The Game Plan

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Florence, Italy
So this is a handful of what I think I know... 1. Hands speak volumes. 2. Wine is cheaper than water. 3. Life is slower paced. 4. Food is AMAZING. 5. Italian men love all women and don't hesitate to say it loudly. My adventure begins Jan 12 in Florence, Italy, as a student at SACI (Studio Art Center International) having come from American University, in Washington, DC. While our nation's capital may have a plethora of monuments and history, it's nothing compared to standing a few feet away and gazing up at David, or so I've been told. (I'll let you know.) I continue my European exploration with my twin sister when our semesters end. We plan to take our backpacks into and over as many countries and borders as possible before landing for a few weeks revisiting Madrid. I hope to use this blog as a personal journal to keep track of my travels, but feel free to read along! Al prossimo anno! :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

To be Italian...

1. You push, not pull.
It's taken me till about this week to get used to the idea that you have to pull all doors to exit a building, and push all doors to enter. It's a sure sign when you're in a restaurant that you're American when you make this mistake. It's so instinctive to just push as you exit, that I guarantee you'll make it.

2. Business Hours
Never what they say they are. Most shops are open in the morning for about 4 hours, close in the afternoon, and then reopen in the late-afternoon/ night. This in-and-of its self is different than most 12-hour or 24-hour shops in the states. Additionally, for any given reason a shop can close down for the day or for few hours. Maybe they got hungry, it's someone's birthday or friends are in town and that warrants closing down.

3. No open container law.
The first night I was here and we walked around the streets sharing a bottle of wine, I felt so unsure if we were actually allowed to be doing that. Being here, I've realized that EVERYONE does it. It can be early in the morning and people will be sipping away at a beer in the middle of the street.

4. Residential vs. Business Addresses

Walking down the street and trying to find a store at Via Oruolla 13, you may think you're on the right track when you are following numbers 3 then 5, 7, 10... 83? The residential system is on an entirely different number system then the business'. If the numbers are in concrete on the street walls, then that's the business numbers, but if they're in blue and usually on an acrylic slab, then those are the apartments and houses. This is can be very tricky and annoying if you aren't aware of this.

5. On time is 10 minutes late.

6. Weigh your own produce.
I still get this wrong. For every vegetable or fruit you want you have put it in a bag, weigh it on the scale, and get a sticker for it. If you forget, they'll send you back and make you do it.

Now, breaking away from everyday cultural differences, a really neat tradition I found is this idea of "love-locks."

Thousands of young lovers go to the Ponte Vecchio bridge and attach padlocks to a bronze bust and the railings around it. It is said to represent the 'unbreakable bond uniting them." A few rules for attaching a lock...

1. You must put the lovers name on one side of the lock.
2. You must immediately throw the key into the river once locking the lock.
3. Overly large locks and chains are frowned upon.

Beginning about a decade ago, the tradition began to be frowned upon by the city because it was scratching and denting the metal, and creating huge clusters that the council officials did not enjoy. They removed some 5,500 when they finally gave up because more locks were appearing faster than they could take them off. It's unknown how this romantic tradition began but remains today. Looks like love conquers all. :)

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