Weirdly Close

We’re all getting weirdly close, and in the best way possible!

While in Florence, we had a free day to do whatever we wanted to do between Venice or San Gimignano. A group and I chose to go to San G, and it was an awesome experience. Definitely an experience, not a trip.

This experience showed me we’re all getting so much closer, loving each other through all our mistakes and hard moments. And this was showcased especially with our rocky transportation experiences to and from San G.

From the start, we planned to leave the hotel at 10:45am to catch our 11:10am train. At 10:40am, Brittany was busy saving kids from forced child labor in an intense dream, and when Indigo and Abby woke her up, she rushed to get out the door. We ended up jogging out of the hotel and running through the streets of Florence all the way to the train station. Although this was an unexpected, semi-stressful experience, Brittany was shown incredible love with friends giving her croissants and juice, no hard times. Brooke showcased her awesome navigation skills, leading our run to the station, and once on the train, we had awesome conversations. I got to sit next to Brittany and Ryal who shared awesome stories.

Once we got to Pogibonssi, our train station, Ryal realized he lost his wallet. Then we missed the bus so we had an hour to kill before the next bus to San G. Ryal handled this situation so responsibly, and we quickly devised a plan to get pizza to avoid a hangry team. Indigo’s joy rang out in leading the group to find somewhere to eat. We got to support a small, local business and quickly get back to the station.

In this move, Marat saw a group of people that could’ve posed a threat and he made sure to stay between us and the group until we all got past them. That’s so selfless, and I’m very thankful for his actions. And when we got back to the station, Brittany dropped pizza on her toe and Marat cleaned it off with a napkin. It was then that Abby commented how weirdly close we’re getting. She truly chooses the best moments to capture with words.

We got on the bus to San G, took a beautiful ride through Tuscany and took a breath. The morning was definitely an experience to laugh at. And many awesome moments came out of it!

Arriving in San G, Nishu hyped up and we were all ready to get some world-famous gelato. But first, we stumbled upon a fantastic view, and Kyle made us pause, take it in, and take a group pic. Good thing he did, because this ended up being our only group pic of the day, and we paused extra to take it all in.

While in San G, we got to enjoy each other. Talking, getting world-famous gelato, people-watching, and shopping, we got to experience San G together. Nishu also brought some laughs with his cologne extravaganza.

So relaxing.

Then when we thought it was time to catch the bus back, we were not even close to correct. We had missed the bus. We were stressed and perturbed, some of us pacing, others laying in the grass. Brooke saw this and made us sit in the grass to calm down. Sunday’s are a holiday in San G, so we watched our bus stay parked for an hour before we could take it to a train station. Our plans had to be flexible, and we figured it all out so we still got on a timely train back to Florence. This even gave us extra time to talk and relax more together.

This whole experience of going to San G maybe didn’t go as planned, but was so funny and brought us so much closer.

Experiences bring us closer, and we still have one more city! Rome, I can’t wait to pack our time full of experiences with the best people ever!

With love,

Lauren Rasmussen


Florence, “Florentia” – flowering


Before this week, I really had no idea what beauty Florence contained aside from the general grandeur of Italy. But Florence is the city where the Renaissance began, funded by the Medici family, alive with art, architecture, churches, and tourism.

Originally named “Fluentia” for being between two rivers, Florence was later named “Florentia” meaning “flowering.” And wow, Florence sure blooms!

Some CR9 Familia took the time to share some memories of Florence with me, and the art, history, and churches overwhelm, in the best way possible! I cannot wait to visit the Duomo, touching the exterior made of decorative pink, green, and white marble, embracing the architecture and art within the largest dome built in brick and mortar that took two centuries to create. And also, wow, there is a clock made by Paolo Uccello outside the Duomo that ends its 24th hour at sunset everyday without fail. I cannot wait to see that!

See the source image

As I was researching the names Jacey, Kendall, Andrea, and Sarah were telling me, I could not stop from being in awe at the sheer culture in Florence created by art. That is something so foreign. How is a whole city centered around art and churches? There is so much richness that I cannot wait to be immersed in with my amazing friends.

Here are some things I can’t wait to do (if we can find them):

  • Stand in the cute, colorful shops held up by stilts on the Ponte Vecchio
    • The only bridge to survive WWII
    • The first bridge built with less than semi circles underneath to support it
  • Analyze and learn from the collections within the Galleria dell’Accademia
    • The David!
  • Be in awe looking at the sculptures inside the Bargello
    • Including works by artists including Donatello, Giambologna and Michelangelo
  • Embrace the Boboli Gardens’ grandeur landscaped with sculptures!
    • I love nature!!
  • Haggle in the leather markets
    • Muster the courage and don’t back down, or just be bold like Sarah G.
  • See the Basilica of San Lorenzo, a church in the center of Florence’s main market district
    • What effect would a church in the middle of a market have? How is the church’s culture affected by the market?
  • Admire Dante’s Church and hopefully hear how Dante and Florence are super connected
    • I definitely have to look more into Dante before going!
    • Wear appropriate clothing covering shoulders and knees
  • Admire the frescoes in the Strozzi Chapel
    • They depict Paradise and Hell according to Dante’s schemes
  • Enjoy Edorado gelato made free from chemicals, GMOs, and colorings
    • Milk from pastured-raised cows and eggs from free-range chickens

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That’s a pretty long list, but Florence has so much to offer! With history spanning centuries, I cannot wait to be immersed in a city created by and for the arts. And by no means do I know a lot about art, but I can appreciate it, and I am so ready to embrace art, and embrace it with friends who are super passionate and know a lot about the art. My goal is to come to a better appreciation for art’s culture, beautifully-crafted churches, and beautifully-crafted people.

While we’re waiting, I looked at some past blogs, and Amorino, a gelato chain in Europe, was mentioned in some. After a little digging, I found the closest Amorino… a bonding trip to Fort Worth’s very own Amorino (2.2mi away from TCU!!) may be in store for the familia! Probably not as good as Europe’s gelato, but a great taste to prepare us for all the goodness in store!

Thanks for reading!

With love,

Lauren Rasmussen