So, getting started at a new job, I’ve heard, is always something of an ordeal. Getting to meet your co-workers/colleagues, experiencing the dynamics of an office (or what have you), figuring out how to bring enough food for lunch without seeming like a fatass…etc. There are a lot of factors that go into the optimum first day of work, and some of us (un)lucky ones get to deal with a language barrier, as well. Not to say that I’ve been having difficulty with my Italian. It could certainly use some brushing up after doing nothing this past year but read English theory and write a thesis in English. Admittedly Italian hasn’t been my focus as of late. However, I’m pleased to report that my ability to understand what’s being said around me has not deteriorated all that much. The odd word will trip me up now and again, but not so much as to prevent me from going about the day like a normal person. It’ll get better, I’m sure.
That being said, much of my first few working days were conducted in English. The arrival of students to any university or school campus is always something of a logistical nightmare, doubly so for a study abroad campus that must ensure all students arrive from their respective countries in one piece and with as much of their baggage as possible. The odd luggage might be left in Brussels or Frankfurt, but at least the student’s in Italy, right? You can survive without your four-inch heels, darling, I promise. Everyone else is just as jetlagged as you and probably won’t notice that you’re only 5’6″. It’ll be alright. Thankfully, every student arrived to Florence without significant issue, and I saw to the moving in of a few of them around the city, particularly those girl with whom I will be sharing an apartment for this semester.
I’d had some reservations about this, for obvious reasons. As a member of staff, how do I balance those responsibilities against being a good, fun roommate? Is there a way to still have a glass of wine with my agemates without worrying about over-drinking on anyone’s part? I definitely have to be aware of certain boundaries and unwilling to compromise on certain rules such as hard alcohol and loud noise, but this group of roommates is probably one of the best I’ve ever had. All the girls are excited to be here in Florence, willing to go out and experience the Italian way of eating/drinking/living in addition to indulging in the Americanisms we all stumble into when abroad, and eager to learn more about me, each other, and the future of our group dynamic. Family dinner is a thing, which I’m very pleased about, and there’s more laughter than silence in this apartment. It’s fantastic, and I’m grateful to have been dealt such a chill, respectful (of space and person), enthusiastic group of girls.
I don’t want to go into too much detail about work. Just thinking about it gets me tired all over again. However, orientation, a two-day flurry of informational lectures on safety, housing, and academics, was something familiar to me, seeing as I’ve sat through the same presentations twice already. There were a few changes, as academics are rarely ever satisfied with word choice or sentence structure, but for the most part I took comfort in seeing the same procedure still in use. Talking to a few of my professors from my time here in Florence was also great, and being a colleague changes the dynamics slightly, I think. Granted, I’m all of 22 years-old but the simple change from “student” to “co-worker” gives insight to a clear shift in behaviors. My professors were pleased to see me, but I think there was an awareness of, if not equality (as I’m 22, an intern, and incredibly wet behind the ears), at least adulthood? That’s bizarre. I hardly feel like an adult myself, but I suppose they’ve had practice to get used to the idea of students no longer being students.
However, sitting here in my office getting ready for the first day of work, I have to say that it’s kind of exciting, in its own way. I don’t think I’m cut out for the working life, having to get up freakishly early (8:30 ooohhhh) and such, but it is the first day. I bet loads of people just want to stay in bed on the first day. Hopefully all should turn out well today. Maybe a quick update is in order once I finish up tonight? We’ll see. For now, though, to work! Ciao ciao~~