Florentine Tall Tales

Well it’s the end of day 3 already!

We had our first day of “school” in an awesome building that is actually a house with a courtyard and a beautiful garden (of which we technically can’t go in because it is the landlord’s). We filled out a bunch of forms of which I don’t really know what was about – something probably about how they can use my pictures and my schoolwork if they wanted to or that I won’t sue them over something dumb.

After all the grueling paperwork, we had a fantastic catered lunch (provided by the school) of adorable little sandwiches of salami and cheese, and caprese. What really stole the show though at the lunch was this bread based tomato soup stuff. I don’t really like tomato soup but this was pretty good. It may not have been the most visually appealing, but when drizzled with a touch of olive oil, MMM MMM MMM!!! We finished lunch with a berry drizzled cool whip shot thing and later toasted the school year with all the other students with a flute of champagne.

We then went on a tour of the city with one of the directors, Refugio. It was nice to see the city all over again – the buildings never seem to get old and when you unexpectedly catch a glimpse of the Duomo or Palazzo della Signoria when walking down a street in a semi-lost state, it never ceases to take your breath away. It just looms and dwarfs everything around it, and makes for fantastic pictures. It was really great getting to hear some of the city’s trivia and legends. Like the column in the Palazzo della Signoria. So the patron saint of Florence (st. name)’s body was being carried through/near the city and it grazed a dead tree and made it come to life. Since this was considered a miracle, everyone wanted a piece of the tree that was touched by St. (name) and proceeded to then kill the tree (again). A column was put in place of the dead tree to commemorate the miracle that happened there. There’s another column in the Piazza della Repubblica. This column represents the very center of the original Roman castrum, which then grew to become the city of Florence. And near the baptistry of the Santa Maria Novella (the Duomo) it was said that there was a lion’s cage (lions are the “mascot” of Florence); and one day the keeper of the lions left the gate to the cage open and a lion escaped and the people were running around going crazy. The lion then grabbed a little boy of only about 2 years old by his shirt and carried him around town. When his mother saw this she went up to the lion and said, “You put my son down right now!” and the lion walked up to her and dropped the boy at her feet. This was also considered a miracle and the boy grew up and was financially taken care of for the rest of his life – clothes, mansions, etc. We also found out that there are parts of the ancient Roman city under the Piazza della Repubblica that you can see if you go to the museum (we are totally going to do this). Anyway, it was a lot of fun hearing these stories – I could listen to them all day. We then went to the library (which was beautiful) that had beautiful views of the Duomo. There were lots of other students studying there and it just looked like a great social place to hang out; we are currently in the process of getting library cards, which means we need a cell phone number and a Florentine address, both of which we don’t have yet, but will soon.

Next on the list was getting a phone. We thought we would get a Vodaphone even though it was a little more expensive than either Wind or Tim, which are both Italian companies. We did some research and it turns out that the majority of people felt like Tim was the best value for the money. Well everyone decided that they were going to go with Wind because it was cheaper. A little bit frustrating but what can you do – just got to go with the flow. I guess it will turn out to be better that way because we all get free messaging to each other and when the US calls me it’s free (for me). I didn’t get a phone though just because it was so chaotic and confusing and I wasn’t sure if I could “unlock” my phone. So I’ll wait another day and see if I can work things out with the Thunderbolt; that would really be the best situation, save about €100.

Later this night we walked around the city (again) and ended up in the same places (again), which are mainly Santa Croce and Santa Maria Novella. There are always a few who crave wine bars and others who just want a gelato and either way we usually stay out far later than intended and then somehow manage to be decently ok the next morning, not without the help of a cappuccino of course.

When we returned to the hotel, Laura was asking the cute concierge for the key. And being that we are trying to learn Italian, we’re trying to say as much as we can in Italian. So she asked, “Il chiava per favore?” The concierge put his hand to his head and turned bright red and replied, “Eeh, you mean il chiave?” embarassedly. We are all laughing hysterically and managed to ask what “il chiava” actually meant. We then learned that it means “to have sex.” It just figures that Laura (of all people) would basically ask the cute concierge to have sex. Either way, we all got a good laugh about it and probably won’t let her live that one down.

Tomorrow, the housing search begins!

Words I learned today
buona serata = going to be a good night
chiava = to have sex
chiave = key