January 30, 2012

Primo Giorno di Scuola

"First Day of School"

Today was the first day of class! I went to 2 classes, Event Planning & Italian 101.

Nicole & I have event planning together and it seems like it will be a fun class. We were told we'll spend most of the semester getting ready for a big event in May that we will have to plan and organize but the teacher is really nice and pretty funny so it should be too bad.

There are about 7 or 8 people in my Italian class & Doug is the only guy. Our teacher walked in speaking Italian and other than us reading the syllabus in English, Italian was the only thing that was spoken! This is going to be a LONG semester; the only other language class I've taken is French and the 2 are not similar at all! I feel like we learned a lot in class today already but I'm pretty sure it'll be my hardest class!

Before lunch Nicole, Melissa, & I went to lunch at Caffe Duomo! We got salad, bruschetta, pasta & a glass of wine for 10 Euro! We figured it was the perfect way to celebrate the 1st day of class!
Caffe Duomo!
Nicole & I at lunch!
 The wine that came with our lunch!
Bruschetta & Salad!

Here are some random pictures from the past couple of days:

Apparently people put gardens in the back of their fiat?
I ran into Rocco on the way to class!
Carousel in the middle of the Piazza della Repubblica!
Window displays are incredible here!
Streets of Florence.

January 28, 2012

Scoperta di Firenze

"Exploring Florence"

Well last night Nicole & I stayed in and went to bed early which ended up to be a terrible plan because we both woke up wide awake at about 1:30am and didn't fall back asleep until about 4:30. When we woke up it was bright and noisy outside and we realized we slept in until 2:30pm!!

We had planned to go "exploring" today so we got up and got ready and went out! Here is some of what we saw!

Texas in Florence!!

There are bikes & motorcycles EVERYWHERE!

Typical apartments.


99 cent store where we got some laundry detergent & stuff for our apartment!
Part of the Duomo!
There is a costume shop about 3 minutes away from us!

Its so cold in our apartment - Nicole & I got slippers! 

January 27, 2012

Benvenuti a Firenze

"Welcome to Florence!"

After moving in yesterday, we went on a "practical" walking tour...whatever that means and then had a 4 hour long orientation where we pretty much got lectured about everything we've already been told 3 times but we rewarded ourselves with an incredible dinner at Dante's. My friend Patrick and I both split 2 pizzas which were both incredible and they served free wine with our meal! After dinner a group of us went out to a couple bars full of locals where we made friends with a couple interesting Italians.

Today we had a lunch and an orientation for our school, LdM. After the orientation a few of us went to a phone store and all got phones to use while we're here to get a hold of each other... its been difficult without one!

I also had my first grocery shopping experience today. Its hard to read any of the labels so I'm not really sure what kind of milk I got but I pretty much founded everything I needed to get by for a few days like pasta, salad, hazelnut yogurt, and wine... the essentials. They charge you per bag and you have to bag your own groceries - so many cultural differences.

Grocery Store.
The grocery stores are so small compared to American grocery stores!

Our fridge isn't empty anymore!

Thankfully we don't have any more orientation activities so we're free until Monday when classes start! I've been terrible at taking pictures... as in I haven't taken a single one but I will definitely start so that I have pictures to share and remember the trip by.

January 26, 2012

Our Apartment

This morning we all checked out of the hotel and took taxis to our apartments. We live at Via San Gallo, 78 Apt 3, about a 10 minute walk from our campus. Nicole and I are rooming together and sharing an apartment with Melissa, an interior design major from TCU! The apartment is incredible - we have a nice kitchen and 2 patios! I'm working on getting my stuff unpacked but I officially have my wifi set up!

My bed.
My desk.

Part of our closet.
Kitchen & dining area!
Our patio!

Our patio view looking up.

Last night we went to our welcome dinner where we had a 4 course meal of pasta, pizza, potatoes and meat, and dessert. Its definitely going to take some time getting used to the different foods here but it was pretty good.

January 25, 2012

Official Resident

Nicole and I got in last night and made it safely to our hotel & then went out to explore and go to dinner. We ended up making friends with our waiter and went out with him after our dinner! We went to a couple bars where most of the American study abroad students go so we got to meet people from all over the US! We had a couple glitches with the hotel trying to figure out how everything works but we're getting the hang of it! 

