I would be lying if I said I had a deep, meaningful reason for moving to Italy in the first place. Honestly, it was on my bucket-list. I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish in life, among the list was learn to paint, to cook, and learn two of the romance languages. I searched the internet for a few hours and found a year-long Post Bachelors program at an art school in Florence. It offered financial aid, Italian language, art, and writing, and within a few weeks I had applied. In the fall of 2009, I packed my bags, waved goodbye to my family at the airport, and hopped on a plane for Italy. I’d been before as a tourist so I thought I knew what I was in for. I did not.
Nearly twenty-hours later when I arrived at the airport in Florence, I found a woman who worked for ARTSCHOOL (name changed to be nice), and I, along with many other students, were thrown into a taxi. We’d been assigned our new homes on a small, white piece of paper and the taxi man sped towards my destination after I grunted and pointed to the paper like a chimpanzee. Upon arrival to my new apartment on via sant’antatino I paid the man, waved goodbye to Jonathon who shared the taxi with me, and proceeded to drag my two massive pieces of luggage up five flights of concrete stairs, in high heels like an idiot.
The three-bedroom apartment was empty, though all of the tiny midget-sized beds, except for one, had been claimed with pieces of luggage. I took the remaining bed, checked the name tag on the other twin size bed, located against the opposite wall from mine in “our” room to see who my new room-mate was, and where she was from. “A southern girl” I thought, “this should be weird”. I unpacked, and dragged my exhausted, sweaty body to the shower.
Afterwards I dressed, said hello to my four new room-mates as they came home one by one, and snuck out to have a drink with a few Italian friends I’d met a few years before on vacation in Florence. I was tired, but it was my birthday and I had to celebrate turning twenty-eight. Jonathon, the young man from Denver whom I’d shared a taxi with that day from the airport, joined me, Nicola, and D’Elia to Santa Ambrosia Piazza where we drank Mojito’s on the steps of the church surrounded by two-hundred other Italians doing the same thing. Only in Italy is it prefered to drink yourself retarded in the shadow of a massive cross.
At the end of the night I stumbled home, crawled into my new, tiny bed, and listened to the breathing of my new-roomate as I fell asleep.