Catherine Kineavy, Shelby Hub, Allison Barbarosh (Quinnipiac University)
After eating so many pasta dishes, pizza pies, panini, and gelato, we decided that it was time for a change. We thought that it would be a good idea to make flounder for dinner. What better place to get fish than the Central Market in San Lorenzo? When most tourists think of the Central Market, they think of buying bags, jackets, and other souvenirs made of real leather. However, once you venture inside you can find an array of the freshest fruits, vegetables, meats, and fish. We had never experienced anything like this before! When you go food shopping in the US it is usually at the local supermarket filled with pre-packaged foods.
There were slabs of livestock right in front of us and it was hard to distinguish the different meats. We learned what tripe was and were asked if we wanted to try it. Unfortunately, none of us were adventurous enough. Once we found the fish, we went up to one of the vendors and asked for flounder. It took us by surprise when he started to wrap up the whole fish! We definitely did not intend to cook that much and we also had expected him to fillet and skin the fish. He must have seen the look on our faces because he started smiling. He eventually washed and filleted the flounder but we still had to take the skin off once we got home.
This is completely different from the American culture. Although buying pre-packaged fish at home is easier, the experience of buying fresh fish at the market was may more rewarding. It was also fun and we learned many new things about the Italian culture! We will definitely be making a trip back to the market sometime soon.
My favorite view
Marc Sands (Penn State)
The experience of being here, in the mystical city of Florence, has been amazing. Making the transition from tourist to temporary inhabitant has been exhilarating. Discovering a new culture can be difficult at times but that is a part of the beauty of this experience. Having to learn a new language, new social norms, and developing a new daily routine requires a little patience. I have learned to simply try again if I don’t understand something the first time. At this point in the semester I feel comfortable with my surroundings. The location where I feel the most comfortable and can do some self-reflecting is at Piazzale Michelangelo which shows off a beautiful view of the city. I frequent this piazza mostly in the evenings to capture the sunset and to see some of the stars in the sky.
Embracing the language
Alissa Rosa (UConn)
I think it’s safe to say that at this moment, we’re all feeling a little under pressure. With only a month left in the semester we find ourselves picking out the top places on our list that we still want to go to, the places in Florence we still haven’t seen, and the restaurants we have yet to eat at. Now, despite my bank account being ever so grateful that I am going home soon, there is one thing that is personally stressing me out–my Italian skills. Coming from a family where each generation has spent an extended period of time in Italy, I felt a sudden surge of panic that I could not speak any Italian. Between traveling and spending time in an English-speaking school, I felt I needed to take matters into my own hands.
This past weekend I made it my mission to speak Italian everywhere I went. At first it was absolutely nerve-wracking. I felt panicked at the thought of not understanding what an Italian native would say back to me. I knew I would feel embarrassed if they responded to me in English as if they were saying: “That was a terrible attempt so I’ll just make it easier for you and speak English.” These thoughts initially hindered my confidence in my ability to speak basic Italian. It got to the point where I was eventually angry with myself for getting so scared. I used this to force myself to finally speak it. Now, I’m hooked. My confidence is high and my hunger to learn more is exponentially growing. The Italians are incredibly sympathetic and usually admire my intellectual curiosity in trying to better my skills at their native language.