Well I guess I’m 20 now…

Because there are no pictures from my birthday (I know, I know), an incredibly detailed blog post will have to do. You can make up your own visuals. I also apologize for the lack of posting, it was a busy busy weekend. My birthday started off right at 12 am on the morning of September 8th. I found myself sitting in Adam and Jordan’s apartment with a handful of people casually sipping wine and carrying on. When it was realized that it was past midnight, everyone joined together in wishing me a happy birthday and sang for me as well. It was very nice to think that I have met people who I already consider very good friends. After the singing was over Jordan, another boy from USC, stated that because it was my birthday, I would be in charge of making plans for the night. I thought to myself, ‘plans for the night? It is already almost one in the morning, sleep would be nice.’ However that was not to be the case given we are in Italy and everyone is excited to go out and live their time here to the fullest. I might also add that I have the first birthday of anyone at SACI, and it happened to fall on the first day of the first weekend of the semester, so of course everyone was excited to have a legitimate reason to party hardy right off the bat. So instead of me going home and getting a nice nights sleep on the night entering my birthday I elected to stay out with my week old friends and push my limits early in the semester. Because I don’t like to make plans, especially because I know a majority of the people would like to go out and get wild when they celebrate an event, I announced that I had “one birthday demand.” My birthday demand was that because it was officially my birthday, I would not have to make any decisions. I thought that was pretty clever. I caved however when Jordan asked me whether I would like to go out to a bar or whether I would prefer to roam the streets of Florence with the small pack of us in the apartments and be, and he so put it, “rowdy americans.” I laughed and said that I would much prefer to go out and be “rowdy americans.” At this point it was roughly one-thirty when we left Adam and Jordan’s apartment and the group of us wandered out into the streets. We ultimately found ourselves sitting at  Piazza Santa Croce on a couple of the benches conversing about art and other creative things (I could really get used to these conversations, they are so much fun, and surprisingly intelligent). After carrying on for almost an hour, we got tired of people watching, turing down the in-your-face street vendors selling flowers, shiny hats, and other pointless pieces of junk, and dismissing the rampant gypsies who wander the streets at all hours of the day and night hoping to sucker some poor soul into giving them a bit of their pocket change, and we decided to call it a night. I was very happy to hear this because I had to wake up at the bright early hour of 6am!!! for my first Early Renaissance Art History field trip to Ravenna, with the charming, but over the top intelligent Helen. I knew that she would be ready to go even at that early hour of the morning. When everyone said goodnight and we began to leave Piazza Santa Croce, I offered to walk two of the girls who had come out with us home, Sofia and Im drawing a blank on the other one at the moment I apologize, because its the safe thing to do that late at night and  in a place that no one is really familiar with yet so I just wanted to make sure they got home safely. I finally made it back to my apartment right around three with just enough time to catch a healthy three hours of sleep before Helen, the information storm, ripped through my brain again leaving a trail of scattered art knowledge in her wake. I was dreading the wake up as I set my alarm for that ungodly hour and tried to sleep as soundly as possible, which wasn’t very hard to do because I had been exhausted all evening already.

Just like it was supposed to, my alarm went off at 6:08 in the morning, blasting Reveille off the walls of my room. I sleepy dragged myself to the shower and got ready for my day long birthday field trip to Ravenna. Nick and I made it to the bus at 6:50 and plopped down into our seats. When the bus was full, and I mean full, there was not an empty seat to be found on the entire coach bus, we departed on the three hour drive to Ravenna. Sasha, the girl I sat with told me that I was asleep within 3 minutes of departure, even with Title Fight yelling in my ears, and I believe her. I was out! I slept straight through until we stopped for a breakfast break about 45 minutes outside of Ravenna. There I had three small chocolate filled donuts, or bombolinos, a large coke and much to my delight and later disgust I found a mountain dew!!! However it was an italian energy drink type of mountain dew and it was putrid. Breakfast of champions right?? I filled myself up on caffeine and that seemed to give me the “energy” I needed to keep up with Helen when we arrived in Ravenna, but it wouldn’t last long. When we arrived at our first stop in Ravenna, The Mausoleum of Theodoric I pulled out my camera turned it on and went to focus. Nothing. The realization hit me like a ton of bricks. In my sleepy, unaware state of mind I had forgotten the battery to my camera in the charger next to my bed. So stupid. Luckily I had my film camera but I only had a partial role of film inside it and I did not have any extra. I will explain more about Ravenna in my “First Field trips post” which I hope to compose later today. However, I will say that Ravenna was a hell of a birthday present. We departed from Ravenna around quarter after six and began the drive back to Florence. Needless to say, I was mentally and physically wiped out from trying to keep up with Helen as she motored around the city explaining every little detail to the fullest of every place we stopped on our trip. Back in went the headphones and I was asleep, according to Sasha, before the bus pulled out of the parking lot of our last stop. This time there would be no stop to wake me up until we made it back to Florence. A big bump in the road jostled me from my sleep and we were home. Over the course of the day people had been asking what I would like to do for my birthday, and it was very difficult to try and answer because all I really wanted to do was sleep. However at our last stop in Ravenna, Nick and I decided that we would bake a cake and have as many people over to our apartment that would like to come for cake and wine. This sounded like a lovely idea to everyone that I told.

