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Jouw dochter

Daar was ze dan

11 maart 1997

de dag dat jouw dochter

Isabelle Maxime Schrage

werd geboren

 

Nu

20 jaar later

met wat diploma’s op zak

en iets meer levenservaring

probeert ze het leven te begrijpen

is ze op zoek naar zichzelf

 

Ze is in de bloei van haar leven

het maakt je bang

want je weet

zoals ieder ander

die haar goed kent

dat ze gaat vliegen

dat ze haar vleugels uit gaat slaan

en terug gaat naar het pure van leven

 

Jouw dochter

die bijna 21 wordt

en in de bloei van haar leven staat

de wereld rond gaan

en er nog wat talen bijleren

staan hoog op haar lijstje

 

Maar die kleine meid

geboren op 11 maart 1997

blijft jouw dochter

hoe ver ze ook vliegen gaat

 

Featured

I dream of

I walk along the coastline in your oversized t-shirt

When a few minutes later

I hear your voice

“Sweetheart, I made you your favourite breakfast. Are you coming?”

I turn my back to the sea and see you there

Standing on the balcony of our porch

While I am running through the sand towards you I scream

“Yes, yes darling. I am coming”

 

I got welcomed  by a big kiss and

Together we walk to the table on our porch

Where you served the breakfast

 

Two plates with both small pancakes, raisins and strawberries

My favourite breakfast

We sit here, you on your place

I am on mine, in silence

Enjoying the food, the view and each others company

 

After we both finished our breakfast

You grab my hand

And tell me to come and sit on your knees

 

We look at the coastline

With our hands in each other

And I whisper to you

This is all I ever dreamed of

Time to look back

Yes, this was it. My adventure in Italy. My study abroad in Florence. I dreamed about this for years. And now, is the time to look back at everything. Was it what I expected together with the study? Was I shocked by the cultural differences? How was this period compared to England and Chile? You will read it all!

Studying

I thought maybe good to start off with the reason why I went to Florence in the first place; to study. At the beginning of my Florence adventure, I wrote a blog about; “How is studying at the Università degli Studi di Firenze”. There you can read about my first weeks and the odd things that had already happened.

From the middle of November, student life really began. I followed five topics and since I never really paid attention during the lectures because most of them were too difficult and I was distracted by all the nice things we were doing besides university, I had to start from the beginning and needed to teach myself all the materials. I was actually very motivated and ready to do something. So, it all started. Five days a week we were in the library, most of the time, from nine in the morning to seven in the afternoon. To be there with everybody was quite fun, too. We always had a coffee break at eleven and then lunch break at two.

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So, after a month of studying, my first exam was on Friday the 13th of December and the last one was the 17th. Most of those nights I only slept five to six hours in order to make sure that I was the best prepared. Because, although, I did not do something in the first two months, I am dedicated enough to change my mentality and work hard.

First of all, I would like to say that I passed all my exams at one time, with good grades. But now, I would like to tell you some other very odd things about how the exams were taken at UNIFI. Because, although, I passed all my exams and I am very happy about that, did not it all go in a fairway. During several exams, professors gave us the answers, people were able to use their phones and it was even at one exam we were able to talk with each other and discussed the whole exam (I got a 30/30 there… Not really a surprise ha-ha). However, what surprised me the most is that those professors did not even care and let us communicate. Whereas, on the other hand, other professors were super strict. In the end, I passed everything, studied very hard, and am very proud of myself.

Culture differences

To be honest, was I surprised by the number of cultural differences. Some were annoying, others were funny. Throughout the four months, I wrote everything down. So, below a long list of the things that caught my eyes. I do want to say that this is all from my experience and perspective. By that, I mean that people may not agree which is okay of course and it is not that it would count for all citizens in Florence or Italy. Let’s start!

