Study Abroad Experience (Krista Hove)

Today was the first day of many I hope, which I felt at home in Florence. Coming from a small town, I recently found myself longing for the familiar family aspect of a town. I felt like I was drowning in a pool of tourist, and people who were so different from me. I knew coming here that things would be unlike home, different and new in their own unique ways. What I was not expecting was the feeling of unease I would feel surrounded by so much concrete and wandering people. However today I revisited a café that I had stumbled upon with help of a current FUA student. A few of my roommates and I traveled behind the Duamo, to find a quaint but yet cheap café. Today I returned to the café on my own. The man who I believe has owned this café with his family was standing behind the counter that was displayed to the street; his familiar face drew me in. I knew I had good service the last time and was curious as to why his face felt more like home to me. In a weird way I suppose it’s curious that I would be drawn to someone with a sunken face with the wearing of hard work very apparent in his composure. It only took me a few seconds to realize he reminded me of the people from my small town in Goodhue, hardworking people who just want a good meal after a long days work. I entered the café and greeted him in the most American way, shy to try out my new language. Soon I felt comfortable. There was a family of Italians casually having lunch and laughing in unison. Somehow it made me think of my sisters from home, and in a way they symbolized us very well, one wearing a rock shirt with a nose piercing and confident attitude, not unlike my own style and demeanor. A taller slimmer girl, younger in age with a shall draped on her shoulders displaying the style she obviously hoped to portray she had, also not unlike Chanel. The quiet girl with long hair thick as a horse, shy in character but carried a presence reminded me of Elyse, and the older more sassy of the three joking aloud with her father, peaking through as the last personality of us older three sisters, Laticia. I watched and sipped tying to decipher any kind of Italian I may have known. I soon realized that I could read what was said more by their body language than any words they spoke. I had known instantly who the mother was and the father although there was more than one older woman. I also could tell they were waiting on their check, and had spent a good deal of time chatting and picking on each other while laughing in unison at the one particular target of their jokes. All I know is that I couldn’t help but smiling. The elder man took time to notice my smile, had a seat across from me and continued to talk to me in Italian. He could obviously tell by my face that my Italian, needless to say, was less that ZEROH! Either way, he entertained me, asked me my name, and asked me to visit again. At some point I found myself questioning whether it was like most Italian men actions, advances. Something told me he was trying to become a friend, so I returned the smile and the kisses to either side of his cheeks, and responded with “I’ll see you tomorrow” in Italian. Overall successful, and I have every intention of returning, and hopefully with something more to say then Ciao!

Krista Hove is studying abroad at Florence University of the Arts in Florence, Italy.

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