this will be brief - our hosts here in florence appear to be the only people in all of italy with access to high-speed internet, and for that i am eternally grateful. i can't tell you how lovely it is to be able to stay with dr. rei's aunt and uncle. they have a huge, gorgeous living space that occupies the whole third floor of a lovely high-ceilinged stone building outside of the porta romana. having a home base with family makes all the difference in the world when you're travelling. so far, it hasn't even felt like we're travelling...more like the three little bears are just talking shiz and making an ass out of ourselves (more of the same, really) in a different locale with more dog poo in the streets, old stuff lurking around every corner, and crema-filled pastries to lure us into a diabetic coma.
rome was a total gong show filled with much hilarity that i'll expand upon later. florence has been much more relaxed (due in no small part to the welcoming embrace of iranian hospitality) filled with good food, more hilarity, and crypts and tombs and old stuff and gypsies. it's kind of amazing how fast you get jaded with old stuff. we got blase pretty quickly with all the old buildings, structures, ruins that pre-date christ.
like the last time we were in europe, i have fallen in love with the way of life, but i'm definitely NOT in love with the lack of infrastructure (basic things like, you know...being able to PRINT a document in an internet cafe without having to copy a screen dump into a microsoft program we don't even HAVE in north america and have it turn out like something you or i would recognize as a print out) and i wouldn't want to live here. but there's something unspeakably civilized about the number of hot guys running around in suits, starting your day with a pastry and a hot chocolate thick enough to stand a spoon up in, and eating a late lunch and later dinner in cobblestoned streets. the quality of the food is enough to inspire many a meal for many a month to come (note to self...every time i make a pasta, edit out at least three ingredients) but the city is crawling with tourists (like me) and there's a lot of sub-par offerings out there as well. i couldn't imagine ever making a life here.
we have about 600 pictures (and counting!) so expect a more fully-fleshed update when i return.
i've been dreaming about dodgeball every night. it's kind of strange. i'm going to watch my bro's team play the best team in the league before my game on sunday as a last huzzah before i have to face the grim reality of work again.