by Melinda Gallo

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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Living in Florence :: Simone's simulation cooking class

I have told Simone for many years that he needs to do lezioni di cucina (cooking classes). First, because he's an exceptional chef and second, because I wanted to learn more about Tuscan cooking and find out his secrets. We decided last week when he came to my place for lunch that we were going to organize a lezione di cucina at his apartment with a few people. I invited two of my girlfriends (Sarah and Haruko) and he invited a girl visiting from Belgium, Margherita.

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Today was one of those days I have to write about so that even I can look back on more than once. From start to finish, it was a spectacular day. I met up with Emma Bird and Mario Berri from How To Italy because they were in the area for a conference. I took them too Gilli for a caffè (coffee) in Piazza Repubblica.

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Living in Florence :: Che spettacolo!

I walked over to via delle Oche to have lunch with my new girlfriend. She wanted to take me to Coquinarius, which I like a lot. Afterwards, she invited me up to her apartment. I love seeing other people's apartments especially since I feel as if I've seen so many now. I was taken aback when I walked into the living room: the Duomo was so close that I couldn't see it all unless I walked out to her her balcone (balcony). I had never seen the Duomo this close before except when I went up the campanile (bell tower).

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Simone wants me to work on his restaurant's website, so we decided to meet up today for a lunch meeting. He came over to my apartment because he doesn't have a computer or Internet at his place. The plan was for him to pick us up some take-away sushi from a new place that just opened up on via Ghibellina, and come over. There are now three of them in centro (downtown), which pales in comparison to number of kebab places that seem to be opening up all over town.

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Tonight, I was brought over to my friend's friend's house at around 9:30PM. I thought we were just going for a visit, but we arrived right when they were about to sit down to eat. Since we hadn't yet eaten either, they invited us to eat with them. I was embarrassed about coming over empty handed, but they made us both feel comfortable.

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Since Saturday, the weather has cooled down drastically. It had been so hot here that we were all afraid that it would only get worse. And then on Saturday, the weather turned. It began to cool off in the evening and I had to shut the windows in my apartment. When we had our impromptu dinner, we came in early because it was too cold.

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One thing I have learned about living in Italy is that people enter and exit my life at an amazing speed. When I had moved back to Italy in 2004, two of my closest girlfriends left Florence and went back to their hometowns in southern Italy within a few months. Since I've been here, I have met many Americans who come to live in Florence for a specific period of time, like six months to a year. It's great to meet them, go out with them, and become close, but it is always sad when they leave.

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Many of my friends think I'm a little crazy for having no other means of transportation but my feet in Florence. Simone has been on me for years about getting a bicicletta (bike), but I haven't been too keen on the idea. However, for the past few weeks, I've been realizing how convenient it would be to have one. Especially when I was looking at apartments all over town and going to the agenzia immobiliare (real estate agency) near Porta Romana, which is on the opposite side of town for me.

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This evening I met up with the proprietaria (owner) of my new apartment to sign the proposta (rental offer). My agente immobiliare (real estate agent), the proprietaria's agente immobiliare and the two of us met at the same spot as last time up near Piazzale Michelangelo.

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Living in Florence :: Artigianato e Palazzo

Summer has definitely arrived in Florence. Not only is the weather sunny and warm, but the Florentines have already started leaving for the weekend. This morning when I looked out over the terrazza (terrace), there were hardly any people at all. My piazza is not that touristy, but still many people walk through it to get to downtown from the other side of the viale (large avenue).

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After reviewing the contratto (contract) that I signed last year for my existing apartment, I have come to realize that no disdetta (notice to leave) was specified. Which means, that I'm supposed to pay rent until the end of November no matter what. On Monday, the proprietari (owners) of the apartment asked me for a disdetta of three months, which I sent to them.

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One thing that happens quite often in Italy that I haven't really understood is that when I'm walking with a friend, especially a male friend, and we meet another male friend, there are no introductions. It sometimes happens with female friends too, but a little less often. I stand behind my friend and try to look like I belong, but I often feel uncomfortable because no one acknowledges my presence.

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After my many, many visits last year to different doctors and acupuncturists, I decided to get a new ginecologa (gynecologist). The last one I had knew that I was married and trying to get pregnant. But, now that I'm single and not willing to tell my previous ginecologa about my situation, I decided to just go see a new one. She was already on me last year about hurrying up to have a baby that now she'd probably just shake her head at me if she saw me.

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