by Melinda Gallo

Since last night it hasn't stopped raining. I woke up listening to it falling outside. It wasn't a steady rain, sometimes it sprinkled and other times it began to pour. I slowly got out of bed and realized that I truly love the rain. The city is quiet with only the sound of rain falling on rooftops, the streets are cleaner, and the air becomes crisp.

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Today Dave and I took off a few hours from work and went shopping. We never shop together because we're usually busy working. Every time we walk by shops, and usually when they're closed, we find things we like. So today, we decided to finally take a short break and head downtown to the shops.

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I have been keeping up with the news on the tragedies following the hurricane. I've read the articles about the Superdome in New Orleans, seen many horrific pictures, and heard the New Orleans mayor's interview over the Internet that made me cry (as well as the mayor himself).

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Living in Florence :: Quick and wet visit

For the first time, we had visitors stay with us in our small apartment. Tom and Ruth slept on the fold-out couch, which we tried to make comfortable by placing a down comforter on the thin mattress, in our living room. We stayed up late last night (until about 3AM) talking and catching up. When we woke up this morning, we thought it would be best to just get outside and visit as much of the city as we could. They didn't have any plans of what they wanted to see, but wanted to get more of a feel for the city.

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I've had to keep a secret for about 6 weeks now and it has been very difficult for me. Dave's best friend Tom emailed me and told me that he and his wife would like to make a surprise visit in Florence for the weekend. He asked me to not tell Dave although each day it became harder and harder. I was so excited for Dave, but I just couldn't let myself spoil the surprise.

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Today I went to Il mercato di Sant'Ambrogio near my house where I go at least a few times a week to buy groceries. It was like a breath of fresh air. The people are nice to me since I go there a lot. They give me little discounts every time. I consider rounding down to the nearest Euro a discount.

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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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