I know it has been two weeks since I last updated my blog, but there were reasons for that beyond just being myself and forgetting. I got to Florence safely with my friends. We checked into the hotel for the night and then the next day we all took taxis to meet out host families. I was excited until I learned that my host family lived a 20-minute bus ride and 20-minute walk away from the Sede (the building where I take my classes). In our housing interviews I had expressed that I wanted to live as close to the center as possible for personal and practical reasons. The buses stop running at around 1am so if I ever found myself out past that with my friends I would have to take a cab home. Granted the program did allow for 4 taxi vouchers each month, but it wasn’t just a matter of wanting to go out late, it also meant I was at minimum around and hour away from my friends at all times.
The family did provide two bicycles for my use and the other student’s use so I thought maybe the distance wouldn’t be a problem. I told the directors of my concerns and also decided to see if it would work at the current house. One because it would be a hassle for everyone to move me, and two because the husband and wife who were hosting me and the other girl are perhaps the sweetest people I have ever met. They were so friendly and welcoming, and the food was so good it was almost enough to make me change my mind.
But, as the first week passed it became clear that if I did stay I would have to choose between the experience I wanted and the one this host family would provide. I wouldn’t go out as much, the first week taught me that it definitely wasn’t safe taking the bus alone at 1 am and that it would be normal to be out past then, and I would spend less time with my friends. The same friends who I had been planning this year with for two years.
But by the time a new host situation was found I was already more attached to my current one so when I met the Signora who would be the new host family I was conflicted. I wished I could go the Signora’s and stay at my first host family’s house. I still hadn’t unpacked for two weeks and every night at dinner I decided to stay and every morning on the bus to school I decided to leave. Finally I made a decision.
So now I’ve unpacked at my new host family, and despite the cold I currently have I think I made a good decision. The room is beautiful, and even has a balcony that overlooks a nice garden area. The Signora was in the process of redoing the room when my directors called so when I saw the room it was empty, but she saw how tall I was and bought a full-sized bed for me to sleep on which is a lot better than the twin sized one I had before. I have my own, albeit small, bathroom. And best of all it is only a 5-minute walk from one of my good friend’s house, and a 20 minute walk from my other good friend.
For the past two weeks everyone else on the program has been settling in and falling into tentative routines, but I felt like I hadn’t been able to do that. With my uncertain housing situation everything felt temporary and I didn’t want to get too attached to anything if it should change. Now I feel like I can finally begin my year.
P.S: Now that you know the reason for my lack of posts I will try and catch you up on what I have done these past two weeks. In the meantime here are some pictures of my room.