THAT ONE TIME I MISTAKENLY THOUGHT I HAD MY SHIT TOGETHER

can't ever get too cocky
  1. In the spring of 2013, I studied abroad in Florence
    there I am. brazenly wearing that northface like a babyfaced American noob
  2. I had this internship working as a tour guide for English-speaking tourists at the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore
  3. better known as the duomo
    tidbit that most but not all tourists realize: duomo does not mean dome, it means cathedral (house/house of God); cupola means dome. here I am nervously climbing the cupola
  4. so anyway, several times a week I would go to the duomo and post up by the entrance next to Rose Marie, the elderly tour guide for those who wanted an Italian-speaking guide
    "Rose Marie, not Rosemary, like Rosemary's baby," she clarified within minutes of meeting me
  5. as an art history major, this internship was my ideal gig. I wrote my own 45 minute tour and was like super excited to be there
    for my first couple tours, I used my index cards. I prob looked like such an overeager nerd
  6. but as I got more familiar with everything, I felt like I was a pretty good tour guide!
    a lot of people complimented my perfect English and asked if I was French and then I had to be like omg wow I wish but I pronounce water like wooder; so sorry to shatter your illusion of me as a flawless bilingual guide
  7. my favorite part of the tour was when I would point out how Andrea del Castagno's portrait of Niccolò da Tolentino (1456), located to the left of Paolo Uccello's John Hawkwood (1436) represented 20 years of major progression
    although the two frescos are of similar size, format, and subject (it was decided that nearly all the images in the Duomo would be civic, not religious), del Castagno demonstrates his ability to better create drama and motion through the suggestion of wind rippling in the cloak and horse's mane. Uccello's fresco is too phlegmatic and static, and does not show as strong a mastery of perspective.
  8. Paolo Uccello, "John Hawkood," 1436, Fresco
    you may have noticed that John Hawkwood does not sound particularly Italian. that's because he was an English mercenary general. try as they might, the Florentines just couldn't pronounce his name, so he became known as Giovanni Acuto, which translates to John Sharp/Pointed.
  9. Andrea del Castagno, "Niccolò da Tolentino," 1456, Fresco
  10. my other favorite part was when they saw the frescoes by Giorgio Vasari, who painted from 1572 until his death in 1574, and Federico Zuccari, who painted from 1576-79. that means in five years, two men individually painted 3600 square meters, making it the largest fresco in the world.
  11. but anyway back to ME 💁🏻 so this one day in April, my Italian class lets out early. I figure since I have an extra hour before my tours, I'll stop at pino's for a panino
  12. pino's easily makes the best sandwiches I've ever had in my entire life and even though it was kind of out of the way for me, it was so worth it to just sit and eat my sandwich in peace
    didn't liz lemon say all anyone wants is to eat a sandwich in peace? like that's the level of contentment I was experiencing
  13. so after my sandwich, I still have some time to kill, so I decide to stop at perché non for a chocolate gelato, because it's in the piazza della repubblica, right next to the duomo
    obvi I was there during the day but this is one of my favorite pictures from the semester so
  14. I get a cone, and then wander out into the square, where this group romdraculas always plays
  15. it's sunny, I have my ice cream, I'm listening to this little ensemble I love, like I'm literally having the best day [comma chill] of my life
  16. maybe ten minutes go by, and as I'm leaving, I decide to buy their CD so I can bring home this music which will forever remind me of piazza della repubblica and this perfect day
  17. so I mosey over to the duomo and sit down next to Rose Marie for like two seconds before a British couple comes up to my little table
  18. so I'm giving the tour and the guy is like REALLY listening to what I'm saying, like he's squinting his eyes how people do when they're really concentrating, and leaning in, and they're both asking questions and stuff
  19. and in my head I'm like, wow, this is going so well. all in all great people to tour, engaged etc etc
  20. the next tour who comes round is a family of four- a girl my age, her younger brother, and their parents
  21. another great tour; they're all really listening and concentrating on what I'm saying
  22. after I finish with them, I have a couple more people come through for one last tour of the day
  23. by the time I leave, I'm in such a good mood. on my walk home, I'm recounting all the good things that happened this afternoon: got out of class early, had pino's, had gelato, bought that CD I'd been meaning to get, gave great tours
  24. I get back to my host family's apartment, and open the door, still radiating joy because I am 100% certain I am living my best life
  25. and then I happen to catch my reflection in the mirror
  26. no.
  27. NO
  28. I go slack jawed
  29. there is chocolate gelato ALL AROUND MY MOUTH
  30. it is VERY noticeable
  31. VERY
  32. I shriek LOUDLY
  33. I scrub it off with my hands, which is easy to do, because it is dry, because it has had ALL AFTERNOON to dry
  34. my host dad Alejandro comes running into the room, understandably
  35. "what??" he says
  36. "I just gave tours at the duomo with chocolate gelato all over my face for the last THREE HOURS"
  37. now Alejandro is a pretty stoic guy, like always kind of quiet and calm,
  38. but at that moment, I have never seen anyone, honestly, ANYONE, laugh harder than he did
  39. like there are tears rolling down his face
  40. a couple minutes later, my host mom Camilla walks in: same reaction
  41. a little later, I call my mom back home: same response as Alejandro and Camilla, PLUS she yells it across the room to my dad, so I am now listening to a retelling of my nightmare
    and then he laughed, too
  42. so after everyone had been informed, I'm sitting there, still in disbelief, when all of a sudden I realize something
  43. those people were not squinting and leaning in because I am a wealth of knowledge on Brunelleschi and Vasari
  44. those people were squinting and leaning in to try and confirm the fact that they were indeed being lectured by a fucking four year old with chocolate all over her face
  45. ah. it all makes sense now. I see.
  46. I can only hope all those people assumed I had some sort of degenerative skin disease and not that I am a messy dummy who only knows how to eat ice cream by shoveling it into and around her face
  47. in all honesty, I would STILL consider it to be a really great day, but in future I will (and have) thought to myself: hm, I just ate something chocolate, perhaps I will scrub vigorously around my face and/or consult a mirror before facing society