Falling off the face of the Earth

It was a long and difficult road, but we at last made it to Florence.

Internet is only available at the main building of the school, so my updates may be a bit sketchy for a while. That is the main reason I haven’t updated.

London did not happen. We arrived at our hotel around 2 pm. Alice went straight to sleep, and I took two naps before dark. We did plan on at least making to Hyde Park, which was only a few blocks away, but when my alarm went off Alice glared, punched her pillow and rolled over. I feared for my life, so I went down the block to Burger King for dinner instead, and contented myself with His Dark Materials.

We stayed one night in a very nice–but very small–Florentine hotel, the Globus, which is just a short jaunt from the school. Our apartment is across the street, and very nice. I’ll post pictures eventually. Our room is really cool.

Friday was all tours and introductions. I’m irritated with the art history prof, because she lead us on a very long, confusing tour of the city which involved a lot of circles. We couldn’t hear any of the history information she gave us because of the traffic and city noise. Then, twenty minutes after the tour is supposed to have ended (and ten minutes after our meeting with the housing coordinator was supposed to have started), she says, “Okay, that’s it. Go find your way back.” And walks off in the opposite direction, leaving us with poor copies of an illegible map.

I get that the best way to find your way around a new city is to get a little bit lost. I did that all the time in Montreal. But you do not drag twenty-five jet-lagged students on the first day in a new country where they do not speak the language and abandon them in the middle of a piazza and tell them to find their own way back to the school. That is not cool.

We haven’t done much exploring because it’s been raining since we got here–pouring rain on and off. I can see the sun now for the first time since our arrival, but it won’t last long. It’s supposed to rain now through Saturday, then from Monday through Wednesday, at least. There’s also no pictures for that reason.

I’m not crazy about Florence so far. I don’t hate it, but I certainly don’t love it either. I’m not sure how I feel about staying here for four months. There aren’t enough green things here–trees and grass–and the streets are so narrow and the buildings so tall that I can’t hardly see the sky. No matter what window I’m looking out of, I can only see the building across the street. When I look up, I just see more buildings. When I look down, all I see is stone. I love the city, but there’s still a lot of country girl in me. I keep thinking of Montreal and all the parks and the grass, and the walks I would go on. Here, the concept of a yard is completely foreign. I hate the courtyards because they have high walls around them, and to me, that defeats the purpose. The sensation of being boxed in is even worse here than it was in Columbus.

I’m going to get some lunch and hopefully I won’t start rocking back and forth in a corner any time soon.