by Melinda Gallo

For months I have been wanting to run past the Duomo in the morning. I have imagined it a few times and the thought of it was what pushed me out of bed today. When we got up this morning to go running, I thought I probably couldn't do our normal 5 mile run because we went out for sushi last night and stayed out late.

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Living in Florence :: Enjoying the view

After lunch today at Zoe's with my friend Shannon, I walked up to Piazzale Michelangiolo to take a few pictures. I hadn't gone up there since last summer and when I looked up at San Miniato yesterday when I went running, I thought about the view of Florence from up there and how I hadn't seen it in a while. Lately, the weather has been a bit chilly, but not rainy, so I thought it would be a good day to go up.

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At 5:30 this morning I suddenly woke up. Alessandro and I had planned on going running this morning because we hadn't been out together since this summer. We laid out all of our running gear last night so that we could get dressed and just go. I immediately went to the living room to peek out the windows to see if it was foggy like it was most of the day yesterday, but it wasn't. I could see across the Arno quite clearly.

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Today was one of those special days that I hope will be repeated. I'm sure for some people it wasn't so great, but it was domenica ecologica (ecological Sunday) in Tuscany and in many of the cities, like Florence, no cars or even motorini (scooters) could circulate from 8:30AM to 6PM. Only city transportation like buses (which were kept to a minimum in the morning due to the marathon), police cars, taxis, and ambulances were able to drive in the city streets.

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I love my life. That's what came to my mind as I was riding my bici (bike) along the Arno after leaving San Niccolò this afternoon. It has been a gray day with intermittent rain, and still I am just so happy. Those four little words, which arrived at the same speed as the cool wind against my face, filled me with so much giddiness that I thought I'd lose balance and fall off of my bici.

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For the first time in a long time, I wanted to pick up the telephone and call my mom. Even though she has passed away over six years ago, I still get these inklings to call her. And as usual, it took me a few moments before I realize that I couldn't.

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Living in Florence :: I love Mondays

I know some people don't like Mondays because they are the beginning of the week. And after a nice weekend, it can sometimes be difficult to start up on Monday. Unfortunately (or fortunately) with my work, everyday is a workday, so Monday is no different from any other day. I absolutely love Mondays in Florence though. Most mornings during the week are wonderful if you walk around downtown or go shopping, but Monday mornings are the best. The downside is that all the museums are closed and many of the shops don't open until the afternoon on Mondays, but the upside is that the streets are quieter and there are fewer people milling around downtown.

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In our quest to getting our certificato di matrimonio (marriage certificate) trascritto (transcribed) at the comune (town hall) here in Florence, we have to file the certificato di matrimonio with an Apostille at the Italian Consulate. Besides the certificato di matrimonio, we had to also give them a photocopy of Alessandro's passport and a modulo (form), which we picked up at the Italian Consulate when we were in California last month. The man at the front desk explained everything and was kind enough to help me out when I had questions about the modulo while I was waiting for my traduzioni (translations) to be verified.

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I can't believe that I've been living in Florence for the last three years. I was looking back at the beginning of my blog and was surprised that it was November 16th. I read a few entries and was surprised at how much my life has changed and how much I too have changed.

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Living in Florence :: Art Crawl

Tonight I went to an "Art Crawl," which is FITC's creative alternative to the pub crawl. I have only heard about pub crawls and have seen many students stumbling from bar to bar, consuming large amounts of alcohol. When I heard about the Art Crawl, I thought it would be fun to take part in it even though I'm not a student. The Florentine photographer Cosimo Bargellini, who also teaches at FUA - Florence University of the Arts, came to talk about taking photos of Florence at night.

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I received an email yesterday through my blog from an American student, Erica, who is doing her semester year abroad here in Florence right now. She asked to meet up with me to talk about a project she is working on for school. She's putting together a project detailing her experience in Florence and she wanted to contrast it with other people's experience in Florence. I was flattered by her request and met with her today in Piazza Santa Croce.

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Before I left for the US last month, I went to the Posta (post office) to ask at the Infopoint Migranti about my permesso di soggiorno (permit to stay) because it expired on October 31st. I told them that I was going to be filing for cittadinanza italiana (Italian citizenship) a little less than a week after the expiration date. The woman told me not to worry too much because they will let me renew my permesso di soggiorno even two months after the expiration date.

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I scheduled my appuntamento (appointment) to file all of my paperwork at the Prefettura (Prefecture) a month ago. When I went to meet Sig. C. (Mr. C.) , I was optimistic because it seemed as if all my paperwork was in order. Sig. C. told me that I needed to get my two translations stamped by the Italian consulate in the US, and I did that.

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Living in Florence :: Raccolta delle olive

Last night, Alessandro's friend called to get me to talk to Alessandro about going to do the raccolta delle olive (pick olives). It's the season right now as the olives are perfect for making olive oil. I had been wanting to go and even asked Alessandro's dad if I could go with him, but because of our trip to the US I didn't insist on it as we both have a lot of work to catch up on. Needless to say, the early morning departure didn't appeal to me either, but I picked uva (grapes) a few years back and wanted to try my hand at the raccolta delle olive (olives).

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Over the past few days, I have called or seen most of my friends to tell them the news of our getting married while Alessandro has been stopping by to see his friends to surprise them with the wonderful news and to show pictures of our wedding. All of his friends have accepted and welcomed me with open arms from the beginning, which has made me incredibly happy. Many of them were kind enough to remember my birthday and send me text messages for my birthday. And, a few of them were invited to my birthday party dinner because we have become so close already in such a short amount of time.

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