Florence & Pisa. Texa plus 1. Lexie plus none? Not True……

Posted on June 19, 2011

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Dear Dark Side,

I transitioned back to the dark side of the color spectrum. My hair is my natural color with no more highlights. Friday night I made the decision while I was restless and couldn’t sleep while staying at Texa’s house the night before our trip to Florence. I tossed and turned and couldn’t relax! I felt like it was the night before Christmas and I couldn’t wait for morning to arrive! I also felt like my mind would not calm down. Normally, when something happens in my life or the season changes I typically change my hair. This is one of those moments. My journey is coming close to the end and I have changed. My mind has changed. My outlook has changed. My decisions change. Change is good. Change is positive and means that we are moving forward. Ha alright to be brutally honest with myself (another change…)I really felt like I had to change the way that I looked because of that guy here. Once I made up my mind and wrote it out after the birthday dinner with three other couples he was back in touch with me! I was not a “plus 1” I realized that I was a “plus none.” It wasn’t that bad once I admitted to myself that I was “single.” I actually wrote these words in my little notebook that I carry to take “notes” and capture moments to share here in this blog: “Def dying my hair dark. I need a “new” me, a new fresh start. Attitude needs to change as soon as possible. Sunday.” And so it is. Two hour after I wrote that message to myself and embraced this new “attitude of change” I got a text message from him! It is agreed that just because I am leaving doesn’t mean that we cannot spend time together while I am here. He even told me that if he misses me too much once I leave that maybe he will come visit me in Reno. I fell right asleep after the nice message with a secret grin on my face. My original thoughts were literally, “F it then. I can’t let it ruin the rest of my trip.” I was “done” putting myself out there. But now? Since Friday…2 more messages plus a phone call this afternoon and a possible invitation to the sea? Me and my dark hair and dark mood turned something around. Once again it feels like tomorrow is Christmas…all the time…

6am the three of us (Texa and her “plus 1” and me)  were wide awake and getting ready to catch our 8:30 train to Florence. We barely had time to catch a coffee before our train. I still wanted something to eat so I found a blueberry muffin at a bar in the station. So much better than any Costco muffin (and those are fantastic!) and all I could think about was in the movie “Big Business” when her sister tells her,”oh eat the God damned muffin!” and nudges her arm right before Rose’s shoulder pad falls down her sheer sleeve! I can entertain myself. I was assigned in a seat solo (again me plus none!) but the train was not full so once it got on track I moved to my party of 2. This train was nice! We sat first class with oversized seats, a beverage cart and perfect air-conditioning. High class, according to the trains is actually not too expensive. It was only about an hour and a half ride. The couple played on their blackberry phones while I let Alicia Keys sing to me on my iPod. I let some other jams mix in and was happy that I reminded myself to charge it before I left late Friday night. I packed well in a tiny shopping bag but the only thing that I forgot were my contact lenses. I was careful and plus I am seeing things more clearly so one pair of dirty lenses can’t get in my way of smiling for “no reason.”

Once we arrived in Florence we did the “tourist” walking and took a lot of pictures of all the churches and fountains. Since we had been up for so long it was decided that we have lunch before noon even came around. I am always hungry so I didn’t mind. We sat at a quiet outdoor spot and examined the menu. Certain places are “a little more” expensive but there was no way that we were paying the extra buck (euro?) and we hadn’t even gotten greeted!? It was unanimous that we find something else. We found a quiet spot with pizza (by the cut; not slice. I like that you get to say the size of the pizza you want) and pasta and beer. Nothing better than pizza and beer. Wait, if the pizza sucks (which it was pretty weak) at least you know the beer will always be good. I had a serving of mushroom and meat tortolinis that I would rate a 3/10. They were probably really good two days ago when they were cooked. Some of the pieces were so hard and dry it was just unpleasant so they got moved to the corner of the plate. Some were soft but knowing and watching when she put the dish into the microwave…never again. Like I said before: beer is always good. I am not the beer drinking type but when it is really hot outside it makes the most sense. The pizza looked better than it tasted! French fires on Pizza!??? Always here in Italy I swear these Italians LOVE french fries with and on it all!

