Tuesday, January 20, 2009
9:00AM January 15
Of course I did not get nearly enough sleep after my flight, so I went back to bed by 7:00, and then overslept the first class of orientation, waking up at 10:30 just as the seminar on the academic standards at NYU Florence was beginning. All five of my suitemates were gone. I rushed out the door with one of the two bus tickets they’d given us to get started, and surprisingly found the bus stop quite easily (about four blocks of winding streets away.) It was here I met two other girls from NYU who hadn’t seen the bus come for the past 40 minutes they’d been standing there, while numerous busses from other lines had stopped two or three times already. Thinking the stop may have been changed, we walked down the street asking for some direction, but as we wandered the bus passed right by us, and we returned to the original stop. Eventually, some 30 minutes later, I spotted our bus across the street at the train station, and we boarded, waiting on board for another ten minutes in the station before departing for school.
When we finally arrived at campus, the guard at the entrance where we were supposed to access campus would not let us in, with little explanation why, and he told us to enter the campus at the top of the hill by the villa where we’d checked in the day before. Once there, we were eventually admitted, and then wandered across to the other side of the campus through the olive orchard, arriving just in time for the last twenty minutes of the orientation. It does not seem I missed much after all, and I received a stamp for attending this seminar, four of which I needed in order to be entered in a raffle for 30 Euros of credit at the bookstore.
It turns out I showed up just in time for lunch, which I ate with two of my roommates which I’d met the previous day. They served eggplant and mozzarella sandwiches on fresh bread with little apricot tarts for dessert. It had to be one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever gotten from school.
In the afternoon we had more seminars about health and safety with a representative from the state police and the U.S. consulate, followed by a quick crash course in Italian.
I headed home with my roommates on the bus, and then we went out to eat at a nearby restaurant. I ordered some bruschette con pomodora for an appetizer and was surprised to find that it came as one big slice of toast instead of the several crostinis we usually see in America. The tomatoes were quite tasty, even this time of the year, and they were coated in some fabulous olive oil. For an entrée I had the most amazing gnocchi I’ve ever tasted. The potato was so soft it practically melted in my mouth as I ate it. As much as each of us did not want to stick out as mere tourists, we could not help showing off our origins by dining around 6:00. We were not joined by anybody till nearly 7:20, and then as we left around 7:40 the restaurant was just starting to pick up.
When we returned to the apartment, each of us was ready to crash, as we were still recovering from jet-lag. I did make sure to switch the batteries in my alarm clock though, and I woke up in plenty of time for day two of orientation.