I wrote a post in January about feeling homesick because I hadn't established firm roots in Florence yet. Now, though, I'm at a point where this has shifted, and Florence feels so much like home. Here's why: I have a fantastic group of friends, I'm a part of the community at school, and I'm settled into the apartment I'll stay in long term. The first year photo MFAs had our exhibition a few days ago, and it was my first time showing my work in a gallery in Florence (or, well, anywhere). That deserves its own post because it was one of the most wonderful and stressful and fantastic experiences of my life thus far.
The language endeavor is coming along slowly but surely, and my day-to-day comprehension varies wildly depending on who I'm talking to. Still, I'm making progress. My teacher is about to pursue a PhD in Italian literature, so with his guidance, I'm working through my first book in Italian. To say that I'm thrilled about it is an understatement; in another life, I'd be studying to become an English professor rather than a photography professor, and I feel like a whole new world of books is opening up for me. It's a little like English class (something I really miss from college), except I'm struggling to sound intelligent both when analyzing the book and, well, speaking like a functional human.
In short, I feel so at home in Florence these days, and I'm trying to soak up life here as much as I can. I'm familiar enough with the city that I have my "happy places": several favorite cafes, a hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop, so on and so forth. If I have guests in town, I know exactly where I want to take them first (usually it's Mercato Sant'Ambrogio). I have my preferred piazzas for people watching, such as Santo Spirito, which isn't frequented by tourists as often as the piazzas on the other side of the river but still manages to be one of the liveliest places in Florence.
I'm trying to photograph as many of these places as possible before I visit the US in two weeks. For example, if you were to spend an hour in Piazza Santo Spirito on any given spring Sunday, it would probably feel something like this: