I fell in love with Florence today. That is not something I say lightly. I’m not really sure what it was that pushed me over the edge, but there I was, in a beautiful park watching children play with their parents, and I was so moved by my presence there to the point of being overwhelmed. It may have helped that I spent the entire afternoon in the Uffizi, just staring at the statues and busts in the hallways. I only went in to a room or two because I bought a pass that allows me to enter as many times as I like. I plan to spend a lot of time there, thinking and marveling. I also bought the Uffizi catalogue so I can read about all the paintings and sculptures at home after I see them. The pass also grants me free access to all of the state museums in Florence, of which there are many. I left earlier than I thought I would because it was such an incredibly beautiful, brisk day and I wanted to soak in as much sun as possible. I got lost and then found myself and the got lost again and then found myself again. I am slowly learning the layout of the city: the direction of the river, the piazzas, and that if you ever get lost all you have to do is look upwards toward the sky and wherever you see a big church or bell tower, just head in that direction and you will find yourself back in the center of the city. I stopped at a different gelateria today and got pistacchio (the best flavor by which to judge the quality of gelato). It was outrageous, second only to the gelateria in Venice that imports its pistacchios from Sicily and makes you pay extra for that particular flavor. I also stopped again at the teensy shop I found yesterday and got another fried rice ball and a fried apple slice. They weren’t smoking hot this time, but were still outrageously delicious. It’s fun to find all the places that you love and know you will visit time and time again. Whenever I find an establishement that I feel makes a positive contribution to the lives of its patrons, I am loyal to the end. I am an explorer at heart and love discovering the intricacies of whatever city in which I find myself. I like establishing relationships with the people at a particular place because you know that if all else fails, you have that one tangible thing in common. It’s a great way to make friends.
I feel more and more grateful every day that I have the opportunity to live here. It is so much more wonderful than I imagined it to be, which says a lot because I had pretty high expectations. I met an American girl who works in a shop here. She is from California but has been in Florence for 9 years. She came to study, fell in love (with the place, and then with a guy), and moved here. I smiled at her story and she told me, “Hey, you never know. It just might happen to you!” Well, she may have a point, but don’t worry yet, mom! I am just going to enjoy every second of every day and when it ends, it ends.