by Melinda Gallo

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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This weekend I went to a seminario (seminar) near San Gimigniano that my acupuncturist Andrea was giving. It was called "Conoscersi per trovare la serenitÓ Knowing oneself to find serenity." Because I benefitted from my sedute di agopuntura (acupuncture appointments), I thought it'd be interesting to hear more of what Andrea believes. He had mentioned a few things to me that I found interesting in medicina cinese (Chinese medicine), like the different body types and the flow of energy in the body.

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Because my friend Erin and I are planning on running in the Guarda Firenze corsa (race) next month, I decided that I have to run some more in salita (uphill). I know our corsa will lead us up to Piazzale Michelangiolo, so I figured that today would be a good day to try running up there. I had never run up to the piazzale before so I was a little nervous but also excited to try.

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Living in Florence :: Robert Hellenga at the British Institute

At the British Institute today, I met up with my friend Lisa to see Robert Hellenga who was reading from his new book The Italian Lover. Lisa told me about the event and lent me his book to read last week, so I was looking forward to see him. While I walked to the British Institute, the sun was shining brightly and the hope of spring was in the air.

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Living in Florence :: Beauty all around

I sometimes see things that I fine beautiful and I wish I had my macchina fotografica (camera) with me. For a few days I've been running past this brick wall near my house right before the Ponte alle Grazie, and I've seen these metal boxes with the city's giglio (lily). I went back out later today and knelt down to take a photo of it. I loved the colors of the imperfect bricks, the door being on sideways, and the moss growing out of the wall.

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Living in Florence :: Fiorentina soccer match donates proceeds to Aquila

Alessandro and I weren't planning on going to yesterday's partita (soccer match) between the Fiorentina and Cagliari. However, when they announced that the proceeds would be donated to the people of Aquila after the devastating terremoto (earthquake), I ran out to buy tickets straightaway. Normally Alessandro buys the tickets for us, but he told me where to go to get them in Piazza della Repubblica, so I decided to walk over myself on Friday.

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Living in Florence :: Museo Stefano Bardini

Last week while I was working at my desk, I saw out of the corner of my eye a long blue banner being placed on the side of a building. The sign said Museo Stefano Bardini. I stopped working immediately and searched the Internet to find more information about when it would open to the public. I had read that the museo (museum) was going to open this year, and had planned on going as soon as it opened. And today, only six days after it officially opened, was my chance to visit it.

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Today the second article in my "Expat Profiles" series just came out in the latest issue of The Florentine. I have talked to a few friends and fellow expats since the first article appeared, and the response has been positive. Many people, like me, are interested in hearing about how people made their way to Florence.

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On my run the other day, a thick fog blanketed the city and when I ran over Ponte Vecchio, I couldn't even see the top of the Duomo. The city seemed different to me, but it forced me to look at the buildings that were closer to me instead of what was out in the distance. I couldn't see the hills around the city or even Piazzale Michelangiolo. Today, however, everything was different: the sun was shining brightly above the hills to the east and I could see all around me and even hills and monuments in the distance.

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I hadn't been to the Teatro Verdi on via dei Benci in about 10 years when I went to see Stomp. Alessandro had talked about wanting to to go the teatro (theatre) to see Enrico Brignano, an Italian comico (comedian). I finally stopped off at the box office earlier this week to buy tickets. As I expected, there were only a few tickets left, but we ended up getting two seats together.

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I was walking around my neighborhood the other day and was overcome with joy. Tears filled my eyes as I stood behind the San Remigio chiesa (church) looking at the buildings that surrounded me. I wanted to reach out and embrace the chiesa, the buildings, and any person who walked by. I felt a wave of appreciation come over me: I am fortunate to be living in Florence and have been so blessed to receive its many wondrous gifts. Not only does it offer us its beauty and share with us its accomplishments, but it is also not afraid to show us its upleasant side that other cities might try to hide. I was enjoying the sight of paint peeling off of buildings, a cracked fašade revealing the bricks underneath, the uneven stones that I was standing on, and even the windows' wood frames warped by the harsh elements.

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Living in Florence :: Four statue salute

My friend Erin asked me the other day if I wanted to participate in a 10K run around Florence on May 10th called Guarda Firenze. I was happy she invited me to go with her because it inspired me to start running again. I had stopped for a little while because I found it too cold at times for me in the morning. Yesterday was the second time this week that I went out for my morning run and decided to push myself back to my usual distance even though it had been a long time since I went running.

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Last month I spoke with Alexandra, the editor of The Florentine, to ask her if she'd be interested in a series of interviews I wanted to do about the English-speaking expats living in Florence. I am always interested in why someone else would choose Florence as their home, so I thought it'd be interesting to have a series about the paths that people took to get here and what they're doing in their lives. Many people who read my blog people ask me what kinds of jobs are available here and my response is always the same. "Whatever you're interested in or want to do, you can do here. You just have to be creative." And each of the five expats that I've interviewed so far have confirmed that.

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