I had no sense of direction and would get lost everywhere…like department stores
After: I am baller with a map!! I can actually know which way to go without looking at a map when I take random side streets.
Before: 30 minute car rides seemed long
After: 30 minute walks are short
Before: I had never explored cities before (or lived in one)
After: I like to explore by walking (even if it takes an hour to get to where I need to go) because you can see more of the city.
Before: The city life appealed to me
After: I want more space
Before: I cautiously crossed the street
After: I take chances…if you don’t you will never get across the road here. In Rome, the cars never stop unless you are actually in front of them and then they slam on their brakes. I crossed a 5 lane circular intersection once and saw my life flash about every 5 seconds. Florentine streets now seem easy to cross.
Before: I would avoid bumping into people on the crowded streets.
After: I run right into them (if I can’t get around them of course). It’s like playing chicken. You walk straight towards one another and even though you are pinned against a wall and the other person can go around you they don’t and walk past as you have to stop and stand plastered against the wall while they pass. Oh and like today, they were doing construction so I was trying to turn a corner where there was only room enough for one person to go through. A lady was just standing there waiting and I obviously needed to get through and she didn’t move so I stopped and said Excuse me in Italian and she still didn’t move. At this point I was like standing right in front of her (within a few inches). She still didn’t move so I just pushed my way through and apologized. Mama mia (Italians actually say that…frequently).
Before: I thought a lot of people didn’t take school seriously (sadly including a few teachers)
After: All Italian teachers take their classes seriously (most are professionals who teach on the side so they are extremely passionate about their field of study). The teachers expect a lot more out of the students here than schools do at home. A lot more.
Before: I thought I didn’t like ice cream
After: I discovered gelato (not actually ice cream but the Italian version)
Before: Tshirts and jeans were my typical dress but they brought many stares and looks from the stylish Italians.
After: I dress up and blend in more but receive more comments from the creepers.
Before: In America, you walk down the street and no one says anything to you.
After: You can’t go out the door without receiving at least one comment within the first five minutes (if you’re a girl…guys have it easy).
Before: I associated Gypsies with the kind in Disney movies (like the Hunchback)
After: Florentine Gypsies are nothing like that and cause major problems.
Before: I was never the minority
After: I’ve experienced it in multiple areas, situations, and settings. I also have a better understanding of how Hispanics feel in the States. A lot of people are rude and obnoxious to them because they don’t want them there…the same is true about Americans here.
Before: No one liked Americans (this is only a slight exaggeration)
After: My Italian professor walked in and said with the election of Obama, America has found favor with the Italians once more (and most every other country from what the other international students say).
Before: I thought I would love Italy
After: My heart is still in Honduras.
Before: 111 days to study in Italy
After: 44 days til I come home
Before: Not sure of any more international travel
After: 256 days til I go to Honduras again!!