Together we had made up our minds that the Saturday spent in Florence was to be complete with scooter rentals. It never happened. We searched and talked to everyone. Each place we found (after gruelling block after block!) was either closed or they just rented their last one! It was not our day for scooters. After a while we became irritated when the third place said their sorry and kicked us out the shop since it was closing. Everything (except restaurants) close from about 1-4pm. Sometimes 3 if we are lucky but for the most part all over Italy this is how it is done. The solution: drink another beer. Coronas it was. In the shade under a tree we discussed our next move. What to do? Some reason we landed on, “Lets got to Pisa!” so we headed back to the station (more and more blocks!) and got 6 euro tickets for the hour ride to Pisa. I didn’t even realize that we were this close to Pisa! One hour? Done and done! I became very eager to witness this famous leaning tower. While still in Florence I found a wooden fan for only 1 euro and was satisfied with my cheap and only purchase in Florence! Texa has a cute (much nicer!) fan so we fanned ourselves like princesses (wait wouldn’t a princess have some dude in near-nothing fanning her with a green palm? If I was a princess that is what I would want. And nonstop bubby on command. I fel asleep listening to some heavy jam scram techno and woke  up in a great mood! I felt like the beat was stuck in my head the entire tour but nothing wrong with a little soundtrack.

Pisa was windy and small! We got onto a bus (I think there are only like 5 different buses total in this tiny town!) and headed towards the Tower. Once we got close and passed through the archway near the structure I was instantly taken aback! Not by the obvious lean but by the size of it! It is NOT that big at all!! The churches surrounding it were so much larger it just stuck out like a falling chimney at first glimpse!

Dear Dark Side,

I transitioned back to the dark side of the color spectrum. My hair is my natural color with no more highlights. Friday night I made the decision while I was restless and couldn’t sleep while staying at Texa’s house the night before our trip to Florence. I tossed and turned and couldn’t relax! I felt like it was the night before Christmas and I couldn’t wait for morning to arrive! I also felt like my mind would not calm down. Normally, when something happens in my life or the season changes I typically change my hair. This is one of those moments. My journey is coming close to the end and I have changed. My mind has changed. My outlook has changed. My decisions change. Change is good. Change is positive and means that we are moving forward. Ha alright to be brutally honest with myself (another change…)I really felt like I had to change the way that I looked because of that guy here. Once I made up my mind and wrote it out after the birthday dinner with three other couples. I was not a “plus 1” I realized that I was a “plus none.” It wasn’t that bad once I admitted to myself that I was “single.” I actually wrote these words in my little notebook that I carry to take “notes” and capture moments to share here in this blog: “Def dying my hair dark. I need a “new” me, a new fresh start. Attitude needs to change as soon as possible. Sunday.” And so it is. Two hour after I wrote that message to myself and embraced this new “attitude of change” I got a text message from him! It is agreed that just because I am leaving doesn’t mean that we cannot spend time together while I am here. He even told me that if he misses me too much once I leave that maybe he will come visit me in Reno. I fell right alseep after the nice message with a secret grin on my face. My original thoughts were literally, “F it then. I can’t let it ruin the rest of my trip.” I was “done” putting myself out there. But now? Since Friday…2 more messages plus a phone call this afternoon and a possible invitation to the sea? Me and my dark hair and dark mood turned something around. Once again it feels like tomorrow is Christmas…all the time…

6 am the three of us (Texa and her “plus 1” and me) were wide awake and getting ready to catch our 8:30 train to Florence. We barely had time to catch a coffee before our train. I still wanted something to eat so I found a blueberry muffin. So much better than any Costco muffin (and those are fantastic!) and all I could think about was in the movie “Big Business” when her sister tells her,”oh eat the God damned muffin!” and nudges her arm right before Rose’s shoulder pad falls down her sheer sleeve! I can entertain myself. I was assigned in a seat solo (again me plus none!) but the train was not full so once it got on track I moved to my party of 2. This train was nice! We sat first class with oversized seats, a beverage cart and perfect air-conditioning. High class, according to the trains is actually not too expensive. It was only about an hour and a half ride. The couple played on their blackberry phones while I let Alicia Keys sing to me on my iPod. I let some other jams mix in and was happy that I reminded myself to charge it before I left late Friday night. I packed well in a tiny shopping bag but the only thing that I forgot was my contact lense. I was careful and plus I am seeing things more clearly so one pair of dirty lenses can’t get in my way of smiling for “no reason.”

Once we arrived in Florence we did the “tourist” walking and took a lot of pictures of all the churches and fountains. Since we had been up for so long it was decided that we have lunch before noon even came around. I am always hungry so I didn’t mind. We sat at a nice outdoor spot and examined the menu. Certain places are “a little more” expensive but there was no way that we were paying the extra buck (euro?) and we hadn’t even gotten greeted!? It was unanimus that we find something else. We found a quiet spot with pizza (by the cut; not slice. I like that you get to say the size of the pizza you want) and pasta and beer. Nothing better than pizza and beer. Wait, if the pizza sucks (which it was pretty weak) at least you know the beer will always be good. I had a serving of mushroom and meat tortolinis that I would rate a 3/10. They were probably really good two days ago when they were cooked. Some of the pieces were so hard and dry it was just unpleasant so they got moved to the corner of the plate. Some were soft but knowing and watching when she put the dish into the microwave…never again. Like I said before: beer is always good. I am not the beer drinking type but when it is really hot outside it makes the most sense.

