by Melinda Gallo

Extended Christmas holiday

Today is Santo Stefano. Yet another holiday in Italy. Supposedly this holiday was introduced by the Italian government to extend the Christmas holiday by one day. Although others say that it's the day that announced the birth of Jesus. For whatever reason, today everything (except a few restaurants and some shops downtown) was closed. Even the little Chinese market, which is open every day of the year, was closed.

All the after-Christmas sales won't begin for another week, so shops aren't in a hurry to open.

Dave and I visited friends in the early evening in Piazza Pitti. There were lots of people, more than I'd seen in a long time, hanging out downtown. I can't say that they were shopping since not much was open, so I guess they were just out walking outside in large groups.

We then went for Mexican food at a restaurant in via Ghibellina, which is called Tijuana. The food was pretty good considering we haven't had Mexican food in Florence before. I got mole enchiladas, which were so spicy my mouth felt like it was on fire and could only be put out my my margarita con ghiaccio (on the rocks). I even ordered extra jalape˝os because I haven't eaten them in a long time. I used to buy them by the jars in the States and eat them with anything remotely Mexican.

The woman at the restaurant, as I told Dave after we spoke to her the first time, was from Brazil. She came up to me and asked me, "Di dove sei?" (Where are you from?) I responded, "Della California per˛ tutti pensano che io sia brasiliana." (From California, but everyone thinks I'm Brazilian.) "Pensavo anch'io per˛ il tuo accento che non Ŕ brasiliano." (I thought so too, but your accent isn't Brazilian) she replied. Finally, someone from Brazil who also thinks I'm from Brazil. That was a first for me. Usually, only Italians think I'm Brazilian or Peruvian.

We walked home, luckily it wasn't far since the margaritas were quite strong for me, and ate some of the banana bread I made this afternoon. I've been in a huge cooking binge and can't seem to cook enough. I'm even thinking of making some pumpkin bread now before I go to sleep.

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