Me, My Heart, and I

by Melinda Gallo

Florence: my beloved city

I moved to Florence the first time one month before my 30th birthday. It was a significant time in my life when I had to choose between living a classic life or the life I had always dreamed of. I chose the dream and have been ecstatic ever since. I was only able to stay in Florence for two years before moving back to the US for five years where my life went through drastic and intense changes. In 2004, I returned to Florence (the city of rebirths) in the hopes of healing my broken heart and finding myself again.

Since my return, I have gone through a few more rebirths and am now happy again with my scarred yet abundant and appreciative heart. Over the years, Florence has been a great nurturer, companion, and friend to me. I couldnít have made it through all these transitions without her.

I was happy to have written about my beloved city in my ďLiving in FlorenceĒ blog for almost eight years. It was a way for me to share the Florence I loved while appreciating her more each day.

Florence has taught me to follow my heart, to be sincere, to smile only when I feel like it, to make promises only when I can keep them as well as to appreciate and honor the people in my life. I have learned a lot about being patient and allowing things to come to me. I have also become much better at letting go. It is the only way to accept more that needs to come to me.

One of the greatest gifts that Florence has given me is the ability to honor my own feelings. If I donít feel like doing something, I donít make excuses or come up with any justifiable reasons, I just say, ďNon mi va. (I donít feel like it).Ē I check in with my feelings often to figure out if something is working for me or not.

I am often asked what I love about Florence and my answer generally surprises most. I donít mention the culture, the language, the food, the wine, the quality of life, the history or even the art. What I love most about Florence is its powerful creative energy. Itís an energy that continually inspires me to follow my heart and to forge ahead. Florenceís energy has led me to pursue many of my passions.

Everything else besides its energy is extra. Itís like when I fall in love with someone. I donít consider the color of his hair, the shape of his eyes, or even what he does for a living. When I fall in love with a man, it is my heart that leads me. I accept him wholeheartedly because of the love I feel and then I can fully accept and appreciate all his qualities. Just like being in love, I donít choose to stay in Florence for anything other than how I feel when I am here. The love I have for Florence is so intense that I canít imagine not living here.

I am excited to add Paris into my, once completely, Florentine life. Both cities have enriched my life in different ways and now I am curious to see how they will complement each other and stimulate me.

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