Sunday, April 30, 2006

I loved Florence the minute I visited it a year before I planned on moving here. I knew that visiting a city and living in the same city would be different, but I was willing to risk it. I found the move to Florence more difficult than I had with other moves I'd made previously. I had arrived alone and was struggling to learn the language. I had no help, no friends, no job, no acquaintances, and no idea of what I was going to do next.

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Friday, April 28, 2006

Living in Florence :: La Mostra dell'Artigianato

One of my favorite things to do in Florence is go to the annual Mostra dell'Artigianato. I love to check out the different artists and craftsmen who present and sell their work. This year again, it was held at the Fortezza da basso (pictured here), which is located behind the train station.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Dave and I love going to the movies. The one time I took Dave to an Italian movie theater, the man in front of us was talking on the phone for a few minutes during the film. A few Italian kids tried to get him off, but he pretended not to hear them. Some Italians do talk during the film and can't seem to whisper. It's one of those habits that I have a hard time with.

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Living in Florence :: Day trip to San Casciano

A friend of mine, Francesca, referred me to an agopunturista (acupuncturist) in San Casciano, which is about 30-35 minutes by bus from Florence. My appointment wasn't until 4PM, but I had to take the 2:30PM bus. I rushed out of the house at 2PM and took a local bus up to the train station. I was surprised to see Gianluca, my former Italian teacher and friend, board the bus.

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

I rushed back to school so I could go out to dinner with the people at my Italian school. Some of the students were all dressed up and a few of the girls I almost didn't recognize. A few older-looking Italian guys were talking to Gianluca and when we all seemed to be there, he introduced us to them.

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

A girl I know from my yoga center, Donatella, asked me to come by her apartment today so that I could take pictures of her place. She and I had bumped into each other in centro (downtown) twice last week. The last time we saw each other, we planned that I would come over to take some pictures of her apartment for her. Donatella is hoping to rent it out while she's away in South America this summer.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

I went back to the mercato on Tuesday. It was closed on Easter Monday, Pasquetta. Our entire area seemed closed Monday. We had our windows open and our neighborhood was eerily quiet. I didn't hear any children in the nearby park where they usually play most afternoons. Some of our neighbors also seemed to be away because we couldn't hear them. Because the weather is a little warmer now, the windows to most apartments are open and I can hear a few of our neighbors talking, their TVs blaring, and the baby across the garden crying.

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Sunday, April 16, 2006

Living in Florence :: Pasqua a Pisa

Today Dave and I went with my sister, brother-in-law, and niece to Pisa. We were initially going to take the 11:27 train, but because we arrived at the train station in Florence at 10:45, I decided to try to get tickets for the 10:57 train. The line for picking up tickets for trains that depart within 15 minutes is fairly short most of the times, but for some reason, people were standing up at the sportello (window) for long periods of time. I kept looking at the clock and shifting my weight from one leg to the other. When the girl in front of me was just about to leave the sportello, I ran up and talked to the ticket agent from over the girl's shoulder.

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Saturday, April 15, 2006

After I first arrived in Florence years ago, I quickly realized that it was quite small. I found myself walking in centro (downtown) and bumping into people I either knew or saw just recently. Florence can feel almost provincial at times.

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Friday, April 14, 2006

Living in Florence :: Il Museo Stibbert

This afternoon we took a taxi from Piazza Santa Croce to Il Museo Stibbert. I had heard of the museum and even lived nearby back in 1997-1999, but had never gone to visit it. After my sister showed an interest in taking her family, I read about the museum on their website and decided that I definitely didn't want to miss it.

