This semester has shaped up to be by far the most unique of any semesters I’ve experienced so far. Though I suppose that was to be expected considering it’s being spent abroad in Florence, it still is surprising at times. As weird as it sounds to read—it feels even more strange to write, I can assure you—I sometimes forget that I’m actually in Italy. I’ll wake up in the morning, make some breakfast and tea, get dressed, and start to walk to class all without thinking about the fact that I’m in a whole different country. Sometimes I even make it through the majority of the day without even once taking the time to really absorb the idea that I’m studying abroad. With all the craziness a typical semester holds—plus then the added busyness of exploring the city and traveling beyond that—it gets easy to be swept up into the hustle and bustle of the city.
When Italians walk, they walk fast. When they talk, they talk fast. When they drive, they drive fast. Life in Florence is very fast-paced. It has to be because it is constantly flooded with countless tourists each and every day. Thus, those who live in the city become accustomed to moving fast and efficiently. Because of this, it’s easy to get lost in the quick pace of everything and forget to enjoy your time in the city. The Duomo, one of the most notable sites in all of Florence, is one that I walk past daily. It is incredibly beautiful and detailed; yet, I hardly ever notice this. I walk past it every day and sometimes don’t even look up at its beauty because I’m so focused on other things.
This past week, I’ve made the decision to change this behavior. Although it’s a little late in the game—it’s hard to believe that I have less than one month left here—I feel it’s better to make this change now rather than never. Instead of quickly walking through the town with my head bowed down, attempting to dodge tourists, I try and take a different route home to my apartment each day. On that new way home, I then try to pay attention to all the beautiful buildings surrounding me—even if it’s one I’ve seen hundreds of times before.