Monday, September 3, 2012

"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore!"

Gorgeous sunset while flying from Philadelphia to Brussels
I have safely wandered myself into Florence after almost 17 hours of traveling! Honestly I didn't get much sleep and my sleep schedule is all messed up so just feels like one super duper long day. The first little culture shock that I got today was getting on my transfer flight from Philadelphia to Brussels, Belgium, and everyone spoke French. I'm not sure I've ever been in a situation where I actually had no idea what everyone was talking about, so being unacquainted with a region's language is definitely a first for me. Normally people are either talking in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, or Spanish. Thankfully I can understand Italian much better than French, so it's not as much of a problem here. 

This will be a short(ish) post because I'm exhausted, but I still cannot get over the fact that I'm all the way in Europe! There's so much I want to say. I feel like I'm in some kind of an ancient fairytale world; all the little Belgium/Italian apartments look like gingerbread houses from the airplane. They also have sooo much land! After coming from Los Angeles it's a bit strange to know that people actually use all that space for planting trees/fruits/vegetables. The clouds and skies are absolutely magnificent; I feel like I could be in one of Renoir's paintings.

My view 15 minutes before landing in Florence, isn't it beautiful?
I am currently living right next to the Uffizi museum and the ginormous Duomo in a HUGEEE and beautiful/fully furnished apartment with 4 of my animation classmates. We also have a view of the beautiful Fiume river, which my friend Tiffanie and I want to sketch. I'll post up pictures of it tomorrow for everyone so you can see how beautiful it is. I have a freaking patio and I can open up the windows from my room and see the stars! 

I still can't get over how quaint Florence is. Everyone here seems so nice, and despite my 1-2 word conversations in Italian the locals here seem to really appreciate my efforts to learn their language. My goal is to be at least semi-conversational in Italian by the time I get back. Already I have had multiple conversations with locals in my broken Italian, but I'm happy to discover that I can understand more than I thought. Sometimes though, I'm afraid that I'm going to end up blurting out something dumb in Spanish by accident and tick someone off. I tried my first gelato from a little nearby shop from the Duomo (vanilla and chocolate cookie flavored,) and ordered food for the first time in Italian! I also earned the bragging rights of dragging almost 100lbs of luggage across Florence, past the Duomo, past the river Fiume, to my apartment with my friend in a silly attempt to save taxi money. Butttt needless to say I think I've had my workout for the week pulling my checked bags over cobblestones and that is one experience I have absolutely no desire to repeat.

I'm also realizing more and more how Florence really is a tourist city, which disappoints me. I really want to learn more about Italian culture but there are so many freaking Americans! We kind of pop up everywhere. Hopefully though, I'll be able to befriend some local Italians and get out of my "American bubble." 

Also, my random moment of the day is meeting a tech guy in Brussels who is from North Carolina and goes on tour/works for with Nickelback. :)

Anddd here are some random doodles of people in the Brussels airport. My favorite one is the grumpy guy who constantly switched between a frowny face and amused face when he was reading the local paper. I guess this post wasn't that short after all, whoopsssss

Con tanto amore
-Kayee :D

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