01/10/2014 09:19 am ET Updated Mar 12, 2014

Leaving Beautiful Florence

After four months in the heart of the renaissance...

January 5, 2014

On a rainy (torrential, and, hopefully, temporary) Sunday morning in Florence, I am getting ready to leave.

I have had four wonderful months in Florence and am not ready to go -- I'm in conflict about it all...


1. I have set up a lovely community of friends.

Today Emily and Karen, new and dear friends, and I are going out for hot chocolate/wine at Rivoire, for a quiet 'goodbye' -- this is hard!

2. I feel safe here.

3. The students are on vacation.

4. I can usually get somewhere (not always by the most direct route, admittedly), by feet, bus or train.

5. I have so many favorite places in Florence.

6. I have so many more favorite places to discover in Florence.

7. The tourists and students have (temporarily) gone home.

8. I now know where to get my important and/or necessaries (even though they are not always necessary, I have discovered).

9. I haven't seen everything, and I haven't had enough of Florence!

And yet...


1. The tourists and students have ONLY gone home temporarily.

2. The complexities still abound.

3. The ages-old stone streets, sidewalks, buildings continue to cause havoc on bodies that try to walk everywhere.

4. The sunshine of Sicily beckons.

5. Florence weather can be miserable. When the sun shines, as it does tend to do for brief periods almost every day, and the sky is blue and sparkling, I am happy. The old, tall, narrow buildings (many old towers that were inhabited by multi-generational families), however, do block most of the sunlight; Florentines do tend to seek the sunny spots in the piazzas and to luxuriate in them (as always, with dogs and kids) -- the viewing is spectacular!

Otherwise, it can be really really cold now (ok -- I know Boston is really really cold now, too, and covered with snow and ice); the ubiquitous stones really do radiate the cold, so that there is no escape from it (especially when walking and surrounded on all sides by the stones).

And the rain -- we (all Florentines, that is) always carry our umbrellas, because we never know when the skies will open on our heads. I get very pleased to see that it has rained and stopped while I was inside a building, so that the rain didn't inconvenience me at all (aside from the walking on wet, slippery stones). Amazing what makes me happy!

6. I think I am ready.

7. "Living in the moment" and expanding my horizons and learning about it all...

8. This is my 'senior year abroad' and I have so much to see, do and learn.....

Ok -- off to pack... making order out of chaos has never been easy for me. I do seem to create chaos easily, though, I think...