Me, My Heart, and I

by Melinda Gallo

I miss Florence. Not in a way that doesn’t allow me to be happy elsewhere, but in a way that doesn’t allow me to ever forget my beloved city. I don’t hold my breath when I am away from Florence, but almost. These six weeks in California and France have been way too long for me. It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed my time away, but I still miss Florence and mostly how I feel when I am there. I long to return to my beloved city’s embrace where love flows so easily in and out of me like my breath.

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Me, My Heart, and I :: Testing out the third arrondissement

After my three-week stint in California, I wasn’t able to settle back into my “normal” life right away. The day after I returned, my beau and I moved into my friend's apartment in the 3rd arrondissement between the Marais and the Place de la République. For six days while she and her family were away, we lived in their Parisian apartment in a typical Haussmann building. Even though I wanted to ground myself after being away so long, I was willing to put that off so we could stay in Paris.

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A month ago while I was in Florence, I received a phone call that you dread when you are an expat. My brother called me to tell me that his wife had passed away. I quickly made plans to return to California as soon as possible so I could arrive a couple of days before my sister-in-law’s service. After living so many years overseas, these calls are the ones that make being an expat difficult. No matter where your loved ones live, you can’t always be there so you do what you can. I wish I could spend more time with my loved ones in California, but it’s not easy when an ocean separates us (and they don’t all live in the same area either).

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