It’s been just about three weeks since I arrived in Florence and what a whirlwind it has been! I feel like I’m finally getting used to my life abroad and I could not be happier.
Reflecting on my short time here, I think the hardest part for me the past three weeks has been just finding my new normal. I’m lucky in the fact that I didn’t experience homesickness or culture shock like some people do. It’s been a pretty easy transition for me, which I am so grateful for!
But I do find myself struggling to find a solid daily routine. For about the first two weeks, my sleep schedule really threw me off. A mixture of jetlag and the 7-hour time change greatly affected me. I would find myself awake until 4 A.M. and sleeping until noon! And then I felt guilty for wasting half my day in bed and not exploring the beautiful city of Florence. However, I just had to trust in the fact that my body was adjusting and it needed sleep, whether that was at normal hours of the night or not!
Slowly but surely, each day got better. I found myself going to bed a little earlier and waking up a little earlier as the days went on. Now, heading into week three, I am fully adjusted to my new time zone and I feel rested each morning.
Now that I’ve gotten over that hurdle, I face the task of finding a normal daily routine here. We have class Monday through Thursday, which has really helped me because I like having a consistent schedule. However, when I’m not in class (which is a lot more than you think), I struggle to think of what to do. Homework is an obvious answer, of course, and I do a lot of that for sure! But when I don’t have that much work to do and I have free time on my hands, that’s when I struggle a little bit. I guess I’m just so used to having such a solid routine back in Madison, that it feels weird to have so much down time in a new city!
I’ve definitely used a lot of my down time to explore Florence, try new restaurants, walk around, grab coffee at cafes, and grocery shop, which has all been great! I guess I’m just still waiting for a daily routine to settle in. But I’m sure over time I’ll find my groove and figure out what works best for me in this new amazing life of mine! Whether it be finding a small café to sit at and do homework, or discovering a great study spot by the Duomo, or finding a good path to go on runs or walks in the afternoon, I’m sure I’ll eventually find my “new normal” here in Florence. And in the meantime, I sure am having a great time figuring it out!