This morning we got all checked in with our program and I just submitted the paperwork to become an official resident of Florence! Tonight we have a formal welcome dinner with our group and tomorrow we move into our apartments! I can't wait to get all moved in and settled which will hopefully make our whole group feel a little more at ease! We have a busy next few days and start classes on Monday. 

It keeps hitting me that I'm LIVING IN ITALY!! So exciting :) Well I miss y'all and can't wait to skype/chat with all of you! 

January 23, 2012

Italy Bound Today!!

Last night when I flew into San Fransisco, my bag didn't make it with me but got delivered to the house at about 3 this morning! Thankfully everything is going somewhat smoothly and tonight at 7:30 Nicole and I will be on a plane headed for Zurich and then Florence! We'll be getting in around 7:00pm on the 24th and are staying at the Hotel Medici for a couple nights before we move to the apartment! Hopefully I'll have tons of pictures to share soon!


January 22, 2012

California Bound

Well as of 20 minutes ago, I'm completely packed with one checked bag that weighs exactly 50 pounds and a carry-on bag. The first time I weighed my suitcase it weighed 72 pounds so I'm taking half of what I wanted to... but I guess that means I'll have to shop when I get there!

In a few hours I'll be on a plane toward San Fransisco to meet Nicole. Our flight to Italy leaves tomorrow night and we'll arrive in Florence around 7pm on the 24th!

January 18, 2012

Send Me Mail!!

Just in case you want to mail me a letter/postcard while I'm gone (which I would absolutely LOVE), here's my address:

Samantha Wood
c/o ACCENT Student Mail
Piazza Santo Spirito, 10
50125 Firenze (Florence)
Italia (Italy)

**The information I have says to make sure you write "AIRMAIL" on the letterr**

January 17, 2012

Getting Ready

I still feel like there's a lot to do before I leave, but I'm getting excited!! I still have to make tons of copies of my passport and other forms to use when I get there, go to the bank and set up my account to use abroad, get some euros, get a student ID card, get some last minute things for my trip, and PACK!!

Also... its 25 degrees in Florence right now and I've been wearing Nike shorts and t-shirts all winter break. I'm going to FREEEEZE!!!


Here's a couple pictures of my passport and my visa/"visto"!

January 16, 2012

Other Fun Stuff

I have been given some information about what my first week will look like as well as some weekend trips with the whole group during the semester. Thought I'd share since the first week might be too busy to post everything that's going on.

23rd: Leaving America to go to ITALY!!
24th: Arrive in Florence (Nicole & I are going a day early)
25th: Check-in at hotel and welcome dinner with the group (there are almost 40 of us going from TCU)
26th: In the morning taxis will be taking us to our apartments and we will be moved in & at night we will be going on a "practical walking tour" of the historical city center
27th: In the morning we will be applying for our permit of stay & at night we have our academic orientation
27th-29th: Weekend trip to Rome!!

3rd: Group trip to Siena & San Gimignano

9th: Group trip to Lucca

Class Schedule:

Not only will I be living in Italy for a semester, but I have the best schedule ever:

Event Planning: Monday 3:00pm-5:30pm
Foundation Oil Painting: Tuesday 9:00am-11:30am & 12:00pm-2:30pm
Italian Food and Culture-Pairing Food and Wine: Tuesday 6:00pm-8:30pm
Organized Crime: Sociology and History of Italian Mafia: Wednesday 3:00pm-5:30pm 
Elementary Italian: Monday 6:00pm-7:15pm & Wednesday 6:00pm-7:15pm


January 15, 2012

9 days until Florence!

On the 22nd, I will be flying to California to meet up with Nicole and the next morning we'll be off to Florence, Italy. Everyone is currently back at TCU and as jealous as I am, I keep reminding myself that I'll be in another country in less than 10 days! 

My best friend from high school is being wonderful and letting me take his camera with me to Italy so that I can capture and share my semester with my friends and family. Hopefully I'll be able to post often and keep y'all up to date on my life abroad!