Me, My Heart, and I

by Melinda Gallo

Me, My Heart, and I :: Appreciation is the key to happiness

For over a year, I have dedicated time to watch the sunset wherever I was. I initially took photos of sunsets only if I happened to be out at the right time. Eventually, I began to go for a walk outside to watch the sunset. I began to feel a great sense of joy bubbling up inside of me each time. I realized that there was something incredibly healing and empowering about watching the sunset. I wasn’t feeling joy only from the beauty I was experiencing, but instead from the appreciation I was giving. As I watched the sky changing colors, the birds flying overhead, the boats passing along the river, the people walking around me, the wind blowing in my hair, and the church bells chiming, I began to feel a great sense of appreciation for the moment I was experiencing as well as the life I was living.

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Me, My Heart, and I :: Reconnecting myself with Paris

I don’t think about Florence when I am in Paris and I don’t think about Paris when I’m in Florence. I try to always be as present as possible wherever I am. I feel more alive when I use my senses to embrace and enjoy my surroundings as well as the local culture and language. When I am having coffee with a friend, I like to be connected to her for the time we share together. I don’t want to be thinking about someone else or about what I’ll be doing afterwards. I want to be fully present with her so that I can fully enjoy the moments we share. The same goes for wherever I am, whether it is Florence, Paris, or some other city. I want to create a connection and forge a bond between the city and me.

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Me, My Heart, and I :: Photography as a way to appreciate beauty

Like most people, I appreciate the beauty I see in this world. I love how beauty enters my eyes and gently settles into my heart. Even though I never studied photography, I find great joy in taking pictures. I have an SLR, which I rarely carry around with me due to its cumbersomeness, but I prefer taking pictures with my iPhone. It’s more convenient to use my iPhone because I always have it on me and can take a photo almost instantaneously. I never plan on taking a specific photo when I'm walking around Florence. I have a few favorite spots where I enjoy the view, but I only take a photo if I feel like it. A few of my best-loved photos are ones I didn’t plan on taking at all and it was just a case of being at the “right place” at the “right time.”

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Me, My Heart, and I :: Divine Living in Florence

I am often invited to events in Florence because of my Living in Florence blog, but I rarely attend any of them. Last month, Gina DeVee’s exectutive assistant contacted me about attending a Divine Living conference in Florence. I quickly perused the website to learn more about the event and was pleased when I read that Gina’s mission was to empower women by teaching them to get clear on their desires, own their uniqueness, be in their power, and enjoy life. Before accepting this generous offer to attend the WOW Factor Live Event, I asked if they expected me to write something on my blog. When they said that they just wanted me to attend the event without any obligation, I didn’t hesitate for a moment.

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Me, My Heart, and I :: My five-year hiatus to the US

In my last blog post, I mentioned my “five-year hiatus.” It’s a term I use to describe the time I spent in California after being an expat in France, England, and Italy for a total of ten years. I packed up all my belongings and moved back to the US a week after my mother called to tell me she was diagnosed with cancer. Ever since I made the decision to live overseas, I had always known that I would only ever move back to California to take of my mom if she ever needed it. Nothing could have ever prevented me from being at my mom’s side.

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Me, My Heart, and I :: Coming full circle to be a writer in Florence

I initially came to Florence to learn Italian and find my inspiration to write. I thought of going to Venice, Rome, or Siena, but the woman at the Italian Consulate in London convinced me that Florence was a better choice. I had visited Florence only once in July and never thought I could live here, but I’m happy I listened to her because Florence has ended up being the perfect city for me.

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Me, My Heart, and I :: Adapting to a new rhythm

It has taken me over a month to get used to not working for someone else. The shift for me was to make my writing a priority and for it to become my new "job." Adjusting my daily routine was quite simple, but I had to create a new rhythm for myself. All these years I worked as a freelancer prepared me in understanding how best to organize my time and my priorities.

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Me, My Heart, and I :: A new chapter in my life

This blog entry marks the end of my previous blog “My Heart in Two Places” in which I wrote about my life as a double expat and the beginning of my new blog “Me, My Heart, and I” where I will be writing about this new chapter in my life. I have always been a true believer in the expression “Quando si chiude una porta, si apre un portone. (When one door closes, another one opens.)” I have been through a lot of deaths and rebirths in my life and even if I feel some trepidation today, I am extremely excited about this new door that has opened up to me.

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Me, My Heart, and I :: Achieving balance in Florence

When I began this blog, I initially imagined that I would write about what I love in my two cities and share the magic of each one. I had been happily going back and forth between Florence and Paris for a year and a half before I claimed Paris as my second home almost three years ago. The decision to make Paris my home was precipitated by my divorce and my decision to move in with my beau. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that my life was out of balance and I needed to do something to get it back into balance.

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