by Melinda Gallo

For the first time in a long time, I wanted to pick up the telephone and call my mom. Even though she has passed away over six years ago, I still get these inklings to call her. And as usual, it took me a few moments before I realize that I couldn't.

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Living in Florence :: I love Mondays

I know some people don't like Mondays because they are the beginning of the week. And after a nice weekend, it can sometimes be difficult to start up on Monday. Unfortunately (or fortunately) with my work, everyday is a workday, so Monday is no different from any other day. I absolutely love Mondays in Florence though. Most mornings during the week are wonderful if you walk around downtown or go shopping, but Monday mornings are the best. The downside is that all the museums are closed and many of the shops don't open until the afternoon on Mondays, but the upside is that the streets are quieter and there are fewer people milling around downtown.

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In our quest to getting our certificato di matrimonio (marriage certificate) trascritto (transcribed) at the comune (town hall) here in Florence, we have to file the certificato di matrimonio with an Apostille at the Italian Consulate. Besides the certificato di matrimonio, we had to also give them a photocopy of Alessandro's passport and a modulo (form), which we picked up at the Italian Consulate when we were in California last month. The man at the front desk explained everything and was kind enough to help me out when I had questions about the modulo while I was waiting for my traduzioni (translations) to be verified.

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I can't believe that I've been living in Florence for the last three years. I was looking back at the beginning of my blog and was surprised that it was November 16th. I read a few entries and was surprised at how much my life has changed and how much I too have changed.

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Living in Florence :: Art Crawl

Tonight I went to an "Art Crawl," which is FITC's creative alternative to the pub crawl. I have only heard about pub crawls and have seen many students stumbling from bar to bar, consuming large amounts of alcohol. When I heard about the Art Crawl, I thought it would be fun to take part in it even though I'm not a student. The Florentine photographer Cosimo Bargellini, who also teaches at FUA - Florence University of the Arts, came to talk about taking photos of Florence at night.

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I received an email yesterday through my blog from an American student, Erica, who is doing her semester year abroad here in Florence right now. She asked to meet up with me to talk about a project she is working on for school. She's putting together a project detailing her experience in Florence and she wanted to contrast it with other people's experience in Florence. I was flattered by her request and met with her today in Piazza Santa Croce.

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Before I left for the US last month, I went to the Posta (post office) to ask at the Infopoint Migranti about my permesso di soggiorno (permit to stay) because it expired on October 31st. I told them that I was going to be filing for cittadinanza italiana (Italian citizenship) a little less than a week after the expiration date. The woman told me not to worry too much because they will let me renew my permesso di soggiorno even two months after the expiration date.

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I scheduled my appuntamento (appointment) to file all of my paperwork at the Prefettura (Prefecture) a month ago. When I went to meet Sig. C. (Mr. C.) , I was optimistic because it seemed as if all my paperwork was in order. Sig. C. told me that I needed to get my two translations stamped by the Italian consulate in the US, and I did that.

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Living in Florence :: Raccolta delle olive

Last night, Alessandro's friend called to get me to talk to Alessandro about going to do the raccolta delle olive (pick olives). It's the season right now as the olives are perfect for making olive oil. I had been wanting to go and even asked Alessandro's dad if I could go with him, but because of our trip to the US I didn't insist on it as we both have a lot of work to catch up on. Needless to say, the early morning departure didn't appeal to me either, but I picked uva (grapes) a few years back and wanted to try my hand at the raccolta delle olive (olives).

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Over the past few days, I have called or seen most of my friends to tell them the news of our getting married while Alessandro has been stopping by to see his friends to surprise them with the wonderful news and to show pictures of our wedding. All of his friends have accepted and welcomed me with open arms from the beginning, which has made me incredibly happy. Many of them were kind enough to remember my birthday and send me text messages for my birthday. And, a few of them were invited to my birthday party dinner because we have become so close already in such a short amount of time.

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After we picked up our lost bag at the airport, Alessandro and I went back to our apartment and unpacked some more. Luckily, everything was in order, but one of the wheels to our bag broke off. I hadn't called any of my friends yet to tell them that I had returned to Florence as I've just been feeling exhausted. I decided to call Simone to tell him the news and he told us to stop by for a brindisi (toast) some time this week. Simone is the one who introduced me to Alessandro many months ago, so I felt that I had to tell him first that we did end up tying the knot in Los Angeles.

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After a delayed flight and one lost bag, we made it back to Florence exhausted, but happy. As we were approaching Florence in the airplane about to land, I was thinking back to when I left for my trip to the US. How I left by myself as a single woman and was coming back with Alessandro as a married woman. It feels as if months have passed, but instead it has only been two weeks. I'm happy with how everything turned out, and couldn't have asked for a better trip.

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Living in Florence :: First 49ers game

Alessandro had wanted to go to a professional baseball, basketball, or football game while we were in the US, so I bought tickets for the 49ers game over the Internet. I had never been to a professional football game, but was able to tell Alessandro a bit about tailgate parties and some of the rules of the game.

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Living in Florence :: Drive along the coast

After getting married in Los Angeles, we drove up along the coast to spend one night in Big Sur. Unfortunately, many of the hotels were booked for Friday night, so we stayed at the first nice hotel that had a vacancy. We ended up in a beautiful suite looking out over the ocean. It was amazing listening to the ocean crashing along the shore and seeing the sun set into the water.

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One of the objectives I had for going to California was to go to the Italian Consulate to get two translations approved and stamped so that I can file for Italian citizenship. I called the Consulate from Florence a week or so before I left for the US and they said that all I had to do was come by during office hours and they could approve my translations.

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