Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Reflections

Ciao, Firenze.

I've said goodbye to Florence. Officially. At this time one year ago, I wasn't even thinking about going to Italy. I was planning a study abrod trip to Little Cayman Island. How the hell did this happen? How did I fall in love with Florence in only four months? How did I even get here in the first place? It seems so absurd that I have to leave. I've fit an entire lifetime's worth of experiences into four fucking months. Mostly everyone gets that feeling about the important experiences in their life-they look back and they can't imagine their life without them. Well duh, I say, because your life didn't happen any other way. The issue I'm having is that even now, after all I've done, after all I've seen, and through all the changes I've undergone, it still feels like my life in Florence was just one long ass dream.

I wouldn't be doing this blog justice if I didn't reflect on my life in Florence. Of course I'm gonna miss the friends I've made. I'm gonna miss the landmarks I walked past every day. I'll miss my teachers, the restaurants, the favorite places I'd go out to with the people I've grown to love. I don't know how I'm suppossed to return to the States and go out to dinner. I will never get service like I did at Reginellas. One of the waiters there actually gave me a back massage once. I've got proof. I don't know how to survive without gelato and Loaker wafers, either. I'll miss being the person who people ask for directions. I'll miss being familiar in a city in another country. Blahblahblah. Those are the obvious things. Its the things that aren't so obvious that I feel I need to reflect on; I need to absorb them with my words before they fade into nonexistance. Because if I don't eternalize them in this blog I feel it will be impossible for me to look back and think of these experiences as anything other than a dream. The little things are what made living in Florence a reality.

I'm going to miss living in a place where people are always taking photos. Everywhere you look in Florence, there is another photo opportunity. I won't be so sad about losing the view; I'm weary of all the ancient shit. I'll miss being the asshole in the backround of all those photo-ops pretending I'm having a heart attack or picking a wedgie or my nose. There have got to be at least 1,000 pictures in digital cameras across the globe of me doing those things. I'm nearly always wearing a yellow coat. I like to think of myself as a sort of Where's Waldo in tourist photographs. It became a game for me, to see what new way I could ruin their pictures.
I'm gonna miss the waffle stands. When I lived in Manhattan my favorite thing in the whole world was that at any given moment a cloud of new smells would assault my nose. Unlike Manhattan, the smells of Florence were never good. Sure, sometimes I'd be hit a waft of B.O. or toxic air in Manhattan but the Nuts-4-Nuts, pretzels, good perfumes, pizza shops, etc. etc. give off smells that combat the nasty odors. In Florence, my only relief was the waffle stands. Every so often I'd catch a wiff of waffles cooking and my nose would rejoice. I looked forward to walking near those stands everyday.
I'm gonna miss the roofdeck in my apartment building. My building was the only one where students in my program had a roofdeck. It was here that I'd sit with Selvaggia, Casalinga, Benny Lava, and Sway and let the stresses of school and life burn away, eliminated by the rays of the sun. Whenever it came out, we'd be up there on that roofdeck because in Florence when the sun is out its a miracle. We went there and we'd sit in that hot sun, drink wine, listen to Eminem, and do our homework. Down below people walked past, rushing here and there and trying to fit all the sights of Florence in (which I've concluded is 100% impossible). But us? We were up on a roof, relaxing in the Italian sunshine and feeding the resident pigeon. I used to paint on that roofdeck. Nothing was better.
Another thing thats going to really be hard for me to exist without is the bread. If I was ever going someplace where I needed to pack myself some lunch, all I'd buy was a loaf of bread baked that morning. At first, I hated Florentine bread because there was no salt in it. It tasted like the Sacrament bread; eating something that tastes like the body of Christ every day was quite bothersome to me. In Italy, though, they solve this problem with oil. So I'd grab some oil and a loaf of bread and sit down in the Boboli gardens, ripping off hunks and pouring a few drops of oil on it for lunch. Who needs deli meats, hot dogs, or mac&cheese for lunch everyday? Not me. I'm good with a loaf of bread and Extra Virgine Olive Oil.

And then there are the things that I won't miss. I first and foremost will not miss my apartment. I won't miss Meme and almost being stabbed everday by flying knives. I won't miss the disgusting smell of my apartment. I especially wont miss my terrifying elevator. videoI won't be sorry to leave the Florentine people because the majority of them are rude and smelly. My feet will rejoice at leaving those streets; I don't think they will ever be the same from those cobblestones (and the constant tip-toeing around dog and horse poop). I won't miss the guys who sell random souvenirs on the streets, either. They would line up these blown up photographs of famous artworks, wooden letters that have magnets and can stick together, tripod stands, and dancing Pokemon, right in the middle of the street, creating the most annoying mess of foot traffic in history. I'll be happy to be able to purchase milk by the gallon rather than by the half liter. I won't miss the cereal, all of it sucks. Accept Choco-Crack. Its a bootleg version of Chocolate Rice Krispies that the Italians smartly titled Choco-Crack. It tasted like wet paper.

There were so many other little parts of the life-in-Florence experience that will be tough to say goodbye to. There are just as many huge parts of life-in-Florence that will be tough to leave, also. When I reflect on Firenze and add up all the components that made this dream, this once-in-a-lifetime life I've lived here, I can humbly accept that however hard it may be to wake up, the day before me will that much better because I slept and dreamed so well.
Arrivederci, for now.
Love, Gabby.

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