Flashback: Shopping with Claudia

I haven't seen or heard anyone in the apartment this morning, but I'm hoping to see Claudia. I'd love to spend some time with her before she leaves next week, but I don't know what her plans are for today. I don't want to miss her today, but I don't want to sit in my room, waiting for her. I decide to get myself ready for the palestra (gym) and stick to my routine.

I only stay a short time at the palestra because I'm hoping that Claudia will be home when I get back. I realize that I should've left her a note, but even if I did, she wouldn't be able to contact me. When I come back home, I can't tell if Claudia has been back. I know she only has a little bit of time left in Florence. She did mention something about buying gifts and saying good-bye to a few people she knows here.

It's quite difficult to build such temporary relationships. I get close to someone and then I have to see them leave. I try not to think about it too much. I just want to spend more time with Claudia before her departure.

I get my things ready to go to the lavanderia a gettone (Laundromat). When I told Luca the other day that I lavo i miei vestiti (wash my clothes), he told me that I'm supposed to say fare il bucato (do the laundry) instead. My simplistic description was understandable, but I'd much rather use the appropriate term.

I dump my things off at the lavanderia a gettone while I go to the Internet point. No one else seems to stick around, so I don't see why I should either. Besides, the doors lock while the machines are running, so there's not much risk of someone stealing anything. I time myself and try to only stay a half an hour reading my emails.

It's nice to connect with my friends back in England and it makes me feel good again. I wish I could import my friends here, but I know my experience of living in Florence would be so different. I don't mind actually being alone, I just wish I had at least one good friend to chat with. But, I'm sure in time that will happen. I need to first concentrate on improving my Italian before I can think of building up relationships with any of the locals.

On my way home, I go down via degli Alfani to via Cavour so that I can buy something to eat. I can't go to another restaurant by myself as my funds are slowly dwindling. I did get an email today that the French company that I used to work for in Paris wants me to do some translation work for them. I'm happy about the prospect of working a little bit so that I can make some money during my stay here in Italy. I have this month paid up for and have enough to stay two more months with the same family, but I know I don't want to continue eating dinner with them.

I haven't thought much about next month yet, but I'm sure things will work out. At least Gianluca keeps telling me that they will. So far, things have gone well, so I'm trying not to stress out too much about what will happen next month.

I walk into the rosticceria (rotisserie) where they have hot food like lasagne in metal pans behind the glass counter. It looks and smells good. I order enough items for two even though I'm sure I'll be the only one who will be eating. I don't like buying food for just me. I take my food and my laundry home.

I sit in my room and eat my food. My laundry can wait. I don't like sitting on the floor eating out of tin foil containers, but I felt like I had no choice. The kitchen door was closed and I didn't feel that I could just walk inside to eat. The food I bought was delicious, but I ended up eating too much and felt ill. I quickly put my clothes away because they were strewn on the bed, and took another nap. I'm not really tired, but it has become a habit for me.

I wake up to the sound of someone knocking at my door. "Prego" (Come in), I say. Claudia pops her head in my dark room as I sit up in my bed. She comes in to tell me that she wants to go out shopping. I notice that she just got her hair cut and I tell her how cute it looks.

We get outside and Claudia wants to take me to her favorite shops and to introduce me to her new parrucchiere (hair dresser).

I love walking around town with Claudia. She knows Florence better than I do because she's been here longer and has been more adventurous than me. I feel uncomfortable walking around the town a lot because I know I just don't fit in. People remind me of that at every shop I enter. With Claudia, I feel better. She speaks Italian with such ease and no one tries to speak English with her.

I end up buying a few postcards and stationery so that I can write my friends. I need to write a letter to P. because during our last conversation I didn't get to say what I wanted to. I was caught up in my emotions and said things I don't think I really meant. The words je t'aime came out so easily that I couldn't take them back. I know my feelings are strong for him, but I wonder if it's not because I miss him, and I'm feeling a little lonely here.

For dinner, Claudia and I pick up something at the rosticceria, but this time we ate it in Piazza San Marco. It was my first Italian picnic and it was fun. We were, of course, the only two people eating in the small piazza that busses stop at on both sides.

Claudia and I talked a lot. She was nice enough to help me with my Italian. I learned a lot of great expressions from her, like "magari" (you bet/if only) and "ganzo" (cool). By the time we get home, I'm exhausted. Not just from walking around all day, but from trying to speak Italian. It was only 9PM when I slipped into bed. Claudia wanted to go to sleep early as well because she plans on walking around some more tomorrow too. I'm planning on joining her although she did tell me that she's moving out of the house on about ten days to go to a ostello (youth hostel) for her final days here. She said that she can't stand living in the apartment either and that she wanted a few days of tranquillity before she left Florence.

It felt nice to spend the day with with Claudia. We have become good friends in the short time that we've known each other. Both of us have divulged so much about ourselves and our lives. I am thinking that maybe living in Florence alone is good for me. Even though not every second is joyful, I am opening up and making friends with people who will be a part of my life forever.

I will be continuing to write about my arrival to Florence back in 1997 and will preface them with "Flashback" in the title.

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