by Melinda Gallo

For il San Valentino (Saint Valentine's day), Dave and I decided to eat at Il Canapone, my friend Simone's restaurant. We were thinking about staying home or going to a restaurant that is closer to our apartment, but despite the freezing cold weather, we walked down to Santo Spirito for a delicious meal.

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The only sound I heard from my cell phone within the last 24 hours was my phone's alarm ringing at 7AM. Before I fell asleep last night, I went through my suitcase and was comforted by what I found: blank notebooks, a portable CD player, a few CDs, one book ("Women Who Run with Wolves"), and my running shoes, which would prove to bring me the most comfort.

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Living in Florence :: Enchanted and exhausted

Dave and I got a taxi ride from the northern area of Rome, Cassia, to the Termini train station. We went to the deposito bagagli to drop off our luggage so that we could visit Rome. We ended up not checking in our portable computers after I saw the men throw the luggage onto carts to take them downstairs. So, unfortunately we had to lug them around town with us all day.

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I feel like we're working for a startup company where we're putting in lots of hours and everything has to be done urgently. We walked to the office from our hotel, which is only a block away, and for lunch they had pizza brought in for us along with beer, soda, and water. Our desk turned into the lunch table so we didn't even have to move one inch.

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Living in Florence :: Work by day, Rome by night

This morning we went to Rome to work at one of our client's offices for a few days. We got a call a few weeks ago to work with a friend of ours, Massimo, on a project of his in Rome. We jumped at the offer as we thought it would be fun to go somewhere else to work for a few days. We took an early morning Eurostar to Rome, which only took an hour and a half from Florence, and then a half hour taxi ride to an area called Cassia.

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Living in Florence :: Supermercati e alimentari

I love to go to the mercato (market) and I love shopping for food. The only problem is that our refrigerator is only twice as big as the one I had in my dorm room way back when. The one thing I don't like about the mercato is that I can't just look around at everything that is available. When I go to the macellaio (butcher), I have to tell him exactly what I want and how much of it. The same is true for each of the vendors at the mercato where I buy cheese, pasta, bread, and pastries.

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So many things happened in 1997 that prompted me to come to Florence. I had visited Florence only once with an ex-boyfriend. He, eleven of his friends, and I rented a villa in Umbria for a week. My ex and I flew to Milano and rented a car to drive down to the villa. We didn't drive directly to Umbria, we first spent a few days at Lago di Como, had lunch in Parma, and then stayed a few nights in Bologna.

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A little after 1PM, I went to the mercato (market) today. I generally avoid going on Saturdays because it's usually quite busy. I went to my macellaio (butcher) and he looked overwhelmed by all the people standing in front of the counter. There were so many people that I decided to go to the gastronomia (cheese/milk vendor) while the crowds died down.

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Today, I finally got together with my friend Martina and the other two guys, Taccone and Gabriele, who used to work at the marble shop where I worked back in 1998. I walked past their laboratorio (workshop) back in October before our trip to the States and I promised that I'd be back sometime for lunch. They told me where Martina was working and I finally got around to going to her new place of work a few weeks ago.

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Today our new donna delle pulizie (cleaning lady), Giovanna, came today for the first time to clean the house. She came by Monday for us to meet and for her to look at the house. She's a sweet Italian woman who I'm liked the second I met her. I was happy that I finally found a donna delle pulizie after at least 6 months after the other one left us.

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Living in Florence :: Museo di Palazzo Davanzati

I walked to via Porta Rossa, near the Mercato Nuovo, to visit a noble family's 14th century palazzo (palace), the Museo di Palazzo Davanzati. Dave and I generally walk right past the palazzo on our way to the Odeon movie theaters, but we never stopped by for a visit. It's not that noticeable as it looks like many of the other palazzi in Florence.

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This morning on my way to the gym, it smelled like spring outside. I was all bundled up with my wool coat and scarf wrapped around my neck twice, but something seemed different. The air was warmer and possibly even a little more humid than usual. It smelled like early morning in the summer before the sun has reached its peak.

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Living in Florence :: Casa Buonarroti

I'm embarrassed to admit that I live about a block from Casa Buonarroti (Michelangelo's house) and I only just visited it today for the first time. I walk past it many times a week to go to the gym, the grocery store, and the alimentari (corner grocer) that is right across the street from it. I made a point this morning of getting out of the house early enough to go for a visit, especially since it was one of a few museums open on Mondays.

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Today is the beginning of l'anno del cane di fuoco (Year of the Fire Dog) and to celebrate Dave and I went to a Chinese restaurant. There is actually only one Chinese restaurant I like in Florence, named "Osir", but because of the rain, I didn't want to go to viale Lavagnini, which is on the other side of town. I actually haven't been there since Dave and I moved here.

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Last year we were often cold in our apartment. Our building is quite old so we're not lucky enough to have riscaldamento centralizzato (central heating), which consists of radiators installed throughout the apartment. We have riscaldamento autonomo (autonomous heating), which basically means you have to fend for yourself. We have a few heaters/air conditioners installed high on the wall, but we don't use them any more because the heat only goes higher and the air is still cold.

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