  • When cars are waiting in front of the traffic light and an ambulance is coming, they don’t drive through “red” to let the ambulance pass. They wait until the “green” light and then they make space for the ambulance to pass them. (Yes, this is the most annoying one. I thought we can better start with it.)
  • The pavements in Florence are pretty small. In the beginning, I felt very offended when people were the whole time bumping into me. I would stop, and let the other person pass, but in Florence, they just go both at the same time and do not mind that other people are in their personal space.
  • The people are extremely friendly and helpful.
  • All people do care very much about their looks. For example, never saw a woman leaving the gym without having showered and wearing make-up.
  • Drivers don’t stop for you when you want to cross the street and use the “zebra path”. It even happened to me, that the drivers got mad at me because I thought that I had “priority” with crossing the street. So, be careful. Don’t expect that they will stop for you because they won’t.
  • You always have to take your receipt with you after buying something. From just one coffee to clothes, bus ticket, anything. There is this law that the police can ask for your receipt. If you don’t have it, the shop where you bought the product and you will both get a fine. In the beginning, especially when we bought coffee’s for only 1,50 we never took the receipts. The people got annoyed and sometimes we received the receipt boldly in our hands, and after we asked why they found it so important, we were like; “ahh okay, that’s why ha-ha”.
  • Italians like to wear glasses, even when the sun is not shining. They have their right though. They shine themselves ha-ha.
  • I have never seen so much rain in my life. We had weeks of rain, 24/7, especially in November. It was insane. Also lots of thunderstorms during the day, something that I never experienced in the Netherlands.
  • December is more of an “I am on winter sport” month. It is chilly, 13 degrees, the sun was always shining and most of the time a beautiful blue sky. I loved it!
  • Italians like to race on the street.
  • People use plastic bags for everything and pretend like there is nothing wrong with that.
  • The green traffic light for pedestrians is very short, whereas, the orange one is super long.
  • The people tend to walk on the left side of the pavement. Hello, we are not in England, right?
  • The food, this won’t come as a surprise, is absolutely the best of the best. I have tried many restaurants, lunchrooms, icecreams, everything, and none of all, was able to disappoint me. I miss it most of everything.
  • Oh yeah the last one, besides bumping into each other on the street, do they also like to bump each other’s cars, especially while parking. Most Italians don’t tend to care about ant scratches on their car.

 

England, Chile, Italy

Several people already asked me if I have one favourite. By that I mean either England, Chile or Italy. In the beginning, I found it difficult, because all three experiences were so different and did I love because of different reasons. For example, England I loved because of all the people I have met (and still see yearly) and that I learned so much about myself and life. Chile, I mainly loved because of all the beauty the country has and that I could travel so much to also other countries in South-America. Again, I learned a lot about myself, even in a totally different way than when I was in England. At last, Italy, which was relaxed while I was living in a city that looks like a museum and where I was able to enjoy my favourite food, all day, everyday ha-ha.

I am super grateful for the three totally different experiences. Also, because in every country to culture was so different. Different from each other and different from the culture that I am used to. That is also still why I would always advise people to travel and learn about other cultures because it widens your horizon as I would say.

In the end, after those questions, I won’t say that I have one favourite, but there is one experience that changed my life; the nine months in England. It all started with that.

 

Erasmus family

On the picture below you can see the people who I spend most of my time with while I was in Florence. This was during our Christmas dinner.

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I actually would have been back on the 13th of January. Unfortunately, I became very sick and have not been able to return. Even though I could not think of going back, I was obviously still sad. I have not really said goodbye to everyone and everything: to the people I have met, to the city, to my favourite restaurants, etc. I admire the city, so much. Hope to go back soon. Besides that, I want to thank you all again for the support throughout this experience. It means a lot to me.

Oh, and I know that some of you are wondering about what’s next. First, I will finish my thesis and then I will see what I am going to do. I promise to keep you up to date with my travels.

 

 

November, a delighted month

November, a month where amazing and beautiful things have happened. However, yes, the real deal has also started. We need to study but yeah, it became time after doing nothing for school the last three months. I also had my last visitors, we celebrated Halloween and went to an Opera. Welcome back, lovely readers! This is going to be long one, hope you are prepared.

Halloween

Yes, the first time in my life that I went to an adult Halloween party ha-ha and we also had a lot of fun finding our customs. I have never been a huge fan of Halloween, to be honest. All that stuff scares me… But yeah, a party should be fine I thought and it was. People were not dressed up that scary. It was so nice to spend the night with my friends, and some other friends of my Dutch friends who were here for the weekend. We had lots of fun!

