My Heart in Two Places

Unplanned trip to the US

Friday, August 15, 2014

A month ago while I was in Florence, I received a phone call that you dread when you are an expat. My brother called me to tell me that his wife had passed away. I quickly made plans to return to California as soon as possible so I could arrive a couple of days before my sister-in-law’s service. After living so many years overseas, these calls are the ones that make being an expat difficult. No matter where your loved ones live, you can’t always be there so you do what you can. I wish I could spend more time with my loved ones in California, but it’s not easy when an ocean separates us (and they don’t all live in the same area either). [Read More]

Cheering for more than one team during the World Cup

Saturday, July 5, 2014

When you are an expat, you walk a fine line between two worlds: where you were raised and where you are currently living. It’s not like you can hold one world in one hand and the other in the other hand; you have to hold onto both worlds with both hands without crushing either one of them. I have the added benefit (and added challenge) of embracing three worlds: Italy, France, and the US. I try to embrace fully the world in which I am right now without negating the other two. At times, it can be a bit challenging especially when there is some international sporting event. For me, the challenge comes around every four years for the World Cup. [Read More]

Florence as friend, teacher, and lover

Saturday, June 14, 2014

My trip home to Florence went by so quickly, but I gained so much this time around. It’s interesting that each time I return home and then go back to France, my understanding of both city increases. Not in a way to define each one better, but to open myself up to discover more around me, to appreciate the details, and to understand that the world is beautiful in all of its complexities. [Read More]

The joys of being in Florence

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The time I spend at home in Florence fills me with so much joy. While I enjoy my time in France, I am always so happy to return to my beloved city. The minute I walked into my apartment on Wednesday, my body relaxed and I felt a wave of joy ripple through me as I looked out onto the Arno. The words that inspired me to move to Florence the first time always come back to me when I return, “You are home.” [Read More]

Either you're in or you're out

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

That’s exactly what I feel about Paris. When I first started coming to Paris three and a half years ago for work, I was staying in the city. I had taken a liking to the 7th arrondissement because I was able to run around the Champ de Mars and admire the Eiffel Tower every day. Since I moved in with my beau a year and a half ago, I have been living only two miles out of the city. But those two miles might as well be two hundred miles. Paris’s energy can’t be felt outside the city. [Read More]

Paying homage at Père Lachaise Cemetery

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Thirteen years ago today my mom passed away. It sounds like a long time ago especially so much has happened in that time; however, with so many memories still vibrant in my mind, it seems like yesterday. To pay homage to my mom, I decided on going to Père Lachaise Cemetry. I had never visited the cimitière (cemetery) before although I did hear about many of the famous people who are buried there, like Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Honoré de Balzac, Colette, Oscar Wilde, and many more. [Read More]

Venturing to another part of Paris

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Paris is immense. At times, I think I know Paris pretty well and then I realize I don’t. I tend to stick to the same areas. There are many areas, however, in Paris that I think I know based on what I’ve heard and my limited experience of each one. There are certainly areas I avoid, but I try to keep an open mind because Paris is constantly in evolution. [Read More]

Being an expat is a balancing act

Friday, May 30, 2014

The first five months of this year have gone by like a bolt of lightening. I almost can’t believe it’s almost June. I have been trying to balance my life between Paris and Florence even though at times I have felt more like a Ping-Pong ball bouncing back and forth. Although I am completely settled in each place, I usually need at least one full day to adjust to the language, culture, and rhythm of the city. The double-expat life can be a little exhausting at times; however, it has taught me about the necessity of keeping my life balanced. [Read More]

Exploring and enjoying other cities in Italy

Thursday, May 29, 2014

I love discovering more about Italy. I find Italy to be one of the most interesting countries I have ever visited. Each region (and even each town in a region) varies from the next one. Each place has its own charm that can be unveiled, enjoyed, and appreciated. In France, at the beginning of May we had two Thursdays in a row that were holidays. By taking Friday off, we did a pont (bridge), which allowed us to have two four-day weekends. My beau joined me a week after I returned to Florence and we traveled around Italy. [Read More]

Acts of generosity

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

On Sunday, I walked over to Vivoli for colazione (breakfast). It was only 10am when I arrived, but they had already sold out of bomboloni (cream-filled donuts). I reluctantly chose a cornetto (croissant) instead and my friend who works there placed it on the bar for me. I had been thinking about having a bombolone since I woke up because I ate one the other day and loved it. They remind me of when I first arrived in Florence. Every time I walked into the bar around the corner from my apartment, the guy would set it out for me on a plate and make my cappuccino. [Read More]


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