Hi, well we have a break until 6 pm so I suppose I can write some of the events that occurred over the last few days. I'll start from the top.
I didn't get any sleep on the plane, although I took 2 of Mom's sleeping pills. The flight actually didn't seem to take that long, although it was a 11 hour flight. I spoke to the woman next to me on the plane during dinner and breakfast who was from Norway and was visiting Berkeley (where she was born). The dinner wasn't very good (obviously); it was chicken in a heavy sauce and some cold cous cous with sliced peppers and a crumb bread dessert. A few hours was breakfast, which included yogurt, a cheese/egg breakfast sandwich (didn't eat more than a bit of it), orange juice, and organic breakfast cookies.
After we got off the plane, we had a 9 hour lay over in Amsterdam. We decided not to leave the airport because the woman next to me said that most of the attractions are a train-ride away. We were pretty tired anyway so we just hung out in the airport. We ate in a cafeteria cafe and I had pepperoni pizza (not so good). After the long wait, we got on the next plane to Florence. It took about 2.5 hours where I attempted to doze.
When we got off the plane in Florence, it was around 9:20 pm (Europe time). We picked up our luggage (which all surprisingly made it with our huge layover), and waited outside for a taxi. We arrived at the hotel called The Airport Hotel and got our luggage in our rooms. Joey reserved his own room while Claudia, Sam, and I had our own. Luckily we had our own bathroom so after looking at maps for a while and figuring out how we're going to get to the train station in the morning, we took showers and got to bed (around 12). I got to sleep after about an hour, but woke after about an hour and never returned to sleep.
In the morning we went down to the complimentary breakfast down in the lounge where we ate peach yogurt, spiced ham, a pastery, and juice. We then caught the taxi that we had our hotel receptionist call for the previous night and drove to a phone store that Sam needed to go to, only to see that it was closed (because it was a Saturday). So we proceeded to the train station and found the train to Castiglion Fiorentino.
The train ride only took less than an hour. After we got off,I saw Amelia and Jackson outside the train station so we caught up with them to walk up the hill to Santa Chiara (our school). I had 2 checked luggages and 3 carry ons, so it was definitely a very full load walking and rolling my bags uphill. Sam also had a lot of heavy luggage (although I don't think as much as me) so we ended up at the back of the group. After about 10 blocks uphill my hands became very sweaty so that they were slipping off the plastic handles. For about 2 or 3 more blocks, I wasn't sure I'd be able to make it with all my luggage. Just when Sam and I were shedding our last beads of sweat, a car stopped beside us and the Man (along was his young 25ish year old daughter) said he was going up near Santa Chiara and he would give us a ride. We were utterly thankful. We grabbed as much luggage from our friends as we could to lighten their load because there was only room for Sam and myself and drove off. I guess it pays to be at the back of the pack.
So Sam and I were dropped off in front of the school with our luggage and some of our friends and thanked the man and lady for helping us. Sam and I went inside and were greeted. A girl named Vanessa gave us our temporary key and showed us our room. It's a really cute room. Three single beds, lots of storage space, white walls with a painting and rug on the wall, 2 small closets, a desk, a bookshelf, and a private tiny bathroom with shower, sink, and toilet. Our room also has window doors that open and face the courtyard and glimpses of the country. I've seen a few of the rooms and I like ours the best. Lots of natural light.
So while Sam and I started to lug our bags upstairs to our room, Jen surprised us and came in our room. She had travelled around Europe for a few weeks and came the Santa Chiara the day before. We talked a bit and then she helped us bring the rest of our stuff to our room. A little bit later, the rest of the group made it to the school. Apparently they had to circle around the streets a little since it was very difficult to find. The entrance of the school is just one door in a narrow one-way street.
So after everyone got their stuff to their rooms and Sam and I showed Claudia our room, we walked to The Garden Underground (although it's above ground) to eat lunch. I ate a pesto pasta -- only about 5 euro. I can't really remember much of the rest of the day, but we got settled, unpacked, and had dinner.
Every dinner has at least 3 courses. Usually a pasta, then meat and salad, and fruit for dessert. It was Joey's birthday that day, so we went out to the Garden Underground to get him some drinks ( which was very populated but is all outside so not too bad). We got back to the school (short walk of about 10 min) and I took a shower. I didn't sleep at all. So that's now 3 nights with almost no sleep.
I can't remember much about Sunday. I was walking around like the living dead with my fatigue, but I went everywhere and did everything with everyone else cause I didn't want to just stay in the room and be bored and knew I wouldn't be able to nap. We had an orientation and a short tour of the town. That's about as much as I can remember. During the evening we walked around town (the four of us: Joey, Sam, Claudia) and watched a live Italian band (not that good) in the Piazza. We saw Kyle with all his luggage coming up the hill (he had just arrived) so Amelia, Jackson and Jen went with him to get him to the school. The four of us left after about a half hour and walked back to the school. Kyle gave me two Benadryll sleeping pills that I took after my shower. I slept.
I still have a few days to write about and much to say, but it's 5:50 and we have an Italian class at 6, so I'll have to continue later. I probably won't be able to write till Saturday because we're going to Florence tomorrow to visit Heidi and Liz and have something after dinner tonight. So Ciao for now and talk again soon!