We got off the bus in Florence, walked to the supermarket, bought a box of chocolate cake mix and white cake mix, chocolate and chocolate/vanilla frosting, and some decorative sprinkles. We figured that we would be having a lot of people over so we wanted there to be enough cake to satisfy anyone that wanted cake, we figured two would be enough. Back in the apartment we got right to work. The directions were all in Italian, we could figure out some things but most were just a guess, so we decided that we would have to wing it.  The recipes called for three eggs to one box of mix and we only had three eggs in the apartment, oh well. One and a half eggs went into each mix, we eyeballed the sugar and the milk and luckily the butter containers had little measuring ticks on the sides of them so we were able to put the right amount of butter in each. We then decided to combine the two mixes to make one big cake. The mix we thought was white turned out to be a lemon mix but oh well chocolate and lemon goes well together too. We poured the chocolate cake mix in first as our bottom layer and then drizzled  the chocolate frosting on top of the batter. Then went in the lemon layer and Nick artistically dropped a bag of chocolate pieces on top and we were finished with our creation. The spoons were licked clean and the batter tasted fine so we could only hope for the best as far as the cake. People started showing up by 10:30 and we welcomed into the apartment by the smell of our almost ready cake. The number of wine bottles people were bringing  was getting a bit intimidating, everyone who walked in seemed to have their own. When the cake was brought out of the oven, we gave it time to cool. When it was figured to be cool enough, it was cut into quarters so we could pull it out of the pan easier. Sofia then attempted to pop out one of the quarters and she turned it into a chunky mess. Ben thought nothing of it and began to walk around the crowded kitchen/living room area with a plateful of cake pieces. People thought it was very good. Ben returned with a significantly smaller plateful and then I gave him the artistic task of icing the last three quarters of the cake with the chocolate/vanilla frosting combo. He went about it like a true artist and it looked lovely when he finished. Emma then cut me a birthday piece and the FORTY plus people crammed into our apartment all joined in singing me a Happy Birthday. I am very happy that our neighbors did not call the polizia because there is a law in Italy that you have to be quiet after 10:30 and we were far from quiet. I had met just about everyone in attendance over the course of the first week and it was nice to know that they were happy to help me celebrate. I had two very small glasses of wine but my main concern was that everyone in attendance was having a good time themselves which they appeared to be doing successfully. People began to trickle out around twelve and the party was over at about quarter after. I had survived my twentieth birthday and I was very much looking forward to going to sleep. That would not happen because it seems that just as that thought popped into my head, there was a knock on the door. Adam and Jordan rolled into the room and wouldn’t have it when I told them that I was not in the mood to go out that night. I had promised Jordan, the night before, that I would go out with them for my birthday and he would not let me go back on that promise.

I left my own party with a few people still in attendance, one passed out in my bed but I’ll keep their identity a secret, and spilled out onto the street with Adam, Jordan, Elyse, Blair, Silvana and Hannah. We made our way to the nightclub known as “Twice”  roughly two blocks away and started the next leg of my birthday journey. Upon arrival Jordan dragged me through the packed dance floor to the back of the club where the bar was located and convinced the bartender to give me a free birthday shot much to my dismay because I was so exhausted. Down went the shot  because I knew there was no way to get out of it and for the next three and a half hours I danced my ass off. Luckily everyone else appeared to have had enough right around the same time and we left Twice at four-ish. We went back to Adam and Jordan’s apartment and snacked on some pieces of parmesan cheese and salami, how italian, and then it was really time for me to go to sleep. I walked Elyse home and then finally, after one of the longest days in recent memory I began the short walk back to my apartment. I made it home and Nick was sleeping on the couch. He took one for the team by making sure that the individual who was in my bed when I left made it into his bed  so that I could sleep in mine when I made it home. Into my bed I went and thus my birthday finally came to an end.

If you made it to the end of this thank you for reading, I tried to keep it under 2000 words but I failed. This birthday was one of, if not the best of my life and I am relieved to know that everyone who showed up had a good time. I know this last part is true because I woke up and counted 14 empty wine bottles in our apartment and that doesn’t even begin to cover the ones people took back home or threw out. WOW! Pictures of my adventures to come once I organize myself and figure out how to present them to you all on this blog thing. I’ll try to post my field trip post sometime today too, I have a long list of things to do today and now I am off to try and knock a few of them off. Ciao!!

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About thehpubandana

I am currently a Junior in college at High Point University in High Point, North Carolina. However, this year I am studying abroad in Florence, Italy with the SACI school. I am a studio art major, with a passion for photography, skateboarding, and yelling Title Fight with my friends. CHUH!!
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