by Melinda Gallo

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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I walked around the busy streets of downtown Florence today. The hot, sticky air followed me everywhere. To find respite, I ducked into a building, which I realized was a church. There were no signs hanging outside and no tourists walking around inside. I sat down in one of the wooden chairs and took in my surroundings. The church doesn't have a crucifix above the altar and is not very well-lit. The pièce de résistance is a tabernacle with the Madonna col bambino.

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When we went to Rome a little over a month ago, I had an allergic reaction to something in the air. When we were on the bus, an American woman behind me was talking and said, "I must be allergic to Rome, I haven't stopped sneezing since I got here." When I heard that, I figured, I must be allergic to something in Rome as well.

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There are some things I believe in and other things that I do not. I try not to believe in some things because I don't want them to be true. I used to think that writer's block was a myth because any time I'd stop writing, there would be a good reason. Now, I admit that I have been experiencing writer's block, but I think I have good reason.

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Living in Florence :: Carmen and our visit to San Miniato

Today was the first time that an out-of-town visitor contacted me from my blog to meet up. Carmen, a vibrant and bubbly Spanish woman who lives in Chicago, emailed me a while back to tell me that she was going to be studying in Florence for a few weeks. I was delighted when she asked to meet up with me. I was even happier that her plan was to visit my favorite church, San Miniato.

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What do three expats do when they get together in Florence? They go and eat Chinese food! Cristina Fassio (from Expats in Italy), Beth O'Connor and I were planning on eating sushi for our first incontro (meeting), but all the sushi places in downtown Florence either don't serve lunch or were closed today for lunch.

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I'm happy to be done with my first week of class. To celebrate, I decided to go and buy myself the Italian book that Gianluca told me about. I got off the bus in front of the Duomo and walked down via Cavour to Feltrinelli International bookstore. I slogged home through the heat, so I could take a short nap before going to the palestra (gym).

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I woke up this morning to the pungent smell of citronella. I didn't hear a single zanzara during the night and finally slept through without waking up. The house is noisy in the mornings: doors slamming, plates clanging, people talking, and shower water running. I hear many voices, but still can't distinguish them all.

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Living in Florence :: Shopped until I dropped

After yesterday morning's grandinata (hailstorm), the afternoon's temporale (thunderstorm), and the early evening's sunny skies, I was happy to wake up to a bright and sunny day. I didn't want to miss a nice day out, so I made plans to go downtown in the afternoon. I opened the window in our kitchen this morning in hopes that the air would be as warm as it looked, but it was so cold that I had to quickly close it. I buttoned up my wool coat and wrapped my scarf around my neck twice and I was ready to go.

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Yesterday after Dave and I went for an afternoon showing of Syriana at the Odeon theater, we walked over to Simone's restaurant to pay him a visit. He loves to hear what we think of the other restaurants in town. At almost 6:30PM, the sun hadn't yet set, so it was nice to walk over Ponte Vecchio and past Santo Spirito.

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Yesterday at the mercato, I stopped by to chat a little bit with my macellaio when I saw him standing at the counter by himself. I went yesterday to drop off cookies to the guy at the gastronomia. The macellaio told me that he lives with his ailing mother who is all alone while he's at work. He seemed a little sad about his situation, but told me, "Contentiamoci" (Let's be satisfied with what is). I told him that I'd return the next day to buy some things and he said, "Mi fa sempre piacere vederti" (It's always nice to see you).

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For the festa della donna (Woman's Day), I didn't get any mimosa, but I did get sushi! Dave and I went to Momoyama tonight in Borgo San Frediano. I called yesterday to prenotare un tavolo (reserve a table) for us. All day, I thought about going for sushi. We would've gone to Il Canapone since tonight is sushi night, but we figured we should try all the other sushi places in Florence as well.

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Lately wherever I go these days, I don't feel like I stand out any more. I walk into shops and don't feel like I'm being scrutinized. I can't remember the last time someone asked me where I come from. But now I seem to feel like maybe I've lost my luster and no one seems to treat me any differently or look at me any differently.

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