by Melinda Gallo

Mondays are generally the day I'm filled with the most hope. It's the beginning of the week and I am usually revved up to go by 8am. Today I have decided to do my cambio di stagione (change of season), which is when I change all the clothes in my armadio (closet) from winter to summer. Because the space in our apartment is minimal, it's necessary to do the cambio di stagione twice a year. It sounds like it'd be tedious, but I actually love it. It's when I know that we have turned a corner, and summer has finally arrived.

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Living in Florence :: Curva Fiesole

I was so happy when Alessandro surprised me with tickets to go watch the Fiorentina play their second to the last home partita (game). And as a bigger surprise, he got us tickets in the Curva Fiesole, which is the part of the stadio (stadium) behind the goal toward Fiesole. I was told, and also believe, that the Curva Fiesole is the heart of the stadio, but I didn't fully understand that until I went to the partita (soccer match) today.

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Living in Florence :: Mutu and Santana

The last thing I thought was going to do today was go back to the Fiorentina negozio (store) near the stadio (stadium) where the calciatori (soccer players) of the Fiorentina were visiting yesterday. But when Alessandro told me that he heard on the radio that Mutu and Santana were going to be there at noon, I couldn't pass up the occasione (opportunity). Mutu is an attacante (striker) along with Gilardino. Because it was such a nice day, I decided to ride my bicicletta and left early in hopes of beating the crowds.

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Living in Florence :: Gilardino and Montolivo

When Alessandro told me that some of the calciatori (soccer players) of the Fiorentina were going to be at a negozio (store) near the stadio (stadium), I had to go. When I read the blurb in the newspaper, I saw that a few of the calciatori would be going on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Because of other impegni (commitments), I couldn't make it until today. I found out that I missed a few calciatori, like Melo, Vargas, Frey, and Gamberini.

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As an American citizen even though I'm a legal resident in Florence, I do not have the right to vote for sindaco (mayor). I wish I was able to vote because I definitely have an opinion about who should be the sindaco of my beloved city. After living here in 1997 for a couple of years and then moving back five years ago, I have seen some changes that I haven't been happy with. Over just these last few years, the city has has unfortunately become dirtier and less safe. I get the feeling that many people have given up doing anything about it, and have let their city decline. However, with the upcoming elezioni (elections), the mood of the people has shifted. And for once I feel that hope has returned because many believe that change is once again possible.

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I know that commercialisti (tax accountants/business consultants) are absolutely necessary for the important work they provide, and I am grateful. However, to me they are more like magicians with tricks up their sleeves. They certainly know their job, which is difficult with all its intricacies and ever-changing laws, but most people I talked to didn't understand how they are billed each year and what their commercialisti actually do for them. Anyone who has a business, large or small, almost always has a commercialista.

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At 8:30 this morning Erin and I walked to the Duomo to pick up our magliette (t-shirts) for the Guarda Firenze, a non-competitive 10k corsa (race) through Florence. After we went to the stand to collect our magliette, we walked back to my place to drop them off. On the walk back to the punto di partenza (starting point) next to the Battistero, a few people were jogging down via Calzaiuoli to warm up. We stretched out near the punto di partenza where people slowly gathered all around us to begin the corsa.

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Living in Florence :: Local pastificio

I have walked past the pastificio (pasta shop) on via dei Rustici, which is a street off of via dei Neri, many times. When we first moved to our neighborhood, an older man owned it and I bought fresh tortelli from him a couple of times for my suoceri (in-laws). Since it has reopened, I hadn't been there because I rarely by fresh pasta. I don't know why since I generally love it. I kept thinking about going in to buy some fresh pasta, but just didn't feel the push to go in. Then, a friend of mine made lunch and used fresh pasta made by the pastificio, I knew it was time to go in to get some for myself.

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Living in Florence :: Bringing my camera to the soccer match

I love going to partite di calcio (soccer matches): the excitement, the people, and the giocatori (players) on the campo (field). Now that the weather is pleasant, it's a joy to go to the stadio (stadium) to watch the Fiorentina on a Sunday afternoon. Alessandro's friend and his father weren't going to the partita and gave us their abbonamenti (season tickets). On Thursday, Alessandro told me about our going to the partita, and I couldn't wait until today.

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Living in Florence :: Celebrating the Florentine's 100th edition

When I received word that The Florentine was hosting an aperitivo to celebrate their 100th edition, I immediately marked it down on my calendar. I couldn't wait to celebrate the paper that has been a joy to read since it first started back in 2005. I don't think I know one single English-speaking person living here who doesn't read it. For tonight's aperitivo I assumed that many people I knew would probably be there, and I wasn't wrong.

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Living in Florence :: Coppa della Champions League in Palazzo Vecchio

Last night Alessandro told me that the Coppa della Champions League, the most prestigious prize in European Soccer, was going to be on display at Palazzo Vecchio for two days. I had only ever seen the coppa (cup) on TV as it was being given to the winning team. The calciatori (soccer players) hug and kiss it while tears of joy fall from their eyes. I was so excited that the Coppa della Champions League would be in Florence, that I ran out this morning to see it.

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My friend Erin and I met at Ponte alle Grazie for our first long run together. Because we are planning to run in the Guarda Firenze corsa (race) next month, we decided to try to train together to be ready for it. We both separately run 3-5 kilometers a few times a week, but today we decided to run part of the percorso (route) of the corsa that leads up to Piazzale Michelangiolo. The Guarda Firenze is a 10 kilometer corsa, which seemed daunting to us initially until we completed our run today.

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Living in Florence :: Giardino Bardini for a relaxing stroll

Today I decided to treat myself to a stroll in Giardino Bardini. With the sun shining brightly in the sky above, I walked along the Arno and across Ponte alle Grazie. Just one small block from the ponte (bridge) is the entrance to the giardino (garden). After entering the building, I headed up the steps to the giardino where the lush green grass showed off the colorful irises and other flowers, birds were chirping, and a handful of tourists were wandering around to take in the views of the city.

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I am happy to announce my new website, Dining in Florence. It allows you to search for restaurants by type, area, cuisine, and meal, which is incredibly handy when looking for a place for brunch. If you create a free account, you can post reviews and create a list of favorites where you can even add a ranking and comment for each of your favorites. Once you have a list, you can share the link with friends and family for them to view and/or print like my own personal page as an example on the site.

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My third expat article just appeared in The Florentine's 100th edition. I am so happy to be a part of our highly revered, local English-speaking paper. I know that the paper finds its way into many people's hands: expats, tourists, and people who have fallen in love with the city. I read it to keep abreast with what is going on in Florence, and am able to learn a lot as well. The expat interviews that I write are a joy to me because I'm able to talk with other people who now call Florence their home. In my series, I choose to focus on the path each person has taken to get here and what they now do in Florence.

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