Me, My Heart, and I

by Melinda Gallo

Life without Paris and Florence?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

I was supposed to fly back to Florence for a few days yesterday, but instead I decided to stay in Paris. After all the trips Iíve taken these last few months, I felt the need to just relax and enjoy where I am. Even though I love to travel, I do enjoy just staying put.

When I was in the US a few people told me that they could never come to Europe: either for financial or personal reasons. I couldnít imagine my life without ever having lived in Paris and Florence. Who would I be had I not decided to move to Paris when I was 22? Each time I go to the US, I look around me and now that my life would certainly have been different had I stayed in California and never moved away.

I donít know if my life would have been better or worse, but certainly different. My desire to write, my appreciation of beauty, my ability to speak French and Italian, and my openness to new cultures and people might all have been thwarted had I not moved to Paris after graduating college.

I was asked many times during my last trip to the US--more than any other time I had returned--what life is like in my two cities. Itís almost impossible for me to answer because life in Paris and Florence is already so different. For me, Parisís focus is on pleasure experienced through the senses, the mind, and the soul. While Florenceís focus is on the heart. I am inspired differently in each city and become almost a different person in each one.

I hope that others can experience living in another city and/or country outside of where they grew up just because doing so can be powerful and life altering. I know for sure that I would not be the same person I am today if I didnít live in either (and now both) of my beloved cities. Each one has given me so much and continues to do so even today.

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