Well, I made it! We left JFK Airport at 9:40 PM bound for Rome on about an 8 hour flight. I slept for a whole half an hour and got my armrest taken over by a large Italian man. Turns out not having any personal space is normal in Italy though. Before our connecting flight to Florence, I had my first of many slices of pizza. We re-boarded and landed in Florence where to my surprise all my luggage arrived as well. Lorenzo de Medici (LdM) staff shipped us off to our apartments in taxis and we were underway.
I live at 10 Borgo Pinti, about a 5 minute walk from the Duomo in the city-center of Florence. Our apartment is very nice and I have 4 other housemates living with me. We have 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, and a kitchen that somehow doesn't have an oven. I have my own bedroom and half-bath with air conditioning, still haven’t found any other apartment that has AC so I lucked out big time.
The 30th and 31st we had orientation in the morning and time to explore the city in the afternoon. We found a mini-supermarket to go grocery shopping, the hard part is none of us can really read Italian and have no idea what we're buying. Good news is that I found peanut butter and jelly, so I'll be good for the next few months.
I climbed to the top of the Bell Tower next to the Duomo in the center of Florence for an amazing view of the city. The 414 steps were a killer, but it was certainly worth it. I can already tell I'll be in great shape by the end of the semester with having to walk everywhere.