by Melinda Gallo

Dave had been waiting for his new Apple 23" monitor that he ordered from the US. His friend Bryan got a discount for him and had it shipped to Dave's parent's house. When it arrived there, his dad took it to DHL to send it.

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We've been here less than a month and it seems we've been to the movies at least ten times already. With the Italian TV being what it is, our most favorite pasttime is to see movies. Almost every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, they show original language films, which are usually American.

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Today I went into the cartoleria (stationery store) to buy a few notebooks. There was a woman talking to the shopkeeper at the cassa (cash register) when I walked in. "Buongiorno," I said as I entered. They both responded and I headed for the notebook section. I picked up a few and noticed that the woman was still talking, so I decided to look around some more.

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Well, today I went to pick up my dry cleaning. I rattled off how many items I had, "Due panatloni, tre maglioni, e una camicia." (two pairs of pants, three sweaters, and a men’s shirt) The girl told me to come back "giovedě nel pomeriggio" (Thursday afternoon), which here means around 4PM.

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Tonight we went to my friend Simone's restaurant for sushi. They have a Japanese sushi chef that works here every Wednesday. Dave and I were a bit hesitant since the best sushi we ever had was near our house at Mikuni's. But, it's been almost a month since we've had sushi and Adriana and her boyfriend Alberto wanted to come and we never say no to sushi.

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I will never forget this evening. The installers from SKY television came to set up the satellite dish out on the terrace. No more argumentative talk shows with no resolution, no more slap-stick comedy on variety shows that last entire afternoons, no more 70's and 80's American TV series (like Murder She Wrote and MacGyver), and no more watching Italian soap operas because they're the only programs with subtitles.

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Dave left for school early this morning to learn Italian with my old teacher, Gianluca. It was great being in the house alone. I got to read and write in bed, drink my orange juice, and just take it slow relishing in my time at home sola soletta (by myself).

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When we were with Simone the other day, he told me that we should go to the "Coop" (which Florentines call "la Ho-op") supermarket instead of "La Standa." He said the prices are better and there is more of a selection too. It's on the other size of Piazza Beccaria, which has two lights to go across.

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Another cold day and we don't want to go outside. We open all the curtains and the sky is blue, but we know it's cold out there. We turn on the heaters and drink our coffees. Today, I decided to make an oven pancake that we both love.

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Well, our first trip to "I Gigli," the indoor mall in Sesto-Fiorentino (a suburb of Florence). We stood at Piazza Beccaria, waiting for Luigi, Yoshie, and Davide to pick us up. They arrived in their minivan and we jumped in.

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My friend Yoshie is Japanese and has been living in Florence ever since we met at Italian school 7 years ago. Since then she has been here living with her husband, Luigi, and their 5-year old son, Davide. Luigi is from another region of Italy, called Puglia. So between them, they each have a different accent. Yoshie's accent is Japanese, Luigi's is Pugliese and Davide's is Fiorentino.

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We were fortunate enough to get invited to two Thanksgivings this year, but unfortunately we could only go to one. We accepted the first invitation at Steph and Erez's place, so we went to Kristen's place for aperitivo (appetizers).

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Tonight I met Debora at the Cibrčo bar for a drink. The Cibrčo restaurant, not the bar where we met, is well known by tourists as a "must go to" restaurant when they come to Florence. She ordered a cappuccino and I ordered a Bloody Mary. When they brought us a plate with bowls containing three types of olives and a few pizzettine (small pizzas) for us to enjoy, we burst out laughing. Who has a cappuccino with an aperitivo?

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This morning we got up early to go to the Questura (police station) to give them our visas and other documents to receive our permessi di soggiorno (permits to stay). Our first stop was to the Italian insurance company to pay our annual fee for medical coverage.

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Simone, my friend and our landlord, told us that we could go to IKEA the Monday after we arrived. I certainly didn't hold him to it since plans made can always be broken, especially ones from over a month ago!

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