Me, My Heart, and I

by Melinda Gallo

The best part about where I live on the outskirts of Paris is that thereís a park along the Seine where I can run. This past winter, it was too dark for me to go running in the morning so I rarely went. I definitely felt the effect of not having my running schedule: not only did I feel lethargic, but also less inspired to write. It was almost as if my writing wasnít flowing unless my body was moving. For the past few months, I barely running once a week, but now Iím going a few times a week like I used to. I definitely feel like a new person now that Iím back to running again.

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After lunch today, my beau and I headed to Paris. Normally we wouldíve taken the metro, but instead we drove into town. It was a perfect day to stroll the city streets and enjoy the afternoon. We drove along the quai (quay) where I used to run on the weekends. I looked out of the car window and could almost remember what it was like running on that same sidewalk. We drown toward Notre Dame, which is where I used to go to on my runs and then turn back around to return to the Eiffel Tower.

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After a few days in Florence and one workday in Paris, my beau and I headed to London on Friday for a three-day weekend. I hadnít been to London for a real visit in at least nine years and was looking forward to it. In 1995, I lived in Surrey, to the west of London, for almost two years. I moved there after leaving Paris and right before I moved to Florence.

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This morning I woke up a half hour early and instead of being frustrated at not being able to sleep more, I was excited at the thought of being able to visit Florence a bit more before taking off. At 7 am after the street cleaners had come and gone, I walked to the Ponte alle Grazie and was happy to see the sun peeking above the buildings along the Arno. I took a few pictures not just to post on Instagram, but also for me to savor.

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No matter the weather in Florence, I enjoy my beloved city. This spring, the weather seems to be a bit unpredictable. In just a few days, weíve experienced mild temperatures under the bright sun as well as dark clouds spurting out torrential rain, and often in the same day. The changes in the weather have an effect on how the city appears and feels. I enjoy my beloved city regardless of what is going on around it, but I appreciate different aspects depending on the weather.

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Life, of course, is precious. Striving to make each moment count is a daily goal of mine. When Iím in Florence, however, I try to optimize my time even more because nowadays I am here for such a short amount of time. I could spend more time in Florence, but I enjoy my time in France especially with my beau. I aim to use my time wisely when Iím home in Florence and I try not to waste it doing anything I donít feel like doing. I have become quite Florentine in that if something that non mi va (Iím not keen on), I donít push myself to do it.

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When I woke up this morning, I felt a twinge of excitement bubble up inside of me as I listened to the water flowing softly in the Arno. The moment I opened the windows of my apartment, I admired the warm colors glowing across the fiume (river) and inhaled the scent of my beloved city. I wanted to walk around one of the Florentine giardini (gardens), but already had plans to go to the stadio (stadium) to see the Fiorentina play. The last time I went to the stadio was in January.

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I have only been away for two weeks and yet Florence has dramatically changed in that time. When I left, it was still cold and rainy, the streets were virtually empty, and the city was still in its winter slumber. As my taxi drove me through the centro (center) this evening, I was surprised by the crowds of people, the warm air, the bright sun, and the sweet smell of spring. As soon as I got home, I dropped my bags, and I went out for a walk around my beloved city.

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