Together we had made up our minds that the Saturday spent in Florence was to be complete with scooter rentals. It never happened. We searched and talked to everyone. Each place we found (after gruelling block after block!) was either closed or they just rented their last one! It was not our day for scooters. After a while we became irritated when the third place said their sorry and kicked us out the shop since it was closing. Everything (except restaurants) close from about 1-4pm. Sometimes 3 if we are lucky but for the most part all over Italy this is how it is done. The solution: drink another beer. Coronas it was. In the shade under a tree we discussed our next move. What to do? Some reason we landed on, “Lets got to Pisa!” so we headed back to the station (more and more blocks!) and got 6 euro tickets for the hour ride to Pisa. I didn’t even realize that we were this close to Pisa! I became very eager to witness this famous leaning tower. While still in Florence I found a wooden fan for only 1 euro and was satisfied with my cheap and only purchase in Florence! Texa has a cute (much nicer!) fan so we fanned ourselves like princesses (wait wouldn’t a princess have some dude in near-nothing fanning her with a green palm? If I was a princess that is what I would want. And nonstop bubby on command.

Pisa was windy and small! We got onto a bus (I think there are only like 5 different buses total in this tiny town!) and headed towards the Tower. Once we got close and passed through the archway near the structure I was instantly taken aback! Not by the obvious lean but by the size of it! It is NOT that big at all!! The churches surrounding it were so much larger it just stuck out like a falling chimney at first glimpse! As we came closer to it I became more fascinated by it and we took lots of touris photos of us pretending to push it back straight, which was really fun. We thought about entering it but for a total of 45 euro for the three of us it seemed a little steep so we decided against it. For the price we still would rather spend it on scooters! On a new mission we researched scooter rentals on the Crackberry phones. We walked up and down the small streets and of course had to back track and once we found the rental place they had them! BUT we didn’t have all the right documents to rent them in this city. Every place is different and here you needed an International Driver’s License. Which I have! At home in Rome. The other two didn’t have one so that was another bust. No scooters this weekend at all. After we had some gelato we decided to head back to Firenze (Florence) to check out the “Old Bridge” (Ponte Vecchio) and watch the sunset before catching our train home at 8:40pm. Oh! Fun Fact: Galileo Galilei was born in Pisa. He pretty much is the “father of modern physics!”

The sunset was unreal! The walk to the bridge was a little sketchy and I almost got hit by a bike. Not a scooter or motocycle an actual person riding a bicycle! I stepped out onto the street to cross and he nearly swiped me! Earlier in the day some whacko seriously was driving backwards out of a small parking lot and he DID NOT see me since he was looking out over his right shoulder and seriously almost took me out! I think that it scared Texa more because when she shouted my name and I stopped to turn around she was my guardian angel! I heard the car screech and when I turned back around the side mirror was nearly 2 inches from my hip! I felt the adrenline rush and I thought Texa might burst into tears at my “near death” experience. Crazy drivers. Always have to be alert…and watch your effin’ step!

The old bridge was something to see no doubt but since it was “late” in the evening all the little shops were closed and it was all about the sun set. Gorgeous it was. It was a cloudy day with a touch of wind so the sun was hiding in between heavy puffs of clouds. At a point there was a tiny break and the sunshine rays shined perfectly like little stripes across a blanket. We took many photos of the slow changing sky in Florence and then had to haul ass back to the station to catch our train. We were all starving and getting in bad moods from the hunger but we had no time to sit down to eat. We already had pizza this day so 2 against 1 they wanted McDonalds and I didn’t want to argue or be difficult. Her boyfriend insists on buying all of our food and drinks which is such the gentleman thing to do and is much appreciated. I didn’t want anymore pizza either and I knew the station choices were just as “bad” so I took a number 1 with a coke. Then as we ate on the train I realized that we were “those Americans” stinking up the cabin with our french fries! I ate my Big Mac and dipped my salty fries into the sugary ketchup and felt like a true American. I have not had this fast food since I was in Highschool! I thought about it the entire time I ate that seriously I have not had this in about 10 years!! I was full and jammed 4 HydroZyme vitamins down my throat with a heavy splash of coke in between my first and last McDonalds dinner. It wasn’t horrible but it wasn’t great either. Cheap isn’t even the word. It was still 7 euros which is like 10 bucks! Seriously the cheapest thing at the station is the toilet! Yes you must pay 1 euro just to gain access to even wash your damn hands! I fell asleep on the train with my sweater as my eye shades. When I woke up I felt a little head ache-y and tired from all the “traveling” we endured this day or maybe I just wasn’t “loving it?” We still had another hour or more to “travel” back home to their house. I was pretty tired and it was after 11pm. It was a simple choice to crash there again. After we took two buses and the tram we made it through their door. Too tired to keep eachother entertained we said good night. I had a nice flat-screen in my room so I turned it on by midnight. I watched Behind the Music with Courtney Love for an hour then fell asleep really hard. So hard in fact that when I got a text at 3:53 am I thought it was 3:53 pm and jumped up because I thought it was the family worried about me! When I realized it was still dark outside I relaxed and read the message. It was another nice message from him after a long night of work. Since he has to “travel” by bus because he is without his car and gets off work after 2am I guess this is when he got home! He wanted to know how my trip to Florence was and was thinking about the beach on Wednesday and wanted to invite me. Of course I want to go to the sea with him! That was all we talked about when we first met. I work in the afternoon though so I am unsure if it can really happen. Plus, Matteo is running a fever so who knows what this last week of school will be like. The doctor is coming tomorrow morning to check on him so I will know then what my job will entail.

