in fact watched twenty episodes of Once Upon A Time in the past two days. Although to my defense I’ve been sick and doing other things while binge watching television like homework. In reflection about the severity of the poor life choices I prefer to think of them being on the lightest of the scale of poor life choices.
Now if you’ll excuse me there are bear type noises coming from the square and I intend to investigate even if it means seeing twin moons again.