by Melinda Gallo

Living in Florence :: Pasqua bassa

This year Pasqua (Easter) came early, which they say is bassa. The weather has been rather cold and wet, and Spring feels quite far away. At 9 a.m. this morning, Alessandro and I headed outside so that we could go to the Duomo to watch the Scoppio del carro (Explosion of the cart), which is an old tradition in Florence on Pasqua. I had been in Florence a total of five years and never once made it out to see the carro, so I was even more excited.

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I've been wanting to introduce a few of my expat amiche (girlfriends) with each other for a long time. Because of my work schedule, I have only been able to see one amica at a time for a caffč in the morning or on Saturdays at short notice. I finally decided to organize a small aperitivo (aperitif) with a few girlfriends. I had planned to do it with another amica, but she went away for the weekend with her fidanzato (boyfriend). We were supposed to be eleven, but in the end there were seven of us.

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Living in Florence :: Museo Horne

I had read about the Museo Horne in a guidebook and was surprised when I found out that it was on via dei Benci. The museo (museum) is only around the block from our place. I had walked past the palazzo (building) many times since I moved to our new apartment back in August. This morning I decided to go on another cultural date with myself and picked the Museo Horne.

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I have been fortunate to meet many American expats here in Florence through friends of mine as well as through my blog. When I spoke to some of the women that I have recently met, I suddenly remembered how difficult it is to meet new people in the beginning. I remember when I first arrived and how sad and alone I felt in my new city. I loved Florence, but I felt that I had no one to share my new experiences with and no one who could help me to understand the culture and the city better.

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My suocero (father-in-law)'s birthday was yesterday, but because the Fiorentina (the soccer team in Florence) was playing against Everton in the UEFA Cup, he wanted to postpone his birthday dinner. When I called my suocero to wish him a happy birthday, I said, "Spero che la Fiorentina ti darą un bel regalo oggi! (I hope the Fiorentina will give you a beautiful gift today!)" He laughed, but in the end they did because they won 4-2 and are onto the quarterfinals.

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Living in Florence :: Museo di San Marco

I must have walked by the San Marco church hundreds of times and said to myself that I must take a tour of the Museo di San Marco someday. The more permanent my stay is here, the more difficult it is to go to museums and other places to visit. So, this morning I made a cultural date with myself and was out of the house at 8:30 a.m. to go to the museo (museum) for a visit.

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Last night my friend Sarah called me to ask me to accompany her to the corte d'appello (court of appeal) while she went before the giudice di pace (Justice of the Peace) to appeal her case. Because she has a 10-month-old baby and could easily be distracted, she wanted someone who would listen along with her in case something went amiss.

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Sunday is the day that I go to my in-laws' house for lunch. I usually get ready by gathering all the containers I received from the Sunday before that were filled with food so that I can return them to my suocera (mother-in-law). I leave the house around 12:30 p.m. and can never wait to get there.

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I was happy to find out that the festa della donna (International Women's Day) was on a Saturday this year. I was invited to a friend's house for a small gathering, but it was cancelled the day before. In the end, my friend Haruko decided to have a small dinner at her place with a few of her girlfriends and me.

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I was disappointed when I opened the persiane (shutters) outside our apartment windows to find out that the temperatures had dropped again. After a sunny and fairly mild weekend, today it's grey, cold and rainy. This past weekend, the temperatures were about 18°C (64°F), but have now tumbled to 2°C (35°F). This is the second time that our weather has gone from almost spring to winter again in just a matter of a few days.

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Living in Florence :: Elektra

There have been a lot of perks from my writing my blog like meeting people, exchanging emails with some very interesting and sweet people, getting interviewed, and building new relationships. But one other unexpected perk was being invited to attend the opera Elektra at the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino by one of the opera singers, the soprano Christine Goerke. She was reading my blog while she's been here in Florence for the show and emailed me.

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This morning I was awoken by a scossa (jolt) at 8:43 a.m., which turned out to be a terremoto (earthquake). I immediately called Alessandro who said he didn't feel anything. I tried to look at the local news on-line, but couldn't find anything about the terremoto. And then an hour later, I felt an aftershock and I knew for sure that I wasn't mistaken.

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When Alessandro and I arrived in front of the Arno to run this morning, I noticed how the cielo (sky) and the Arno were the same dark blue color. As we were running, I kept looking at the Arno and then the cielo because they were both so enchanting to look at.

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There are some battles that are just not worth fighting. After having wasted months and months of time to keep my old TIM number and have it transferred to my new cell phone, I've decided to stop requesting. I have been juggling two cellulari (cell phones) since May and now nine months later, I've decided to give up.

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Living in Florence :: Palazzo Vecchio

I can't even count the number of times I've been to the Palazzo Vecchio to change my residenza (residency) or to get a new carta d'identitą (ID card). But, recently, I've had to go to see if my certificato di matrimonio (wedding certificate) has been sent by the Italian Consulate in the US to the ufficio matrimoni (Office for Marriages) so that we can get our matrimonio transcribed so that we can be officially married in Italy.

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