by Melinda Gallo

First day back

Today I slept in while Dave went to the grocery store to buy some milk and a few other things. I woke up and drank my tea while I did my daily writing. A habit that I dropped while I was in Corsica. It's funny that I just didn't feel inspired to want to write anything too personal (which is what normally comes out in my daily writing), but it might be that I just need to feel more "alone" to write.

I took a shower and got dressed to go out to the market. I got outside and wondered what I was going to tell the macellaio (butcher) since he asked me a few months ago if I was going on vacation and I responded no. The time he asked me, I wasn't completely sure we were going to go to Corsica.

The ortolana (fruit and vegetable vendor) that I normally go to wasn't there. She told me she was going on vacation for a few weeks. She told me that she doesn't get any other vacation all year long, so she takes full advantage of the summer to relax. I don't blame her. She's got a tough job.

I had to go to another ortolano so I went to one I'd been to only once before for lettuce when my ortolana was out of lettuce. The two women working there (probably another mother-daughter pair) were polite. The younger woman picked everything out for me and bagged all my items. At the ortolana, I go to, I normally do it all myself. It's just a habit because I see she serves some people as well.

After I paid her, she told me, "Buona giornata!" (have a nice day) as I left. I was a bit surprised since not many people say that much. I do once in a while, but not enough. I felt really good that she said that to me.

I went inside the market to my macellaio. He was smoking a cigarette at the other end of the counter and when he saw me, he put it down and came over to help me. It was great to see him again. It felt almost like I belong here. He asked me if I was on vacation and I told him that I went to Corsica. He smiled and said that it's a beautiful place. Another woman was waiting to talk to him, so I cut the conversation short although he wasn't rushed at all.

I then went to the alimentari (grocer) and I asked the man how his vacation was. And he said they just got back on Monday. He didn't tell me where they went and I didn't ask either. They're always very nice to me and it's interesting that they are the only ones who use "lei" (formal form of you) with me. Everyone else I've now seen for about nine months and it took only two times before they used "tu" (familiar form of you).

I got home, made some pasta with fresh mozzarella, basil, tomatoes, and a touch of garlic. I forgot how I did pasta and just poured half the package out into the boiling water. I realized that I put almost 250g of pasta in there for the both of us. We must have missed eating our daily serving of pasta and we ate it all up. But, at least we were hungry. We ate so much in Corsica that we'd sit down at the table to eat all the delicious food, but not with much appetite.

It wasn't too hot outside either, so it was comfortable enough for us to keep the windows open until the sun started to set (and before the mosquitoes would fly inside). It was a great first day back to Florence.

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