by Melinda Gallo

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 18C (64F), but have now tumbled to 2C (35F). 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'identit (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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I've been told many horror stories about people not getting paid in Italy. Although to be honest, I have a few friends who do freelance work in the US and they sometimes don't get paid either. Around the 13th, I sent my first fattura (invoice) to the company that I developed a website for. I didn't work for the end-client, but for a web company. They told me that they'd pay me as soon as they received the funds from the end-client as soon as they were paid.

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Living in Florence :: An unplanned visit to Piazza Santa Croce

This morning I had a meeting with a friend to go and write together in the new biblioteca (library) on via dell'Oriuolo called Biblioteca delle Oblate. I had been looking forward to today because it's always fun to write with someone else and I had never been into this new biblioteca before. I'm not fond of making plans too far in advance because they rarely work out exactly as I had planned them. And, like most people, I prefer surprises to disappointments.

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It was just yesterday that I was hoping that the temperatures would increase. And today, my wish was granted. I love winter; however, I'm getting a little tired of having to wrap a scarf around my neck and keeping my jacket buttoned up to the top before opening my front door. We have had a few sunny days, but the air has been quite chilly nonetheless.

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Alessandro told me a few days ago that he heard on the radio that I was eligible to vote in the referendum sulla tramvia (referendum on the tram system) because I'm a legal resident. I was excited about voting in Italy for the first time and couldn't wait. The city has been tearing down trees and building the tramvia for a few years now and they finally called upon the citizens of Florence to vote. I heard that the referendum is only consultivo (advisory), which sounds like it won't change anything.

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Living in Florence :: Otto giorni di clausura

Today after otto giorni di clausura (eight days of confinement/seclusion), I finally went outside. The weather today was once again amazing. The sun was shining brightly and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. I walked through Piazza della Signoria and then across Piazza della Repubblica. I was surprised how many tourists were out because just a week ago there seemed to be fewer.

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