by Melinda Gallo

I always thought that prendere freddo allo stomaco (getting a cold draft on your stomach) was an old wives' tale. I've heard people say that you should cover up your stomach after you eat because it could cause you digestive problems. I never really knew what happened until we went to dinner Saturday night with my suoceri (in-laws). In the restaurant, the air conditioner was on very high while we were having dinner and suddenly my suocero (father-in-law) wasn't feeling well. He got so bad that we had to call an ambulanza (ambulance).

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Living in Florence :: Festa di San Giovanni

Each city in Italy has its own festa (holiday), which is based on the day of the city's patrono (patron saint). Florence's patrono is San Giovanni Battista (Saint John the Baptist) is today, June 24th. I walked around a little bit earlier today and saw that many shops were closed in centro (downtown) even though the streets were filled with turisti (tourists), enjoying the city and its monuments. For tonight's fuochi d'artificio (fireworks), we decided to see them from our place instead of standing along the lungarno (street along the Arno) as we did last year.

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After last night's temporale (thunder storm), we woke up to cooler temperatures and grey skies. My girlfriend and I had decided a couple of weeks ago to go to the spa to get pampered. Erin and I were fortunate enough that we had our big corsa (run) last night. At times during the corsa, I did think about our spa day and kept telling myself that I'd be rewarded for the sforzo (effort).

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Last night we ran in the Notturna di San Giovanni. I had been a little worried about the race because it didn't start until 9pm. I generally run in the morning as a way to start my day. Erin, Alessandro, and I walked to the Duomo while the city was still glowing as the sun was slowly setting. We ran into Annette who was warming up near the punto di partenza (starting point).

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I am obviously intrigued by other expats. I know quite a few in Florence and am friends with others. I am fortunate to be able to write about them in The Florentine. I enjoy finding out how they made their way to Florence and what they do here. Just this week alone I was invited to a lunch where I met other expats that I didn't know and then a book launch at the Paperback Exchange where there were others. I'm fortunate to continually meet new people in the city who have moved here and hear about their stories.

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Since I plan to run in the Notturna di San Giovanni next Saturday night, I wanted to make sure I was ready for it. I try to run about 5-6 kilometers each time and sometimes even include a slight incline to Piazzale Michelangiolo. Today, however, Alessandro and I decided to run a further distance to be more prepared for the 10k gara podistica (running competition).

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Any time an author comes to talk publicly, I love to see him/her speak. It's especially interesting to me when an author writes about Florence to see how they see the city. I had seen Christobel Kent's books in the bookshop, but haven't had a chance to read any of them yet. Yesterday evening she came to speak about her latest crime novel, "A Time of Mourning" at the Paperback Exchange.

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Living in Florence :: Thai cooking class

My mother exposed us to many different cuisines when I was growing up. And, I admit that living in Europe has brought me to seek out ethnic restaurants, especially Asian ones, no matter where I live. One of the reasons I created Dining in Florence was because I wanted to try all the sushi restaurants in town. I often eat Chinese, Japanese and Thai food because it reminds me a little bit of home. Today I was very excited because I would finally go to my first Thai cooking class held by Melanie from the Spice Lab at Saint James church in via Rucellai. Eating out is a treat, but I wondered how difficult it would be to learn how to make some of my favorite Thai dishes.

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On this cool summer morning, I am excited to go out for a run. Sometimes I'm not as motivated as I'd like to be, but when I know I'm going to be running up to the Piazzale Michelangiolo, I feel almost giddy. I love how I can see David from Ponte alle Grazie and then make my way up the winding viale (tree-lined avenue) to finally see him looking out over the city.

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The results for the elezioni (elections) for the sindaco (mayor) of Florence came in, and there is no winner. For there to be a winner, someone has to receive 51% of the votes, and no one did. So now on June 21st there will be a ballottaggio (second ballott) where there will be only two candidates: Galli and Renzi. One center-right and the other center-left. Traditionally Florence is socialist; however, the results of the elezioni show a tendency to lean a little more to the right.

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After a friend talked to me about her quick experience with Jin Shin Do I was interested to learn more about it. She explained that it was a combination of acupressure and Reiki. I have studied Reiki a little bit and just recently took an introductory class on Chinese medicine that I enjoyed. I decided to go for a Jin Shin Do trattamento (treatment/session) last Thursday with the instructor and was amazed at how powerful it was. I couldn't wait to learn more at today's presentazione (presentation), and even invited a friend of mine, Giovanna, to join me who is a naturopata (naturopath).

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For the past few weeks all that anyone has been talking about around town are the elections. I have heard people complain about the state of the city: dirtier and less safe. Many of the people I know have anger simmering right below the surface because their treasure is not being taken care of as it should be. I do hope that there will be a change for the better because my beloved city needs someone who will love and respect it more. Someone who will resuscitate it for the residents to enjoy and cherish once again. Luckily many tourists still experience its beauty and aren't exposed to the less appealing sides of the city.

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The first day of June was accompanied by a constant drizzle. Outside the closed windows I could still hear birds chirping in the ivy attached to a window of a neighboring building. Many locals took today off as tomorrow is festa (a holiday). Some people I knew headed for the beach in the hopes of the first warm weekend al mare (at the seaside). However ever since last Wednesday, the temperatures have slowly declined and brought back the rain today.

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