Well, my host mom that is. It's a Sunday night. I'm currently "studying" for a midterm for my politics class in the morning. It's been a pretty chill weekend. I spent Saturday exploring parts of Florence I had to get to. Headphones on, book in purse, and I set out for the Palazzo Vecchio and Ponte Vecchio. The Palazzo Vecchio has the replica statue of Michelangelo's David as well as a number of beautiful statues and a giant fountain. I sat on a step and did some serious people watching. The place was packed and it was fun to be a fly on the wall. After spending some time watching tourists and Italians alike gawk at giant statues, I decided to walk along the Arno river which is lovely. I crossed the river via the Ponte Vecchio. It's one of the most famous sites in all of Florence. It's this old bridge with stores along the side. It was really cute. There were tons of jewelry stores and I tried over and over again to rationalize spending one hundred Euro on a gold bracelet. Yeah, hahaha that was a no go. After exploring the riverside for a while, I headed back to the center of the city. A quick gelatto stop at Grom, a local favorite, and I went to hang out in front of Santa Maria Novella. I just layed in the sun and read some Eliot. It was a supremely peaceful day. A day of solitude was so necessary. Can I just say that it's hard to live with the same 22 people for 4.5 months? It's been a big challenge and so quiet time was just nice.
This morning I went to Lucca with a couple of girls from my program. It was absolutely gorgeous all day long, 75-80 degrees and sunny. We walked around town and laid in the sun. It was a pretty lazy day but lazy in the Tuscan countryside, so that can't really be beat. I can back and used some free internet at the Linguaviva, and had dinner. We had cauliflower and roast beef and ricotta cheese. SO GOOD.
Now back to my title. I love my host mom more and more each day. She might just be one of the most adorable people that I know. She dances about when we put on music to get ready to go out. She almost always has a smile on her face. She will spend 10 minutes searching through her Italian/English dictionary to tell us what we are eating is guinea hen, which she will pronounce without the "h" sound so we look at her even more confused than before. She has wine at every meal (which not every host family does). She lets us say that we are full. She's a wonderful cook. She is patient with us and our lack of Italian to no end. She notices when I have a tan (like today) and randomly compliments what I'm wearing. She is a news junkie and tries to relate the news to us each day. There simply something peaceful about being in her presence that is much appreciated this far from home. So, while the language barrier was a challenge in the beginning, I couldn't be happier with my host mom. Each day brings something new.
And one last note, I have learned something important during my time in Italy. I AM NOT SHORT! Well, at least not compared to the Italians. Here, my 5'3'' frame makes me completely average. Men here are pretty short and I've never seen such tiny people in my life. I don't know where they put all the food that they eat. Cuz trust me, it's not only tourists who scarf down the gelatto.
It was really nice walking around on Saturday because of how easily I blend in here. I got asked for directions, no joke, four different times on Saturday. Granted, I usually responded with an apologetic face and "no parla italiano," but still, it was nice to feel like I fit or blend.
29 days left in Europe.
Man, how the time goes...