Thursday, June 14, 2012

Day 21: Running Again (Finally)

Well kids, I finally got to go for a run in Florence.

My ankle is feeling great, but I ran in my brace just to be on the safe side. I also didn't push it— It's been a while since I've been out so I only went about 1.88 miles.

Today was pretty cool in general. We took a class field trip to San Gimigniano for a wine tasting at this vineyard that makes wine in the traditional Tuscan way. The process they use has been around since the 1100s which is pretty cool.

The Tuscan countryside is absolutely gorgeous. It's expansive and breathtaking. Something that is different here though is that there is very little untouched earth. Almost everywhere is cultivated or lived on, which is a big difference. In some places in the States I feel like you can drive forever and not see a single house.

Photos from the class field trip to the winery, San Donato, in San Gimigniano.

I feel like I keep using cliche, go-to words to describe my experiences here, but those are truly the words that fit. Amazing. Breathtaking. Gorgeous. If I could be more creative or invent new words to describe the sensation that you feel in your heart when you stand before the David, I would. If I could capture in a single phrase the visceral reaction you have looking out over vast stretches of vineyards and mountains, I would. If I could describe the awe that makes the back of your knees weak when you catch your first glimpse of the Duomo, I would. But because I can't create new words (if I did they'd sound like shlabapa or woooooziieeeeha and that just doesn't really work), I'll have to stick with the old standbys.

My mom and Jay flew in on Sunday, and we've had a blast! They're part of the reason that there hasn't been an update in a while. We've been very busy. I've been eating out more with the them. Since they've been here I've been constantly stuffed.

One night we went to this restaurant called Perseus, and tried the Bistecca alle Fiorentina. HOLY COW. It was the biggest steak I have seen in my life. It was literally about 2 inches thick. And it's served super rare (which I love). There were some places where it looked almost maroon-purple because it was practically raw. Delish.

The other place that we went that was awesome was this tiny restaurant called I Latini. At lunch, they don't give you a menu. They just bring you food. You start with bread, then 2 appetizers, move to salad, then two types of pasta, next your choice of meat with two sides, finishing with dessert. I've never been more full from a lunch in my life. They had house wine on the table, but they also serve you a glass of sweet wine with biscotti following dessert, and a glass of moscato to finish out the meal. What an experience.

It's been really nice to have my mom and Jay here. I've made a lot of friends, but it's nice to have people that I'm actually close to. SPEAKING OF WHICH, I'm planning to visit the lovely Maria Palombo in Arezzo this Sunday. Couldn't be more thrilled.

I've been reflecting about my experience here recently, mainly because I'm realizing that it's coming to a close soon. I only have 8 more days in this amazing city. I'm learning a lot about Italian culture, but I'm also learning a lot about myself. I feel like a lot of people do summer study abroad to rage all the time with their friends. And while I have had my fair share of nights out and evenings spent with the wonderful people I've met here, I think the greater takeaway for me will be the confidence and independence that I have gained. I trust myself more now than ever, and I know that personal growth has been because of the time I have spent doing the things I want to do here, even if it means going it alone. I'm good with me.

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