by Melinda Gallo

Instead of my usual brisk walk through the piazza to get to where I want to go, I decided to sit on one of the cement benches on the sunny side of the piazza. Instead of looking at the church and the surrounding buildings, I watched the people.

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People often ask me where I come from. I have learned not to say, "American" because they usually assume South American. So, I tell them jokingly, "Sono Californiana...non si vede?" (I'm Californian, can't you tell?). When I said that the other day at the market, a guy responded, "Hai perso la tua abbronzatura." (You lost your tan.)

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Living in Florence :: What a difference a week makes

Today, I walked through the Piazza di Santa Croce and saw people all over as if it were already Spring. Last week, with the snow, there was only one group of Japanese tourists huddled together walking briskly through the piazza. This week, there are people all over: kids on school trips, many different tour groups, and other people sitting on the steps in front of the church. It felt great to be outside in the sun where today's temperature is about 14°C (about 57°F). I almost wanted to stay outside and not come back home.

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As Marta's boyfriend drove us home from dinner last night through the narrow streets near Santo Spirito, people seemed to be everywhere. Mostly women out celebrating the Festa della donna (women's day) and men looking for a good time, which means going wherever the women are.

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Last night we went to dinner with our two friends Alberto and Adriana and they invited two more friends that we met for the first time, Irene and Marco. We met at a restaurant around the corner from our apartment, called "Il Francescano." Dave and I had been there before, but weren't that impressed.

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Living in Florence :: Fair-weathered tourists

The sun was shining brightly into our apartment this morning and made me want to get out. After breakfast I decided to take Dave up to La piazzale Michelangelo. Since we arrived back in November, we've only visited a few things downtown because the weather has been quite chilly. We were driven up to the piazzale once last year during our first trip to Florence, but today we decided to walk up.

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I have always been intrigued by nuns ever since I saw "The Flying Nun" on TV when I was a little girl. Here in Italy I have seen nuns mostly in churches and convents. The older nuns are usually Italian while the younger ones usually come from South America, India, and the Philippines.

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Living in Florence :: Snowing again?

Today instead of watching the snow from our apartment, I wanted to go out to take some pictures so I could remember what Florence looked like with snow. I quickly got dressed to go outside, putting on two scarves, gloves, and a hat.

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I have never met my neighbors and yet I know a tiny bit about them. We pass each other in the stairwell and say either buongiorno or buona sera depending on the time of day. We sometimes hold the door open for one another and yet we don't even known each other's name.

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Living in Florence :: Standing alone on Ponte alle Grazie

I took being woken up by the sun on the first of the month as a sign of hope. I decided to do something completely different today; something out of my normal routine. So, this morning after breakfast I went for a walk to the Arno river. It's only about a 5 minute walk from our apartment and yet I've only been there once before since we moved here.

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Dave woke up before me as usual today. I took over the bed and bundled myself up in the down comforter we brought from the States. Half-asleep, I listened to Dave go down the stairs and into the kitchen to make his morning cup of coffee. It's already Monday; time to get up and get the week started.

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The cold hasn't let up yet. For the last three months, the temperature has never gotten above 10°C (50°F) and is usually more around 3°C (37°F). Each day I hope it'll be warmer, but it ends up not being much different than the day before. Today, for example, it was overcast and a touch below zero (Celsius). I opened the glass doors that lead to the terrazza and quickly closed them. Just a small amount of air that I felt on my face made me not want to venture out any further.

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We woke up this morning with the sun shining in our bedroom and into our eyes. Most people have large green shades that they close at night to keep the sun out, but we welcome it even when it arrives early in the morning like today.

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Sometimes I forget that I live in one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Sometimes I forget that people from all over the world dream of coming here. Sometimes I forget how much I love Florence. And sometimes I forget that Florence is my home.

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Living in Florence :: Una bella nevicata in cittą

It was the talk of the town today. Snow, snow, and more snow. I thought I saw snow yesterday, but today I was shown even more! The whole city was quiet and most people watched the bella nevicata (good snowfall) this morning from their apartments.

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