Two and a Half Weeks

This morning I was up early to say good bye to my parents. Today, April 9, they leave Florence and head to the East coast to look at colleges with my sister, Laura. I had such a good time with my family this past weekend in Florence. I loved spending time with them and showing them around the city that has been my home for the past four months.

I so wanted them to pack me in their suitcase and take me home with them at the end of this weekend, but as the last glimpse of their taxi vanished in the distance en route to the airport, I realized I only have a short two and a half weeks left in Florence. Two and a half weeks until I am in the comforts of my own home, and reunited with my family. Two and a half weeks left to savor living in Florence: eating all the Italian food I can, spending time with my host family that I have become so fond of these past months and enjoying my new found friends. Two and a half weeks left to complete one paper, two take-home exams, one project, one Italian oral exam, and one final exam while trying to check off all the last minute things I want to do in Florence off my to-do list. While two and a half weeks seems so long when all I want is to be sipping a cup of coffee on my couch at home, it seems so short when I am eating dinner with my host family and I realize I only have so many dinners with them left. Two and a half weeks is definitely bittersweet.

Besides being the day my parents left, today is a holiday in Italy: Pasquetta. Basically it is the day after Easter where it is tradition to leave the home and have a picnic with your family and friends. Ali and I were planning on having a picnic of our own, but the temperatures proved a little too brisk for our liking. And if it was too chilly for us, it was definitely too chilly for the Italians. We ended up having the house to ourselves, so we made ourselves an indoor picnic and lounged. Two and a half weeks is definitely bittersweet.

Breath of Fresh Air

Today I was up early to meet the parents at their hotel, and head out to see more of the Florence sights. While we walked most of the city yesterday, there were still a few more sights to see and definitely a few more gelaterias to hit. The main event on the schedule today was a trip up to Piazza Michelangelo for the best view of the city. Touring Florence with my family these past few days brought me back to the many family vacations we have taken together over the years. Although I have been very fortunate to have visited over eight different countries and more than half the American states, I have never overly enjoyed family vacations. I was the child who pouted during museum tours, dragged my feet on the way to what seemed like hundreds of churches, and did not want to be there (wherever “there” was) the entire time. In my opinion vacations should be relaxing, and according to my recollection, family vacations packed with sight seeing and tours, were anything but relaxing. So with the family coming to Florence this weekend, I was fully prepared to revert back to “family vacation mode”, hitting sight after sight, walking until our feet were sore, and running on little sleep. Fortunately, this trip was much different. It being my parents third time in Florence and Laura’s second, we went easy on the sight seeing and made this weekend about enjoying being together on what is now my “home turf”. I must say, it was a breath of fresh air.

That being said, as opposed to rushing, we casually made our way to Piazza Michelangelo this morning to enjoy the view. Rather than a day walking miles around the city, and due to some rain, we enjoyed time hanging out in the hotel in the afternoon. And instead of making reservations at a popular restaurant, we went to a nearby bar when we got hungry for dinner – and stumbled upon the largest Italian cappuccinos I have seen! I must say it was a wonderful day with the family. I am so happy to have them here, seeing me at home in a foreign city.

And yet today included another incredible event! As we were enjoying lunch I got a text from my good friend Claire who is spending the semester in Rome – she was in Florence for the day! Claire and I have been friends since kindergarten. We went to school together, danced together, and were even in the same Indian Princess group when we were kids. After I received her text message this afternoon, we met her and her friends at the Uffizi Museum. After not being able to visit her in Rome after my school trip was cancelled due to snow, it was so good to see her in Florence!

Guest Post: A Growing Addiction

After a lovely outing with my sister, Laura, I thought it'd be better to here about it from her -

It has long been known that I hate coffee.  I didn’t like coffee ice cream, coffee candy, coffee anything.  Ellen, the coffee connoisseur that she is, was not satisfied with this answer.  Slowly but surely she has broken me down. It started slowly, but now I think I can officially say: I, Laura Bobich, like coffee.  When I was visiting Ellen in Florence, she took full advantage of my growing addiction.  We snuck away to a cafĂ© down the street from the hotel while the parents were “resting their eyes” for a little while. I don’t know what was better: the coffee or the chance to escape my dad’s snoring. Ellen and I enjoyed a great cappuccino and got to catch up on each other’s lives that we have missed.  It was the perfect addition to our already wonderful day. 

Throughout the day we hit all the tourist sites, including Ponte Vecchio and Santa Croce.  Apart from the wonderful coffee, my favorite part of the day was the Boboli Gardens.  They were gorgeous! It also helped that it was a beautiful day – by far the best weather of the trip. We explored the grounds of the Medici’s gardens and got a great view of the city.  I loved the sights but I especially loved being able to share a lovely cup of coffee with my favorite sister!