by Melinda Gallo

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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Living in Florence :: Ci siamo sposati!

After the sun set and the full moon began to shine brightly, Alessandro and I exchanged our vows in my sister's garden standing next to a fountain. We had talked about getting married months ago and when we talked about going to the US together, that was what we wanted to do. It wasn't until the week before I left for the US that our plans of getting married might be possible.

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Living in Florence :: A quick trip to San Francisco

Alessandro and I had a quick visit to San Francisco with my niece. Her father had to go to an event and we tagged along for the ride up to the city. I wanted to spend some time with my niece and luckily she was able to come with us.

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Living in Florence :: Reunited in San Francisco

I arrived at noon today and went to pick up Alessandro at my friend Rich's apartment in San Francisco. I wanted Alessandro to stay in San Francisco because I thought it would be awkward to have him meet my family without me. I was looking at other hotels in the city, but Rich was kind enough to offer his apartment for the night. I took the picture from the roof of Rich's building.

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Living in Florence :: Conference in Memphis

I failed to mention that at this same conference seven years ago is where I met Dave, my ex-husband. Many people who attend the conference were used to seeing us both together, so we had to break the news to many of the people there. We were able to hang out a bit at the conference, and I am happy that Dave and I are still good friends. He was kind enough to bring me a power cable for my Macintosh from home because mine was in my lost luggage, and also loaned me one of his mobile telephone cards so I wouldn't have to get a new one while I am in the US.

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Even though I've been visiting Memphis a bit, I had to do some shopping for clothes and other necessities because my luggage didn't arrive with me on Sunday. When I got to Memphis, the man said that it would arrive the next day on the same flight that I took, but it didn't.

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Living in Florence :: Graceland

What is a trip to Memphis without going to Graceland? When the company announced that they were holding their annual conference in Memphis, the first thing I thought of was Graceland. I'm not an Elvis fan, but I do remember a lot about him when I was a child. Besides, Graceland is only about 15 minutes from our hotel, so how could I not go?

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