Hayley is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2017, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Communication and Media major at Merrimack College, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.
In this week's post, Hayley marks her arrival in Florence by getting to know the city and its people.
It was about 11:00 AM when I was woken up from my nap to the sound of the pilot making an announcement that we were just moments away from arriving in Florence, Italy.
After a bumpy landing I gathered up my belongings and headed to exit the plane. I remember stepping off the plane and looking at my friend, Autumn. We both had the same excited look on our faces as we took a small shuttle bus to the baggage claim and joked about how there was no turning back now. After months of anticipation I had finally arrived in Florence, Italy!
After collecting my luggage, I was greeted by the CAPA faculty and put into a taxi with 4 other CAPA students. As we drove to our apartments I couldn’t help but admire everything about the city. Everything seemed so picturesque, I felt like I was in a movie! When my roommate and I arrived at our apartment we were greeted by our landlord, Freducci. He gave us a tour of our flat and showed us popular areas in our neighborhood where we could get a bite to eat and shop. After walking around our neighborhood in Via Dei Mecci and getting settled into our apartment it hit me that I was actually here. I felt slightly overwhelmed, but those feelings eventually subsided.
That night, my roommates and I decided to take a walk around the city. Having no idea where we were going, we somehow managed to stumble across the Cathedral di Santa Maria del Fiore, the Duomo, and the Ponte Vecchio. I had seen pictures of the Duomo before but they definitely did not do it justice! I was so amazed by its size and beauty. At the Ponte Vecchio we admired the sun setting on the river and window shopped all the expensive stores. After, we found a small restaurant and enjoyed our first pizza in Italy.
What stood out to me and surprised me the most during my first day had to do with the way Italians drive. The sidewalks are small and people usually walk in the streets. Cars will speed down the small roads as if the pedestrians weren't even there. Another thing that surprised me was how interested the locals were in Americans. During my first day I had multiple conversations with English-speaking Italians and they seemed very interested in the reasoning behind being an American studying in Florence. They also were very helpful when it came to asking for directions and where patient when they didn’t understand what we were trying to say.
Overall my arrival in Florence has been full of adventure. I can’t wait to see what the upcoming week has in store for me!
Hayley's journey continues every Thursday so stay tuned.