Roadtripping with ‘Papa’

Ohhhh we looked so forward to this. Days before daddy was coming we texted with each other that we could not wait and were so excited to finally spend some time together. Because yes, that was what we were going to do; having quality time.  To talk, to hug (cause we love hugging), to laugh, to share, and to just spend time together and make memories. The more, the better.

Dad arrived Friday at the end of the morning and we went straight to the bakery to have some cappuccino’s and eat pastries (yes, we love that, too, ha-ha). So, after we had eaten ourselves full we went to my apartment to put dad’s stuff there and went into the city centre for some shopping. You should have seen us, walking arm in arm, so happy. My mom doesn’t allow us anymore to walk hand-in-hand because I am too old for that. People get wrong ideas you know ha-ha and mom is of course right about that, so just arm in arm. The weather was crappy by the way, it was raining a lot. However, for us, it would be better if it would rain that Friday instead of the weekend, it will tell you later why. So, while it was raining very hard we had lunch again at one of my favourite restaurants: Zá Zá.

I showed dad also the Mercato Nazionale and after we went home to have some rest and sleep a little bit. Dad woke up at four that morning, so he could use some. Not that we kept the night short, because after we had an amazing dinner with lots of wine (yes, we left the restaurant a little tipsy) at Vetreria, we went to the Red Garter. The bar, my friends and I usually go to before we go to the club. I introduced dad to the Long Island Ice Tea. The favourite drink of several friends of mine and at that time, the favourite drink of my dad. For the ones not knowing, Long Island Ice Tea is an (obviously alcoholic) drink with four different alcohols and Coco cola. I know, it is called Long Island ICE TEA, but yeah, they put Coco cola in it. A mind f*ck.

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On Saturday the road trip started. Again, we used again Car2go, only now for two days. Because yes!! We did a road trip for two days, all in the Chianti region. We really wanted to do a wine tour together at a Castello and that we could also sleep in the Castello and eat there, and of course, I found one!

 

After we arrived at the Castello di Fonterutoli, we had to hurry a little bit to be one time for the wine tour at five o’clock. The place where we stayed was beautiful and super romantic. The wine tour was by the way also very nice, especially when the man started to talk about the history of the winery. It had taken them seven years to renovate (the winery is from 1435, the family Mazzei) because of different obstacles with for example the water system and hydration for the wine.

On Sunday, we took it easy and after breakfast, we headed to Siena. A city which I would not spend the whole day, because there is not much to do, but it is very nice for some hours. And since we had the time, why not? ha-ha. We mainly relaxed on a terras in the sun and face-timed with mom. Because yes, the whole weekend was sunny and not raining at all. Lucky us!

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After we arrived back in Florence, I let experience dad the most delicious ice-cream in my opinion at Gelateria Dei Neri. Oh, and yes, he loved it! We finished the amazing weekend off with dinner at another favourite restaurant of mine (yes, actually all the restaurants where I come are my favourite ha-ha). This one is called: Napoleone. Daddy was leaving Monday morning and I had a mid-term exam. Not that I studied very well that weekend and, in the end, I also did not pass the exam. SURPRISE!

I want to thank my dad for the great time we had. I am super grateful and find it amazing that we are so close and are able to spend this time together and that we are able to enjoy it so much together. I love you “papa”.

Opera night with the girls

Going to an Italian opera. Before I went to Italy, a friend of my mother told me that I really should go while I was living in Italy. So, I did, with three other female friends of mine. No, the guys were not really interested.

The opera took 2 hours with a little break in between of around ten minutes. Maybe you would not expect it, but I totally loved it. The way the players sang, the expression in their faces, and especially the way it made me feel. I felt like I was meditating. So calm and relax. Although, I do think that if I would go to an English or Dutch spoken opera I would have found it more fun. I still do not understand any Italian, so although the play first got explained in English, the players sang in Italian. It makes a big difference I think.

Mom and Esther in Florence

This weekend was women only! “Mama” came over with her friend Esther, and Esther’s daughter Elise is one of my dearest friends. With this I mean, that I also have known Esther my whole life (she is like my aunt).

