Me, My Heart, and I

by Melinda Gallo

I have been in California for the last two weeks. I came here for a conference that my company organized and am now just enjoying my time before heading back to Paris. I love coming to California because I get to spend time with my family and friends. One of the most special gifts is when I get to reconnect with friends that I haven’t seen in years. It’s interesting to see how our paths went off in different directions and then cross again years later.

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One of the biggest changes for me when I am in Paris is my daily routine. My work life in Florence is flexible; however, in Paris, I have to follow my office’s work hours. I arrive around 9 am, work a few hours, take a lunch break with my colleagues, and work until 6 or 7 pm. My mornings in Paris are timed almost to the minute so that I can keep my usual routine of writing every morning and running three or four times a week and still managing to get to work on time by taking the métro to where my office is located.

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Me, My Heart, and I :: Birthday weekend in Florence

After staying in Paris for two weeks and a few days in Matera, I was happy to arrive back in my beloved city where I could celebrate my birthday. I took Friday off so that I could visit Florence with my beau who came to my beloved city for the first time. I was excited to show him around and visit Florence again because I haven’t been able to do so in a long time. I made a mental list of all that I wanted to see in my beloved city and show to my beau.

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At the end of the Ponte Grazie, I decided to head west away from the sun rising above the city and toward the moon that was on its way out of sight. The weather is typical for autumn: cool air and cloudy skies. It is definitely my favorite time of year when so much is happening and changing. Nothing is stagnant and it’s evident all around me.

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This morning while I was running on the Ponte alle Grazie, I wasn’t sure which way I wanted to go: either through town along the Arno past the Ponte Vecchio and toward Le Cascine or up to Piazzale Michelangiolo. It wasn’t until I saw the sun peeking through the clouds above the mountains that I decided to run up to the piazzale. As I ran along the Arno on the sidewalk with cars and motorini (scooters) passing me by, I felt a slight thrill.

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One of the things I noticed after one day in Matera was the lack of color and sounds. I had been in Paris for two weeks and then Florence for a couple of days before arriving. In both places, I was inundated with colors and sounds. It was interesting to be in a place that was rather monotonous because I was able to see the beauty in textures, shadows, and the nature surrounding the city. As for sounds, it is now almost shocking now to be back in Florence where sounds encircle me: scooters, buses, and cars pass along the lungarno (street along the Arno river), people talk and laugh in the streets, and the campane (church bells) ring every hour and half hour.

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