Ciao! I have officially been in Florence for one month and everything is great so far. I feel like I am finally fully adjusted to living here now that I have gotten into a routine of school, travel, and free time. My classes are starting to pick up and we have midterms next week, but the professors have done a good job in preparing us. So far, my favorite class is Italian! I love learning new phrases that I can practice using in real settings. Jenny, our Italian professor, is absolutely amazing and is a great professor. In addition to teaching Italian, she has been a great resource for recommendations on what to do and where to eat in Florence!
One of my goals this semester was to immerse myself in the Italian culture. At the beginning of the semester, I signed up for a program called the “Ganzo Project” where I get to go to an Italian family’s home once a week for dinner. So far, I have been to two dinners with my family and it has been one of the best experiences I have ever had. My first day, I was nervous because it took some travel time for me to get to their apartment. I had to walk to the main train station and take a local train to a more residential area of Florence. The dad, Mario, met me at the train station and drove me to their apartment where I met his wife, Mariella, and their two young children Matteo (age 7) and Francesca (age 2). The parents speak English well and made me feel very comfortable! The first night they made me a delicious spread of crackers, bread, fresh cheese and meets, and various desserts. Their son Matteo is beginning to learn English, and they would take turns quizzing him on his English and then quizzing me on my Italian!
The second week I went to their house was even better than the first. Mario made fresh dough and we made homemade pizza together. Mariella bought many toppings like mozzarella, broccoli, pumpkin, sausage, and more. It was delicious and was fun to make. Their youngest daughter Francesca has also gotten comfortable with me, and always yells my name for me to play with her. She does not speak any English yet, so we do a lot of smiling at each other! The parents are good about translating for me and simultaneously teaching me more Italian. I am so glad that I took advantage of this opportunity and look forward to spending time with them every week. It is great being away from the touristy area of Florence for some time every week and I feel like I am really “experiencing Italy” when I am with my family.