by Melinda Gallo

Living in Florence :: Last minute Christmas shopping

Today I walked all over town doing some shopping. I love shopping and I especially love shopping late in the season. I love the hustle-bustle. It's not like anyone in centro (downtown) was window shopping. Everyone had one thing on their mind: find more gifts.

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Living in Florence :: Ci sono, ci sono...

Today I finally went to my yoga center in via de' Benci where two of my friends work: Annunziata and Rossella. I haven't seen them since I left for the US in October. It was great to see them both. Annunziata is going to India on Saturday and won't be back until mid-January. They embraced me tightly and said, "Finalmente!" (Finally!) It was great to see them both again.

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Living in Florence :: 'Tis the season

You can definitely tell it's Christmas here in Florence. There are lights hanging between the buildings on all the major streets and there's a big tree with lights in Piazza Repubblica (which is in the picture here). I went downtown to window shop and to watch the crowds of people, mostly shopping in twos, searching for gifts and lugging bags around.

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I'm not opposed to nicknames; however, I don't like being called anything but my own first name. My niece, however, has a nickname for me that I love, which is "Mimi," but it's reserved for her. When I lived in England, almost everyone I knew called me "Mel," which I hated. It must have been a cultural thing since they took the first syllable of almost every woman's name as their nickname. "Sally" would become "Sal" and "Natalie" would be "Nat."

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I visited my local chiosco (kiosk) the other day. The man, who is in his late 50's, sits with reading glasses on behind the plastic window with magazines neatly organized all around it. Every time I come by, he's flipping through the paper or a magazine.

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I've been going to the same macellaio (butcher) for over a year now. When he sees me, he smiles and winks at me. I'm always quite happy to see my white-haired macellaio with blue eyes. There is some unspoken pact between him and his colleagues. When they see me, they let him take care of me. So, I have only been served by the other butchers when he's not there at all.

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Medicine or no medicine, I think colds just have to take their course. And, it doesn't help that I stay up until 2-3AM reading every night either. Although I have finished a few more books! I looked in the fridge at 1PM today and noticed that I had nothing for lunch. We didn't get up until after 11AM and were just starting to get hungry.

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Still not feeling up to leaving the house, Dave went to the local alimentari (grocery store) to get us some more water without me. We seem to go through 6 liters in a little more than a day! It was after 7:30PM when he left, so I decided not to go with him because I figured the farmacia (pharmacy) would be closed.

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Only a few days have I seen the sun shine for most of the day without raining. And, of course, it would be a day when I'm stuck inside sick. I sit at my computer because I've got no real excuse not to work and look out at the sun shining outside. I look at the plants on our terrace and the other rooftops while I work.

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Dave has been sick all last week and I have been sick all weekend and we're both still struggling. I should've gone to la posta (post office) last week when I was well to pay our bollette (bills), but I kept thinking that maybe one more would arrive and I could pay them all at the same time. I wasn't happy to go outside because it was sprinkling, but I figured I had to since our Internet/phone bill was due today.

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Living in Florence :: Che vento oggi!

After lunch, I went for a walk to see my friend Simone at his restaurant. He told me that he'd be there early because he was changing the menu again. Since I didn't go to the gym this morning due to working late and getting up late, I decided to walk to Simone's restaurant.

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Living in Florence :: Festa dell'Immacolata

Today was the Festa dell'Immacolata (Immaculate Conception's day) in Italy, which translated to large quantities of people walking the streets of Florence doing their Christmas shopping. The banks, post offices, and some of the grocery stores and other shops were closed, but many of the shops in the main shopping area, like in via Calzaiuoli, were open.

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As I walked to the gym this morning, I was wondering why even though there is a small marciapiede (sidewalk) on our street (and many streets downtown), people generally walk in the street. Even women pushing babies in strollers do the same. It sounds dangerous, but it really isn't as long as you know how to do it safely.

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Dave found out on the Odeon cinema's Web site today that on Tuesdays there is an aperitivo (aperitif) for 5 Euros each from 8PM until the beginning of the film. We decided to go since normally we go to the earlier showing. And luckily, we didn't go any earlier because we had thunder and lightning since this afternoon.

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Well, I'm not home sick right now, but I can easily be tempted to buy a few American items, like Doritos, peanut butter, root beer, and few other things eventually. In via Ghibellina a new shop has just opened called, Sam's Market. They sell lots of American and imported items to all of us expats who have our cravings.

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