Day 1: Flying and Florence

      Getting ready for Italy has been interesting. Its the normal mix of stressing, errands, excitedly freaking out when it would manage to rise up and hit me across the face with how awesome it was going to be. The craziest thing of all is that it is here. I'm here. I'm in Italy. Italy. I'm in Italia. After a long grueling day of travelling, I managed to make it to this beautiful city of Florence.

      Travelling usually freaks me out a but, and to be honest it still does even though I'm learning to give up control and just go with the flow. God will take care of things. SO here that goes, from the start of today...well technically yesterday till I go home. God carried me through so much so far the past two days of this trip, but I have to say he definitely was trying to get my attention and keep an eye on how I behave. Am I an ugly American, or am I a friendly and aware sojourner?
      So what was it that really caused me to stop and think about this, well not stop but think about it as I was going about my day? It was loud laughter. It wasn't even laughter, it was simply the volume. Here in the US it can be a problem, but nearly everyone agrees on what is loud. HERE, in Italy its pretty easy to notice what is known as loud to those around, especially when comments are heard like, "dumb americanos."
      That can sorta heart, but to be honest I thought it too. I was at fault a few times, but I definitely noticed that its the simple things that set cultures apart, such as how loud a personal conversation is, or how much space you take up as you walk, or if you pay attention to the traffic around you. That sets the cultures apart. I don't know if it matters, or how dangerous ignoring it can be, but I think it needs to be very seriously looked at. How can one assume its perfectly fine to just act as normal when everything around them is normal. I know we have been "taught" to be aware, but its still something that I think is not quite appropriate or safe/ mending for one to do when in a culture not theirs.
      That's what I've been working through, how do I walk that line carefully? How do I show my interest and excitement for the place, without needlessly offending those who could help or need an example that will help mend the view of the US, which is already pretty tainted.

      I am so excited to see what the days ahead will hold. Florence has blown my mind away, and after the horrible/ less than desirable experience at the Frankfurt airport, Its been a definitely desired. Now to hopefully grasp it all in the time I still have here.