We did everything very relaxed. We took again the Car2go to show Esther the Piazzale Michelangelo, did some Christmas shopping, and they did a bike tour together through the city centre. This was also very lovely and great. To have my mom around, hug her, and spend time with her and Esther.

Studying

Yes, the time is there. In three weeks and one day (So, I fly home the 21of December), I will be going home which means several things. One, we are enjoying everything more and more, and two that the exams are around the corner. I have five exams in three days (13th December, 16th & 17th December). When I fail an exam, what hopefully will not happen, but of course, can happen, I can resit it in January. I am most likely going back from the 13th of January to the 17th, also to arrange the last things with the re-enrolment of the University. However, during those days are also two resits, incase I need to do them.

The subjects I have chosen differ very much from difficulty. Some are very easy, a lot of papers, but easy, and others are a lot and more difficult. Because of this, my friends and I spend a lot of hours in the library at school. Although the library has many seats, it is already full around ten o’clock in the morning. Yes, a great motivation to wake up early and be there at around nine. Sometimes, staying in the library to study has more value than going to the lesson, so that is then also, what happens often.

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Besides that, you have probably all read the news about Venice and the water problems there because of the rain. Not that it was like there here, but I must say, I had never seen so much rain in my life. We woke up with it and we went to bed with it. I did not put that title picture with our umbrellas there for no reason ha-ha. However, now I tell you about the rain. Although it was then raining a lot, it was not cold (think about 17 degrees, sometimes 15). This made it sort of good ha-ha.

After a day of studying and a lesson at the gym, I went to the Christmas market at Santa Croce in the city centre. The Christmas feeling that I, by the way, have here now compared to last year in Chile with 40degrees is immense. I just love it! Only miss the snow.

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I am going back to my books now. See you all very soon!

 

Family came over for six days

The planning was full and, although they thought they were coming to Florence to rest and relax, they were wrong about that. Welcome to the story of my way of transporting myself in Florence, which basically mean: walking, walking, walking.

To make it a little easier I will list the things we did by day and then tell something about it and show pictures. So, here we go!

Saturday – Arrived in the evening; dinner at ZáZá

An easy-going evening, apart from the fact that I took my brother immediately out with my friends to party, it was a good start.

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Sunday – Pizza and Gelato cooking tour

Oh guys this was so fun. Really, if you are ever around Florence and are interested in a tour like this, take this one. We also got it from a friend of my mother and booked it via Viator with the company Walkaboutflorence and it is called the “pizza and gelato cooking tour”. We did the evening one, from five o’clock and lasted for another four to five hours. In the beginning, we thought; “okay that is a little long”, but, in the end, you do need all that time to prepare, make and eat the food ha-ha.

There were three men teaching us everything, one who talked about the ice-cream and two about the pizza. Together, Christian, Luigi, and Luca. Luca was the funniest one and for the Dutch people reading this, whenever he was talking it felt like we were in Chateau Meiland and I guess by that you know what I mean. We laughed a lot with each other and learned how to make a pizza in an easy and understandable way. Making pizza and ice cream is not very difficult though, you should only make no mistakes in the grams you use for each component.

 

 

Monday – Going to Lucca

Although mom thought that the train to Lucca would only be 20 minutes, it was one hour and 45 minutes. After we got ourselves some breakfast from a local bakery we jumped into the train and relaxed. We all, besides Fabiënne because she was in mom’s belly at that time, had been to Lucca. However, my brother and I were young, so did not really remember anything. We were all so surprised by how quiet the city was and that there were not so many tourists walking around compared to Siena for example. We mainly walked around, did some shopping (yes shopping is great in Lucca, in my opinion, better than in Florence) and had a nice lunch at a cute restaurant.

Tuesday – Hiking tour in Cinque Terre

We started the day with a bus ride for around two hours, ended up at La Spezia. From there we took the train to Manarola. The weather was amazing with a high temperature so we were lucky, especially because they said it had been pouring rain the day before. To give you some extra information, Cinque Terre means 5 villages in English. We went to four of them.

  • Manarola
  • During the hike.

The hike was around 4,4 km and we finished it in one hour and fifteen minutes. Since it was so warm, the sweat was definitely around and also since we were off-road we had to pay good attention to where we walked. When we wanted to enjoy the view, we stopped and just looked at the beautiful landscape.

