Sunday, June 3, 2007

Terrible Two's: My 'speech' at The Florentine Birthday Party

‘Who would read a newspaper like that?’

‘The Italians aren’t going to pay to advertise in it.’

‘You don’t even speak Italian.’

‘Are there enough English speaking people in Florence to support a paper like this?’

And then, from one American woman when I proudly handed her a copy of our first edition, ‘Oh I’ve been here 25 years, and I’ve seen papers like yours’ come and go’.

There were a lot of ‘bets’ about how long we would last…. In fact many were made in our own office, when a familiar ‘saying’ or threat became that the doors of the Florentine would close.

So now after more than 2 years and 56 issues. More than a half a million copies printed, 3 special issues including the commemoration of the 40th issue of The Flood that was sent all over the world, 100’s of subscribers throughout the US, Europe, Austrailia and Singapore…and thousands of downloads from our website each day…we’re still here.

So I thought we’d better celebrate while we’re still open.

We are only here because of you, the people who have read the paper, worked on the paper, written for us, distributed the paper in your schools, hotels, and stores… and of course, our advertisers.

I will not take the time to acknowledge everyone personally, for your patience, feedback, good and bad…and putting up with our continual and ongoing learning curve, but please consider yourselves thanked and appreciated.

I want to thank my partners for ‘putting up with me’….they love me a lot….I know this because they feel free enough to tell me daily how stupid I am, or how badly I speak Italian, or naïve, or uninformed, unsophisticated, badly dressed and just plain wrong.

The community here, my ‘girlfriends’ who happen to be some of the most powerful women in Florence, who know to call me when I haven’t called them in a while. Nora, Raffaella, Barbara, Alessandra, Jody, Lucia…Ellyn..

There are two people who have been ‘angels’ to The Florentine as well as to me personally. Jane Fortune and Bob Hesse….Jane’s column has added to the depth of what we provide and her and Bob have been there as our brain trust….with a wealth of knowledge about business, art, Florence. And fundraising but also as our cheering section, a place for me to go for a great meal, and a family for me when I am homesick. The thanks and apprecation we all have for their many contributions are infinite.

And my husband, Tony. When we moved here 3 years ago, Tony was trying to read the local news in Italian, to know what was happening where he was living. It would take him 3 hours to read one article and then if he mistook a ‘ne’ to mean ‘non’, he got the whole thing wrong. He said, ‘there should be an English language paper in Florence, like there is in every other major city in the world, like Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam, Moscow, etc. I said maybe that would be a fun project for him. The Florentine was Tony’s idea. Not only did he write almost every article, he would get on his bike every Thursday and deliver papers!!
Now Tony lives and works in Los Angeles, so he can pay my rent and bills here, and therefore, he is still supporting The Florentine by supporting me. I am overwhelmed and blessed by his generosity and love. I have written books about how to find and have an extraordinary relationship….having a husband like Tony, gives me a lot of credibility.

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