Me, My Heart, and I

by Melinda Gallo

A year of introspection

Friday, December 26, 2014

This has been a year of introspection for me. I didnít write as much as I wouldíve liked for both of my blogs. Looking back, I realize now that I needed some time to reassess what I wanted to focus on for each blog. Iíve decided to separate my two blogs even more. My Living in Florence blog will be only about Florence and in this blog I will write more about being an expat.

I always considered myself a private person until I reflected upon it a bit longer this year. Itís not that I donít open up about my life or what I am planning to do, but rather that I thought that people wouldnít be interested. I have a tendency to stop myself from divulging too much information and always opt to say less rather than more. After talking with some of my blog buddies, I realized that they actually wanted to know more and I am happy to share a bit more.

At the moment, I am working on a non-fiction book about being an expat as well as completing the second draft of my first novel. I began both a few years ago: my expat book in 2012 and my novel I wrote during NaNoWriMo in November 2010. My novel is about an American woman in Paris and at the time I had no intention of going to Paris except to do some research. As fate would have it, I got offered a job without even looking for one only a month after completing my novel.

I initially set my novel aside, did some research for it, got busy with work, got even busier with my personal life (I got divorced, adjusted to my new life, fell in love again, and then decided to make Paris my home as well). Itís only since the beginning of December that I decided to focus on my two main writing projects much more seriously.

Last November, I completed my second novel while participating in NaNoWriMo, but I set that one aside and will probably not be looking at it until much later.

Over the past few weeks, I have been organizing my life a lot better to be ready for 2015 so that I will accomplish the goals I have set out for myself. I have set the bar high and I have a lot of work to do, but I feel quite confident.

I am fortunate that my two cities, Florence and Paris, still inspire so much. As a writer, I am constantly sparked by what I see and experience. Each time I arrive in either city, I feel reborn. It is actually quite odd because when I am in one or the other, I am so settled. Each city affects me differently: itís as if certain parts of me come to the foreground while others move to the background.

I canít imagine my life any other way now. My expat life is so diverse and yet so normal. Itís as if I am an expert and yet always a novice. I love how immersed I am in both homes. Itís odd that both feel so natural to me now. I wouldíve expected one to feel more like ďhomeĒ than the other, but honestly I feel quite settled in both.

As the year comes to an end, I am revving up my engines for a productive year ahead. I hope you will enjoy all of my writing as well as all the photos I take on Instagram. I hope to share more for you and I hope to inspire you all to maybe someday take the leap and become an expat in the place that appeals to you the most.

Share your comments for this blog post on the Me, My Heart, and I's Facebook page. Thanks!