FOXTALK Winter 2014 - page 21

Winter 2014
would be different. From
simply living with my bed-
room shutters wide open
to views of San Lorenzo
Church to having after-
dinner drinks at small cafes
with new friends, my every-
day life was quickly altered.
Classes were scheduled only
four days per week, yet
the school week seemed to
move in slow motion. Prac-
tically everything in Europe
seemed to move a little
slower possibly because all
the sights and sounds and
smells were new and differ-
ent and my brain was taking
it all in. There was no auto-
matic pilot. I had to think
about most everything I was
doing such as decoding the
names of foods, translating
a new language, and un-
derstanding cultural differ-
ences. Even when I went to
grab a quick cappuccino at
News Cafe before class in
the morning, Marco would
take the time to transform
a caffeine-infused brew
into a piece of art. Tak-
ing classes in Florence was
quite the experience. Aside
from sometimes getting
lost on my way to class and
using the Duomo as my
lighthouse of sorts, I al-
ways looked forward to my
various art history courses,
which included field trips to
prestigious museums at the
end of the class. The thrill
of being able to walk right
up to Botticelli’s Primavera
right after learning all the
essential details was sen-
sational. Having some of
the world’s most significant
and impressive art museums
in my backyard brought
my lackluster art history
class to vivid life. What an
opportunity! There could
be no better way to learn
about art than to see it
firsthand. While I spent my
weekdays attempting to live
by the Florentine culture:
daily food shopping, home
cooking, and learning Ital-
ian, I spent my weekends
traveling all across Europe.
I never imagined that
traveling from country to
country would be so easy.
Almost every Thursday,
a couple of friends and I
would stuff our backpacks
and set out to experience
something, anything, new.
We became quite the travel
junkies, often traveling with
a company called Bus2Alps,
which provided full trans-
portation, hostel booking,
and activities. I travelled to
as many different places as
my bank account afforded
me while still keeping up
with my schoolwork. Once
I started traveling, I became
addicted. I would go online
and book one flight, and
by the time I went to check
out I had planned three
more trips. I then found
myself in “bucket list”
situations. Some things I
absolutely had to see and
do while I was in certain
places. For instance, I sat
just twelve rows from the
pitch, watching Lionel Mes-
si play for FC Barcelona
against the Celtics. I swam
under the Krka waterfalls in
Croatia and snowboarded
in the Swiss Alps, (more so,
slid down the Swiss Alps.) I
even sang songs with locals
at Oktoberfest in Munich,
Germany. Every weekend I
made sure I was either ex-
periencing or trying some-
thing new. I even joined
the Slow Drink Club, which
consisted of learning about
different wines made within
When I first read that
quote, brightened by the
LCD lights on my cell
phone, I was quite anxious
about leaving my comfort
zone. But while I lived and
learned in the midst of thir-
teenth century cobblestone
streets and was sometimes
the object of boisterous
cat-calling locals and pushy
tourists rushing past me as
I hurried to class, I knew
that I had found a new
comfort zone, and loved
every minute of it.
Julia Meinster, ’16, enjoyed
many sights and tastes while in
Europe as a part of the Florence
Freshman Experience program.
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