Day 76

Today was a day I had to get out. I finally went for a run. It was absolutely gorgeous out and the fresh air was everything I needed and more. As I got to the river, I climbed down to the bank to sit on a branch, look over my city, and reflect on life. These are the moments I need more often. Nature, beauty, water, serenity.

In exactly five weeks, I will land back in the states. Continuing to make the most out of my time here, I need to step out of my comfort zone and take advantage of all that surrounds me. I took an opportunity for that tonight. After making friends with a guy I volunteered with yesterday and telling him how I really want to improve my Italian, immerse myself in the culture more, and actually meet Italians, he invited me to tag along with him to this event his scambio invited him too. I didn’t really know much about it except that it was basically all Italians and we were going to experience some Florentine drink. I was nervous, but everything told me I needed to go. And I couldn’t be happier that I did. I spent the evening guided around random parts of Florence learning the history and meaning about usually overlooked, unique parts of the city. We went into one of the oldest pharmacies in the world that was housed in the most beautiful building and beyond lavish. They also had Christmas trees up! I also saw how noble families received their wine from the streets. My eyes were opened to so many things I breeze past every day. The main event of the night centered around Negroni, a famous drink of Florence. The guy who led us around exuded passion for the city and I loved watching him speak about everything, especially since I had no idea what he was saying most of the time. Luckily a new friend, Lapo, translated most of everything. The event ended in one of my favorite cafes where we all had a Negroni and aperitivo. The drink was beyond bitter and strong but worth the experience and we had amazing service. They wouldn’t stop bringing out food for us. We sat in the cafe for hours talking, laughing, and exchanging meanings of our different languages. All the Italians were so nice and studying at the University of Florence. I loved watching them interact and just observing the similarities and differences. I learned some of the Italian hand gestures. It’s such a key part of their language and so fascinating. After it was over they all invited us to have dinner with them, so I couldn’t turn down the opportunity.

New Italian friends, new memories, and new growth. Again, another time reminded of the need to break out of my comfort zone and continuing to move onward.