Thursday, February 24, 2011

1 month in Florence!


So, today is the day that I've officially been in Florence for one month! My family back home says it feels like I just left yesterday. I still miss my family so much everyday and sometimes it's hard being so far away from the comfort of home. The homesickness gets better everday because I try to keep myself busy with all of the beautiful things that Florence has to offer. Although I know I'm going to miss my family everyday that I'm here, I know that I can't let the sadness take over me and ruin my trip. I'm only going to be in Florence once and I want to remember being happy all the time, not sad! If the first month went this fast, I can't even imagine how fast the rest of my time here is going to go by.

Tonight, I'm going to see an opera called "Manon Lescaut" with my Great Italian Opera class in a theater right here in Florence. I'm so excited because I really love classical music and it's so amazing to think that I'm going to be seeing an opera in Italy where opera was created. This is definitely going to be something that I will never forget.

Starting a couple weeks ago, I started going to Aperitivo every Saturday at a place called "Kitsch". For about 8 euro, you get a drink and you can eat as much food as you want from the buffet. The food here is awesome and I've been ordering a different smoothie everytime I go and they're really unique and delicious. I told myself that I'm going to order a different smoothie every Saturday until I leave and there's just enough of them on the menu for how many weeks that I have left here. It's a really relaxing atmosphere there and I really look forward to going there at the end of every week.

Even though I miss my home in the U.S. very much, I'm really starting to enjoy and appreciate the fact that I'm in Florence. It's so cool to be able to walk past the Duomo everyday on my way to class and see all of the architecture and statues on every corner I turn. Sometimes this experience just feels so surreal. I could be standing in front of the Duomo and just think to myself, "Wow, I'm really in Italy, there aren't many people who gets to see things like this everyday".
I'll write again soon!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

More Introductions

Hello everyone, my name is Kevin Christie. I’m a Binghamton University student studying abroad in Florence. As a history major specializing in the Italian Renaissance, going to Florence was kind of a no-brainer for me. Aside from history, one of my other major interests is cooking. Coming from an Italian family, I’ve been cooking my entire life. So much so that I even considered culinary school before going to a state university. I wanted to see what kind of life I skipped out on.

So I decided to take classes that I was interested in: Renaissance classes and culinary classes – I figured it would be the perfect mix for Florence.

I’ve been living in Florence for about 3 weeks and I think these past 3 weeks have been and will be the most extreme 3 weeks for the entire study abroad program. What I mean is it will probably be the most exciting, the most stressful, and most interesting part of the entire study abroad program. And I think the rest of the students will agree with me.It’s a bit hectic because after about three weeks you start to become a part of the city. And the city becomes a part of you. You’re no longer getting lost and maps start to become a thing that tourists use. The twisting streets of Florence, though initially confusing and kind of ridiculous, start to make sense. And you start to sink your feet in the culture that you still don’t really understand.

That’s what’s happening to me.

The initial transition stage for the first part of the trip wasn’t difficult. Probably because living in Florence didn’t really hit me until about a week later. I was both really excited to finally be in Florence, after years of waiting, and just trying to adjust myself to the area around me. But afterwards, homesickness hit me hard.

I consider myself a fairly independent person, so I was surprised to feel as homesick as I did. I was, initially, so excited to be in Florence that I kind of blinded myself to homesickness.

But after a week, especially since I didn’t have access to the internet and Facebook yet, I started to really miss my friends. I thought to myself, “What am I doing here? I’m missing out on everything back at Binghamton.” I even got a little mad at the culture and the city itself. But as I started to familiarize myself with the city and make new friends, I started to accept that I was going to be here until mid-May. So I may as well enjoy it.

I started to dive into the city’s mysteries. I love to walk around and explore. For those of you who consider yourselves urban explorers, this city really has a lot to offer. There are tons of hidden secrets and treasures that are easily passed by. So I started walking around without a map so I could absorb the city better, without having a definitive goal in mind. Just looking for whatever it is that makes this city so special. And I got lost a lot. But it paid off. Aside from getting me a few adventures, exploring Florence helped me to be more confident and familiar with the city. It became much easier to call this place home.

And now I find myself sinking deeper into the Italian culture and the magic of this city. Every day, I uncover a new secret about the city and the more I learn, the more I appreciate this place.

I’ll post back later about some of the cool things that I find in Florence. I’ll take pictures too!

Anyway thanks for reading my story so far, and I’ve got some pretty intersting ones about to come. So I’ll keep you all posted. And thanks to Kelsey for sharing her blog with me! J



Friday, February 18, 2011


Ciao a tutti!

I can't believe that I've already been in Florence for a little over 3 weeks now. The time is flying. Everyday passes by so fast. I feel like I'm in constant movement from when I wake up in the morning until about 10 at night, but I love it. Everyday is a new adventure and I always find something new that I've never seen before.

