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Archive for July, 2008

So much for blogging everyday–sorry guys.  As bored as I thought I’d be now that I am back home with no job, no car, and not much money, I’ve been keeping pretty busy.  The exhaustion has finally set in after a jam-packed last few days of family visits and late night excursions with friends.  

In other news, I managed to connect with an old acquaintance from high school who I heard through the grapevine is living in Firenze!  We’ve exchanged a few e-mails and she really helped quell some of my fears about not knowing the language.  We’re even going to get together while I am over there!  It’s a huuuge comfort to know that a familiar face awaits me in such an unfamiliar place.  AND, I’ll totally know about all the local “hot spots” within a few days of my being there!  I’m getting so excited…

Ok, on to more important things…I bought a “Learn Italian” audio CD program!  I figured I may as well get a head start on things (17 days is enough time to learn a new language…right?).  Jane and Mossimo, my two audio language tutors, coached me through some key phrases in Italian on the ride to my grandma’s yesterday.  I now know how to say, “I am American” (Yo sono Americana), “It is nice to meet you” (Piacere di conoscerti), and most importantly, “Don’t touch me” (Non mi toccare).  As Jane says, “10 meen-oots a day cahn mek a diff-eh-rence!” <–That was my attempt at conveying Jane’s heavy Italian accent, in case you were starting to wonder if I can even speak English.

I guess I owe you a few “fun facts”, eh?  I promise I will update my blog more regularly once I am actually in Italy.  So here is what you’ve all been anxiously waiting for…

Firenze Factoid Numero Tre (an amendment to Factoid Numero Uno):

Although many believe that Firenze was founded by Julius Caesar in 59 BC, archaeological evidence suggests an earlier village was possibly established by the Etruscans around 200 BC.  Flourishing as a rich merchant city by the 12th century, Firenze grew into a powerful city-state under the Medici family, who were then succeeded in the 18th century by the French House of Lorraine, which ruled until 1860 when the city was incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy.

Well, that should satisfy all you historical buffs, but here is a bonus factoid for the rest of us (and yes, I’m desperately trying to make up for the fact that I’ve missed practically two weeks of blogging)…

Firenze Factoid Numero Quattro:

Not far from Florence is Lido di Camaiore, the charming beach town located in Tuscany and situated in a quiet zone on the sea between Viareggio and Marina di Pietrasanta.  While today this seaside resort attracts many tourists and is famous for its wide beaches and fine, golden sand, back in the day it was the stage for long and bloody battles between Pisa and Lucca.  Here it is…

Did I mention that this is where I’ll be living my first three weeks as I study Italian and prepare to move in with my host family?  Mi sento fortunatissimo! <–That means, “I feel very lucky!”  By the way, I’m aware that that was not a fact about Florence, but it was a bonus factoid…whaddyawant?!  On that note, and until next time (which I promise will be soon), arrivederci miei amici!

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The Cascine

Florence Factoid Numero Due:  

The Cascine is Florence’s public park, beginning close to the Ponte della Vittoria (a bridge) and running about 3km downstream of the River Arno.  Once a dairy farm, then a hunting reserve, this narrow strip of green land was transformed into a high-society venue in the eighteenth century.  The beautiful and wealthy citizens of Florence used to relax under the trees of this park.  Today however, it is said to be a somewhat ill-kempt park with–get this–a reputation as a stomping ground for the city’s junkies as well as a “hunting ground” for pimps!  Hmm, sounds like Golden Gate Park…

I’ve been back in L.A. now for three days and I’m already sick of the heat.  It’s not just your average 90 degree weather I’m talking about either.  The humidity is what kills me.  Why do I even bother taking a shower anymore?  Ugh.  How have I stood this for twenty years of my life?  Why did no one tell me to move to the Bay Area sooner?  I’d better suck it up, I guess–I hear Florence is going to be sweltering when I arrive.  Apparently, it gets so ridiculously hot in the summertime that Florentines literally close up their shops and move out of their houses until the summer months are over.  Where do they go, I wonder?  On to my next assignment… 

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Well folks, I finally did it…I started a blog!  Pretty snazzy, eh?  You like those color schemes, don’t you?  In an effort to abstain from using Facebook, I decided to start this blog so that my family and friends can keep tabs on me while I’m living in Florence for four months.  I have to admit though, I’m not entirely comfortable with this whole blogging thing yet.  I mean, sending e-mails is one thing, but I feel like I really have to make sure my writing skills are on point to be keeping a blog.  Like that sentence…was that grammatically correct?  

So I guess I should explain why I’m starting this blog now when I don’t actually leave for Florence for another month.  Aside from being able to vent my fears and excitements about living in a foreign country whose language I have utterly ZERO experience with (yikes), having this blog will encourage me to start learning more about Florence.  How?  I am determined to learn at least one new thing about Florence every day leading up to my departure.  This blog will instill a sense of obligation in me to learn more about Florence in an effort to provide some good reading material for you all…a kind of “assignment”, if you will.  Lucky for me, this won’t be hard seeing as I currently know nothing about Florence…other than the fact that it is small and in Italy.  So as you can see, I’ve got a lot of homework to do!  And since this is my blog’s big debut, I may as well get things started off right…

 

Florence Factoid Numerare Un (and yes, I just had to look up how to say “Number One” in Italian):  Florence was founded in 59 BC by Julius Caesar.  

 

Ok, so my first fact was not that exciting, but gimme a break, this is my first post!  I promise they’ll get more interesting.

Until next time…arrivederci!

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