by Melinda Gallo

Ever since we moved into our new apartment, we've been fortunate to have also hired a new donna delle pulizie (cleaning lady). She works for our proprietari (owners) and we met her when she cleaned up the apartment before we moved in.

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I slip in the passato remoto (simple past tense), like l'altro giorno andai al mercato (the other day I went to the market), every now and again in my conversations these days. I read the passato remoto quite often as it is frequently used in books. My friends here in Florence use it quite a bit even for events that have just happened; however, my other Italian friends rarely use it at all. For them, the passato remoto is to be used with events much farther in the past, not things that happened yesterday.

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At 11AM this morning, the proprietaria (owner) of our apartment called me to say that the tecnico (technician) for the lavatrice (washing machine) was on his way and would be at our place in half an hour. I wasn't prepared at all for him to come as he said that he'd call me on the 9th.

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I haven't seen or heard anyone in the apartment this morning, but I'm hoping to see Claudia. I'd love to spend some time with her before she leaves next week, but I don't know what her plans are for today. I don't want to miss her today, but I don't want to sit in my room, waiting for her. I decide to get myself ready for the palestra (gym) and stick to my routine.

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Tonight Dave and I went al cinema (to the movie theater) with my first Italian teacher and friend, Gianluca. He's living in Germany these days for work although he'd rather be back here in Italy. He came back for le feste (the holidays). We don't get to see him much, so it's always nice to see him when he's in town.

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I went walking around in centro (downtown) for the first time yesterday. I had pretty much stayed home since Friday because I was a little under the weather. It seems like there's a small bug going around as almost everyone I know has a touch of something. Either a raffredore (cold) or the influenza (flu).

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Living in Florence :: First day of the year

Last night we stood out on our terrazza (terrace) for over an hour watching the fuochi d'artificio (fireworks) in many different directions. There were some near the Duomo, Fiesole, Santa Croce, Piazzale Michelangelo, and Campo di Marte. We couldn't pinpoint their exact location, but we knew roughly the areas.

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The weather these past few days has been on the cold side and a little rainy; nothing like last year. After initially planning to have another aperitivo (appetizer party) at our place tonight, we decided to not have anyone over. We opted for a quiet capodanno (New Year's celebration) instead.

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We love our apartment, but I wonder if it loves us back. Our televisore (television set) was broken before we even moved in; the colors were all mixed up. And, the other day, our lavatrice (washing machine) died on us.

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After living in Europe for many years, I have never taken any food home from a restaurant. In France, the waiters would balk at me if I even suggested such a thing. In England, I don't remember ever taking food home unless it was a take-away restaurant. And, in Italy, most Italians seem to finish their plates and I have never seen anyone leave a restaurant with a doggie bag.

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This morning we woke up to the sound of the Santissima Annunziata church bells. I stood out on our terrazza (terrace) and looked out at the piazza below, which was incredibly quiet: I saw only two people walking around the piazza. It was beautiful and sunny outside, and the temperatures were even a little warmer.

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For the vigilia di Natale (Christmas Eve) instead of shopping, Dave and I were preparing for yet another aperitivo (appetizer party) although I think we can officially say it was more of a cena (dinner). This time, we invited a few less people in the hopes of eating more and enjoying the company of our guests.

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Living in Florence :: A Roma per pranzo

An old family friend emailed me to say that he and his daughter would be visiting Rome this week. I was really excited to go to Rome to see them since I had not seen him in 14 years and I have never met her because she's only 10. We hopped on a train this morning to go to Rome by Eurostar to have pranzo (lunch).

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Living in Florence :: My new neighborhood

When we lived next to Santa Croce church, I used to never see the Duomo unless I was walking down via Calzaiuoli. But, even then, I'd only really see the Duomo if I went to Pegna or the Paperback Exchange bookstore. I get to see the Duomo almost every day now when I walk out to via dei Servi to go to via Calzaiuoli. This evening I had to go downtown to fare delle commissioni (run some errands).

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Things have been going a million miles a minute for the last few weeks. We changed apartments, we went out to get things for our new apartment, and we had our first party. On Monday morning when I woke up, I decided I wasn't going anywhere. And, yesterday, I felt the same. I didn't leave the apartment for two days and it felt great! This morning; however, I finally decided to go outside.

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