By Michaela Papa, Columnist
As you may deduce from the title, I am abroad this semester. No need to worry, I intend to keep up with my column during my time overseas to bring you my findings and share my experiences. You lucky ducks.
Currently, I'm in Italy. I'm sitting on my sunny terrace, listening to Italians bicker below and enjoying the 50-degree weather. Suckers. If you have read any of my previous articles you know I have a thing for snow. While you have lost both the feeling in your toes and the will to care whether or not your nose is dripping down your face, I'm finding a way to deal with this heat wave.
My roommate is from California, and one of my apartment-mates is from Texas. Both were rather disturbed when I threw open the windows the first morning yelling "it feels like April!" And so, I realized how well living in New York—specifically Long Island, has prepared me for this adventure abroad.
While I attempted to get as far away as possible from "The Island," I've found that I can't leave it. Botched Lost allusion aside, Long Island has managed to prepare me for the frighteningly similar Florence.
As I had said, it is rather warm here…or at least relatively warm. This brings me to my first similarity. No one in Italy or Long Island dresses weather appropriately. Every Italian I see is heavily bundled in poofy jackets and excessive scarves. I can only assume this is why they're not all 900 pounds…they sweat enough in the winter to burn off all the carbs.
This makes me inclined to remember the short shorts/Ugg boot combination running rampant on Long Island. Though, I suppose Italy at least commits to a season. I think everybody in the world would be a little better off with checking weather.com before getting dressed. Or looking out the window. Either works. Living on Long Island has made me think 45 degrees is warm, and rain only four times a week is a dry week…and thus, Florence has perfect weather.
Secondly, the driving here makes me almost miss the Hempstead Turnpike. Running to Popeye's across six lanes at three am seems safer than walking on the sidewalks anywhere near a main road here. Sidewalks are really more suggested for pedestrians, though they also serve as vehicle lanes and parking lots in Italy. Like New York drivers, the general rules of the road and safety precautions don't apply to Italian drivers. It's terrifying regardless of the continent.
While it's true America runs on Dunkin, I think the world runs on caffeine. Florentine cafés in the morning are intense. If the shots of pure espresso don't wake you up, the atmosphere alone will certainly wake you up. I can only equate the chaos and intensity with Midnight Breakfast. Florence cafés are like if I were to hold all of the bagels at 9:59 (the not-midnight time Midnight Breakfast is). Something like that.
Things such as Midnight Breakfast and morning lines at Pura Vida have prepared me for nothing else if not the cafes in Florence. They stand at the counter, take shots of espresso, yell something in Italian and leave. On that note, Café on the Quad should seriously consider adapting to the Italian café style of operation.
The similarities continue to grow with each day. Here's hoping this all means when I get back there will be a gelato stand in Bits and wine for 99 cents. While the cheese packets outside CPK are a nice start, I think Hofstra really has room for improvement in terms of cheese. Luckily, I fully intend to bring back enough cheese to last the rest of college. Va bene!
It's time to go to my classroom with a sprawling balcony overlooking a beautiful basilica. Hofstra also should to work on this. While many things of Long Island prepared me for Italy, the unispan simply doesn't compare to San Lorenzo Basilica. I think there's definite room for improvement for Dempster. Step one: mosaics. All things considered, I guess if I need to be on Long Island, it might as well be in Italy. Alla prossima.