by Melinda Gallo

Diving back into Florence

Normally, I return to Florence late Friday evening; however, this week, I returned on Tuesday at 6pm. I was initially going to spend a few more days in Paris even though I had already spent two weeks there, but cut my trip short so that I could see my soccer team play our archrival at the stadio (stadium) in Florence. The soccer season has only begun, but with my work schedule, I realized that the first partita (match) I could attend would be in December.

The first thing that surprised me upon my arrival was the warm air. In Paris, the temperatures had cooled down quite a bit and it was raining when the plane took off from the airport. I took in a deep breath and felt my body relax. Iím home, I thought, and it felt good.

After returning to my apartment, I immediately went to see my ortolano (greengrocer) to get some fruits and vegetables and then to a gastronomia to buy some bresaola and formaggio (cheese). I quickly ate an early dinner so that I could go to the partita. I had to leave my valigia (suitcase) as they were, unopened.

A friend drove me to the stadio and we walked there. The stadio was the fullest it has been in a long time. Our friends usually keep a couple of seats for us, but this time, they were unable to. We ended up standing in front of our friendsí seats, which basically meant that we couldnít see very well and had little space to stand. Luckily in the Curva Fiesole we are standing on our chairs, which allowed us to at least have some room to stand.

With a mix of different smokes (from cigarettes, fumogeni (smoke bombs), and other sources) circling around me, I was relieved when I could catch a whiff of fresh air every now and again. I was happy to be at the partita because I hadn't been since early summer. At times, I would watch the partita, look around me, and think at how odd it is to be back in Florence because only a few hours earlier I was at my desk in Paris.

After the partita, I walked home alone and looked in the shop vetrine (windows). I noticed a few new shops and restaurants as well as the fall fashions that have appeared even though the temperatures do not merit much of a change in wardrobe.

By the time I reached my apartment, I was almost in awe with how my day had gone. I woke up at 6am, ran around the Eiffel Tower, went to work, took a taxi to the airport after lunch, departed from Paris at 4pm and was in Florence by 6pm. The partita started at 8:45pm and I was in my apartment a little before midnight. It was a long day, but it allowed me to transition quickly to my Florentine life after leaving behind my Parisian one.

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