by Melinda Gallo

What can I say? The one place in all of Florence that I avoid almost more than a visit to the dentist's office. But, sometimes it's the only place that sells what I'm looking for. Today, I went to San Lorenzo with my new friend Ellen. It wasn't a planned trip, but we happened to be nearby browsing a few of the bookshops.

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Florence seems stagnant. Maybe because it's still August and nothing starts until next Monday. It is a little more peaceful here; however, the people that I know at the market said that it wasn't that quiet in August as in previous years. They were hoping for a slow month, but people seemed to still be in Florence.

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Dave and I are lucky and unlucky. Our jobs afford us the luxury of living anywhere in the world and so when we pick a place to live, it is everything to us. We have no other connections to the place other than those that we create ourselves. We don't go to work with anyone. We don't see many people on a daily basis. So, we are a bit more secluded than most people.

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Some days are like this. I wake up and don't feel all that excited about being in Florence. I guess it could be anywhere really, but I feel it more here because I chose Florence. It's like when you fall out of love. One day the person you love has no faults (or they just look "cute") and the next day that's all you see.

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Living in Florence :: La Rinascente

Dave and I decided to take a walk downtown today. I thought I should bring my camera to take a few pictures, but I always feel awkward doing it in the town I live in. I know that sounds silly, but I don't like appearing like a tourist when I'm not, which is probably why I take lots of pictures when I go anywhere else and hardly ever in Florence.

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I hadn't seen my friend Debora in a few months and the last time she came over I was helping her study for her final exam for university, which was in English. She came over yesterday and I showed her pictures of Corsica. She caught me up with what's happening with her and she told me that she's practically living at her boyfriend's house now.

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Today I slept in while Dave went to the grocery store to buy some milk and a few other things. I woke up and drank my tea while I did my daily writing. A habit that I dropped while I was in Corsica. It's funny that I just didn't feel inspired to want to write anything too personal (which is what normally comes out in my daily writing), but it might be that I just need to feel more "alone" to write.

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We set the alarm to get up fairly early and had our last breakfast on the terrace looking out onto the Mediterranean. Anita, Marie's mom, planned our lunch earlier in the day to accommodate our afternoon departure. We packed our bags, did a little bit of work, and helped with lunch. I was a little sad as I washed the lettuce and watched Dave set the table. Our stay in Corsica was now at an end.

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Living in Florence :: Last, but not least

Today we woke up fairly early to drive down the entire west coast to Bonifaccio, which is at the southern most tip of Corsica. We drove along the winding road from the Cap Corse to Bastia and then a fairly moderate road to Porto Vecchio and then to Bonifaccio.

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Living in Florence :: Getting our feet wet

Dave and I are not huge fans of the beach. We both would love to live near the water, to look out at it all we can, and to go on boat rides (especially with someone else driving). We both just don't like to sit out on a towel in the sun and turn over every half hour. It's just not for us. If we did go to the beach, and we haven't here in Corsica, it'd be for a few hours going between the shade and the water.

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Living in Florence :: From a sprinkle to a torrent

I was told Saturday that if it's dark in the west, where Isola d'Elba is located, it would rain here in Corsica. It was hard to believe because we were sitting on the terrace eating lunch in the shade, but the air was a little cool. There were a few clouds, but none too menacing. I sat in the sun after the meal to warm up and looked out. Is it really that dark over there? Is it really going to rain here?

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Living in Florence :: Around the Cap from east to west

Yesterday afternoon Marie and Todd invited us on a trip to Saint-Florent on the western coast of the "Cap Corse" (the Corsica Cape). So far we've been from Erbalunga (at the base of the Cap Corse on the easter side) up to the mill at the northern tip, Moulin Mattéi. So we left the house about 5PM, got gas, and headed west.

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An Italian side-effect on my French is the use of "tu" and "vous" (equivalents of "tu" and "Lei" in Italian). We don't have a familiar and formal "you" in English. I find the rules are a bit stricter in French than they are in Italian (at least in Florence where we live). I know better than to generalize about the Italian language because when I talk to any of my friends in Torino or Milano, they tell me things can be a little different.

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It's funny when I speak French and an Italian word pops into my mouth. The entire sentence comes out clearly and then BAM an Italian word. It's not even that the words are that close; it's more that they're just words I say habitually in Italian. "Ah sì." I mean "Oh, oui."

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We rented ATVs (quads in French) in Macinaggio with Todd, Marie, and her family friends tonight. I didn't know what they were called in English or French, but they're like dirt bikes with four wheels. When the others arrived at 7:30PM, we got fitted for helmets, received instructions on the rules, and got to test drive the ATVs.

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