Some Small Things I’ve Learned

In Florence, Italy by Amanda B.5 Comments

So, like I’ve said before, every day is learning experience while you’re abroad. I’ve learned more things about myself and my desires than I ever suspected and I’ve had some pretty deep conversations with friends here who are also discovering so much.

Speaking of learning experiences, I just got back from my first meeting with my language exchange partner! What happens with language exchange is that I meet up with a local Italian who is learning English and we have conversations so that we can both practice the language. My mom will be so proud of me when she reads this, because for the majority of my life, I refused to even call the HAIRDRESSER or the doctor to make my own appointment because I hated having to hold a conversation with strangers, ha! But, now it’s just my second nature. That’s what traveling does to you. And growing up, haha. I was nervous because I had to speak all my Italian but it was a blast and our language practice went really well!!

But it’s not just all self-revelation and epiphanies here – little tidbits of everyday realizations are just as important. Here’s a few of the little things I’ve realized:

  • If you’re trying to convince yourself that you’ve achieved mastery of the cobblestone streets and can venture out in wedges, just stop. You are wrong. You will walk confidently down the streets until one teeny tiny pothole sends you flailing like a fool. And yes, everyone saw that. This will happen about 20 times before you slump back home to retrieve your Dr. Scholls flats.
  • It’s really hard to keep up with Italian nightlife because it doesn’t truly start until around 1 am….
  • Naps are very valued here and I am loving it. The wooden shutters here make your room DARK. This results in glorious naps that leave you wondering what year it is when you finally emerge from hibernation.
  • It’s NEVER an inappropriate time to eat gelato. Literally.
  • But you can also get a bad addiction to gelato and your days will be consummated by gelato thoughts and it won’t end until you force yourself to go on a one week fast…….i’m struggling……
  • They really do use every tiny bit of an animal’s body here. Sometimes it looks really gruesome. But nonetheless, it’s delicious and I want to try it all.
  • Staying in hostels leads to making new friends almost immediately. it’s really cool and you get friends from all over the world!
  • It’s kind of difficult to find appropriate ingredients for burritos but when you put 5 desperate Californians together, it works out pretty darn well.
  • Speaking of, the craving for some real Mexican food gets intense here.
  • Napping in a rose garden is the most relaxing thing you could ever possibly do.
  • Don’t even bother reading the weather forecast.
  • I apparently have a very positive disposition, because I’m known by all my friends here as “the one who’s always happy”….
  • When you’re sick, you don’t think right and you’ll do dumb things such as not bring your passport to your Italian Residence Permit appointment.
  • For me, the bread makes or breaks the panini (just so you guys know, paninis are just SANDWICHES in Italy, not the pressed USA paninis). It’s gotta be right in the middle of soft and crunchy, though on the softer side. Too crunchy and I hate the sandwich.
  • Listen to your study center when they advise you against using a certain ATM. Dealing with a compromised debit card from overseas is NOT fun business…
  • Time is of no big importance here in Italy. don’t expect your bus to be on time. but it’s okay, because your flight’s boarding time won’t be on schedule either so forget the panic of missing it.
  • Walking everywhere is very good for the body and is probably the only reason i’m not fat, although I really should be by now.
  • Worrying about money all the time is not the way to go. You can be reasonable but don’t limit yourself. You’re in ITALY!!!!!! You’ll earn that 20 euros back one day, but you will NOT get that epic dinner back or that chance to ride a gondola. Take every opportunity.
  • Riding on a plane full of Italians seems like a social event. 1 hour full of group singing, cheers, and all the Italian men just lounging around in the aisle talking to anyone and everyone. It was a fun time.

Today, I also went to the Mercato Centrale in hopes of getting amazing fried seafood with my friends, but it was closed. No worries – we got some amazing ham-stuffed focaccia bread with melty cheese and steins of beer since it was the last day of “Merktoberfest”! Molto buono.

Now I’m off to aperitivo with my lovely roomies. Ciao!

Amanda B.Some Small Things I’ve Learned


  1. Mom

    I LOVE THIS POST SO MUCH!!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE!! And you MOM is SO PROUD OF YOU because we ALL remember VERY WELL when you wouldn’t order a pizza or call your own hairdresser! But you have GROWN SO MUCH as i KNEW YOU WOULD and I could NOT BE PROUDER! And BTW… This is all GREAT ADVICE for ME since I am going to join you in just a few days!!! OMG!!! and… remember how i told you I get the book EAT PLAY LOVE? I started reading it last night and I cracked up when you mentioned your “Language exchange partner!” because she talks about here sin the very beginning!

    I have to say once again, that i just LOVVVVVVE reading your blogs! They are so funny and personal and captivating! You definitely have TALENT as a WRITER that you need to USE!!! Well, I love you and I will see you in a few days and I WILL BRING PEANUT BUTTER AND HOT SAUCE! LOL

    1. Author
      Amanda B.

      Mom that’s one of my FAVORITE books! It’s also a little part of what inspired me to come to Italy and do some of the things I’ve done here! haha!

  2. Ron Brookshire

    You notice and appreciate all the amazing little things in life when you are truly living in the moment! That makes me so happy and proud. Love you!

  3. Grandma Sue

    LOVE IT!!!! Amanda you had better become a writer. I so enjoy you style of writing, you have a gift. Grandma has tears in her eyes reading how grown up you have become and laughed like crazy about you talking to strangers. All I can say is, it is amazing experiences for you and continue making lots of memories that you will treasure forever.

  4. Katie

    Just got time to read this one, i love it. I can’t wait for you to come home and be adventurous with me here! Missing you lots today! love you!

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