Sunday, April 14, 2013

List and More Lists, The Final Goodbye.

So I‘m sitting here, my last night in Florence wondering where has time gone?  This departure from my Florentine home has really caught me off guard. Yes, for the past 3 months I was well aware I would be leaving early April, but now that I leave tomorrow, it doesn’t feel quite real.

Over the past few days, I’ve luckily got to see some of the most perfect views of Florence. I wanted to show the best of Florence to my parents, and honestly, it’s painful to leave this city.  I love Florence.  It’s the perfect mix of old and new, tradition and innovation.  I wish I could pick Florence up and bring it to the United States.  So here is a short list of what I truly will miss about my favorite European city:

-the view from Piazza Michelangelo, the Duomo, and Frisole
-the margherita pizza from Gusta Pizza
-how close Zara was to my house
-actually how close my house was to EVERYTHING
-my favorite American bar: Uncle Jimmy’s
-the fact that I could get coconut and strawberry gelato
-the Italian language
-AND the fact that I can legally drink

Just reading through this list makes me sad.  But would I stay any longer if I had the chance? Honestly, probably not.  I am so excited to go home, for so many reasons:

-the fact I get to see Erika and Marissa in a week (!), Rach and Allie a week later
-my mom’s cooking
-the steak burrito at Chipotle
-chick-fil-a in general
-sport and health and UREC
-all of my lovely friends at JMU
-my bed. my room. my car. Copper Beech.
-the fact that everyone will speak English
-my routine; including the building Zane Showker
-the fact that I can cook when I choose
-AND the food network

This experience has been life changing, and I truly wouldn’t change a thing.  Sure, I have definitely had my ups and downs but overall I really did enjoy living abroad.  Now it’s time to live it up back home.  After traveling so much in Europe, I really am inspired to travel in the United States. The cities I would love to visit include:

-Nashville, Tennessee for my 21st birthday
-Boston, Massachusetts
-Miami, Florida

Of course, this all depending on if I get a decent job this summer, fingers crossed.  I still haven’t decided on if I am going to continue writing in this blog after this post (originally it was for just for my Florentine adventure), but honestly, writing is such a stress reliever for me.  So let’s hope I make the time for this baby.  Because I am pretty proud of it.

Thank you for reading.  Even if this is your first time reading.  I really appreciate it. 

Hopefully you’ll hear from me soon.  


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Florentine Favorites: Corinne's Top 3

First off, if you are reading this, thank you.  This past weekend several people told me they read my blog post, and I was so flattered and slightly embarrassed.  I guess I don't realize that people actually read my writing, and it's such a compliment.  I hope my short episodes have gave you some insight into my life/point of view, and if not the insight, then some humor.

After reading over my last post, I felt it sort of had a bitter, cynical tone towards Italy.  That's not at all what I was going for and I truly do love Italian culture.  Sure, I disagree with a lot of style decisions, moral decisions, and overall everyday decisions, but that's life.

Overall, the culture is fascinating.  So different than the United States and I think I just love the United States because it's home.  It's where I was raised; I love it there.  But here is an experience.  I not only had to learn how to deal with no Chipotle, no close friends, no JMU, but the language barrier was a huge obstacle. Along with the language barrier, there's a social barrier. It is hard to get to know anyone Italian.  So I really learned how to be independent here, which is a big step.  And through this process I found so many special surprises that I will miss everyday.  Most of these things are so small and insignificant; but that's what makes up the experience for me.  These little places; moments; foods, this is what Italy is to me. What makes this place special.

So here it is; my top 3 for Florence (not in any specific order):

1. My walk to school.  Honestly, I didn't research Florence too much and I definitely didn't research where I would be living. I knew I was close to Gucci, which gave me some joy, although I knew I would never enter the store.  After being here I realize, those stores are fun to gaze into, but add no real beauty to Florence.  Crossing any of the bridges on the other hand.  It's like a postcard.  And I was lucky enough to have a bridge to cross on my short walk to school.  The view is amazing.  After a while I got used to it, but only recently, when I realized I'm leaving, have I truly began to appreciate the view again. sigh.

2. Osteria Santo Spirito- Spicy Garlic Pasta.  I love food, if you have been following this blog at all you would definitely know this.  Approaching Osteria Santo Spirito, you would never expect it to have the best food in Florence.  The exterior is quaint, with an outdoor seating area (lit with tiny string light bulbs), the interior is small and painted a deep red so it always looks dark but warm.  The first time I went, I ordered the cheapest dish (typical college student), the spicy garlic pasta.  When the food finally arrived, I was overwhelmed with the size of the dish.  The plate itself is a gorgeous multicolored platter, with a pile of pasta: tons on olive oil, red pepper, oregano, and whole cloves of garlic.  The simplicity of the meal makes it perfect.  When the dish comes out you think, there's no way I can finish this, well you're wrong.  Perfection.

