There’s a song called “Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell. The song is about the narrator’s favorite spot being replaced by more modern things like a pink hotel. A popular lyric from the song is “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” That lyric is the theme to the first installation of my series of blogs.
Through the first half of my stay in Florence, I have learned several things about the Italian culture. One of those things are that they are not the most punctual or the most eager to take care of business. Here’s a few personal examples:
It took the landlord of my apartment building 6, yes 6 long weeks to install a router in the apartment for internet access. This was fine with me because it allowed me to see more of the city because I was not glued to screen of my MacBook much how I would have been in De Pere. It was only really an inconvenience when it came time to book trips. The reason I included this was due to the fact that my roommates and I had to wait for people from the internet provider three separate times for them to install the router. Of those three times, they showed up none. Another example of this is the elevator they are currently installing in our apartment complex. The elevator, as we were told, would be installed and completed within the first month. It is now October 25, and the elevator is still incomplete. These things have not altered the amount of fun I have had while in Florence but the accountability in America is something I definitely miss. “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”
One thing that I definitely had to get used to was the Italian lifestyle. Unlike Chicago, or even De Pere, Italians walk everywhere. The cars on the road are usually taxis or carrier services. It’s no wonder that Italians can eat all of this pasta.
The one thing that astonished me about the city of Florence is how little it has changed since the 1900s and even before that. The city looks as if it was stuck in the past but the buildings are all beautiful. It’s amazing to see that the city renovates rather than rebuilds, which is the popular theme back home. The sheer beauty of this city keeps people in it awestruck and has made people who have left it yearn to see it again. In regards to beauty it never seems to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
Rob Fulton is studying abroad at Florence University of the Arts in Florence, Italy.