by Melinda Gallo

This morning a tecnico (technician) for FastWeb called me and said that he'd been trying to call me for days. I told him that it's highly impossible since my cell phone is always on and I didn't see any missed calls. He told me that he had some time today to install the kit, which consists of the modem and wireless phone, so we set a time for us to meet at the apartment.

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We've been very lucky these past few weeks with only a few unbearably hot days, but now it seems that our summer heat has arrived. I'm not one to complain much about the heat because it is just a part of life here in Florence. And actually I sometimes like warm summer evenings, albeit a bit hot at times. But, with the heat comes the self-imposed darkness, which can make anyone feel a bit melancholy.

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Living in Florence :: Invitations for lunch and dinner

I recognize that I am fortunate. And, I wonder if by recognizing that I'm fortunate, I truly see just how much good fortune comes my way. Not only did Alessandro's parents invite me to their house for lunch for the second time this week, but I was also invited to another couple's place in Bellosguardo for dinner.

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I finally went to my new apartment today to let in a tecnico (technician) sent by Telecom Italia to install a DSL line. The proprietaria (owner) of my new apartment came by my place to drop off the keys Wednesday night. I had arranged for the tecnico to come Wednesday afternoon, but the previous inquilini (tenants) couldn't let in the tecnico because they were packing up for their trasloco (move).

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Living in Florence :: Mario Biondi singing under the stars

I hadn't heard of Mario Biondi until only a few months ago. I had heard his most popular song, "This Is What You Are" on the radio and imagined some newly discovered American R&B singer. But when Alessandro brought over one of his CDs and I listened to it, I was surprised that the he was Italian because his voice was so deep and soulful, a bit like Barry White's, and he sang in impeccable English.

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For almost a month I have been a bit worried about changing my permesso di soggiorno (permit to stay). I had seen my avvocato (lawyer) almost a month ago and he told me that we'd be going to the Camera di Commercio (Chamber of Commerce) the next week. I called him a few times to no avail, and then he called me yesterday to say that I was supposed to meet him today at the Camera di Commercio at 11AM.

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As part of the FITC Creative Campus here in Florence, Mitch Ryan was present for an aperitivo (apéritif) at the Paperback Exchange to perform a few pieces and to discuss his career. Bari Hochwald and Aaron Craig, the two co-artistic directors and founders of FITC, have created a Creative Campus here in Florence to promote the positive side of the American culture here.

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I had already been invited to pranzo (lunch) at Alessandro's parent's house, but today was the first time I was invited alone. I wasn't too worried about it because they are really nice to me. Since we have met, I have talked to his mother quite a bit and called her to thank her for sending me food and fresh uova (eggs) through Alessandro.

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Living in Florence :: Matrimonio civile al Palazzo Vecchio

The last time I attended a matrimonio civile (civil wedding) at the Palazzo Vecchio was about ten years ago when my friends Tom and Erica came to Florence to get married. I was one of their testimoni (witnesses) because at the time, they were living in Paris and I had just moved to Florence only a month prior.

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I used to think that having a car was a bit overrated. They are absolutely necessary in California: you can't go to the grocery store without a car even if it's around the corner. In Florence, I'm completely happy walking around and I'm able to get everywhere I want without any problems. However, when Alessandro took me to a restaurant above Bagno a Ripoli, in a place called Rimaggio, I started to think that having a car would be nice: I'd be able to admire my beloved city from afar as well.

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There are two schools of thought when it comes to picking up the local accent. Some people think it's normal while others think it's abnormal. I tend to believe it's normal. If it weren't, why would children who have parents who speak with an accent still pick up the local accent. And some people are just sponges when it comes to learning languages, like Madonna who now has a bit of a British accent.

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I haven't been in the US for at least three years to celebrate Independence Day. I always associate this festa (holiday) with having friends and family over for a barbecue, so when my friend Sarah proposed that we have a party, I thought it would be a great idea. The only problem was that because it's not festa here in Italy, our American friends were mostly busy, so we ended up cancelling our barbecue.

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Living in Florence :: Cena della prova generale

Alessandro and I went to Siena last night for the cena della prova generale (dinner for the trials) of the Palio di Siena. I had never been to see the Palio before and was eager to finally see some part of it. I had been to Siena right before the Palio when the campo was filled with dirt, but never with so many people there like in my photo.

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Living in Florence :: An inter-religious dialogue

It wasn't until I was waiting for my girlfriend in front of Saschall that I realized that I don't often go to an event outside of centro (downtown). I felt like the girls in that Sex and the City episode when they took the ferry out of town to go to a party. It's not that far out of centro, but it's not that close where I could walk to it either. My friend had to take a bus to get there while Alessandro's father drove me since I had lunch at their house, which wasn't too far away.

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