3. My little paradise: Aka a bench I found on the way to the Michelangelo.  On one of my warmer runs to the Michelangelo, I decided to take a little detour down a random street before the summit up to the top of the city (aka I needed a breather).  I was pleasantly surprised to find a single bench, sitting in a small grassy courtyard.  The bench lies against the ancient walls of Florence that still surround much of the city.  The first time I saw it, I knew it was special.  I know that sounds silly, but the bench sits perfectly in the sunlight, barely anyone knows where it is, and it's surrounded by grass which is a rarity in Florence.  Sometimes people watching is fun; but sometimes you just want to be away from it all.  This little bench provided that for me: a place to rest, read, tan, and more importantly escape from the busyness of Florence and of my life.  I love that bench.

I hope you enjoyed reading this.  The small things make a big difference.


Friday, April 5, 2013

One last look- Italian style...Corinne's style.

I can't believe it.  One week and I am finito.  DONE.  There's such a sense of accomplishment for me, honestly.  I was so anxious to come here and now I know it's truly made me a different, and hopefully a better person.  But also very honestly, I can not wait to go home.  I miss the familiarity of Stafford (and of course JMU), my routine, and the love of my friends and family.  That and Chipotle.

This week flew by.  The highlight was obviously my parents arriving in Italy on Monday.  I was so happy to see my mother, I cried.  It was strange to see my parents in the city I have called home for three months.  They definitely enjoyed their iPhone camera capabilities (dad just got the 5, CRAY), but I wasn't embarrassed.  Not only do my parents stand out as tourists anyways (especially my dad with the Virginia Tech gear), it's my momma's first time in Europe.  So yes, I would be taking pictures 24/7 too.  My mother kept telling me, NO ONE WEARS COLOR HERE. Yes, apparently she didn't believe me when I said this multiple times to her.  So she definitely stood out in her pink Lilly Pulitzer dress, to me in a good way. Which is a good leeway to my next topic, my style evolution.

Italian fashion is truly beautiful.  So well put together.  But I quickly learned, it lacks personality, not only that; it screams pretentiousness (to me, no offense to anyone who adores italian style, which is ages different than actual italian street style).  So after a few weeks of being here, wearing only black, I felt not only like a poser but boring.  To me style is more than a color. Ironically, my style has definitely simplified.  I'm trying to slowly but surely cut down on my current wardrobe to more necessary pieces that I truly enjoy wearing and fit well.  When I went over what I bought, I was surprised with how little I bought.  Sure, I didn't come here with a lot of money, but I like to shop.  I think my mindset has been switched from buying a lot for cheap to buying a little with quality.  Or at least that's what I'm hoping my style is evolving into, and I'm ecstatic to continue my wardrobe makeover returning to the states.

The main differences style-wise for me include:
-I'm wearing more casual heels, and surprisingly, they are comfortable for me.
-I'm wearing more black (HA!).  But more white as well.
-I'm focusing on simplicity with pops of interest, not necessarily color but pattern or detail.
-I'm trying to wear more figure flattering items, more dresses.

Here is a little preview of the items I have purchased:

(Black Leather Backpack, Prinmark, London)

(White Tunic, Zara, Florence)

(Grey Suede Boots, Random Shoe Store, Siena)

(Black Leather Booties, H&M, Florence)

(Floral Dress, H&M, Barcelona)

(Black Leather and Khaki Jacket, H&M, Florence)

(White Dress, Zara, Florence)

(White Crop Sweater, Random Store, Amsterdam)

As you can see, most of my clothing purchased probably can be purchased in the United States.  And that makes me happy, because Zara has become my latest obsession.  Some of my other purchases include: Red lipstick, a sweet, feminine perfume, a floral umbrella, leather shorts and light wash jeans; both from Zara (the jeans aren't shown because they have gum all over them currently aka I shouldn't have worn those babies out, praying it'll come out).  

So. I have decided that once again: more expensive will never mean more stylish.  However, better  quality items means more classic style.  Style that'll last.  My next few purchases that I am saving up for, aka I am flat broke, include a hot pink skirt, a silver necklace that I can layer, spring heels and some black wayfarer Ray Bans.

Happy to be here, happy to see my parents again next Thursday. Miss you all.  See you SO SO SOON.