Monday, November 18, 2013
Being asked to reflect on my time here when I am so close to going home is a daunting task. I've seen and done so much that’s it’s hard to remember how it felt to arrive in Firenze and experience it all for the first time. Thinking back to the first few weeks I can safely say that I've adjusted well to Italian life, though I know that I will never really blend in here. I can manage the hectic grocery store checkout line like a pro and today I even smiled at the street vendors persistent attempts to use flattery as a sales tactic. I also realized that I have no idea where I left the folded and worn down map of Florence I used to cling to. Navigating the city has become automatic, maybe from nights of wandering around in whichever direction seemed most interesting, with the Arno and Duomo always there to lead me home.
Walking has always been one of my favorite pastimes and Florence has some of the best paths to offer. I love stumbling on bits of art everywhere I go. From ancient sculptures and frescoes to scrawled messages and graffiti, the streets of Florence never disappoint. I've even found poetry written on the crumbling walls I pass daily. There is inspiration everywhere I look, not only in the art of the city, but also in every marketplace and square. From fish laid out in il Mercato Centrale, to gowns displayed in shop windows, there are countless colors and forms to add to my sketchbook or snap a picture of. The culture that I am surrounded by never fails to surprise me with something new and exciting. I will always have a new street to turn down and a gelato flavor to discover here.
I’m also discovering new things about myself, as a person and as an artist. I've gained the confidence to travel on my own and maybe just a little more confidence in my artwork. Having the amazing opportunity to shoot photos of the Ponte Vecchio and sketch the skyline that holds the Duomo has opened my eyes to all of the things that I can create. The idea of returning home is bittersweet, but I’m excited to return to Storrs with new ideas and the drive to bring them to life. I’m not saying I've discovered what kind of artist I am, but for now I won’t let that decision bother me. If anything I've simply added more options to my list of possible careers in art.
With only a few weeks left I can safely say that this semester has been unforgettable, and there’s still time to squeeze in a couple more memories(and gelato flavors).