26 hours of traveling makes no one feel good. Seattle to Denver was a bit uncomfortable, and I almost had a breakdown during our hour and a half layover. I was glad to be out there. It was strange flying into DIA, not being greeted by Stephen, and jetting off to CSU. I miss it. We started the long haul from Denver, and I was completely surprised by the vast amounts of alcohol they offered us during the flight. Bailey's, cognac, wine (white and red), beer, Bloody Marys- the flight attendants didn't know what to do with me. "Bailey's or cognac?" they asked. "Neither, thank you." I got many blank smiles, as odd as that sounds. I did have the seat next to me empty, so I curled up and did my best to sleep. The luxury of two seats was paired with the amazing location of the seats- right across the slamming door of the restrooms. I did my best to sleep, but mostly to no avail.
We landed in Frankfurt and then waited for 5 hours. That felt like the longest leg or the trip. We finally boarded our tiny plane to Florence and landed a mere hour and a half later. After a few hours of retrieving luggage, checking in with the program, snagging apartment keys and a cell phone, we were dropped off at our respective apartments. And now time for a funny story.
At first, I thought I'd rough it and attempt the four flights of stairs without using the impossibly tiny elevator. I didn't make it. Once I got to the fourth floor, I was dismayed to find a different name on the name plate than the one listed on my address form. It was late and I didn't want to attempt to key-in to some stranger's apartment. Down the elevator I went with my luggage, after juggling the three doors (yes, three), to the elevator. The mail boxes listed my apartment on the sixth floor, so back up I went, three doors slamming and cathing on my luggage. I exited and found the apartment. Lo and behold, the damn door wouldn't open. After a solid five minute struggle, I pressed the buzzer. Twice. I heard whispering behind the door. No one opened. Finally, after a timid, "Who is it?" and a not-so-timid-and-more-exasperated "Amanda, your rommate," the door opened. And in I went.
My roommates include Katie, Jessie, Meredith, Maggie, and Ember. Katie goes to Ol' Miss and is an art history major. Jessie and Meredith both go to Texas Tech, are human development majors and have the exact same schedule here in Florence. Maggie is an art therapy major and attends a small private school in Ohio. Ember has yet to arrive. The things we know of her so far: this will be her third time studying abroad. She was supposed to arrive on Saturday, but "had a breakdown," so she's to arrive Wednesday. We also know she requested a single room. She didn't get it. She's rooming with me. :) We'll see what happens. Nonetheless, I hope she's doing alright.
My room is fine. It's larger than I thought it'd be. I wake up to a view of Florence and the Tuscan hills behind it. Can't complain. The apartment is beautiful, but quirky still. Marble floors, three balconies, funny Italian bathrooms that include bidets that no one uses, and 12-foot ceilings. The kitchen is small and old, but you can't beat the view from any of the windows in our apartment. We can literally see the top of the duomo, the bell towers, the hills, and most other buildings in Florence.
I couldn't be happier with our apartment. It does have it's pitfalls, but the beauty and the sheer unexpected space of it overcomes any of its shortcomings. The roommates have also showed their quirks, and I'm sure I've showed mine, so this semester should be an interesting one. But at the very least, we have a bitchin' apartment.