Chameleon Complex

There hasn't been much to report lately. Last week was insane, this week has been pretty laid back. Nonetheless I will recount my week should there be information worth noting.
Tuesday: Class was canceled for me and Beth, so we wandered around Florence (Ponte Vecchio, the other side of the Arno...) taking pictures for our photography project that's due this coming Tuesday. It was a lovely day, finally, after copious amounts of rain.
Wednesday: Beth and I decided to go to our favorite bar, Astor, that is a stone's throw from our lovely apartment. We met two Italian men (well, one was Albanian who spoke Italian), Alex and Roberto, and ended the night by doing ballet in front of the Duomo. Has Italy made me graceful?

On one hand, I'm happy to disappear completely within the Italian culture. It's nice to be able to go to a cafe and order something completely in Italian as a sign of respect. Of course Beth and I could survive here without knowing any of the language since most speak English here, but we would just be perpetuating the image of the American Tourist. The American Tourist who only knows English, refuses to try to speak Italian, or try to get to know any of the people.

Of course Italy speaks through it's history and places. Florence is a gem with its significance in the Renaissance, the masterpieces that reside here, and the architectural feats that are still as humbling as they must have been when they were created. There's Rome to the South, a giant in our world's history, with the Vatican close by. There's the Pieta' in the Vatican, the David here in Florence, The Last Supper in Milan...of course I could go on.

The people of Italy should not be ignored on any trip here. Yes, they can speak English like many other people around the world. Does that mean that we as Americans shouldn't attempt to learn anything about them?

A friend of mine told me last night that he still felt as though he was in America. Of course it can feel that way here. There are hoards of American students roaming the streets, and most of the locals have at least learned enough English to do business with Americans. While I'm happy to disappear into the Italian culture while I'm here, I can also guarantee that I will always be recognizable as American, and I've come to accept that. Though I try to don less conspicuous shoes than my Ugg boots, attempt to only speak Italian with those I encounter on the streets, I suppose I radiate American like UV rays in July. I can, however, guarantee I will continue to try and fit in throughout my stay - not because it necessarily makes me comfortable, but because it's a sign of respect to my host country. I'll leave you with a picture of an Italian man I took while on Ponte Vecchio - I wonder if he knew I was taking pictures of him. If so, he was a fabulous model.

Missing the good ol' US of A and sending my love as always.
Mi manchi tantissimo, io penso sempre di te, e non vedo l'ora di rivederti.

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