My #FIRST Italian Voice Lesson


I'm Blake,  a high school senior from Houston, Texas living abroad for the #FIRST time. I am passionate about opera and languages. My dream is to study + perform opera.

Since coming to Florence, my life has been FULL of #FIRSTS. I am living by myself for the #FIRST time, 5,563 miles away from home. I started my #FIRST budget. I saw my #FIRST Italian opera, La Traviata. And, VIAJIYU is my #FIRST internship.

With all these #FIRSTS, one in particular was quite an experience... my #FIRST Voice Lesson with a native Italian voice teacher. What better place to learn opera than in Italy?

Thanks to Google translate, I contacted well-known Florence voice teachers. I heard back from a woman who taught another opera-enthused VIAJIYU Young Trailblazer. In my excitement, I accepted the offer for her to give me a lesson in her home. Starry-eyed and happy, I forgot to ask where she lived in Florence.

Alas, getting to my #FIRST voice lesson.

I left VIAJIYU at 2:30 pm allowing plenty of time to figure out the bus system to arrive at my 4:00 pm voice lesson. An hour and a half would be plenty of time to find my voice lesson, right? Turns out, I was wrong. After all, this was my #FIRST time using Italian public transportation.

Thinking it was common sense, I go to the bus station to get bus tickets. Wrong. Using my limited Italian, I discovered I needed to buy my ticket at a newspaper stand. This made no sense to me, but when in Italy you learn to live like a local.

In Italian, my voice teacher had given me instructions for which bus line to take. Once on a bus, I texted my teacher to confirm I was going the right way. Praying she didn't regret her offer to teach a clueless American,  I finally found my stop. It took forty five minutes, but the hassle of getting to the lesson was worth it! My teacher was amazing. I left feeling inspired + fabulous.

This is only the beginning for the many #FIRSTS to come during my summer in Italy.

Words By Blake Hetherington, Summer 2017 #VYT