by Melinda Gallo

Living in Florence :: One beautiful, but busy piazza

My piazza isn't normally that busy, but this morning when I looked out from the terrazza (terrace) I saw a bunch of actors sitting on the steps in front of the Ospedale degli Innocenti all dressed up. It was raining a little bit, so it looked like they were waiting it out. Later in the afternoon when I had to go out, I took this picture from the first floor window of my building.

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Alessandro's car is in the shop again and so a friend of his loaned him his motorino (scooter). I rode on the back of the motorino to go to the movies at Warner Village on Friday. It's been fairly hot in centro (downtown), but once we were out past Le Cascine, the air seemed to be much cooler. It was refreshing until we had to drive back to town because my teeth were chattering.

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After many discussions, I have finally signed my contratto di locazione (rental contract) with my new landlord yesterday at my place. I didn't invite my agente immobiliare (real estate agent) because of what happened the last time with the contratto di locazione that I signed.

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Sometimes two months seems like a short time, but then they seem like quite a long time. A lot of things have transpired in the two months since Dave and I split up. He went back to the States, found freelance work as a Cocoa programmer, moved into a new apartment in downtown Denver, and reunited with his friends and family.

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I don't know what it is about Mondays, but the past few Mondays haven't been the best days of the week for me. Today, I went back to the Camera di Commercio (Chamber of Commerce) to see if the avvocato (lawyer) had anything else to tell me about my contratto di locazione (rental agreement), and I wasn't happy with what he had to say.

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Surprisingly, I had never been to a sagra (festival) before in Italy. I have seen the manifesti (posters) up all over town in the summer announcing them throughout Tuscany. I've noticed that a sagra is for a specific type of food, like the one I went to on Saturday that was a sagra del cinghiale (wild boar festival). So, most of the dishes served were made with cinghiale.

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Living in Florence :: My first big interview

I couldn't sleep well last night as I was a little nervous about an interview that I was asked to do with a freelance journalist, Greg Cook, for UK's leading travel and overseas living magazine called A Place in the Sun. He told me that he'd be bringing his own photographer, Richard Parsons, and that made me even more nervous.

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I went to the Camera di Commercio (Chamber of Commerce) this morning to see another friend's friend who works in the Ufficio arbitrato (Arbitration office) to have a look at my contratto di locazione (rental agreement) that I signed for my current apartment. I was told that it's not legal to not have a disdetta (notice to leave) on it and that quite possibly, it might be null and void.

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I have a valid permesso di soggiorno (permit to stay) and want to change it to another type: lavoro autonomo (self-employment). I had been reading about the decreto flussi (quota agreement) and how supposedly in Florence, they only allow about 80 Americans to convert their permessi di soggiorno per year. The problem is that no one knows when the decreto flussi will be published, not even the ufficcio dell'immigrazione (immigration office).

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Living in Florence :: Walking along the Arno

Today I had to go to the American Consulate to get a document notarized. I took the bus to via della Vigna Nuova and walked along the Arno. I usually always walk, but one day I took the number 6 bus and it went down via della Vigna Nuova, so I figured it'd be more convenient to take it. Unfortunately, there were a few manifestazioni (manifestations) in town and the bus was late. I waited at least 20 minutes for it to come, and in that time, I probably could've walked to the American Consulate.

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Today I went to see my dottoressa (doctor) again to ask her a few questions. I arrived at the door of her studio (office) and there was alreaady a couple waiting outside. The women I walked past downstairs were waiting as well to see the dottoressa. A blonde woman asked each of us, "Quando il suo appuntamento?" (When is your appointment?) After we all responded, the blonde woman told us the order in which we will see the dottoressa. I ended up being the second to the last before the blonde woman.

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I have had the pleasure of meeting more girls lately who have moved to Florence and want to stay. It seems to be the usual story: the person arrives in Florence for a short time, falls in love with the city, and can't leave it. Florence seems to just take a hold of our hearts and souls and we become obsessed with staying here. I know because that's what happened to me the first time I arrived in 1997. I think it took me about three or four days before I knew I did not want to leave.

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Tonight I went with a few Florentine friends to Le Carceri for dinner. Supposedly the giocatori della Fiorentina (players on the Florentine soccer team) go there. The locale (restaurant/place) is located in an ex-prison just off of via dell'Agnolo.

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Living in Florence :: Una grandinata estiva

We've had a rather dry and mild winter this year. It was so dry that people were talking about rationing water to the point of having it be turned off at certain times of the day. But, today that might have all changed as it rained and hailed for many hours. I tried to show how hard and vertical the rain and hail were falling in my picture of the buildings across the street, but it might not be that clear.

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My new ginecologa (gynecologist) gave me a stack of esami (tests) to do because I am new to her and she said that I need to check everything to make sure everything is OK. I'm assuming she was referring to my age again, but I agree that if I haven't done a major check-up, I probably should.

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