Florence, Italy Day 1

After arriving in Florence, I met up with my friends and we began our journey to where we were staying. You see, I went to a Jesuit university and this was a study abroad program so I wasn’t staying in a hotel for the first part of this trip. I was staying in a convent turned hotel that still acted as a convent. It was all a part of the experience because we were in Italy for our religion class. At my school you had to take two religion classes as a requirement. One had to be based around some form of Christianity/Catholicism while the other could be anything you wanted. Luckily one of the options was a study abroad. My other religion class was Buddha on the silver screen which was also fascinating. 
We walked to our hotel/convent and I got into my room. I was sharing a room with one of my friends who had already shown up. She showed me the ropes of the room because we weren’t staying anywhere fancy. She had to show me where the outlets were, how to turn on the lights, the rickety old fan that sat on the desk and the bug zapper. Yes, we had a bug zapper in our room. Our little window looked out to the courtyard of the convent but you had to lean over the desk to see anything past the wall. After settling in, my friends took me around the grounds. I got the grand tour of where the kitchen was, the hallways we weren’t allowed to wander down, the courtyard, where the rest of the class was staying and the bathrooms. 
When I look back on that tour, I remember being in complete awe of where I was. Have you ever pictured something in your head, experienced it and realized that it was exactly as you imagined? Getting ready for the trip to Italy, I had this image of walls stained with age and color, beautiful window sills, cobblestone, brick, and warmth everywhere you turned. This convent was exactly that. It was so picturesque that I thought I was dreaming and sometimes I still think I imagined that place. But in all reality, I had these images of Italy in my head because I’ve seen pictures and those pictures had to be of something just as beautiful and grand. 
Immediately following the tour, we collected a few things and decided to start wandering. The rest of the class would be making their way into Florence one by one and we weren’t scheduled to meet up with the class until later in the day. So my friends and I wandered over to the Duomo. Little did we know that the Duomo would be our landmark to help us get home every night and every time we got lost in this great big city. We were a bit hungry and stumbled upon a little pizza shop along the road and stopped in for a 1 EURO slice of pizza before continuing our adventure. I remember this moment so well because it was the first time I was in a country where I had no idea how to say anything in the local language. I had been to Mexico during a Spanish class and Taiwan but never did I experience being somewhere that I knew no words. Trying to order pizza that day was quite an experience. I spoke in English only to realize that was useless and it resulted in hand gesture such as pointing at the slice I wanted and holding up one finger to show that I only one wanted one slice. 
After our pizza, we took a quick walk around the piazza in front of the Duomo, took some photos, took in the sights and then made our way back to the convent where we got to meet up with our class and our study abroad began. 

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