Florence, Italy: Oh the Irony

The ironies of life never stop occurring. That’s probably both a blessing and a curse (hence ironies). My aunt Becky told me mid-semester that a friend of hers had a daughter studying in Spain who I needed to get in touch with. Kelsie and I both e-mailed each other throughout the semester and she decided to come over to Florence before her finals week. Studying in Seville, Spain, she and her friends decided they wanted to see Italy.

This past week was crazy for both of us, so out e-mails were scattered. Luckily, Florence has some great monuments that made it easier for us to coordinate. She sent me an e-mail last night before getting on her flight this morning and we decided to meet at the Duomo steps at 8. I was nervous and not sure what to expect. In her e-mail she said to look for “a confused blonde” — at least I knew she’d have a personality.

We met and she introduced me to herself and her friends and when I asked what they wanted to do they looked at me and said, “what’s there do in Florence at night.” The expression on my face had to have been hilarious; not only am I not the one to ask that question to, but I was stumped. One of them mentioned that they hadn’t had dinner, so I took them for a short walking tour of some of the area south of the Duomo before taking them to one of my favorite restaurants: La Maddia.

Unfortunately the meal didn’t match up to the other times I’ve been there. The waitress forgot the water until the end of the meal and the food was lukewarm at best. It was relatively inexpensive for a Florence dinner, however, and I think the girls still enjoyed it.

After dinner I took them to the see the copy of Michelangelo’s “David” by the Palazzo Vecchio. It’s such a non-event for me since I’ve done it in Art History and walked by it many times. I made sure to walk in front so I couldn’t see their faces. Once we rounded the corner into the Piazza I heard the squeals and moans. :) I turned around and they were astounded. I then got to imitate Dr. Reynolds and explain some of the history of the statues and the area. I’m such a con, but it worked and they enjoyed it. Every additional step we took, though, put something else into view and they loved it even more. When we finally had the Uffizi fully in view they just stopped walking.

Eventually we made it to the gelateria by the girls’ place and spent some time there before going back to their hostel by Santa Croce. I’m heading to Assisi tomorrow, so they’re on their own for tomorrow (I drafted an itinerary for them with six different things to see) and we’re meeting on Saturday morning for even more sites before they have to leave in the afternoon.

None of this was the irony. The irony came when talking to Kelsie on the way back to the hostel. She had been asking me where I live in Iowa and I described it in relation to my aunt Becky’s house since she knows where it is. After I got done describing it, she said, “I think I’ve been to your grandparents house and swam in their pool; do they live near you?” I started laughing and just shook my head. Incredible. For those who don’t know, my parents bought my grandparent’s house when I was in 5th grade (1995) and my grandparents built a new one next-door. When I told her it was actually our house and our pool everyone in the group started laughing as much as I did. Kelsie then asked, “So you live on the horse farm too?” It was TOO ironic. She lives in Colfax, 35 minutes away from Norwalk, and it turns out she’s been in our pool. You never know who you’ll meet in the middle of Italy!

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