 

  • Arrival after the hike at Vernazza and then we took the train to Monterosso

When we arrived in Vernazza, we all really craved for an ice-cream. It was the best we ever had. I don’t know if it because we had such a heavy hike or just because it was the best ha-ha.

 

Wednesday – Palazzo Pitti, Boboli Garden & Piazzale Michelangelo

Although the others hoped that this was going to be a relaxing day after the hike in Cinque Terre, it was not really going to be like that. After we had a great brunch at Santarosa Bistrot, we went to the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Garden. We liked it, walked around for some time and looked at all the wall paintings inside of Palazzo Pitti, however, in the end, it would be just a once in a lifetime thing for us. 

After that, I took them to Piazalle Michelangelo. One of my favourite spots in Florence. You have to walk up a “little” hill and then when we arrive, you have a very nice view over the whole city. There are also stairs, so what my friends and I usually do is just sit there, play cards, talk or just be quiet and enjoy the view. During the night the sunset can be really beautiful!

Thursday – Roadtrip to Val D’orcia

Our last full day together. My parents rent a car before and after picking up our Fiat 500 XL we were ready to go. We decided to visit the Val D’orcia. It is a region in the south of Tuscany, a two hours drive from Florence. It was raining a lot that day, therefore, we were happy that we were in the car that day and not walking all around in the city. Since I have been already several times to Greve in Chianti, it was nice to go to another part of Tuscany.

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In the evening, after some serious traffic on the road, we arrived back in Florence and since it was already late, it was time for dinner. We went straight to the restaurant where I booked a reservation, Fuoco Matto. One of the best pizzas in town!

Friday – Shopping and going back home

Dad made the last photo from his little family before they were heading back home. We explored a lot in those six days and indeed, maybe in the end, you could say that it was more exhausting than relaxing, but we enjoyed.

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Dad is alone coming alone next week. We will do some great stuff together, I will keep you up to date about that. Thanks for reading.

Greetings from a little rainy but still 18 degrees Florence.

 

My first visitor in Florence

Our first little holiday together without parents. Marie-claire (short cut; Claire) and I have known each other since we were born/very little because our parents are close friends. However, we never went on holiday together, because when we did, we went with both families, which was amazing but now it is our time!

Claire and Ies on the road to Greve in Chianti

On Saturday we rent a car, again with car2go, and drove to Greve in Chianti. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and the sky was blue with just some little clouds. And yeah, we had a lot of fun and really enjoyed the day. Below some pictures and explanations about what we did.

  • Monteriggioni

This cutie little town is definitely one I will go back to. The city is between a wall and to have a better view of the surroundings you can walk on the wall all around the city. We had some coffee there, me my first cappuccino in Italy, only after ten (I am sorry), but I liked it.

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  • Montefioralle

If you paid a little attention in my last blog, you know that it was not my first time here. Montefioralle is a little town where l also went with Fre the last time. This is an example of a town where no souvenir shop can be found, but where we did find that amazing restaurant Il Guerrino on the hill with a view over the wine yards. Of course, I showed Claire and did we enjoy an amazing and again, delicious lunch. I had gnocchi for the first time in my life. It never really attracted me because of the way it looks but by eating this gnocchi pesto I learned that the way something looks can be different than the way it tastes (sort of cliché, I know). Oh, it was so goooood.

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At this castle, we did a wine tour. The landscape around the castle was beautiful and it took us a while before we arrived there. It was only one road if I could call it a proper road because it was more like an unpaved road with little rocks. Yes, we were a little scared of a flat tire, in the end, everything was alright, gladly!

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Because we just like fooood

Before Claire came to Florence I already tried some different restaurants, so that when she would come, I would know where to take her. We usually had breakfast at my place or otherwise bought something along the way in the supermarket. For lunch and dinner we went to the restaurants.

The first picture is from Obicá, the mozzarella bar. We both had a delicious Buffola and shared the rest.

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Indeed, loves goes through the stomach. Below the delicious heart pizza’s from Napoli 1955 

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At last, Trattoria Zà Zà. We went there for dinner the first time and lunch the second. Even though, I made a reservation for dinner we needed to wait half an hour before we could have a table. No worries, because while we waited we could enjoy the Italian chaos that was happening over there.

