My Heart in Two Places

Paris: from sorrow to hope

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

When I went to my company's office just outside Paris on Monday, everybody brought up Friday’s tragic events. One colleague recounted anecdotes of friends who were at the Bataclan and miraculously escaped while another colleague told us that he often ate at one of the restaurants that was targeted. I suddenly felt as if the world was incredibly small. Almost too small for my comfort. I don’t personally know anyone who was affected, but in the end we were all affected no matter where we were. The attacks hurt us all. Some people were physically hurt, but the rest of us were emotionally and psychologically hurt. Read More>>
My Heart in Two Places - Paris: from sorrow to hope

Paris: City of Light, City of Peace

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Along with millions all over the world, I looked at the photos from Friday night’s horrific attacks in Paris and was stunned. In my mind, it was inconceivable to have such a thing happen in a city that I not only live in, but also know and love. Because I had been away from Paris for two months, I made plans with my beau to enjoy a day in Paris. I never imagined that it might not happen. When I was on the plane just a few days ago, I had visions of me traipsing all over town and going to all my favorite spots. Unfortunately, Friday night’s events in Paris shook us to our core and our plans to visit Paris didn’t sound reasonable. Read More>>
My Heart in Two Places - Paris: City of Light, City of Peace

An expat is both a foreigner and a local

Thursday, July 9, 2015

I’ve been an expat for over 20 years. The word “expat” is not a word I use to describe myself; it’s a word I use to succinctly explain my life in Florence and Paris. Being an expat for some people means living overseas and returning “home” every year. For me, being an expat means being a foreigner and a local all at once in a place that is your “home.” Living overseas is a big part of my life and is at the heart of who I am. It explains so much about me: not just how I live my life, but also how I interact with others and how I see the world around me. Read More>>
My Heart in Two Places - An expat is both a foreigner and a local

Achieving balance in Florence

Friday, June 26, 2015

When I began this blog, I initially imagined that I would write about what I love in my two cities and share the magic of each one. I had been happily going back and forth between Florence and Paris for a year and a half before I claimed Paris as my second home almost three years ago. The decision to make Paris my home was precipitated by my divorce and my decision to move in with my beau. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that my life was out of balance and I needed to do something to get it back into balance. Read More>>
My Heart in Two Places - Achieving balance in Florence

Diving back into my local life

Thursday, April 16, 2015

When I arrived in Florence, I dropped my bag off in my apartment and rushed outside to embrace my beloved city. I walked briskly along the Arno with no destination in mind. I headed toward the Ponte Vecchio and let my inspiration guide me to where to go next. People were strolling along the narrow lungarno in both directions. It was impossible to stay on the sidewalk so I stepped onto the street when I heard that there weren’t any cars coming. Read More>>
My Heart in Two Places - Diving back into my local life

Savoring the moment

Friday, February 27, 2015

One thing I love about living in both Florence and Paris is that I have the luxury of time. Whether I plan an excursion around town or if I happen to be out to meet a friend or to run an errand, I get to take a moment or two to enjoy my cities. I often take a detour just so I can admire one of my favorite churches, admire the view of the Arno from different angles, or stroll along backstreets. I do my best to breathe in my cities and enjoy them whenever I get a chance. Read More>>
My Heart in Two Places - Savoring the moment

Simultaneously fitting in and sticking out

Sunday, February 22, 2015

My upbringing has probably made my being an expat a little less challenging than for others. My parents were of two different (and opposing) races: my mother was Chinese and my father was Italian. As a result, I have never felt as if I really fit in anywhere and have always felt like the odd-one-out. I was brought up in my Chinese family so I was used to being “different” and never felt as if I fully belonged even though I did. Read More>>
My Heart in Two Places - Simultaneously fitting in and sticking out

Indulging in Paris before taking off for Florence

Thursday, February 5, 2015

I am a city girl. I have known that ever since I lived in Lyon, France for my junior year abroad. When I returned to California, I dreamt of going to live in another city and was fortunate enough to land in Paris. I am extremely fortunate to call two cities my home. In Florence, I live in the heart of the city, but in France my beau and I live just outside of Paris. It’s incredibly close and it only takes me 20 minutes on the métro to get to the center of town. But for me there is something about going to sleep in the city and waking up to it that I truly miss. Read More>>
My Heart in Two Places - Indulging in Paris before taking off for Florence

