Friday, 8 April 2011

Spring has sprung

Here is the view from my new apartment at sunrise the other morning. I've moved up in the world! Spring has sprung and the people of Florence have thawed out. There is a cheeriness around town, more smiling, more people striking up random conversations with me. This is a different Florence to the one when I arrived, and now that I'm in an apartment on the 4th floor, flooded with light, I have to say, I'm also feeling lighter of heart.

There are 80 narrow stairs to climb to reach my new abode but the mantra "it's worth it, it's worth it" is all the impetus required to get me up them because there's a stunning view to the south and to the north I can see the Palazzo Vecchio tower in the distance... the trees of the Boboli Garden to the east and the sunset to the west, (slightly leaning out the window). With north and south windows open there's a lovely cross breeze which will be handy for enduring the summer heat up here which may climb to extreme levels but lets not think on that right now. Right now, I'm thrilled with it all... somewhere to hang clothes in the sun, a fridge with a freezer, a bed without a footboard (not what one wants when one is long) and much less noisy at night. It's also rather amusing to greet sweating, red-faced visitors, gasping for air by the time they've made it up the stairs... with a good 5 minutes before they can utter a coherant word. Depending on the person's level of fitness I also have a good amount of time to put everything in place if anyone decides to drop in without warning.

It was an interesting process dealing with an Italian realestate agent and signing a lease (which I didn't have to do at the other apartment). Actually the agent was extremely helpful and obliging and I was very blessed to have my friend Becky come and translate for me. She studied at Angel Academy for 4 years and has decided to stay on with a Christian ministy at the local universities working with Sarah and Andrew from Australia. Needless to say her Italian is excellent. Everything is more challenging when one doesn't speak the language. My new landlords are 2 brothers in their 40s who have also been very welcoming and have gone out of their way to give me all the things I've asked for in regards to the apartment (it didn't have towels/bedding etc like my other place did - but it does now).

I'm in the second week of our school break too so it's been good timing for moving and settling in. Apart from moving, I've been taking some private Italian classes which if anything have exposed the great distance I still have to go with the language, but I suppose progress is slowly being made. On Tuesday I spent the day in Siena with Roxanna which was my first time out of Florence since I arrived. The overall impression of Siena after being in Florence for 3 months is how quiet, orderly, clean and well maintained it is. It was a breath of fresh air, but perhaps it doesn't have the same pulsing energy as Florence... there is certainly a lot more going on here. The rolling green hills of the Tuscan countryside are as lovely as they look in the movies and we passed many small towns that I'm sure would be worth stopping off at some time. Roxanna brought along her little dog Preenie and we enjoyed a spectacular spring day exploring the ancient town and enjoying the amazing views of the whole countryside from a lookout near the Duomo.

Last night I had dinner at Sarah and Andrew's place with their four gorgeous kids Ezekiel, Jemima, Oscar and Matilda. It's so nice to hear the ozzie accent, to talk about familiar places and be able to whip out out some of my favourite lines from The Castle... "this is going straight to the pool room!" (Ezekiel's drawing he did at school), and to drop all the endings off words like arvo, mozzies etc. Yep, we sure know how to talk proppa. Ezekiel and Jemima have been going to the local school for a number of years and their Italian is amazing... no problems with pronunciation or pesky things like that. Jealous! Oscar has just started this year and finding it very difficult. I'm sure his young brain will pick it up in no time. It's the perfect age to learn a second language.

È tutto per oggi!

To see the latest pics click here.

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