Living and traveling throughout Europe will likely help me change that.
So on to the big news. ITALY. I arrived yesterday around 6pm Florentine time - 12pm u.s. eastern time. I have traveled by plane before, but this time was significantly different being that the destination was someplace so unfamiliar. The oddity lied in how traveling itself was ironically so non-unfamiliar. Even when we landed for our layover in Paris, it didn't seem like we were actually in France. An airport could be anywhere. So emerging from the Florence airport for the first time was a strange experience. It makes me think that airports are teleporters. I step in the doors of the Detroit airport and somehow step out in Florence.
Upon arrival we met with someone from the KSU-Florence staff at the airport and she gave us our keys to our apartments. I do not know yet who this woman and her colleagues were, which is something I've noticed so far about Italians. They don't introduce themselves like we do in the U.S. I don't yet know if this is an accurate impression, but in addition to this woman, I had similar experiences with the man I met at the apartment and the landlord both in separate events. Eventually our landlord, Laura (who does not speak a sentence of English), participated in a round of introductions after about ten minutes of showing myself and my roommates how this and that worked. This is initial observation is something I'll keep in mind for upcoming interactions with the Italians.
However, trying to communicate with Laura was different experience for sure, feeling like an idiot for not being able to understand what a person is saying. Something I'll have to get used to. My usual reaction so far has been to just stare blankly at the speaker. Maybe I'm trying to communicate with my eyes or telepathically instead. But being so frustrated in these situations really gives me a better understanding of similar situations I have encountered in the States where I am the one who speaks the language and someone else does not.
I will update on the rest of my arrival soon. But for now I am meeting Liz, her roommates, and others for dinner at their apartment. Pictures soon. Ciao!