by Melinda Gallo

Today I went to a shop called "Via della Seta" (Silk Street). I've been wanting to go in because it's filled with Chinese silk items. Sometimes my own Chinese heritage decides to take a stand. I mean really...I can't just validate the Italian side all the time. I live here, I speak Italian, I eat Italian food...

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I normally avoid going to the bakery at lunch time. It's always so busy, but I thought I'd buy Dave some fritelle because he likes them so much from this one bakery that's on the way home from the market. I've gone to at least 10 different bakeries and this one has the best ones I've eaten so far. Not too much rice, not too heavy, and not too greasy. They only have them during the Carnevale, which ends in a few weeks.

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Today was the first day we had guests over for any meal. Our friends Steph, Erez, and their son Jonah came over to our place for brunch. I had a blast going shopping, straightening up the house, and preparing a meal for other people. I forgot how much fun it is to share a great American treat with others.

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Today I went to the market to buy another plant. It was a busy day as are most Saturdays. The people who don't normally go to the market come on Saturdays. And those who come early during the week, come later on Saturdays, so it seems that every booth is overly crowded.

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For once, I actually looked at the shops on Ponte Vecchio. It's odd, but when you live in a place you actually see less and less of the tourist places...and even the tourists.

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I made tiramisù for my friend Debora and her boyfriend Paolo yesterday. I found the recipe on the Internet and made it the last time I went to Debora's house for dinner. I am very lucky when it comes to picking recipes out. I had to make the tiramisù once before I could bring it to Debora's house the first time.

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The locker room at the gym is quite small, about 15 feet wide and 20 feet long. There are lockers all around the walls and two benches in the middle. Today there were four American girls getting dressed at opposite ends of the locker room and talking to each other over everyone's heads. I bowed my head and hoped they wouldn't notice my American deoderant or get a glimpse of me and ask me if I was American. I don't normally stand out as an American even in the States, but I was so embarrassed by how loud they were that I just quickly got into my gym clothes and ran out.

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As I was leaving the hair salon, with all my bottles of lavendar oil, herbal tea, shampoo, and conditioner, the girl at the front desk decided to also put some make-up on me as a special treat. She probably put on more than I would normally feel comfortable with. I had pink plastic, shiny lips the kind that my husband detests. The ones that look like you could just take it all off in one piece. All I could think of was I'm sure I have some Kleenex in my purse to wipe this off before I get home. Dave would probably freak out if he saw me.

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Sunday is the worst day to ever channel hop in Italy. Luckily, we have satellite TV, but for old time's sake, I thought I'd take a look at what mostly everyone else watches. Well, no one admits to watching these TV shows (none of my friends would ever say that they even turn on the TV on a Sunday afternoon), so I wonder who really does watch these variety shows that last hours and hours.

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The Post Office in Italy is more than just a place where you send and pick up packages. It's also a bank and a place where you can pay all of your bills, like those for water, electricity, phone, gas, and even Satellite TV.

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Today was not a day we wanted to be outside. It was a little cloudy and windy and the temperature was around 0°C. I met Dave on Ponte Vecchio this afternoon and we went looking for a restaurant to have lunch. It was so cold that when we saw a small scarf vendor, we decided to buy ourselves scarves. There were two American girls looking at all the scarves, picking through them one by one and asking the price of each one.

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My friend Marta and I went walking around town today, but it was absolutely freezing outside. I took her to my favorite chocolate place where they serve little hot chocolates. I ordered mine with peperoncino as usual. It's spicy, but so good. Who would've thought that a little red pepper could be so good with chocolate. Marta tried it and loved it too! It's nice when I'm able to share something I love with someone and they like it too.

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I'm not one to go for a doctor’s visit much since I normally just go the homeopathic route. But, I actually heard about a gynecologist who was also a homeopathic doctor. Back in the US, it's quite rare. Normally, a doctor is a doctor and a homeopathic doctor is a homeopathic doctor. They seem to not mix as well back home.

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Some people think my accent is a little French and others don't think so. I can't really tell that much; however, I do know that once in awhile I'll say a word with a French twang. Instead of saying, "documentazione" where the "men" is pronounced the same as in English, I'll say "mawn" (rhyming with lawn). And thus, my French accent shines through. I'm not French, but I speak it fluently, lived in Paris for 6 years and majored in French Literature in college.

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