by Melinda Gallo

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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Dave and I went to the Odeon near Piazza Repubblica to see "I Segreti di Brokeback Mountain." For the first time in a long time, they showed the Italian subtitles for the movie. I even learned one expression that I'll probably never use, "il raduno delle pecore" (herding the sheep).

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When I see a menu with enchiladas on it, I naively believe that it's a Mexican restaurant. I knew that Salamanca was a tapas bar in via Ghibellina, but I didn't know they served Mexican food as well. Dave and I had a craving for some Mexican food and had already gone to Tijuana, which is also in via Ghibellina, the day after Christmas last year. But, we wanted to try something new tonight.

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Living in Florence :: Marzo  pazzarello

"Marzo, marzo, pazzarello, se non c' il sole apri l'ombrello," is a detto (saying) that an Italian girl in the locker room at the gym said today. So, basically, it says, "March is capricious, if there's no sun, bring an umbrella)." This morning at 8AM, we all woke up to a beautiful sunny and clear day. "Un'ora dopo, sono venute le nuvole e poi piovuto," (An hour later, it was cloudy and then it rained) the girl continued. With weather like this, it's hard to know how to dress in the morning. Anything can and does happen...especially in March.

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It seems like every day I hear people asking the same question, "Quando inizia la primavera?" (When will spring begin?) One day, like yesterday, there's a hint of sunshine that teases us into believing that primavera is just around the corner. Then, the next day, like today, it's cold and rainy and we believe we've got a long way to go before the primavera begins.

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This morning I woke up to find that I'd been bitten at least 20 times by mosquitoes. I learned the word zanzara (mosquito) this morning when I showed Signora G. my arm. She told me to go to the farmacia (pharmacy) to get something. I think she tried to explain what to get, but I didn't understand everything. I also decided this morning that I have to find a palestra (gym) because I can't take all this pasta every day.

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As I walked up the steps to go to school, I could hear the keys jangle in my pocket. This morning, Signora G. (the ex-wife/mother) gave me a set of keys and explained how I'm supposed to lock the door when I leave and then lock it when I arrive. Of course, I only understood her because she opened the door, led me outside, shut the door behind us, and then locked it. Then, after unlocking the door, we walked back into the apartment and she shut and locked the door again.

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Today it was full carnevale mode at the mercato this morning. Lots of people were rushing around to the banconi (counters) to get fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, and even confetti. Some of the venditori (vendors) were even dressed up in different costumes. I thought of bringing my camera to the mercato, but the weather was cold and grey.

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When we were in Rome and Sorrento last week, we met a lot of people who were curious as to why we were living in Florence. I thought it would be obvious seeing as though Florence is quite charming. But, most of the Italians we met said that Florence was too touristy, and that bella ma sporca (it's beautiful, but dirty). Although everyone did say that Florence is una citt a misura d'uomo (a city on a human scale).

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After eating a lot of pesce (fish), calamari, and polpo (octopus) this weekend in Sorrento, I didn't think I'd be up for eating any more pesce. But, yesterday morning we realized that it had been a long time since we last ate sushi. After I called to make reservations at Il Canapone, I couldn't help but think about it all day.

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Today I couldn't wait to go to the mercato. I hadn't been since last week. Because we've been away from home, I haven't been able to do the two things I love the most: shop for food and cook. It was raining outside, but that didn't stop me from going to the mercato.

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We expected to only work until about 3PM in Rome, but we didn't end up leaving the office until 7PM. I was afraid to leave too early because everyone at the company told me that we'd be stuck in traffic. They suggested that we take a taxi to the metropolitana (subway) and then take that to the stazione (train station).

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Living in Florence :: From Sorrento to Rome

The meeting (conference) has been fun, but exhausting. Unfortunately, we didn't get to leave the hotel during the day because so much was going on during the meeting. The only photos I took were from the bus as we drove back to Rome, so it's not the best, but you can still see the costa Sorrentina (Sorrento coast) as we drove toward Napoli. And, you can see the clouds I was talking about that creep over the hill and head west out over the sea.

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Living in Florence :: Sorrento from afar

Today we attended an all-day meeting (conference) with almost 600 other participants. I was able to take a few pictures outside from the hotel's balcony. The picture I took here we can see Vesuvio in the distance. They predicted rain for the entire weekend, but we haven't seen a drop. We could see the sun in the distance, but grey clouds quickly came over the hill behind the hotel and moved toward Vesuvio.

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