Hard to believe that it's already been two weeks since I arrived in Italy. The time is flying by and I'm constantly doing something, including going to classes. If it wasn't for Lorenzo de' Medici's strict attendance policy I'd be out cruising the islands of Greece, but unfortunately, I have class.

Last week of class was "syllabus week" where the professors just go over what we will be learning and the students go out every night to the bars. This week we had assignments and reading due. All of my classes seem really interesting and the professors are all very nice and enthusiastic about their course. They all speak English with an accent so at times it's hard to understand. I was able to pick my classes so I don't have any on Mondays, and the school doesn't have Friday classes, so I have four day weekends to travel and catch up on sleep. It's a hard life but somebody's got to do it.

I start the week off with Elementary Italian Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 9:00 AM (3:00 AM EST), were learning some key phrases and words so we can get by in conversation. Italian is pretty similar to Spanish, so I know a lot of the words already, but everything is pronounced differently so I have to retrain myself to say the words correctly. But if you just talk really loudly, wave your arms around, and roll your R's it all sounds the exact same to me.

Tuesday afternoons I have Lifestyles of Renaissance Florence with Marcello Bellini, a short, eccentric Italian man who loves to make fun of the students and himself. The first day of class he told us how mad he gets when people call him "Marshmallow" and for us to never call him that. The class focuses on the art, architecture, sculptures, and lifestyles of Florence from the 13th century and it's surprisingly much more interesting than it sounds. We talked about a couple families the first half of class and spent the second half exploring the city of Florence. We visited the Santa Trinita church and saw the chapels and tombs of the families we talked about. You get a much better understanding of the times when you're standing next to the guy's dead body. Next week we're visiting the Santa Croce church (hopefully named after my ancestors).
Santa Croce, view from the top of the Bell Tower near the Duomo
Wednesdays I have Introduction to Italian Philosophy. Not that interesting to me but still pretty cool to be reading the works of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.

After Philosophy I have my most interesting class, Mysteries and Sacred Knowledge in Architecture. It reminded me of the "Da Vinci Code" and so far hasn't disappointed. Today we learned about different theories and myths of ancient pyramids and how the Egyptians might not have actually build them. The professor is a self-proclaimed hippie and is pretty out there. Half way through class he stopped and lead us in meditation for ten minutes. He said we'll do a different type of meditation each class to change our level of consciousness. Can't believe I actually get credit for his class.

Thursdays I have Elementary Italian again and then Italian Style Cooking in the afternoons. The professor prides himself on using fresh and healthy ingredients low in calories. Last week we made bruschetta with buffalo mozzarella and basil, a bell pepper bread roll, baked eggplant with herbs on top, and a fruit salad with vanilla dressing. The best part is that we end each class eating all the food we just made. We're also going on two field trips for cooking, one to San Gimignano (where I did the wine tour last weekend) and the other to the Chocolate Factory of Perugina in San Sista. Hopefully it will be a little different than Willie Wonka's chocolate factory...

I'm slowing adjusting to the Florence city lifestyle. The streets are very narrow and the cars, buses, vespas, and bicycles drive incredibly fast right past you. There are always groups of foreigners on tours and gypsies begging you for money. You just put your head down walking to class and go. Other than walking around, everything moves at a much slower pace: at least two hours if you go out to eat, professors arrive late to class, the washing machine takes over two hours to finish. But it's nice to sit back and relax with a glass of wine (yes, I can legally buy alcohol now!). There are no dryers so everything has to be put on a drying rack in our kitchen over night to dry. While food shopping you just buy what you see and hope it's something you'll eat, but worst case scenario I have a Subway and McDonald's right down the street from my apartment.

Off to a family style dinner with unlimited wine now. I'll be spending this upcoming weekend white water rafting and island hopping in Croatia. Ahhh living the life!
Deborah Pecci
9/27/2012 09:11:36 am

Rachel sent me a link to your blog. Really enjoying it!!!


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