Never did I think I would be the one who decided to study abroad.
Getting ready to get on the plane!
The airport at JFK was maddness with all the people traveling all over the world. Thankfully, we left lots of time before our flight because the line for TSA security was at least an hour wait. I felt a bit stressed until we got through security and found our gate. It still hadn't hit me (and in some ways still hasn't) that I was traveling for an entire semester abroad in Florence. We got on the biggest plane I had ever been on. I was near a lot of my group from UConn, and on one side, I was next to a cute older couple traveling to Europe as well. The woman gave me great travel advice and told me stories about her life and her grandkids. The first plane ride - we had a layover - was 6 and a half hours. I was such a jumble of nervous and excited that I could not wait to land. I was able to sleep four hours (I don't know how), and woke up to them serving breakfast. With the time difference, we were arriving in Florence at 7:30ish in their time, but it was only 1:30ish in US time.
We had to run to our next flight because our layover in Amsterdam was less than an hour. We speed walked to the gate at which we were supposed to be. Standing at the back of the line, we realized that this line was comparable to the one we stood in at JFK, and we would never make our flight. While people spoke English, everything was not in the language. We all started getting anxious, so finally we asked the lady if we would make our flight standing in the line. After talking to three people who seemed confused by our questions, we asked a fourth woman who told us if our flight finished boarding in a half hour - at that point in time - we could cut the entire line and go to a seperate line to make our flight. We ended up meeting another study abroad participant in line from another univeristy who ended up coming with us. Thankfully we were able to cut the line because watching how slow the line moved, there is no way we would have made out flight.
We all realized as we were waiting to board the second flight that we had not slept much (if at all from some people) in a long time. The second flight was thankfully much shorter. Touching down in Florence was amazing! The view out the window revealed a beautiful city.
The views outside my window!
Of course, as luck would have it, all of our baggage was lost. We had to file lost baggage, and my second bag did not show up for another week. And the lost luggage ended in an experience lugging a 30-something pound suitcase through Florence! I do not reccomend doing this.
When we arrived at our apartment, we discovered that it was beautiful with not one but two balconies! The balconies provided a view of the amazing city and gardens. I think going onto the balcony was when it hit me that I had the entire semester here in Italy. The apartment was huge, and I knew that I am definitely the luckiest person to get to spend four months in this great city!
We decided to fight the jet lag and try to find a store to buy toiletries and food. We ended up caught in a rain storm in a very unfamilar city. We kept ducking under awnings to hide from the rain. Finally, restaurant owners took pity on us and invited us inside. We were hungry and decided to eat there. The restaurant gave us wine on the house (I think they felt bad from the rain). I ordered dmy first pizza in Italy (which was amazing).
The view from one of my balconies!
The next two days were orientation and getting settled in. We went clubbing, ate pizza, and walked around the city. I ate pizza at my now favorite pizza restaurant, and I watched the sun set with my roommates near the river. The days leading up to classes starting were amazing and a relaxing way to settle into Florence.
The view from one of the bridges in Florence!
My amazing pizza!
My days have been filled with good food, good wine, and good views! I had so many adventures. I have gotten to explore the coolest places and have had very interesting experiences...I will talk about more of them in my next post...