Sharp Monica

An honest voice in Italian paradise.

Firenze: The Blogger’s Struggle/La Sfida della Blogger

My intermittent posts are the victim of 1 -time, 2 – the desire to build and maintain an analog Florentine life, and 3 – struggling to assimilate all the transition and changes while organizing my observations.

Time first. Where does my time go? Here is a typical weekday. Two full-time jobs, two little kids, a morning routine that often feels as though a full day’s work has happened before I even start work. I’m exhausted and spent by the time they are dropped off at school, after two hours or more of breakfast, whining, complaining, chatting, dressing, undressing, changing diapers, arguing over toothbrushes/toothpaste/socks/shoes/coats etc. I get home, I sort out my tasks for the day. I document, I test, I get some work done. I respond to clients. Lunch then on bike to Repubblica. My work accounts are Google enterprise, so I am logged in to my work laptop with my work account and can’t draft blog posts on the fly. The Blogger app is sporadic at best, and frequently fails to upload pictures or correctly save drafts, and often gives me an error that it cannot find my location, which is less important to me. I finish work between 6 and 7, go home, our sitter is at home with our kids after having picked them both up from school, she leaves soon after we get home from our respective offices, we have dinner, then begin the evening routine of arguing over laptops/TV/Legos/showers/pajamas/etc. We wrestle the kids into bed, during which phase I often mutter to myself, I will get back up, I will get back up, but by that time the day is already 15+ hours of nonstop activity and I am exhausted. Even if I do get up, my brain is mush. I am a morning person by nature, and verbal thoughts after the evening hours are not usually my best.

Every morning the busstop feels like a major victory.

Next, my desire to create and live in an analog Florentine life. We’ve been here for almost six months now. Italian society and culture tend to be more integrated socially than life in the U.S. Midwest. You walk out, you go from here to there, you meet and know and make friends with the people whom you bump into regularly on your circuit: the tabac where you recharge your Italian handset with credit, the caffe where you snack on macchiati and paste, the pharmacy where you pop in from time to time, the grocery express… these are important interactions. Mine seem to center a lot around lunch, dinner, groceries, snacks, and apertivo. I am an enthusiastic if transparent participant in Italian and Tuscan food culture.

Pastry case at La Loggia dei Albizi

Panini at I Tre Fratellini
Susana took me here, and I had a panino that featured wild boar with butter.
So so so good.
Sorry boar.

Paszkowski’s glittering bar

Demolishing a budino di riso at Paszkowski

We am now in a place where we want to be (sorry Oklahoma), and when we were in Oklahoma, I felt like my online life was one that I cultivated to make possible the analog life that we managed to have there. We wanted more – we wanted this. I have unhooked from Facebook and am happier for it; it’s off my phones, and I no longer scroll through a random mix of news that almost never made me feel good or better. Less time online means less blogging, although a few friends receive regular updates with images, as I cannot help but imagine good company as I walk through the streets and my days, soaking it all in.

Finally, each day brings so much, and so self-schooled am I in the practice of this kind of expat life, this travel, that I note a hundred things each day, glimpses of sky and snippets of conversation, the odd statue or seal, the way a Florentine woman’s boots looked with her lace tights and that enormous fur coat last Thursday afternoon on Repubblica … you get the picture. How to edit down and select these, one by one? How to present curated vignettes in light of #1 and #2 above? How to get back on the ol’ blog horse after I have gotten 2, 3 weeks behind, during which time I will have crammed in as much as a year or two felt like it gave me previously?

I took this

Sunny Repubblica with carabinieri

Winter sky with Signoria in skyline

Further topics for treatment:
Language class
What the EU thinks of America these days

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