Last weekend I went to Pisa with my fiance and my friend Allison that I met through the study abroad program. I looked at the weather before we left and it said it was supposed to be sunny and about 55 degrees and when we arrived there it was freezing and raining. Even though it was pretty terrible outside, I still really enjoyed myself. When we first got to Pisa, we went into a place that seemed like it was gonna have great food and we sat down and they took out our penne and sauce from the freezer and put it in the microwave. That was pretty disappointing and I couldn't even believe that any place did that in Italy. But, once we got to see the leaning tower of Pisa, it was a totally different story. It was so overwhelming to see the tower, cathedral, baptistery, and cemetary that are all right next to eachother. They were all so beautiful.

This weekend, I'm going to the carnevale in Viareggio. Next to Venice's carnevale, the carnevale that takes place in Viareggio, Tuscany is the second most popular carnevale to go to in Italy. I am so excited to see all of the paper mache floats (some of them take about a year to make). It's so awesome to be able to go somewhere different every weekend and experience new things.

When I first got here, the thing I may have been most excited about was trying the gelato. I was a little naive in thinking that all gelato in Florence was going to be great. There are so many touristy places that use artificial coloring and ingredients to make the mountains of gelato look pretty. Well, now that I've been here for a little while, I'm finding all of the best places to get gelato and I have to say that when you find really good gelato, it's pretty exciting. I found two places, one called Grom, and the other called Gelateria della Passera. They are AMAZING! I've never eaten anything so delicious in my life! Banana and chocolate gelato together is definitely my favorite so far.

Now that I've been talking about how great the gelato is , I think I may go and get some now (this will be my second time today, I hope I won't be rolling myself back to the U.S. at the end of this trip!). I hope you all enjoy the pictures of Pisa and the gelato!



Thursday, February 10, 2011

Getting Adjusted

Hey guys!

So, I've officially been in Florence for two weeks now. When I first got here, all the streets and places were a blur, but now I feel like I can finally find my way around the city without getting terribly lost (which has happened quite a few times).

I've started to discover the cheapest 'non-touristy' places to eat and shop. My new favorite place (which I totally forgot the name of, sorry) is an awesome panini shop. One panini is only 2,50 Euro which is pretty great and they are SO amazing. The panini shop is only about 1 minute away from one of the schools where I have class, so I can grab a really good bite to eat before I start one of my classes.

I've never traveled outside of the United States, so I was really excited to come to Italy just for the food. I can honestly say that all the best food that I've ever eaten in my life has been here in Florence. Everything is so simple but it's truly amazing. From the pizza, panini, pasta, and of course the gelato.

I haven't been able to travel yet because the first couple weeks have been pretty hectic. I'm planning on going to Pisa this weekend with my fiance and I'm pretty excited to take one of those ridiculous tourist pictures with my hand up against the leaning tower. I'm planning on doing most of my traveling with through the school because the trips are all inclusive they have tour guides from the school come on the trips who show and explain what you're looking at.

To be honest, I'm still sad about being away from home even with all of these amazing things surrounding me. Random things make me really sad, like finding one of my dog's hairs on my one of my cardigans (my dogs are my life) or eating a piece chocolate because my mom loves it so much. I am really happy that my fiance came with my on this trip because it's like I brought a piece of home with me to Florence and we get to share this amazing experience together. I really am a homebody so this was a big step for me to come all the way to Italy. I know the sadness will get better. I just think that I need to travel more and see new things once my schedule isn't so crazy.

If I get to Pisa this weekend, I can't wait to get some pictures for everyone to see on here!


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ciao, Firenze!

Hey everyone! I'm sorry that I haven't been able to write anything here in a little while. I arrived in Florence one week ago and it's just been a little hectic between unpacking, jet lag, new classes, and exploring the city.

Florence is so beautiful and there's so much to see. I can't wait for everything to settle down and get into a set schedule so that I can see everything that Florence has to offer. I'm not going to lie, although Florence is really beautiful, I've been pretty homesick. I miss my family a lot because we're all so close but it gets better everyday It's a big change to go from one culture to another and at first it's just a little hard to adjust. The first night was the worst without my family, but, now it's one week later I'm feeling much better than I did when I first got here.

I'm staying in a beautiful apartment with my three roommates Sammi, Maureen, and Carolyn. They're super nice and we get along really well. All you do in your apartment while you're here pretty much is just sleep because there's so much to do whether you're at class, out eating awesome food, or getting lost in the city.

So far, my classes are great and so are my professors. It's really nice because they try to teach you everything about Florence that you don't already know like the best markets to buy food, sights to see or how to order something the right way at a cafe.

I'll upload some pictures soon and I can't wait for you guys to see how beautiful it is here!

I'll write again soon!