AGGRESSIVELY seeking beauty

I previously mentioned Robbie’s challenge to us to aggressively seek beauty in every day…what I failed to realize was that he wasn’t kidding and he gave us no choice to to aggressively seek beauty over this past week. One definition of “aggressively” is “vigorously energetic” which encapsulates this past week perfectly. What all have we done, you might ask? I respond with, what haven’t we done? One day was dedicated to a city of Florence walk, the next to the city of Scandicci. We’ve had at least 4 hours of class each day, papers to write and quizzes to take. Our first onsite class day consisted of viewing the Medici Chapel, New Sacristy, San Lorenzo Church, Old Sacristy, San Marco Monastery, and Accademia. We had a scavenger hunt through different regions of Florence. And somewhere in between, we have found a little bit of time to eat and sleep. I rely on my daily pill box to tell me what day of the week it is, and I have already purchased a planner to try to create some sense of order in this chaotic lifestyle so unfamiliar to my structured ways. All that to say, this week has been a week of adjustment, but I am slowly but surely grabbing hold of my surroundings and trying to regain my appreciation for the phrase “aggressively seek beauty in every day”. Please note that I do not intend for the above to come off in a negative connotation in the least bit. When in this city rich with history, there simply is no other choice but to move at lightning speed, having marathon days 2 or 3 (or 4 or 5) days out of the week. I am grateful beyond belief for the beauty I have been able to see thus far and for the things that are yet to come.

My apologies in advance for the lack of sense that I may or may not make in this post, my brain is working in overdrive and things have been pouring out drenched in nonsense or sarcasm over the past couple of days–I also may jump all over the place, which is a skill that Robbie has mastered and one that I hope not to make a habit. I’m just typing the stories of this week as they come. I’ve only eaten gelato twice (I know, I’m sorry), the first was straciatella and the second was dark chocolate. I have not gotten lost yet, nor do I intend to any time soon. I tried cow stomach, it was okay. There have been days when we have walked as many as 10 miles, but I use that as an excuse to eat a slice of bread with Nutella on it at dinner. I haven’t taken as many pictures as I would like, but it has been raining quite a bit and I don’t want to get my camera wet. Also, when in buildings, I have yet to master the art of writing in my moleskine, listening, observing, and taking pictures at the same time–this is something I hope to achieve in the next couple of onsite classes. Pitch Perfect 2 still hasn’t made it to Italy and there are several of us upset over this fact. I rode on a bus for 30 minutes to the Fiorentina game and I have never felt like a sardine packed in a can more than I did that day. At one point, I was surrounded on all sides by people of various heights and had nothing to hold on to except for friend’s hand. Shoutout to all those people who kept me balanced and didn’t let me fall. It was truly a team effort. The Fiorentina game was fun, they won, and when the sun started to go down, the players’ shadows made X’s on the field (go sport!). Peach Este The is really tasty tea and comes in cool little Capri-Sun-esque little cups with the cool little poky straw that you stick through the lid. The Co-op is similar to Walmart except it’s Walmart on steroids and has other stores inside it too. Gallo’s Pizza is molto bene and if you’ve never had a nutella calzone, you should try it at least once before you die. Pasta has so many different forms and is good with any number of sauces–alfredo, pesto, red sauce (all of which have variations as well). Michelangelo was an extremely talented fella and his architecture, sculptures, and other art are astounding. Brunelleschi, Michelozzo, Donatello, the Medici family, and so many other figures in history (art, business, scholars, philosophers-all arts and trades included) seem to be the roots of this great city in making it what it is today and learning about them is fascinating! Even on rainy days, Florence is flawless. The walk up the hill is okay some days and breathtaking the next…breathtaking in the most literal sense of the word. However, I proudly say that I have only had to fully stop walking and start breathing again once. I am enjoying the mild and even cold weather that we have had because I know the hot and humid is coming, and I welcome it when it does. I could get nerdy and talk some specifics about some of the places we’ve visited and things we’ve done, but I will refrain for now and end this so I can go be nerdy and do some actual homework. I apologize for the sporadic nature of this post, and hope to organize my thoughts more coherently in the future. Peace and blessings to all!

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