Growing up, my mom would always ask my sisters and I what our rose, thorn and bud was at the end of each week. The rose represented something happy that happened or our favorite part of the week, the thorn would be something bad that happened or that we didn’t particularly enjoy during the week, and the bud on the other hand, signified something we were looking forward to in the coming weeks. We still do this every now and then and so I figured I would write about mine and share it. This week was one of those weeks where every part of the flower was present. Rose, thorn and bud.
Firstly, my rose. This past weekend my roomates and I decided to stay in Florence which was fun because not only was it the first Sunday of the month meaning access to all public museums where free but it was also “Museum Week” so the discount applied all week. On top of that we also got to visit and tour The Gucci Garden at no cost by using our student id to get in. I enjoyed seeing and learning about many things this week, but my rose of this week was visiting the Accademia Gallery and seeing the magnificent statue of David by Michelangelo in person. I had studied this beautiful marble statue during my Art History class freshman year of college, but nothing compared to the real thing which was massive and sculpted to perfection.
Nevertheless, with every rose there is a thorn. Within all the good of the week there’s always some setbacks and this week it was all regarding technology. The first thing that happened in a series of unfortunate events was that the Wi-Fi at our house became extremely slow and then was working on and off before finally shutting off completely. Of course, this problem in the States is no issue, but here in Italy it proved to be very difficult to resolve. The first step we took was to contact our study abroad program first thing Monday morning to inform them of the situation. They referred us to the housing office who told us to submit a maintenance request online (ironic I know). After completing the request, we followed up with a call and an email to the housing office who kept telling us it was something we did and that we didn’t plug everything in, but they wouldn’t send someone to check. It took another day or two for them to realize and tell us it was actually a problem with the telephone company and another day or so before they finally came in to look at it. This proved to be even more challenging because the workers from the telephone company spoke absolutely no English and we spoke no Italian.
The thorn of the week was frustrating for a few reasons. One being that there was an obvious language barrier and a lot of information got lost in translation. Another level of frustration was that we were not able to do our homework and in my case a group presentation which then made me stress all week. In order to have access to the internet while our Wi-Fi was down, we had to use our phones as hotspots to power our laptops which wasn’t the best solution, but at least it was something. However, we were using up all the GB that our phone plans offer in order to do so.
The situation worsened for me when my phone decided it was time to break, leaving me without a personal hotspot, or means of communication too. This was by far the thorn of the week. I use my phone a lot in my daily life whether its communicating with people, taking pictures, or more importantly for directions. Not having my phone proved to be very hard. More so, getting to the Apple Store and communicating with the workers there was difficult but I tried really hard to get my message across in order to figure out what the problem was. Another frustrating thing was coming to the conclusion that nothing I did caused this problem, it was a hardware problem and they wouldn’t cover the cost to fix it because my phone was one month past the apple warranty (que Apple conspiracy theories). Thankfully, I was able to contact my mother and we figured out that I had an upgrade with our phone company and I could get a new phone in a few weeks.
That brings me to my Bud, which is that my good friend and aunt will be coming from home to see me next week! Although I am also going to be going to Venice a few days before they come which I am excited about, I really cannot wait to see some familiar faces. The homesickness is starting to kick in so it will be nice to spend time with some of the people I miss. I cannot wait to be able to share my experience here with them and to show them what my life here is really like and to bring them to all the spots I love in Florence.
Overall this has proved to be a week full of learning experiences for me. Although I appreciate all the wonderful opportunities that I was able to get by visiting museums this week, I think that handling and working through the difficult situations from this past week has left just as much of an impact on me. I feel as though I grew more as a person by becoming even more patient and tolerant in certain situations than I was before. These challenges have also made me a more confident person than I was and feel like I can face any challenge that comes my way. I can tell that week by week every experience good or bad is shaping me into a different person than who I was before this semester abroad, and I can only hope that the lessons and qualities I have earned stay with me long after this experience ends.