Me, My Heart, and I

by Melinda Gallo

My girlfriend and I planned on taking a day trip to the beach yesterday because it was my last weekend in Florence before heading back to Paris. We made plans to go to Viareggio because itís the easiest beach to get to from Florence. I hadnít been to Viareggio in many years and didnít have a great memory of the beach, but decided to go anyway.

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When I told many of my friends and acquaintances that I was going to stay in Florence an extra week to search for my apartment, ďtheyĒ said that it wasnít worth it. Their excuses were that agencies are closed and owners are still away on vacation. Before taking off for Florence, I emailed about 10 agencies to visit apartments that I saw on-line. I immediately received two responses, which were not positive. Right before arriving in Florence, one agency told me that I could visit an apartment, which was the one I saw on Tuesday. On Thursday afternoon, after not hearing anything for a few days, another man called me on the phone to visit an apartment that I had enquired about. I went to visit it on this morning with my girlfriend.

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I had initially planned on returning to Paris with my beau on Monday, but instead I decided to stay an extra week in Florence. My main motivation is because Iím looking for an apartment to buy so I can finally set down my roots. For the past few weeks, Iíve been searching on the Internet. I sent out a few requests, but so far (mostly because many are still on vacation) I havenít received many responses.

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Me, My Heart, and I :: Rekindling my love for Florence

If the romance disappears, love can certainly fade. At least thatís what I believe. Florence may be my home, but I canít let the romance or love fade by not showing my beloved city some love. After visiting Tuscany on Thursday and Friday with my beau, I wanted to spend the rest of our time together enjoying Florence. These last three days, I took my beau around town to visit my favorite chiese (churches), musei (museums), trattorie/ristoranti (restaurants), and bars (cafťs). When I get the chance to visit my beloved city as a tourist, I definitely feel myself open up and appreciate her even more.

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Me, My Heart, and I :: Enjoying Tuscany to its fullest

When we got on the two-wagon train this morning, I didnít think the day would go well. The platform was packed with people going to Siena and the train was so small people were standing in the aisles. I was one of the lucky ones seated with my beau at my feet. We got off a couple of stops before Siena at Poggibonsi to catch a bus to San Gimigniano. I hadnít been back to visit this Tuscan hillside town in years and was eager to take my beau there.

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The Tuscan countryside is a blur from the window of the train. I try to focus on the rustic buildings in the distance, but am easily distracted by the large fields of girasoli (sunflowers). Its burst of yellow always puts a smile on my face. My beau and I planned on going to trip at the last minute and hopped on a train this morning. I canít even remember the last time I went to visit Pisa, maybe about 8 years ago.

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This weekend I wanted to take in more of Paris and was fortunate to be able to do so. With many of the Parisians away, the city is left open like a large museum for tourists to enjoy. On Saturday, we drove into Paris for dinner and then went to the thť‚tre (theatre) to see a comťdie (comedy). We ate at a restaurant off of the rue Montorgueil. This street reminds me of Florence with food shops, cafťs, and restaurants lined up on both sides. Besides the many people strolling down the street, the terraces are filled with people sipping drinks, smoking cigarettes (since no smoking is allowed inside) and nibbling on their food.

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When I started my new blog a year ago, I pictured my new life a little differently. I thought that I would live in Paris and not in the banlieu (suburbs) and I thought that Iíd spend two weeks in Florence and two weeks in Paris. Instead I only spend about one week in Florence per month and the rest of my time in a Parisian banlieu with my beau. It has taken me at least a year to adjust to the choices Iíve made. I am happy and grateful, but there are a few adjustments Iíd still like to make.

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Me, My Heart, and I :: Enjoying summer in Paris

Since the end of May, Iíve been traveling around quite a bit. I visited my family in the US, went on a cruise through the Greek islands, returned to Florence for a few days, went to Corsica for the weekend and then spent a few days on the coast in Brittany. Now, while many of my colleagues are off on vacation, Iím happy to be staying put for a while. To celebrate my time home, my beau and I spent some time in Paris so we could walk around and take in the city while itís calm.

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