by Melinda Gallo

Today I went to the mercato and picked up a few things for my family to enjoy for lunch. We have been eating out so much that I decided that it'd be good to eat a few things at home. I had an idea of what to get, but of course, it was much clearer when I arrived at the mercato.

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Living in Florence :: Visiting Florence with my family

I love it when my family visits me in Florence. Besides spending a lot of time together, I also get a chance to visit my city a little bit more. I'm able to enjoy some of my favorite places, like museums, restaurants, and churches again. What is also wonderful is that I even get to visit new places that I hadn't yet been to. Today was a sunny day, so we decided to meet for lunch in Piazza Santo Spirito.

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We walked to the Zattere vaporetto (water bus) station to go to the train station this morning. We hauled our luggage onto the vaporetto and tried to position ourselves without blocking the pilot's door. The conductor kept yelling at us to go downstairs into the seated areas, but there were too many people below and on deck for us to risk not being close to the exit.

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Living in Florence :: Visiting Venice

I was surprised to see the sun shining so brightly when I opened the green shutters outside the apartment windows. I was happy to see bright blue skies even though the wind felt a bit nippy. Right after breakfast, I went with my sister, her husband, and niece over the Accademia bridge through Campo San Stefano and into Piazza San Marco.

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Living in Florence :: A rainy and chilly day in Venice

We woke up to rain and arctic winds. Luckily, my sister brought umbrellas for us so we were prepared to visit Venice. She had asked me about the weather before arriving in Italy on Wednesday and I had told her it was warming up, but I had no idea that Venice would be this much colder than Florence. I assumed a little colder, but it was almost 70°F on Tuesday in Florence and in Venice we would've been happy if it was 50°F outside.

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We left the sunny, blue skies in Florence and headed north to Venice on an early morning Eurostar train. As we traveled north, the skies became grayer and the sun slowly disappeared. When we walked out of the Santa Lucia train station and looked out on the Canal Grande, we didn't care that it was cloudy or even much colder. We had arrived in Venice--a place so enchanting that weather has no affect on its beauty.

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After being woken up by a bright sun shining in our room early this morning, I decided to go shopping toward the Co-op in via Gioberti. Because I haven't seen my friend Yoshie in months and her newborn Lorenzo, who is now 6 months old, I called to see if I could pop by to visit them both.

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These past few weeks I have noticed that the more I talk with the guys at the mercato, the more they talk to me about their other clienti (customers). They don't tell me their names or tell me anything about them like what they do for a living or where they live, but they do make it clear to me who they like and who they don't like.

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It wasn't as hard for me to get up the next day to go to school. I was the first one to breakfast and Rea sat next to me eating quietly. I tried to talk to her, but we didn't have much to say to each other. I wondered if I should wake up the girls as I served myself another cup of caffč, but maybe they need to sleep off their drinks from last night. Right before I left the house, I heard Catherine rummaging in her room, so I felt it was OK for me to leave.

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Claudia, Catherine, and I walked down via Lamarmora toward Piazza Libertą. We were all excited about going to Parterre. I was the most excited since it was the first time I had been out since I arrived. It didn't seem that late at night, but no one else was walking outside on the sidewalk except us. As we were crossing the viale, it felt like everyone's eyes in the cars waiting at the light were on us. One guy yelled something out at us, but I couldn't understand him. Claudia must have understood because she said something under her breath and hurried us along.

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I asked the guys at the place where I buy formaggio, prosciutto, latte, burro, salame, and uova (eggs) what they consider themselves as I can't find the right name to describe them. Sometimes I call them a latteria because I used to only buy milk from them. Then, I started calling them a gastronomia because that covered formaggio and prosciutto. So, I never know what to call the place I go to every time I go to the mercato.

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The sun shined brightly this morning when I left to go to the mercato. It has been in hiding most days for the past week; the clear, sunny mornings keep ending abruptly by lunchtime. I can't wait for spring to truly be here. Even though the sun was out today, it was pretty windy and I was happy I did have my wool scarf tightly wrapped around my neck.

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Lunch yesterday ended up being uneventful. I wouldn't say successful even though I was able to say that I wanted a panino and point at exactly the one that I wanted. I ordered another one to go for dinner because I knew I wouldn't want to go back out once I got home. The apartment I'm living in is just close enough to centro to be able to go, but just far enough where if I'm not motivated to go, it seems too far.

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This morning Dave and I realized that it's l'ora legale/estiva (daylight savings time). We only found out because our computers update themselves automatically. I had been sick with a cold all last week and hadn't been out of the house in a week and hadn't even gone to the mercato in almost 9 days! Dave has been going to Standa to go shopping for us. I've been missing my trips to the mercato and couldn't wait to go there today.

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I woke up early because I went to sleep without dinner last night. I didn't feel like going back out after my afternoon nap. I didn't hear anyone in the house, but when I opened my door, I found Signora G. in the kitchen alone sipping on her coffee. She looked up at me and invited me to join her.

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