In Italy, the normal supermarket is not a depressing experience. I can buy food at my local supermarket that makes me happy! I love this! and I love italian food. I love Tuscan food. I love the meat and cheese and wine and everything they produce here.
What’s my least favorite thing about Florence? The fact that my boyfriend isn’t here. And other than that, this city is an awkward size. It’s too big to feel like a “town,” it’s too small to feel like a real city (about 350,000 people or so). there’s not a big alternative scene that I have been able to find. I think I might love it more in the summer – I can tell this city was meant to be enjoyed outdoors, in the squares with people drinking beer, on the banks of the river, etc. The weather is good for Jan/Feb, and when it gets really warm (it was about 65 F the other day), everyone is out, on the grass, having picnics, drinking wine, enjoying. The sounds of the city are beautiful. I also don’t love the fact that it is such a touristy place, and my god, I hear so many americans. The americans that live here are as closed of a group as the japanese are (there are tons of japanese as well), and I kind of feel that in the city, and I kind of don’t like it. In Amsterdam, being a foreigner is just that – you’re not dutch. that’s all. in Florence, it’s “you’re american, you’re japanese, you’re spanish,” etc. In Florence we spend more time talking about where we’re from which is a conversation that does become pretty boring after you have it ten thousand times.
I am very much looking forward to returning to Amsterdam. It’s not that I’m as crazy in love with the city as I was a few years ago, it’s just that that’s Amsterdam is where my life is, and I like my life there. I have great friends and a great bike and I somehow managed to find work as a freelancer, and I have health insurance and the cinemas are amazing and there is an alternative scene that isn’t very hard to find and people aren’t very snobby or exclusive and it just works for me. I don’t know. I have no idea where I’ll live next, as I expect Amsterdam won’t be the final resting place, but who knows, maybe it could be. maybe. But… ok, the food thing I can kind of work around, but the lack of consistently hot summers is a bigger and bigger deal. I mean, I like that the winters are mild(er than New York), but I need hot summers. The first year I was in Amsterdam, it was hot. I wore shorts to work, I went to the beach in June, it was great. But that’s not something you can count on, and this is really not okay with me. I want to tan in the summer and stay tanned all summer and sweat and have to only eat salad and fruit because it’s too hot for anything else.
This past weekend I went to Venice and it was a bit sad to have the waiters and hotel people switch to english with me. I get that it’s the most touristy city in europe, but still, that never happens in Florence. However, I could hold a italian conversation with the funny indian guys we met (another story), and on Sunday I went to my friends’ parents for lunch. It was really warm and enjoyable and I spent 4-5 hours with them only speaking italian (they don’t speak english at all) and it worked.
I’ll end this without an ending, but a picture. What a country.