by Melinda Gallo

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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Today, I woke up and didn't feel great. I had a bit of a fever and so I decided to stay home (and mostly in bed) to relax. To me, relaxing means staying in my pajamas all day and lying in bed with a few good books. I was planning on going to an open market at Santa Maria Novella with a few friends, but I just didn't feel up to it.

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My friend Yoshie's son, Lorenzo, was born at the beginning of September this year. I didn't get a chance to see him before we left for the US because she was very busy taking care of her newborn and her other son, Davide. I was so happy when Yoshie called me to tell me that I could come to her place to see Lorenzo. I had been waiting for awhile to meet him.

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When I went to the McRae bookstore last week to pick up a book on Munich before going, I received a flyer, indicating that Magdalen Nabb was going to be there. I hadn't heard of her before, but I was eager to meet a British murder mystery writer who lives in Florence. I know that there are many writers who live here even though there aren't any writing groups that I've heard about.

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It's been raining since we got back to Florence. The day starts out a little gray, but then begins to rain from lunch until the evening without interruption. I don't think I've bought an umbrella in years. I usually don't use one when walking around downtown and generally wear a hat to keep somewhat dry.

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We signed back up at the gym today. We really have no excuse to not go since it is only a few blocks away. The gym itself is only about three times the size of our apartment, but it's clean, not crowded, and very close. Of course, we go at 10AM when not many people are there.

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I planned for us to take the train back to Florence so that we could see the countryside between Munich and Florence. We went through Austria and stopped in Innsbruck and then later in Verona (Italy). The scenery was quite diverse, mostly mountainous, little to a lot of snow, and a few small villages/towns.

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Living in Florence :: No shopping on Sundays

We were supposed to meet Marco at an Asian restaurant (that said they had Chinese, Thai, Japanese, etc. food), but I didn't feel good enough to go probably after all that alcohol in my warm drinks yesterday! So, this morning when we got up, we decided to go for brunch and meet him there.

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Living in Florence :: More adventures in Munich

Today, we woke up at 7AM and decided to go for a walk while the sun was finally shining outside. It's the first time since we arrived on Wednesday that we've seen the sun. We had coffees at a chain of coffee shops, called "San Francisco Coffee," and then we went to a little grocery store to get some still water, of which there was none, and to walk past the Bavarian National Museum (pictured here) and the English Garden.

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Living in Florence :: Only one pretzel, not two!

After breakfast at our hotel in Oberschlei▀heim, we took a taxi to our other hotel in Munich (in the Lehel) area. We assumed the taxi would be expensive since the taxi we took from the airport to the hotel was around 40 Euros. We were happily surprised to find out that the taxi only cost us 22 Euros. We immediately walked outside in the snow and went directly downtown to get clothes for the snow. We were not prepared for snowy sidewalks and a chilly breeze.

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We don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Italy for obvious reasons, but it's no reason to break a tradition to take one day to remember what we're thankful for. We absolutely know how fortunate we are to be living in such a beautiful city and doing our jobs as we did in the US. We still can't believe that we've been living in Florence for a year now.

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This morning we took off on a flight to Munich. I was kept up all night by the strong winds and hoping that they'd die down before we got on our plane. No luck. We all sat on the plane as it moved in every direction as if we were experiencing turbulence except we weren't even moving.

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Living in Florence :: One more year!

What else would we want to be doing on a cold Monday morning? We were jet lagged and already awake at 7AM, so we figured we'd get ready, call a taxi, and go to the questura to pick up our permessi di soggiorno (permits to stay).

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The weather was cool and sunny in Florence this weekend. Cool being any place the sun didn't shine. We were planning on going out a bit, but our afternoon naps to recover from jet lag turned into half a night's sleep!

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Living in Florence :: First trip around town

For the first time since we got back, Dave and I took a walk around the town. We walked past Santa Croce, Piazza della Signoria, and Ponte Vecchio. We were both surprised how few people were outside. The tourists seemed to be sparse and we only saw one group of Japanese tourists. When we left in October, the streets were still filled with tourists. Today, we were able to walk around without bumping into anyone.

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