August 6, 2010

Friendship

One year ago I  made the best decision of my life moving to Florence, instead of Rome. There is still something special for me about being in Rome, but for everyday living, Florence was a better fit. I did a lot of research online before moving, made my "Pro's & Con's" list of both Rome and Florence. But the biggest point that pushed me towards Florence was that it has a large expat community. I did not know one person, other than my landlord (who is now my boss), and I had been email chain going with Elia, who is cousins with a friend from church here in Atlanta. So needless to say, I was a little nervous at first that I didn't know one person living in Florence. 

Elia's birthday in Montepulciano

After meeting Elia, who is now one of my dearest friends in the whole world,  she told me about this womens networking event called Y.A.W.N. I have written about YAWN Florence in previous blogs, but basically its a social networking group, all word of mouth, for women of english speaking background. Through this organization alone, I have made some of the best friends & relationships that I could ever ask for. Traditionally, I am a guy's girl. I have mostly guy friends, I don't like shopping and I like watching sports. Having solid relationships with women (other than my Mother) has always been challenging for me. Being in Florence as a single woman forced me to break out of that mold and be more open minded to having friendships with women. After all, Florence is filled with single American women just like myself, on the path of rediscovery, and let's face it : Romance. 

Maggie, Gaby, Val & I at Lungarno Hotel

By January of this year, we had a solid group of girls that were basically inseparable. We all come from different backgrounds, have different stories of why we are in Florence, and the friendships just became easy. This might not sound like a big deal, but when you are living abroad, away from your family & friends you need a support system. And I finally found it with these girls. Some of us are staying in Florence and some have made the difficult decision to move back to the United States. One thing is for sure, that the relationships I have with all of them will be forever, I can just feel it. We share a special bond, like a family, of living in our adopted city together. 

What we do best : Talk, Eat & Drink

Looking back, I don't know what I will miss more now that some of the girls went back to America. The endless nights talking about Italian men, drinking vino and making fools of ourselves dancing, OR all the shopping we have done together, OR just knowing that we have each other when we have bad days living abroad. The list could go on & on, but I am so thankful to Elia first off , for introducing me to YAWN, and then to all the incredible women who I consider my best friends. I know those of us staying in Florence are going to miss Valerie & Maggie, but we will be seeing them soon in some exotic location, to be determined!!!! 


New friendships will be formed in my future in Florence, but I will never forget the first people that made my experience there an unforgettable one. 


Valerie, Maggie, Nadia, Gaby & I at So Cafe, our last night in Firenze!




4 comments:

Maggie said...

Awww... this makes me happy and sad all at the same time. I could not be happier for having met you and that you brought me into your fold. You changed my life, as did the rest of the gang. I love you all tons and miss you, but will for sure see you soon. xo

Valerie Thwing said...

Thank you Christine! I was so lucky to meet you. I will miss you terribly. But as you said, friends for life!

-Valerie

keyboard said...

thank you christine! we are so blessed to have and know you, and so fortunate that you're coming back! you've changed our lives as well! come "home" soon!!! abby and i miss you!! :) Elia

Anonymous said...

What a sweetheart! You hold a special place in my heart doll and I look forward to continuing this journey together. Bacio. Nad

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