by Melinda Gallo

Going to the market on a cold, but sunny day

Today it was chilly again, but the sun was out. The temperature wasn't necessarily cold, but the wind felt like a sheet of ice hitting your face.

I went to the market today for the second time this week. I got there a little too late to go to my normal fruit/vegetable vendor, so I went inside (where it was warm) to get everything else I needed. I stopped off at my usual butcher's, the fresh pasta place, the little grocery store, and the bakery.

When I walk by the other vendors, I look in their cases and am afraid to look them in the face. I'm afraid to be unfaithful to the vendors I go to because they'll see me at the other counters. I'll have to try the others...they might be better and I'd never know it. Maybe when my vendors aren't looking.

The woman at the grocery store asked me what kind of a coffee machine I had at home when I asked for a particular brand of coffee. She asked me, "Passa troppo veloce il caffè?" (Does the coffee came out too fast?). "Forse," I said and then she explained to me that I should use a different type because it is ground especially for electric espresso coffee makers.

As I walked home, I realized how different my life is here in Florence. I balanced the bags; a few in each hand like those women you see in Africa who carry jugs of water. I used to drive to the grocery store, pick the closest spot, get a cart, fill it up, have someone else bag everything for me, and cart it all back to the car. Now, I'm walking blocks home with heavy bags almost every other day.

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