by Melinda Gallo

Ever since I returned from the US a few weeks ago, Iíve been wanting to go to the questura (police station) to get my Italian passport. When I took my giuramento (oath) for my Italian citizenship, the man told me that once I got a letter from them that everything has been transcribed, I could go to the questura and get my passport. I have learned than to take anyoneís word for anything and checked on-line what the procedure is to get a passport. When I viewed the website of the Florence questura, it gave clear instructions and a downloadable form to fill out.

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One thing I love about Florence is the change of seasons. Being originally from California where the change is usually warm or cool with a month of rain, I never knew that the change of seasons could be so lovely. I had read about the different seasons, saw pictures of them, but never really experienced them growing up. Out of all the seasons, my two favorite ones are the more active ones: spring and fall. There is something magical about watching nature either expand or contract.

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One of the things I love most about living in a different country is picking up new words and expressions. I find each language rich with history and personality. After living in Florence for almost nine years now, I am happy to continue learning new things. Itís a wonderful feeling to pick up something new. Even in English, Iím still enriching my vocabulary so it makes sense that in Italian I would do the same.

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On Sunday, my marito (husband) surprised me with a trip to a resort spa with terme (thermal baths) for our wedding anniversary. I have been wanting to go for a long time, so I was very excited when he told me that we were going and spending two nights there. A few years ago, I went to Montecatini with a couple of girlfriends to spend a day at the terme, but we didnít spend the night. I have been dreaming about going to a spa resort with terme for a long time. After all the traveling Iíve been doing lately, I was eager to take a break without having to fly anywhere. And, to me, Monsummano Terme fit the bill perfectly.

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Even though I ran a lot when I was in the States, the one thing I truly missed was walking. I love to walk around Florence to run errands, visit friends, and take in the sights. I enjoy walking in the morning instead of running at times especially to my favorite place: Piazzale Michelangiolo.

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While I write this post, I am on an airplane to Paris from Boston and by the time I post it, Iíll be in the CDG airport. I left for a business trip in the US at the end of September. During my flight from Florence to Paris, the sun was a bright red while it was setting to the West. I spent the night at an airport hotel and woke up early for a flight to San Francisco. I went to my French companyís office in San Jose for a week in preparation for a conference we were having in Boston. I was asked to go a few months ago and was very excited. My company has been holding these conferences for many years, and I used to attend them as a web/database developer. The last time was four years ago in Memphis.

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