by Melinda Gallo

Three expats out for lunch

What do three expats do when they get together in Florence? They go and eat Chinese food! Cristina Fassio (from Expats in Italy), Beth O'Connor and I were planning on eating sushi for our first incontro (meeting), but all the sushi places in downtown Florence either don't serve lunch or were closed today for lunch.

I jumped on the "A" bus in via Ghibellina near my house. It was the first time I ever took this little electrical bus. I usually walk down a few of the streets that it goes down, like via del Corso, and try to avoid getting hit by its rear view mirror as it passes me. It was a lot of fun going down the narrow streets in the comfort of a bus. And, the trip was exceptionally quick.

I arrived at the Piazza dell'Unità and walked to Vivimarket, which is where we planned to meet. I had never met Cristina or Beth before and luckily the international market was small enough where we wouldn't miss each other.

I bought some goodies like Double-stuff Oreos (for almost 10 Euros!), which is odd because I haven't bought a package since my first year in college. I guess sometimes we miss what we don't have. I also purchased some Bull Dog sauce as per Cristina's advice. Cristina and Beth didn't walk out empty handed either.

We walked to a Chinese restaurant near Piazza Strozzi that Beth knew well even though Cristina vowed she'd never eat in a Chinese restaurant in Florence after some of the restaurants were caught dumpster diving.

It was wonderful hearing about their lives here in Italy, like how they got here, what they do, and how they enjoy it here. As we ate up our food, we talked and laughed like old friends. I was happy to have met a couple of American expats in Italy as I actually don't know of any in Florence.

Afterwards, we walked to the Paperback Exchange where Cristina was treated like a rock star. The girl behind the counter was so excited as she raved about the Expats in Italy website. She met her roommate through the site.

We were trying to go to Pegna, but it was closed for lunch and wouldn't open for another hour. A bit disappointed, but still adamant about looking around some more.

We walked around some more downtown and took in the beautiful day albeit a little chilly. Hopefully next time we meet-up in Florence, we'll be able to have sushi too although Cristina doesn't come to Florence much since she and her family are happy on her Tuscan hill near Siena.

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