by Melinda Gallo

At 9AM there are a million things I'd rather be doing. But, instead I was walking in the rain through the empty streets of Florence (with only a handful of tourists walking about) to the comune for my appointment with my lawyer. I got there late, but 15 seconds after she arrived. She went through the metal detector and then I went through right after her.

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Today I scheduled an appointment with my lawyer to go to the citizenship office at the comune to see what I can do about the discrepancies on my father's birth certificate. It seems like just yesterday that I went to the citizenship office to talk to the woman who's in charge of it, but I was hoping it'd be smoother with my lawyer.

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All it took was one day. Yesterday it was sunny, but cool, and today it started raining right after lunch. I knew I should have gone to the Festa della ceramica (Ceramics Festival) yesterday, but I was too busy doing other things. After I took my nap, I dragged Dave to the Festa della ceramica in Piazza Santissima Annunziata even though it was still sprinkling.

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It was a beautiful morning when I left the house. I walked along the Arno river to go to the American consulate, which sits on the corner surrounded by policemen. There are no cars that can drive past the consulate and it's all gated so that you have to walk around to get inside.

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In the attempts of trying to get my Italian citizenship here in Italy, I thought I'd see a lawyer who specializes in this. I found two who did and one was in Florence quite close to my apartment. I called on Tuesday and had an appointment for Thursday.

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Waking up early to deal with Italian bureaucracy is not my idea of a good day. I called a taxi to take us to the Questura (police station) at 8:30AM. I thought of doing our habitual run to the bus stop, get on one bus to go to the Duomo and then get on another one to go to Piazza San Marco. But, in the morning hours the buses are packed and I'm too stressed about going to the Questura to want to add more stress to my morning.

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Living in Florence :: A Saturday stroll to the market

Today I went to the market more as a tourist than as a shopper. First off, I brought my camera because I felt I should take a picture of the place I go to so often. And second, it's even more exciting on Saturdays when loads of people come, tourists and locals alike.

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Living in Florence :: Lunch at the Mercato di Sant'Ambrogio

Dave and I walked to my market for lunch. I've been told that the little trattoria inside was really good and inexpensive, but never had a chance to try it. I'm always rushing in and out of the market with all my goodies to cook at home. And normally, Dave doesn't come with me.

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At about 11AM, I decided that I'd swing by the Questura (police station) where Dave and I will need to go to renew our permessi di soggiorno (permits to stay) for another year. It's a tedious process I don't like, but I'm hoping that this time will be the last since I should be getting my Italian citizenship next year.

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I woke up early this morning thinking about my trip to the Comune di Firenze to ask about obtaining Italian citizenship. All of the possible outcomes ran through my head over and over. I put all the copies I have of my documents together in a folder and left.

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I try to be hopeful before going to any administrative office anywhere in the world (US, France, and Italy). There is something scary about having to deal with people who will decide your fate and you not having any recourse available to you. I went to the Prefettura (Prefecture) this afternoon to get information about obtaining Italian citizenship.

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The video started with verses from the Bible and then showed paintings of women suffering. A group of pregnant women, their spouses, and friends (me included) were all present to hear about getting an epidural (anesthesia administered in the spine) during labor. A rarity in Florentine hospitals due to many religious and traditional ideologies.

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I finally went back to the enoteca (wine bar) this morning before going to the market. I met the woman who works there, Concetta, when I went to pick up a bottle of wine for my brother and his family. We talked briefly and she told me that she's a writer and writes screenplays.

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This morning I went to the cartoleria (stationery shop) and noticed how many more people were in the streets. In front of my house, there were people walking outside. And not just tourists, there seemed to be more Italians. I was told that school started today and not last week, so that's why it was still quiet all last week.

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Living in Florence :: A quiet Sunday morning

Early this morning, I went to Piazza Ferrucci to meet some friends. I walked along the Arno away from town and was pleased at how peaceful the city seemed. There were a couple of people out walking their dogs. I didn't see many other people walking outside. Most people probably ride their bikes or scooters to get around this part of town.

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