I was so ready to be home in Rome!  I was eager to shower but more excited to dye my hair dark first. I left Texa’s at around 11am and made it through my door at 1pm! Two hours it took! The tram was broken (or there was a strike) and people were everywhere waiting for buses and trains. People seriously rely on that Tram 8! After I pretended not to speak Italian to some (again older) guy trying to hit on me that was from Eygpt and avoided taking a coffee with by decided to just take the train home and not wait for the bus. This guy wasn’t old like over 50 but def over 40 and I was not attracted to him in the least bit. After he knew that I could understand him he kept talking to me and asking me what I was doing today. Then he asked for my number and I gave him the look like, ‘are you kidding me!” There was no way in the tiniest bit I gave him the idea that he should call me! I wouldn’t even take a coffee with him…you would think the conversation would end there. I told him no sorry. Then as he pressed I told him that I had a boyfriend and that was why. Then he started asking me questions about him! Where we met and where he is from…this guy was so annoying. At least I had quick answers even if it was a little “white lie” if you will. Harmless and useful these sorts of lies. Thank God for the Finland travelers that approached me as I inched AWAY from the Eygptian to ask me for directions. After the woman attempted some Italian I assured her that I spoke English and could help them out. The bad part was that the tram would have been their best bet as well. I helped them the best I could and escaped back to the train station without the guy seeing me leave the bus stop. I was about to say I don’t think I would fall for a guy that I met at a bus stop but just stopped myself: I met Mickey at a bus stop outside his work…!

Once through the door it was lunch time at home. The boys were so happy to see me showing me their new books and both talking at once! I stood with my bags and sunglasses on for a full two-minutes before I could excuse myself to set my things down and wash my hands. They followed me to the bathroom and kept jabbering away while I scrubbed the public off my hands and smiled to them. Their parents were trying to tell them to get back to the table but they ignored them. I sure am going to miss their little faces! Lunch was a tasty white fish and some zucchini and potatoes. Perfect timing for good chow. We shared our weekend stories and the kids still tried to talk over us! Matteo has a high fever but he seemed pretty normal to me. Maybe he was excited to see me. He pulled a chair next to me and “read” me a new book while I helped him with some words in Italian. He is too cute! Then Tommaso told me that he read 112 pages of his new book and I was even more impressed!

Soon I was asked to help move some furniture. I though sure I can do that. In fact I like to move furniture around and make changes around the house. I wish that I could move my little room but everything is exactly where it should be there is no other way! Nana came to bring me the hair dye dish and brush and to help move everything around. She is a tough broad I tell you! She pushed the couches around with us and moved the 8 person heavy table with us with no problem. Later she complained of her shoulder but that was about it! This place is seriously HUGE! The switch of couches and moving the large table made a big difference. Again: Change is good! I think I pushed a little to change the couches but it makes the most sense to have the lounge couch in front of the TV not the three person sofa! I can’t wait to watch TV on that comfortable giant pillow!

Dinner was pesto pasta which is always good. I like it when I am eating it but something in pesto here in Rome makes me burp later! There is no garlic in it because this family NEVER uses garlic; they all dislike it. I am unsure what it could be. I have only had it a few times but always the same. I ate in a rush since I wanted to catch the MTV Lady Gaga special. I like her a little more every time that I hear her speak! She is something else and a very honest artist. I admire her as a artist that writes her own music and has revolutionized the music industry in such short time. I like that she calls her fan base “little monsters.” She made me really laugh during her interview  she was asked what her inspirations were in the moment and her response was, “Cruella Deville, unicorns and hookers!” I think my inspirations right now would be, “lipstick, sand and the stars.”

Lex

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Posted in: When in Rome