Making room for change

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

As I settle into 2015, I have finally made room for some changes to occur in my life. After being an expat for so many years, I have realized that I can’t force change to happen, but I can make room for it to occur. I can’t keep pushing against the current; I have to just let go and allow the current to take me. For my first experience as an expat, I had to separate from my family and friends, my daily routine, my lifestyle, and my way of being in the world. It was challenging at first because I didn’t know who I was without all that had defined me up to that point. Eventually, after letting go of just about everything and feeling as if I were lost, things suddenly got easier. Read More>>

Is expat life glamorous?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Expat life definitely looks glamorous when you see photos of expats doing fun and exciting things, visiting exotic places you’ve dreamed of, and eating foods that you haven’t yet tasted. But, it’s not really the case. We might be exposed to many new and interesting things, but the expat life itself is not exactly glamorous. Living overseas adds many other challenges that we wouldn’t have if we were living in our native homelands and it can be quite challenging at times. Read More>>

Places affect and shape us

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Every place affects us differently. Some places instill us with peace and tranquility while others instill us with other emotions. I have noticed that when I am in Florence and Paris different aspects are brought to the forefront. Florence accentuates my creativity and desire for freedom while Paris accentuates ambition and my desire for structure. Read More>>
My Heart in Two Places - Places affect and shape us

A jaunt to Venice before the year ended

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Before the end of 2014, my beau and I decided to take a trip to Venice. I was happy when he suggested it for two reasons: I hadn’t been there in a long time and I needed a break from the flip-flopping between my two cities. I wanted to go someplace where I could prepare myself for the New Year. I love Florence and Paris and am stimulated by them, but it’s always nice to experience a different place. In that way, I’m able to keep myself open and more flexible for the arrival of 2015. Read More>>
My Heart in Two Places - A jaunt to Venice before the year ended

A year of introspection

Friday, December 26, 2014

This has been a year of introspection for me. I didn’t write as much as I would’ve liked for both of my blogs. Looking back, I realize now that I needed some time to reassess what I wanted to focus on for each blog. I’ve decided to separate my two blogs even more. My Living in Florence blog will be only about Florence and in this blog I will write more about being an expat. Read More>>

Celebrating ten years in Florence

Sunday, November 16, 2014

When I returned to Florence ten years ago today I wasn’t certain that I would stay as long as I have. In my heart, I knew I didn’t want to never leave, but I couldn’t make such decisions alone. After my five-year hiatus in the US, I arrived in Florence accompanied by my then husband. I had never moved anywhere with anyone and I didn’t know how the move would affect us. Over time, my life in Florence became more important to me than anything or anyone else. Read More>>
My Heart in Two Places - Celebrating ten years in Florence

Living out my emotions

Saturday, November 15, 2014

One of the reasons I feel in my element in Florence is that it is where I can freely live out my emotions. When I was growing up, I was taught to show only “positive” emotions (and not too much of them either) and hide all the “negative” ones. I learned at a young age that no one wanted to see me angry or sad. All the “negative” emotions I had were to be lived out privately and more specifically when I was by alone. Read More>>

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About My Heart in Two Places

This blog is about my life as a double expat in both Paris and Florence. My expat life is not just about juggling two languages and cultures, but also adapting to two distinct ways of life.

About the author

Melinda Gallo is a writer and blogger who is now a double expat, living in both Florence and Paris. In her other blog, Living in Florence, she writes about living in her beloved city where she has lived since 2004.

Living in Florence

Here are a few posts from my Living in Florence blog.

Living in Florence - Taking the time to cultivate joy
Taking the time to cultivate joy

Living in Florence - Florence's beauty is love
Florence's beauty is love

Living in Florence - Being supported by Florence
Being supported by Florence

Living in Florence - Embracing the hope of a new day
Embracing the hope of a new day

Expat blogs


Lost in Cheeseland

Chez Loulou

Bleeding Espresso

Married to Italy

...and a few others too


tips for living abroad