by Melinda Gallo

Instead of leaving the house at 6:30 am with Alessandro to go running, I went out alone at 7:45 am. I didn't think there would be a big difference only an hour later, but there was. The first thing I noticed was the amount of people outside. The minute I left our piazza, I had to run past a fermata dell'autobus (bus stop) where school children were getting off the bus. I had to stop running and say, "Permesso (Excuse me)" at least four or five times to get by.

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Living in Florence :: Corri la Vita

The last thing I thought I would be doing was running alone in the Corri la Vita walkathon/marathon. Alessandro and I had signed up a few days ago, but after our long run yesterday we decided not to go. I woke up early today and put on my running gear including the race's maglietta (T-shirt), donated by Salvatore Ferragamo, and walked to Piazza Santa Croce. I wanted to go so that I could pick up the pacchi gara (competitor's gift packages), exchange Alessandro's maglietta for a larger one, and take some pictures of the event because I had never participated before.

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This morning we somehow made it out the door a little after 6:15 am. The air was cool in the early before the sun rises, so I prepared myself for the low temperatures and put on my sweats, wool cap, and gloves. The streets were even quieter than they were during the week. There was a light breeze that nudged us along the lungarno (street along the Arno river). I looked down at the fiume (river) and the water wasn't as still as it was the last two times we went running this week. The reflection of the buildings in San Niccolò on the Arno looked more like an impressionist painting.

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I was ecstatic when I received a large white envelope from California with my voting materials on Wednesday. Alessandro was shocked that it was so thick because he thought I'd only be voting for the president of the United States. I explained to him that each state includes other propositions in my state as well as other local offices in the county where I am registered.

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At 6:30am, we were in the piazza below our apartment about to run along the Arno. When we reached the fiume (river), I could see the dark outline of the Tuscan hills that we were running toward. The sun had still not come up, so a sliver of yellow light behind the hills was making the hills stand out even more. I glanced at the Arno to our left and it was shimmering in dark shades of blue.

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After an entire week of wearing summer clothes in less than summer weather, I gave up hope today that the weather might warm back up. It rained a few times this last week, but mostly the weather has been sunny and much cooler. When I woke up this morning, I decided to switch the clothes in my armadio (closet) from summer ones to winter ones. Because our apartamento (apartment) is rather small and storage space is limited, we have to switch the clothes in our armadio when there is a change of season: there's no fitting all our clothes together.

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Living in Florence :: Impressionismo a Palazzo Strozzi

Today my girlfriend and I visited Palazzo Strozzi's current mostra (exhibition), Impressionismo: dipingere la luce (Impressionists: Painting Light). I have been impressed with all the mostre that I've attended at Palazzo Strozzi, so when a new one arrives I usually plan a visit as soon as I can. After going to two mostre, I've understood that the Palazzo Strozzi is not only successful in presenting the artwork, but also in communicating intriguing information about it.

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Living in Florence :: Biblioteca delle Oblate

Today I finally made it to the Biblioteca delle Oblate. A friend of mine wanted to show me the biblioteca (library) because I hadn't yet been. She raved to me about it, which only made me want to go even more. This morning we met up at a bar to have a caffè (coffee) and walked to the biblioteca together under the sunny, but cloudy sky.

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After my pranzo (lunch) with my suoceri (in-laws), it was time for the Fiorentina to play their Sunday partita (game). Two friends of my suocero (father-in-law) came over to watch it with us. I sat at the end of the (couch) with my suocero and his friends while Alessandro sat on a chair next to me. His mother stayed in the cucina (kitchen) to watch something else.

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This morning was like any other morning this week: a bright sun high above a clear, blue sky accompanied by heavy, humid air. I had to shut my windows earlier this afternoon because of the heat wafting in from the outside. At around 5pm, I saw grey clouds looming behind the hills of the city. A bolt of lightning struck behind the low hills in San Niccolò that caught my eye. And shortly after, it began to rain. When I opened the window again, the temperatures had dropped many degrees. I had to shut the window immediately because it was cold.

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For the past few days, I've been flipping through the Firenze Spettacolo looking for a new class to take. September is the month when everything seems to start up again, and somehow it feels inspiring to me to do something new. Alessandro and I feel like doing something new. We've talked about taking classes in Tai Chi, Kung Fu, Karate, Tae Kwon Do, or Jujitsu.

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It's September and even though the temperatures are still high, autunno (fall) is officially here. It's sad to see the end of estate (summer) during which I enjoyed quieter streets and neighborhoods, but I'm happy for the change. My favorite place to see the change of seasons is in the food that's available. Now that estate is gone, I'll miss the cocomero (watermelon) and fiori di zucca (zucchini flowers).

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Living in Florence :: Festa della Rificolona

My friend Lisa had mentioned the Festa della Rificolona to me at least a week ago, but I didn't think I'd attend because I knew it was mostly for children. When I went to meet up with my friend Stef, who used to live here, at a parco (park) near Piazza Libertà today, I didn't think I'd be going to the Rificolona. We were joined by her friend and her friend's daughter for dinner near the Duomo and I accompanied them to Piazza Santissima Annunziata.

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After being away from Florence a few days, I wanted to walk around to a few of my favorite places to say hello to my beloved city. Because I was so exhausted from our trip and had work to catch up on, I planned a passeggiata (stroll) around the centro storico (historical center) in my head and couldn't wait for today when I could finally go out. I have been peering out the window at the brownish Arno river for a few days while I gathered strength for today's passeggiata.

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Living in Florence :: Campo Imperatore

On our way back to Florence, we decided to drive up to Campo Imperatore, which is at an altitude of about 2100 meters. All along the two-lane highway that leads up to the Campo Imperatore we saw cavalli (horses) and mucche (cows) grazing. There were very few cars driving down the road, but when we arrived up at the stazione sciistica (ski resort), there were a few cars, motorcycles and a bus.

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Living in Florence :: Alba Adriatica

It's been at least seven years since I've been to the mare (seaside) in Italy to go to bagnarmi (go swimming). I was happy when Alessandro stopped the car in Alba Adriatica because I have also never been to the Eastern coast of Italy. We drove over 1200 kilometers the past three days straight, so it was relaxing to finally pick a place to stay two nights.

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