by Melinda Gallo

Early this morning, I received a phone call from the agenzia immobiliare (real estate agency) saying that they wanted to move our appointment to 11:45AM instead of 12:30PM today. I was also told that the other girl in the office wasn't going to show me, but rather the proprietario (owner) of the agenzia immobiliare. I felt a little nervous about that last part because I had seen him, but hadn't yet met him. And, I was thinking about what my friend said and reminded myself to keep an open mind.

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The milanese (girl from Milan) gave me an idea last week when she talked about all the agenzie immobiliari (real estate agencies) that she was in contact with. I had seen some interesting apartments on a website and I asked my friend if she knew this particular agenzia immobiliare. She said that she didn't like the guy who owns the agenzia immobiliare and suggested that I not go there. I told my agente (real estate agent) #2 about what my friend said and she told me that I should go anyway.

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This evening, Dave and I went to the Florence International Theatre Company (FITC)'s first production, "Net Worth" written and performed by Bari Hochwald at the Be Bop Music Club. Bari is a professional actress who moved to Florence a little over a year ago and is the co-artistic director of FITC along with Aaron Craig.

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Ever since about June this year, my macellaio (butcher) has been only working in the mornings and by the time I get there at about noon, he's gone. I kept going to the same macelleria (butcher shop), but didn't feel like I was treated as well by the other macellai who work there. They rarely smiled at me and weren't all that energized to come to help me. Sometimes I'd feel so discouraged that I'd just walk away.

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After three and a half hours of looking at different apartments, talking with other agents, and trying to keep warm, I'm exhausted. I met up with my agente #2 today for an appointment at 2PM and didn't get home until almost 6PM. I had to leave the house right after lunch because our meeting point was near Piazza Santissima Annunziata.

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It's already risky going to the mercato (market) on an empty stomach. All the colorful fruits, leafy vegetables, rosy red meats, perky cheeses, and pristine stacks of fresh pasta look even more delicious when I walk by the banconi (counters). I end up lugging more items home on the days when my stomach is growling. Today, there was an additional risk that I didn't count on: I checked out Brian and Claudia's website, Mestolando.

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Today, I went to visit a couple more apartments with my agente (real estate agent) #2. We had set up today's appointment last Thursday when we arrived late to an apartment and the proprietario (owner) had supposedly already left. My agente called the proprietario to reschedule the appointment and so here we were again: same place a few days later.

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I had an incredibly social Monday. I was supposed to be working on a project this afternoon, but instead I had a drink with a friend of mine, went to a wine bar with my writing instructor near Ponte Vecchio, and had dinner with two of Dave's friends from school in San Niccolò.

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Living in Florence :: Una giornata eccezionale

Normally on Sundays, I stay home. I avoid the crowded streets in centro (downtown) so that I can work on my computer, read, and just get ready for the upcoming week. But, today I went out for lunch with my friend Tina who is living in Perugia. We met in Piazza Santo Spirito and had lunch out on the restaurant's terrazza (terrace).

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Living in Florence :: A peaceful moment

Yesterday I managed to take a photo as I crossed the Ponte alla Carraia from Oltrarno toward centro. It was only about 11 in the morning, but I found the Arno to be so peaceful that I stood there for a few minutes. I watched one guy rowing his boat down the Arno and I thought how wonderful it must be to have the city pulsating around you while you are completely at peace on the water.

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I took a taxi to Piazza del Carmine to visit another apartment this morning at 11AM. I arrived a little early and waited for my agente (real estate agent) #2. She whizzed by me on her motorino (scooter) and waved to me as I stood on the corner. After she parked her motorino, she told me that her collega (colleague) made the appointment for 10AM and we wouldn't be able to see the apartment.

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After returning from the US, I've been putting off going to the questura (police station) to renew our permessi di soggiorno (permits to stay). I don't like procrastinating, but I had a hard time feeling enthusiastic about going to the questura. The anxiety of what could go wrong is high, and being in a stuffy room with hundreds of people is also not a bonus.

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Today I went to the copisteria (photocopy shop) down the street from my apartment. I know the guy there quite well because I have been buying my notebooks and other office goods there for the last two years. He did all my copies for me even though I told him that I could do them myself. In the end, I was happy I let him do my photocopies as he did a better job than I could have.

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Today I finally didn't have any appointments to visit apartments. I got so run down last week from walking all over town at different times of the day and with temperatures that were up and then way down that I caught a raffredore (cold) and stayed home all day yesterday. I wanted to have another giorno di riposo (day off), but instead I went out to meet a friend for lunch and then had one of my writing classes this evening.

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Living in Florence :: What market is this?

I went through Piazza Santa Croce on the way back from visiting another apartment near Santo Spirito. When I looked around at the stands at the mercato (market), I realized that it might not be the annual German one that I thought it was. This mercato seems to extend alongside the Santa Croce church and has many different items for sale besides the few German typical ones.

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