(Written 1/10/09, 1:25am)
I got back from going out with Raphaella (above with her free birthday bottle of champagne) and a bunch of others not too long ago. The locks here are quite tricky and I was very impressed that I was able to unlock both doors to my apartment with only minimal struggle. I made up for it, however, by locking myself in the bathroom for a minute or two.
I met up with my friend Jamie, from Northeastern and her two roommates Jenna and Alissa (above) on the steps of the Duomo at 8pm. I know that Italians go out late so I thought we may eat dinner together but when I found out they’d already eaten, I grabbed a sandwich from a local Bar/Cafe called Duomo Bar. (It is a very common thing here to have tiny little cafes with like one table, an espresso machine, a few sandwiches, and a full bar behind the counter.) We were then handed flyers about a party for foreigners and when everyone else decided they wanted to meet up at 10:30 instead, we headed to the bar on the flyers. Of course, as early as 8pm it was closed. We did however get a chance to stroll through the historic district (as if it isn’t all historic) to find this out. We went back to their place to chat and drink wine and wait which was nice. I really liked these girls and we chatted easily about the places we want to travel and how we all like to not get wasted all the time. I knew I would find some people with a similar mentality and I’m glad it happened quickly. This next part’s gonna sound a little ironic.
Then we went into Merlin Pub where we were given a few free drinks and danced a lot. We all sort of decided that since it was the first night, it was perfectly acceptable to try a place that was inundated with Americans, drink a little and dance a lot. It was a bit creepy however because the Italian men sort of lurked around us wherever we went. When we sat at tables, they sat at surrounding ones. When we danced, they stood by the dance floor. As it got later, they got a bit more confident (and plentiful) and began to dance with us. Luckily I felt fairly safe because A) there were a LOT of Americans in that bar, B) the staff was looking out for us. It is clearly beneficial for them to hook the heavy-drinking American college students as customers, hence the free drinks and special deals and C) the chief of the state police came from Florence to our orientation to explain the types of behaviors we should expect from both men and criminals and how to deal with those things.
The girls walked me home, which I though was really sweet, because it was about 10 minutes in the wrong direction and involved a ton of steps, but we are not supposed to walk alone at night. I am having a lot of luck with the Northeastern kids on this trip. Since I already knew three of them a little bit, that’s nice and the two other girls I’ve met (Megan and Ashley) seem pretty cool too.
I almost forgot! I had my first cappuccino tonight when we were walking around not going to bars!! This is totally inappropriate because cappuccinos are obviously only good in the morning and have way too much milk for the evening, but I am still an ignorant American so what do I know? I did it for Mr. B and it was delicious! Usually I’m really sparing with sugar in drinks but in this case I added about half a packet which probably helped with the deliciousness factor. I’m off to bed because I’m meeting Jamie, Jenna, and Alissa in the morning for (free!) breakfast and internet usage, then we have our walking tours of the city. I’ll be glad to get an official tour even though I’m doing pretty well with the exploring thing. I’m also picking up a little Italian (‘Scusi’ and ‘Me despiace’ for when I bump into people) but I need a LOT of help which is fine since it’s only the second day… My roommates are still out and it’s almost 2pm. Tsk tsk. I hope they are handling all the Italian men okay! I certainly didn’t like them much.
(Beth, Abbie, Stacy, Me)
They got home not too long after I wrote this and we ended up talking until 4am. (Stacy and Abbie were a bit drunk.) Then I was up at 8 to meet Jamie & Co. for breakfast. Maybe this will help me fall asleep tonight.