Saturday, January 30, 2010

what did you expect?

The stairs to my apartment. They're absolutely KILLER...I'm going to have some amazing legs when I get back, between all of the walking and climbing these babies multiple times per day.
Me and Marissa's bathroom and bedroom doors. We are the only apartment in our building with two bathrooms in a two bedroom apartment. Score.

Tiny TV and couches.

Marissa's and my bedroom. It's REALLY small, but honestly, the only time I spend in there is spent sleeping.

And, my bed. Thank god for that's down (or "made from ducks", as my landlord told us) and weighs about ten pounds. Keeps me so warm at night when the heat is off.

Expectations. It was one of the greatest obstacles to my whole study abroad experience. It affected the city I chose, the final decision in picking the API program, and everything I've heard from them since. I got a lot of feedback and information from API regarding what to expect in our apartments, social situations, and life in Italy in general, but the truth is that it's impossible to prepare for living abroad until you actually get here.

As much as I want this blog to be all sunshine and rainbows and Italy-is-amazing, I would be remissa if I failed to document all of the experiences I have while I'm here - and what I'm experiencing today is homesickness. I do not want anyone to worry, I'm told that the adjustment can be difficult, but that everyone gets over it, and the sooner I get this whole culture shock thing over with, the better. Mostly I'm struggling with my friends group here. My roommates are really nice, but they're very different from me. I'm terrified that my experience here is being diminished in some way because I have always sucked at meeting people. I do know one incredibly nice group of girls who have tried to include me thus far, but they live halfway across the city, and are all roommates, so I do feel like a bit of an outsider. I'm missing having people around that want to do the same things that I do, and quite honestly, I expected it to be way easier.
I just feel this intense need here for everything to go perfectly, wonderfully, smoothly. I'm very afraid that the experience will not live up to the expectations in my head...but at the same time, I know that I have been here less than a week, and that I need to just calm down and let things ride for now.
Last night was also not the most pleasant experience I've had since I came to Florence. One of my roommates and I went on a pub crawl with Euroadventures, and I definitely drank too much. I enjoyed myself at the beginning, just sitting and chatting with Sam (roommate) and two of the girls she knows here, but after the first pub, it was not fun. I ended up lost and alone, without my roommate, and had to find my way home completely inebriated. It is not an experience I want to repeat, and I'm serious when I say that I'm done drinking here. I am all for going out and having a glass of wine at a pub or a drink with an appetizer, but I have to accept the fact that getting drunk and going to clubs is just not my thing, and it does not make me strange (though it seems to among the people in the API program). I feel like I'm having to try too hard to fit in with the people here, I just expected to meet some people who have similar ideas to mine about what constitutes "fun" ... my expectations are having to adjust right along with everything else.

Anyway, enough whining for now. Like I said, do not get worried, I'm sure that will change things ounces classes start, and now that I finally got a phone like everyone else, I feel way less disconnected from everyone here.

The photos at the top of the page are from my beautiful apartment! My only problems with it so far are the lack of hot water and the cold in general. API was not kidding when they mailed us information about short showers and the Italians' Tendency to use heat sparingly. I'm getting used to constantly wearing socks, pajama pants, and a sweatshirt when I'm home.

Hopefully my next post will be a bit more happy ... I'm sorry if any of you bummed out, but like I said, I intend to record all of the ups and downs of the experience, and it just so happens that today is a down day.


  1. The apartment looks great and what good fortune about abundance of bathroon space if not hot water. I always said conserve water maybe i was italian in former life? Classes starting next week will help you to get to know classmates better who have similar interests to you. Keep smiling and enjoy it all. <3 mom

  2. The apartment is beautiful. Cheer up girl! You are just getting used to pretty much a completely different style of living. Enjoy it while it lasts!

  3. Hang in there Alaina! You will be fine, and I know that you know that...I just felt the need to say it. Anyway, what an incredible experience! I am so excited for you! I heard about your toe, and hope it is better. Your apartment is adorable, and hopefully warmer weather is on it's way! Your dad knows all about having a cold room. You've just gotten used to FL weather! :) Hope everything begins to get better, and you find that group of friends that are there for more than just pub crawling! :)
    Love you! Auntie Trish