by Melinda Gallo

It's bad enough to get influenza (the flu), but worse when the weather outside is amazingly beautiful. I know the temperatures aren't that high; however, the clear blue sky and shining sun make me want to go outside anyway. I haven't been out my front door since Thursday when I felt the beginning of a few symptoms.

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I was happy when I heard a few months ago that I could vote online instead of sending in an absentee ballot. I heard a representative of the American Consulate in Rome say on the local news today that the overseas Americans are considered to be the 51st state.

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Living in Florence :: Another partita

It had been raining all day today and I was dreading going to the stadio (stadium) this evening for a partita (soccer match). I talked Alessandro and a friend of his into going to the game tonight. I love calcio (soccer) and went to my first partita back in 1984. I, unfortunately, never went to see the Fiorentina before I met Alessandro. And even though he used to have an abbonamento (season ticket), he didn't get one for this season. He's now wishing he did since I'm always up for going to a partita.

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I called FastWeb almost every day begging them to have someone come and look at my problem. My line had been down since Monday and I was surfing the Internet using a neighbor's open WiFi network. I admit I was lucky since I wasn't completely without Internet. Initially, I stood up near our apartment window to get a strong enough signal and eventually, I found a position where I could sit down, but work on a table with my computer on a box up against the window.

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I received a letter from the comune (town hall) where I register my residenza (residency) back in September that stated that I needed to show them my new permesso di soggiorno (permit to stay) as soon as I renewed it. So, this morning, I decided to make a quick trip to the comune, which is right around the corner from our apartment with my new permesso di soggiorno in hand.

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Living in Florence :: Longing and appreciating

There are times when I sit at my desk and hours pass by so quickly that I forget what day it is. I miss going outside and looking at the monuments and churches at the moment. I'd certainly love to visit a museum as well while there are fewer tourists in town. But because of the rainy weather and my current workload, I've been indoors a lot lately. So, when my friend Bari came back from the US today and called me this evening to meet up for a walk, I was out the door before I knew it.

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Having no Internet is probably one of the biggest inconveniences that could happen to me. I am always on the Internet and couldn't even move apartments until it was up and working. It suddenly went off on Monday morning: I was on the Internet and then I was off. At first I didn't call technical support because it has gone off before twice in six months for a few hours and then comes back on. After a few hours, I finally decided to call FastWeb to see if they could look into it.

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I like keeping track of dates, and I truly enjoy celebrating certain ones a lot. There are some dates that I do push back in my memory, but when the day comes, I seem to remember everything. Yesterday was our three-month anniversary. And to celebrate we went to dinner at Artegaia in Fiesole.

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Living in Florence :: Raoul Bova a Firenze

I'm not a huge Raoul Bova fan, but I have seen him in many films and a TV series and do like him as an actor. In all honesty, my favorite Italian actor is actually Silvio Muccino. A girlfriend of mine told me that Raoul Bova would be at the Edison libreria (bookstore) at 2 p.m. for the opening of his new movie, "Scusa ma ti chiamo amore." At first I wasn't able to go, but then I had to be in centro (downtown) around that time.

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Living in Florence :: Fiera del cioccolato artigianale

Instead of being outside the centro (downtown area) like it was last year, the Fiera del cioccolato artigianale is being held in Piazza Santa Croce. Last year we had to buy tickets to enter and this year, it's free. Because of my limited amount of free time these days, I decided to swing by this evening before it ends on Sunday.

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Living in Florence :: The sun is out!

It's been a few days that the sun has been hiding. So, this morning when I saw that the sun was out, I had to go outside as well. I had nothing specific planned, but I just wanted to go out into the sun. I walked out my front door and just headed for the Arno where I could see the sun shining brightly.

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It's Monday morning and Florence is waking up. I stand at my window and look out at the city. The sky is a dark grey, but is getting lighter by the minute. The muddy water in the Arno is gently swirling around as it inches by and moves toward the Ponte Vecchio.

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After a brief visit at the Paperback Exchange on via delle Oche where I perused a few books that I have been wanting to buy, I walked down via dello Studio toward the Duomo. A crowd of young Japanese students walked toward me chatting gaily among themselves. I felt happy just to walk past them as I could feel their excitement ad possibly even wonder for my beloved city.

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My commercialista (public accountant) just emailed me to tell me that I have a Partita IVA (VAT account). Her email said, "Benvenuta tra i professionisti italiani! (Welcome among the Italian professionals!)" She also sent me a schema della fattura (invoice example) so that I would all the information that my fattura is supposed to contain.

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After days and days of continual rain with a few intermittent breaks, the water in the Arno river has risen. At night when there aren't many cars out, I can hear the light brownish green water as it crashes on the cement reef under the Ponte alle Grazie. The rain falling down light and then heavy from the light grey sky above only accentuates the luscious green hillside and bright yellow, beige, and white buildings across the river from me.

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