Today was my first day of classes and I was up and out early. My first class, Early Renaissance Art History, began at eight-thirty this morning and I have to admit, I was pretty sleepy. Our professor, Helen, is one of the most impressive woman I have ever met. As far as her knowledge of Art History goes, she may have no equal. I do not think, after the extensive sight-seeing tour she lead yesterday and class this morning, that there is anything she doesn’t know about the History of Art in Italy. Dr. Piperato was more than right when she said that I would learn a lot by taking her courses this year. I was immediately intimidated by the syllabus she handed out and the fact that Dr. Piperato had told me to “prepare to work harder than you have ever worked before in your life,” didn’t help the nerves either. However, as soon as she started her lecture, I was hooked.
Helen is quite an eccentric, however incredibly passionate woman about art and she really is able to inspire her students, including myself, to be eager to learn. I sat through her two hour long lecture, took four FULL pages of notes and I already know more about art history than I had previously, which is a good thing. Looking over her syllabus, there are so many classes that will be taking place at places rich in Art and outside of the classroom, which is one of the positives of studying abroad in a place like Florence which has such an artistic background, being the birthplace of the Renaissance. I am very much looking forward to attending her class every Monday and Thursday morning. I have a feeling that this class will really impact me and my outlook on art itself. Our grade for Early Renaissance comes from a midterm, a final, and a ten page term paper which isn’t a lot of things to get grades for but I am going to, like Dr. Piperato told me, put 110% effort into this class and hopefully come out alive on the other side. I even have a potential term paper topic already, and its only the first day!!! The class size is also very small so I think that will help, and I already am close with a couple of the kids in the class, one being my roommate Nick and the other being a girl named Liv who I met last night. She is very impressive and appears to be very focused so I can only help that the two of them will help me stay afloat and if I have the opportunity to help them out, of course I will do my best.
When class ended at 10:30, Liv and I went upstairs to the library, which is super awesome, and picked up the textbook for class which is almost as heavy as the Duomo itself. She and I then walked through he market and down another beautiful Florentine street to “Copesteria X” the copy-machine place where Helen told us we could pick up some supplementary reading for the course. Luckily the copied packets were not as large as the textbook and they seem a little less frightening. I followed Liv back to her apartment and she gave me the tour; it seems that almost everyone has a lovely view of at least some portion of the Duomo. During our conversation I learned that she will be studying abroad for a year as well. However she will be spending her spring semester in Ghana, which I found to be incredibly interesting and she was very much looking forward to it.
We waited for one of her roommates, Blair, to come back from class because the three of us had made plans last night to go to the “Mercato Centrale” and go food shopping. After picking up a few things Liv returned to the apartment and Blair and I went off to the phone store to buy temporary cell phones for while we are abroad. She is also studying abroad for the year at SACI so it is nice that we have already developed a friendship. Blair went off to her next class and I returned back to the apartment to meet one of the student affairs coordinators for our apartment inventory inspection thing. I was happy to learn during the inspection that while I am gone over christmas break, if I decide to stay in the same apartment next semester then I can leave my stuff in the apartment or if I decide to change apartments then I can leave my things in the SACI main building basement FREE OF CHARGE! I thought I had read somewhere that I would have to pay 400 euro to leave my things so that was a major relief for me.
Then at 4:45 I had my first drawing class. I have never really had to draw anything since my middle school days so I walked into class with an “oh boy, this should be interesting” mindset. We were asked to bring portfolios of our past work and out of our class of six students, everyone but me had different mediums to present. I had only black and white and color photographs on my computer to show, so I felt a bit dejected that I didn’t have as much of a range to show but hey, this is why im taking beginning drawing right? We’ll see who’s laughing at the end of the semester (not that anyone was laughing but you get the idea).I am very excited to expand my artistic horizons and in order to meet one of my goals that I set for myself before I arrived in Florence, I have to sketch something new everyday. If I can do that I think I will be on the right track. My professor agreed. One funny thing about our class today was that halfway through class our professor, John Taylor, an englishman, said that there will be a point in every class where we will take a break and we will have the opportunity to go out and grab a bite to eat or a drink and then come back after about twenty minutes. So today at around 5:40 he told us to follow him and we left the SACI building and headed off on our first “class field trip.” We went to the CONAD grocery store around the corner! John (everyone at SACI, professors and the dean as well all go by first names, they like to say that everyone is very laid back, and I believe it) is a very funny, very friendly guy so I don’t think that I will have any problems getting along with him and being the only male besides himself, in the class he and I will have to stick together. He told me that I would be his “challenge” due to my apparent lack of drawing experience and that he would be picking on me the most, which I took very lightly because to me that means he’s interested in helping me as much as I am willing to take his help/advice.
I have bee in the apartment since then end of class (oh I got to skate to class today again! It was just as cool the second time as it was the first time) and it has taken me, due to some distractions i.e. sharing of music tastes among my roommates and other things, almost 3 hours to finish this post. Now I am off to make my first attempt at a sketch in years. I’ll be back soon! With pictures! I don’t have class tomorrow so I am hoping tomorrow can be a productive day! CIAO!