Monday, September 05, 2005

Settimana uno in Firenze

22:45; 9/4/05

Va bene? Sono bene! I'm here, sitting in mio appartmento camera da letto, typing, going over notes and thinking; I've had quite a giorno... it's notte di domenica, septembre quattro. I've been in Firenze for uno settimana and I love it here, heck, I could move here! Firenze e molto bello! I've been enjoying wandering around the city, exploring, watching things and life, talking with people, considering what it means to be an Italian or be in Italy or anywhere in the world, and have been doing much walking, almost stumbling, as I attempt to breathe in everything I see, hear, and feel as it moves about me. A good friend of mine once told me, "a theater has one stage, but a city has a million" true of Firenze. Centro di citte e splendido! Every piazza has a purpose, a momento. And Firenze is amazingly huge; so much bigger than what I was expecting having only previously looked at maps and guide books. None the less, it is a very accessible city and easy to get around. My apartment is very close to the centro di citte on Via Degli Artiste (and the same block as the Villa Rossa, the Syracuse University center). Allora, I'll be honest with you, I desperately want to share questo momento!

After flying in and being placed in a molte bella hotel for due notte, we had orientation for the next few days at the Villa Rossa. I met other students (meshed better with some and not so much with others) listened to welcome talks, spoke to really cool professors, and signed up for classes. There are about tre cento studente and it's mostly ragazze. Classes begin questo lunedi. I'm taking beginning Italiano, Cinema Italiano, e the pre-architecture program. I'm very excited!!!

Oggi io left the appartmento a little late from having been up till about due last notte. Oggie io wanted to see some sights, churches and just wander. While walking down uno via I suddenly saw a Hasidic Jew and without thinking asked him where the synagogue was (I had read about it and was intending to go). Jacob turned out to be a really nice man from New York and we walked over to the synagogue together. Turns out that questo oggi, septembre quattro, all across the E.U. it is a holiday celebrating European Jewish culture and food!! There was a festival going on! I went inside the gate to the synagogue and after spending time inside the temple (truly amazing, the complex repeating painted interior design is a pinkish-maroon; a very important place), I bought a commemorative bicchiere e biglietto per cibo. The cibo was excellente and I tasted kosher wines. The cibo was nothing like I ever had before... soft bread, pasta, hard boiled egg, pate, and a lot of well cooked ground beef. I felt bad throwing most of my beef out, but I couldn't eat it even though I tried. (I've decided to stretch my eating spectrum while abroad and not stick to my American quasi-vegitarian diet). It is very interesting having attended this festival, as I am half-Jewish... it is part of me, yet so is Greece, and in some interesting ways also Italy, and elsewhere. Being here, I am believing more and more every momento that anyone can become any culture and anybody. As one can become an American, one can become an Italian. (Remember that a foreign country is a foreign country because one's self is the foreigner.)

After eating and taking photos at the synagogue, I wandered around to the Duomo (magnificent in scale and in jade color; it's exterior proportions make me feel its body is of folded Firenze paper) and then went to the Medici chapel and tomb by Michelangelo--astounding. I sat in there for about tre ora sketching. Michelangelo's sculptures are amazing. The face of the virgin mary is the epitome of purity; so soft and comforting, I looked into her eyes as if my mother looked back. Tre ora is not nearly enough time to be there; one could spend a life time--or rather, eternity--resting and watching within the capella of the Medici tombs.

Ieri mattina (sabato) io walked to Mercato Centrale and gathered enough guts to buy cibo (It was very, very intimidating at first)! Quite an experience!! I am very happy that I did this and I plan to go back to the market for mio fresco cibo. I'd like to try other mercato as well (bella uno di piazza santissima annunziata) , and hopefully not depend on the supermercato piccolo that is literally across the street from uno porta di mio appartmento edificio! Inside of Mercato Centrale--grande edificio--primo piano e mostly carne e pasta, e secondo piano e mostly frutta e vegetables. Tutto bello! I bought first spinach, then tomatoes and carrots and cucumber and olives and oregano on the secondo piano. It was challenging but well worth it. Only one seller responded to my Italiano demande in Inglese--tutti italiano! I went back down to primo piano and found the other items I was searching for: fresh gnocci pasta (it wasn't called gnocci, by the way) and fresh pesto sauce! Ieri notte io made dinner and it was eccellente e molto bello! My roommates and guest enjoyed it, too... I very much want to learn how to cook many Italian meals. (I also made insalata, but as everyone was full last night, I ate that as tonight's dinner.)

Before returning back to mio appartmento to create that wonderful meal (I did receive some cooking tips from my roommates... I'm very much a novice), I spent the day at first with friends and then by myself wandering in the sera. I have to be honest with you, it appears there are a lot of ditsy kids in the program. Fortunately I've found a wonderful group of bella ragazze who are very nice, fun, and very intelligent; they appreciate Firenze and the complexities of life--for this I feel lucky. (Others, I've noticed, prefer to quickly transport themselves back to the USA by way of alcohol and Americano behavior.)

I spent yesterday's evening (bella sera!) sitting in piazza della signoria, a wonderfully exquisite space, sketching and contemplating. Piazza della signoria is where Galleria Uffizi and Palazzo Vecchio are, where the outdoor sculpture garden awaits, and where the copy of Michelangelo's massive David stands. It is vast and multidimensional; corners erect but not cut, offset and displaced; its space bending. Firenze e curva.

One other thing-- yesterday it rained. And not only did it rain on Sabato, but there was thunder and lighting... and a lot of it. Truly amazing to walk around the city in the damp heat, raindrops and lightning, thunderous cracks bellowing from the snaps of light that cover tutti in citte!!

The lightning struck down from the clouds in-between the two towers in the north-east of my view while in piazza della signoria. I sat below the sculpture of three twisted, contorted bodies (part of the piazza's sculpture garden), and watched the clouds shapeshift. A bella juxtaposition of the towers, the lightning, and the light striking down behind the crowned giant statue whose head--layered against the buildings in the background--touches the sky. They move; undoubtedly it is the passing of white and grey rain clouds to soft blue. The light is caught painted inside the cloud-mass' crevices where the cloudiness buckles and slowly bends again and again, and again and stretches. Piazza della signoria is a whole space, open and soft. It is hugely public yet private in a way that transforms the presence of all--so many people unique and not known, touching together across the openness, blending to a comfortable stride--as if the space and the space's presence holds our hands together with a great comforting smile. I really enjoy looking at the open windows... the interiors are dark, absolutely black. Before I headed back to make the gnocci, the sun set. The edges of the layered storm clouds lit up in pink alpine-glow. This I watched from the bank of the arno (green tinted in the milky soft light).

I will write soon. Last night was also amazing for another reason: my friends and I went to a bar where there were only Italians (near piazza della liberta; don't bother with the American tourist bars near the centro). We practiced Italian with each other (yeah, I was too shy to start a conversation with Italians... practicing together was fun, though) and had a blast!! I came home exhausted and really happy. I had a huge smile on my face. My friends here are great. Being here I appreciate my friends back home so much more. Amazing that you're all such wonderful, honest, real people. You know who you are. Ciao!!