Saturday, May 21, 2011

Day Six: ... all creativity in post titles has flown out the window

I. Am. So. Tired.
All the time.
That's a lie. When there are exciting things going on (i.e. our trip to the market and subsequent picnic), I can focus and stay awake without a problem.  But man, give me ten minutes of down time and I'm ready for a nap. It really stinks that we don't live with everyone in the villa, cause none of our stuff is over there so when we have free time, none of us have a bed to take a nap in or our computer to play on. Lindsey and I started taking our computers with us in the mornings, but it's been way too much of a hassle to keep track of.
Today we had an exhilarating experience in the Saturday market here in Scandicci. Because we live in a sort of suburb of Florence, we get to take part in some small-scale things that you wouldn't have easy access to in the city. This market was huge to us, but nothing compared to the everyday markets in Florence. Vendors come early Saturday morning to set up in a parking lot just a few blocks down from the main square. There's hot food like you would see at a fairground (Italian style of course), plenty of fresh produce stalls, clothing, jewelry, cookware; you name it, there was a stall for it.  Mona, our Italian teacher and the wife of Robbie (the director) used our outing today as part of an Italian assignment in which we were supposed to interact with various Italians in practical situations. We were each given 2 Euros and a little slip of paper with a specific food on it, of which we had to buy 2 Euros worth and bring back to the meeting place where we would combine everything and have a picnic. I got assigned black olives, and the little group I walked around with located them really quickly. I was surprised by my own bravery in talking with the man at the stall, and a little proud that I asked for and got what I needed and was polite and understandable the entire time. At least I'm pretty sure I was. After the other 3 people in my group found what they were looking for, we walked and shopped for about an hour til we met back at the park to have our picnic. I bought a pretty shirt with roses on it and a surprise for my mom and/or sister. 
The picnic we helped create was a HUGE success. I ate a little of everything, and fell in love with almost everything I tried. Especially the fresh mozzarella with cherry tomatoes and coarse Italian bread. The produce here is almost indescribable; it tastes sort of pure, and it's unlike anything I've had in the states. Normally I am not an olive, cherry, pear, or raw tomato fan, but today I had good-sized servings of all and LOVED every bite! Basically I'm in love with Italian cuisine and should probably marry it.
After the picnic, a group of girls and I went to the big Co-op two tram stops down from us and we shopped for and found several necessities that we had been lacking. After that, we came back and had our first Kinesiology class, and it made me excited to start running again while I'm here. Our teacher Coach Burks is pretty chill about everything, so I'm not worried about what grade I'm going to make in the classes he teaches. Really I'm not worried about any classes except my Biology. It's gonna be pretty rough.
When we got done with Kinesiology, we all went to the Scandicci square and ate at a trendy little shop called La Bottega. In Spanish, "bodega" means "wine cellar" so I'm thinking the name has some kind of wine connotation, but I can't be sure.  We had these great wrap-type things called Piadinas. It was like a Subway line where you pick what you want from behind the glass, only everything was way better. My wrap had this amazing flour tortilla (almost as good as Ted's but not as thick) and was filled with grilled chicken, some garlic tomato sauce, and grilled zucchini and artichokes. It was AMAZING. Along with it we had fresh cut french fries and water. My friend Keeley and I shared a white nutella crepe for dessert. Let me just say that white nutella may be the most amazing invention since pasta. That's an exaggeration, but really. THIS FOOD IS SO GOOD. I hope my Conditioning Activities class (aka running) will help me keep the pounds off my thighs. Anyway, after that, we came back to the Bible school early so we could talk to families and boyfriends. right now I'm so exhausted I could faint. But I need to remember all this later, so I'm trying to be thorough.

Now for pictures:

On the way down the hill to the Scandicci market!

Triumphant picture after we finally found Allison's little espresso cups she got assigned! From left: Sam, me, Allison

Matt and Maggie, the other members of the group

Tuckered out after our morning of shopping and speaking Italian

Our group! From left: Matt, Maggie, Allison, me


On the tram to the Co-op

At La Bottega

Me and Keeley with our crepe! Hooray!

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