This semester I said, “Ciao" to UConn and took off for Italy. This trip has been completely outside of my comfort zone, but it has already proven to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

Every part of this experience has been an adventure so far. From lost luggage to dragging a 40 pound suitcase through Florence to exploring Florence wet in a thunderstorm to dancing the night away at a club to trying the best wine and food I have ever tasted, I have made memories that will last a lifetime.

I have only been here for a little over two weeks, yet I have learned more about myself than I have once the past two years.

This semester, I want to make my articles into a blog telling my adventures abroad. These articles will tell of shopping at a store where the store owner, an adorable little old lady, didn't not speak any English. I thought to ask if she spoke French which she thankfully spoke a little. We communicated through the couple words of Italian I knew, the couple words of English she knew, and the French we both knew.It was one of the coolest experiences I have ever had.

I have gotten to learn how to cook. The first time I attempted cooking chicken resulted in six of my roommates and I almost poisoning ourselves. Thankfully, I've continued to practice.

The culture here is different as well. There is a strict law that after 11:00 pm, quiet hours go into effect and a 1000 euro fine can be imposed for misbehavior. The drinking age is lower, but you cannot buy alcohol after 9:00 pm. Here, being drunk is frowned upon. The food here is cleaner, cheaper, and better for you.

I ventured to the "leather market" which is little stands of men and women selling their leather goods. You have to be tough and haggle for prices, otherwise you will be overcharged. It is overwhelming at the beginning - men shouting at you trying to get you to buy their goods and chasing you to give a lower price if you decide you don't want to buy something.Most people here bike or walk. Very few people drive. Speaking of driving, people drive crazily. They will not stop for pedestrians like in the US. I have learned to be very careful crossing streets after almost getting run over by many mopeds.

The sights are gorgeous here. Every building has magnificent architecture. The colors of the buildings are rich and go together nicely like a puzzle. Everywhere I go is made up of cobblestone roads, tiny roads, and amazing buildings and shudders.

Already, I have traveled to so many places in Florence and outside of the city. I have been to Bologna and Cinque Terre these past few weekends. This weekend, I am on my way to Amalfi Coast which is supposed to be the most beautiful place on earth.

I am amazed at my experiences here. I have grown more independent and confident. I know this trip will change my life because I am already not the same person I was two plus weeks ago.
I look forward to sharing my adventures in Europe blog style this semester to hopefully paint a picture of how lucky I feel to have this amazing opportunity.

Ciao!