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Yes, I know, we can just continue eating here. Everything looks delicious and is delicious. There is no way you can go around that. Between the meals, we liked to play some cards and asked each other questions. Because we thought that even after knowing each other for so long, there would still be some things that we wouldn’t know about each other. It was great to have some time together and embrace our friendship.

Oh yes, last thing. We also went out on Saturday night. Slept for three hours and as diehards enjoyed, walked around in the city (walked 25km that day), came back home at 21:00 and were obviously very tired afterwards, but with a satisfied feeling. I still look back at this weekend with a big smile, because great and hilarious memories were made!

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Glad to have you in my life, Clairieee XXX

 

 

My Italian life besides university

A question that people have asked me several times already. What do you do when you are not at the university? Well…

So, where to start. Okay. Eating and partying are probably the things I do the most besides university ha-ha. My days at the university are short and either start 10:15 or 18:00 in the evening. Since there are so many restaurants we want to try and also feel that we sort of have to know them for when our visitors are coming, we tend to try different restaurants to check if we like them. The pictures below with Frederique and Marguax are taken at Cino&Sons.

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About the partying. For now, I go out on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday and since I’m not a huge fan of having alcohol in my body I usually only drink severals drinks on Saturdays. Must say, I’m doubting for how long I’m able to continue doing this because it isn’t really the lifestyle my body is used to, but we will see about that.

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Besides eating and partying I also go to the gym, which took some times and patience because apparently going to the gym here is very expensive. The average costs per month is 100 euro. You can guess, I didn’t want to pay that. Frederique told me about her gym and later on, I also had a look. It is called Evolution and does have very nice intensive lessons which fit great with my schedule from the university. Since the monthly payment of Evolution was gladly far away from that 100 euro a month, I decided to take a subscription there and attend the different classes. I only had to go to the doctor first, because it is a law here in Italy to check your heart and see if everything alright.

Beach day at Rosignano Marittimo

You would maybe think that we were somewhere than else, but nope, we weren’t. This was only 1:50 minutes with public transport from Florence. Must say, we were surprised, too, and didn’t expect a beach like this at all. And even so, that it wasn’t crowded at all. This, probably, because years ago people weren’t allowed to lay on the beach; the sand is so white because of an industry behind the dunes that dumped chemicals there. Despite, we had a great day and enjoyed ourselves very much.

Road trip to Greve in Chianti

Last week Fre (Frederique) and I decided that we would like to rent a car and explore Tuscany a little more. We decided to do this with Car2go, a car sharing company of Smarts. After driving for a while, we thought it would be nice to just stop at a random place and have breakfast. It was so calm and peaceful. A great start of the day!

After we finished our breakfast, we continued and ended up at Montefioralle, a (very) small town where no souvenirs shop can be found. As many of you know, have I been collecting magnets for already a long time. I told Fre that we shouldn’t forget that I buy them. In the end, none of the villages where we went to had a souvenir shop. I guess, this says already enough of how “not” touristic it all was.

After a little walk through Montefioralle, we found a hidden restaurant, Il Guerrino, with a beautiful view over the wine yards.

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Since I was the driver that day, which I liked very much, and Fre mainly took charge of the music in the car, we didn’t make many pictures while we were on the road. We enjoyed it so much to just talk, sing along with the songs (or you could also call it screaming ha-ha), and look out of the windows. At last, did we go to a wine farm, Vignamaggio Villa. Besides that they produce their own wines, they also have hotel rooms and organize events, like weddings. Yes, here you can have your real Tuscan wedding! Maybe, in the end, I do want to get married one day…

The wine was amazing and of course, we couldn’t leave without buying a bottle. Oh, and the mosquitos couldn’t leave us both, too. Only because I’m a little allergic, I ended up with huge circles on my both legs which wasn’t very convenient since I walk so much everyday (average of 13km a day). Besides that, was it yet one of the best days I have spend here! Also thanks to Fre.

City trip to Siena

Although I had already been to Siena I didn’t have to think too long when I was asked by my German speaking (most of them Germans, but one Swiss) friends if I wanted to come with them.

