by Melinda Gallo

Back to the gym

We signed back up at the gym today. We really have no excuse to not go since it is only a few blocks away. The gym itself is only about three times the size of our apartment, but it's clean, not crowded, and very close. Of course, we go at 10AM when not many people are there.

A lot of the people I know in Florence, I met at the gym. And even people in the US and England as well. I don't know why that is since I don't spend that much time there. My friends Simone (our landlord), Marta, Ornella, and a few others I met at the Palestra Ricciardi (where I don't go any more because it's too far from our place now). I still know people who go there and see them on the street and we talk to each other like long-lost friends.

I did try going there for a month, but walking a mile there and back and then running was too much for me. Besides, it's not that cold now, but soon it will be and I won't go out and walk a mile avoiding cars and people along the way.

I don't have high expectations of meeting a new friend at the gym, but I did decide to be open to it. When people enter and exit the locker room, most people in Italy say hello and goodbye. It's just customary: you look up at the person and say, "Ciao." Nothing fancy, nothing difficult.

There were only a few women who came and went by themselves and I said, "Buona giornata!" to each one as they left. It's not completely out of the ordinary, but it is more than people expect. I was happy to find that most people smiled at me and said either, "Anche a te" or "Altrettanto." (which mean, "and you too," "likewise" respectively).

I felt good as I left the gym, hoping that the smile they left with they'll keep all day.

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