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Walking over to Oltrarno to visit Simone

Saturday, October 14, 2006

This afternoon I took a walk over Ponte alle Grazie bridge to see Simone at his restaurant. I have only seen two of my friends since coming back to Florence. I have exchanged messagini (SMS messages) with almost all of my friends as it's the easiest way to contact each one. Only one or two friends of mine called me on the telephone, i.e. my friend Rossana called me on my first day back just to say, "Ben tornata!" (Welcome back!)

I walked past Santo Spirito church and through the piazza to get to Simone's restaurant to chat with him. I brought him back a few gifts from the States, like a serrated vegetable/fruit peeler and a bottle of vanilla extract. He didn't believe me that the serrated peeler could even peel tomatoes, so when he tried it and it worked, his face lit up. Now, he wants me to get him a few more.

We talked while he was making gnocchi. My mouth watered as I watched him knead the dough and rolled it out on the floured stainless steel counter. I could smell the noce moscata (nutmeg) that he put in his gnocchi. He cut the dough into small pieces and imprinted each piece with a fork. I was almost mesmerized at his technique because he could practically do it without even looking.

I told him about my apartment hunting, and he was surprised that I saw so many in such a short period of time. He didn't mention that he was that anxious to move back, but he was also a little stressed about work. It seems that his restaurant has become increasingly busy. While I was there, at least four phone calls came in from people making reservations for tonight.

Valentina, who is one of Simone's partners at the restaurant, told me about another apartment near the restaurant. My mind seems to open a little bit about living in the Oltrarno area. Maybe we do need a change.

I started feeling hungry standing in his kitchen with him while he worked, so I told him I had to go home because it was about time for me to cook dinner. I walked back the same way I came and by the time I reached my apartment, I was quite tired. I felt almost out of breath from the walk. During my one month in the US, I hardly walked at all. I got used to driving around the parking lot to find the closest spot to the entrance, and now I walk at least a mile to go and see a friend!

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