by Melinda Gallo

It's good to be home

After two weekends away from Florence, we're so happy to be home. The only time I went out was to go to the market to buy fresh vegetables, fruit, meat, and cheese today. I almost never go to the supermarket any more and have become a regular at the outdoor market.

When I went to the market this morning, the ortolana (green grocer) reminded me that it's closed on Thursday. "Festa di San Giovanni" I responded. I knew that Florence's festival of Saint John was coming up, but since I haven't been keeping up with events, I forgot which day it was going to be.

When we left for Venice on Friday, we walked past the Piazza di Santa Croce to get a taxi and they had already begun building bleachers in the middle and were about to pour dirt in the middle for the Historical Football matches.

I reminded the ortolana that I owed her 2 Euros for the avocado and tomatoes I bought last week. She smiled and just added it to the amount I owed her today. I was flattered that she told me to pay her next time. I had the cash, but I understood that she was packing up and just couldn't be bothered to take my money or get change for me.

Last week I arrived to the market late and ran up to her booth while she was packing up her things for the day. I asked her if she had any lattuga (butter lettuce), but she had already run out. She handed me a business card from her back pocket and said, "La prossima volta, mi puoi chiamare per mettere da parte quello che vuoi se non ce la fai." (Next time you can call me to put things aside if you can't make it on time.)

I then went to all my other regular stops, the butcher, the cheese man, and the small grocer inside the market. I was so happy to be home and to be back in my routine. I thought I wanted a break from all of this, but in the end, it just made me appreciate my life in Florence just a bit more.

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