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Living in Florence :: Galleria degli Uffizi

I made reservations for my family to go to the Galleria degli Uffizi today. I decided to join them and handed the woman my tessera (membership card) for the "Amici degli Uffizi" to get my free ticket. We had to go to an office across the main entrance to pick up the tickets. We waited in a short line for a few minutes and then walked back to the special entrance for groups and reservations and were ushered quickly inside. After going through the metal detectors, we walked up the grand steps a few levels up and began our tour of the Uffizi.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Living in Florence :: Touring around Florence with my niece

After another picnic lunch today, I took my niece to get her afternoon gelato. Her parents went shopping and the two of us got to hang out together. I love spending time with my niece alone. It's fun to walk down the street holding her hand. She enjoys looking at the buildings and streets and is quite aware of what is going on around her.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Today I went to the mercato and picked up a few things for my family to enjoy for lunch. We have been eating out so much that I decided that it'd be good to eat a few things at home. I had an idea of what to get, but of course, it was much clearer when I arrived at the mercato.

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Sunday, April 9, 2006

Living in Florence :: Visiting Florence with my family

I love it when my family visits me in Florence. Besides spending a lot of time together, I also get a chance to visit my city a little bit more. I'm able to enjoy some of my favorite places, like museums, restaurants, and churches again. What is also wonderful is that I even get to visit new places that I hadn't yet been to. Today was a sunny day, so we decided to meet for lunch in Piazza Santo Spirito.

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Saturday, April 8, 2006

We walked to the Zattere vaporetto (water bus) station to go to the train station this morning. We hauled our luggage onto the vaporetto and tried to position ourselves without blocking the pilot's door. The conductor kept yelling at us to go downstairs into the seated areas, but there were too many people below and on deck for us to risk not being close to the exit.

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Friday, April 7, 2006

Living in Florence :: Visiting Venice

I was surprised to see the sun shining so brightly when I opened the green shutters outside the apartment windows. I was happy to see bright blue skies even though the wind felt a bit nippy. Right after breakfast, I went with my sister, her husband, and niece over the Accademia bridge through Campo San Stefano and into Piazza San Marco.

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Thursday, April 6, 2006

Living in Florence :: A rainy and chilly day in Venice

We woke up to rain and arctic winds. Luckily, my sister brought umbrellas for us so we were prepared to visit Venice. She had asked me about the weather before arriving in Italy on Wednesday and I had told her it was warming up, but I had no idea that Venice would be this much colder than Florence. I assumed a little colder, but it was almost 70°F on Tuesday in Florence and in Venice we would've been happy if it was 50°F outside.

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Wednesday, April 5, 2006

We left the sunny, blue skies in Florence and headed north to Venice on an early morning Eurostar train. As we traveled north, the skies became grayer and the sun slowly disappeared. When we walked out of the Santa Lucia train station and looked out on the Canal Grande, we didn't care that it was cloudy or even much colder. We had arrived in Venice--a place so enchanting that weather has no affect on its beauty.

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Tuesday, April 4, 2006

After being woken up by a bright sun shining in our room early this morning, I decided to go shopping toward the Co-op in via Gioberti. Because I haven't seen my friend Yoshie in months and her newborn Lorenzo, who is now 6 months old, I called to see if I could pop by to visit them both.

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Monday, April 3, 2006

These past few weeks I have noticed that the more I talk with the guys at the mercato, the more they talk to me about their other clienti (customers). They don't tell me their names or tell me anything about them like what they do for a living or where they live, but they do make it clear to me who they like and who they don't like.

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Sunday, April 2, 2006

It wasn't as hard for me to get up the next day to go to school. I was the first one to breakfast and Rea sat next to me eating quietly. I tried to talk to her, but we didn't have much to say to each other. I wondered if I should wake up the girls as I served myself another cup of caffè, but maybe they need to sleep off their drinks from last night. Right before I left the house, I heard Catherine rummaging in her room, so I felt it was OK for me to leave.

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Saturday, April 1, 2006

Claudia, Catherine, and I walked down via Lamarmora toward Piazza Libertà. We were all excited about going to Parterre. I was the most excited since it was the first time I had been out since I arrived. It didn't seem that late at night, but no one else was walking outside on the sidewalk except us. As we were crossing the viale, it felt like everyone's eyes in the cars waiting at the light were on us. One guy yelled something out at us, but I couldn't understand him. Claudia must have understood because she said something under her breath and hurried us along.

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