Compared to the last time I was in Siena (3 years ago), it was definitely more busy now. Much more tourists and since we were with eleven, it was very difficult to find a place in a restaurant. In the end, after walking around for 45 minutes not knowing what to do, we decided to just buy take away pizza’s and eat it on the stairs in front of a church.

After the lunch, we continued to walk around in the city, which we all really enjoyed. I also really liked it that in this way I was able to get to know some people of the group a little more.

Last thing, I’m so happy that I have already met so many amazing people! We are just here for three weeks and it feels as if we have known each other for already so much longer. It’s just incredible!

This weekend, a good friend of mine Marie-Claire is in town. Super happy about the fact that I am able to show her my life here.

How is studying at the Università degli Studi di Firenze?

“We find studying very important here in Italy” is what the vice president of the University said on our introduction day, which is already almost three weeks ago. I must say, a lot of things have happened. For us, unusual things…

First of all, unfortunately, we don’t have so many classes with Italian students. Most of the classes that I have are with a high percentage of Erasmus students, what, by the way, not every teacher likes.

This week has been the first week of the three where I am hopefully sure of what courses I am going to follow. The last two weeks there have been a lot of changes in my schedule. This was because I decided that a course was not interesting or that, on the other hand, the teacher or coordinator just decided that they were not going to provide this course anymore for this semester which was very much by our surprise that they are able to do that…

Some courses that I follow are Master courses, which is very much by my surprise, too, when looking at the level of the course, but I will come to that later. First, I really want to tell you something else.

So, the campus of the university is called: Novoli and has different buildings (D15, D6, D4 etc.). There are different types of classrooms, ones for 40 students others for 80 students. However, since our first class, we have experienced something quite unusual as I would call it. I will give an example; A lesson starts at 16:15, whereas the lesson before finishes at 16:00. So, I go from one building to the other, open the door of the classroom and the whole room is full. No seats anymore. Yes, you read that right. No seats. So, what happens then or either you go and sit on the ground or you keep standing for the upcoming one and a half hour (or sometimes four hours) or you try to find a chair in another room and just place it somewhere in the classroom. I actually should have taken pictures of this, because really, it looks hilarious. The first time, when this happened I had class with my Dutch friends and to be honest, we were shocked. There was even an Italian girl coming in a little late and said: “No worries, I am used to sit on the ground during class”. You should have seen our faces at that moment…

To come back to the level of the (Master) courses, I will start with telling you what I have chosen. As most of you probably know do I study International Business and Management Studies in the Netherlands. I am not able to choose my courses freely, which I find unfortunate, which if I would have been, I had chosen ones that I would find more interesting. For now, if nothing changes again are this the courses that I will follow further:

  • Topics in Marketing and Management
  • Destination Management (My favorite)
  • International Trade
  • Topics in Human Resources (non-attending)
  • Public Economics and International Cooperation

At the university students can decide themselves if they want to attend a course or not. This may sound a little weird to you now, but I will explain that. So, there are attending and non-attending students. You have to decide which one you want to be per course. As you can see, do I follow one non-attending course. This is because, the teacher decided not to give class anymore and, therefore, only non-attending was left. Besides the difference of attending (you have to be present 70% or 80%) the course or not, do the exams also differ. The exams for the attending students are, in my case, research reports (of ONLY 15 pages together with five other students) + 30 minutes presentation or a written exam about powerpoint slides. Whereas, on the other hand, for the non-attending students, it is always a written exam from literature/books.

You know what also does get my attention is the fact that when we do have Italian students in the lesson, that they are most of the time, the ones who are typing everything on their laptop, asking the questions, etc. I am the one who is more distracted by looking out of the window, drawing stars on my notebook or, like now, finishing my blog during class (oepsie…). Maybe an excuse, maybe not, but I am so not used to sit in a big classroom and just listen for one and a half hour and sometimes four hours without almost any interaction. I sort of get bored.

So, that was my talk again for today. I hope it is a bit more clear to you how this part of my life is at the moment. In the upcoming days I will write something about the other part of my life; the “real” fun ha-ha.

Speak to you soon XXX