One thing I love about living in both Florence and Paris is that I have the luxury of time. Whether I plan an excursion around town or if I happen to be out to meet a friend or to run an errand, I get to take a moment or two to enjoy my cities. I often take a detour just so I can admire one of my favorite churches, admire the view of the Arno from different angles, or stroll along backstreets. I do my best to breathe in my cities and enjoy them whenever I get a chance.
I was disappointed when I saw that the weather reports last weekend announced rain in Paris. I woke up to the sound of it falling on the roof and watched it fall for hours. In the late afternoon, the sky cleared up and I couldn’t wait to go outside for a walk around Paris.
We took the métro and got off at the Tuileries. Even though it was chilly outside, I was happy to be walking around the gardens. I held my iPhone in one hand ready to take photos of anything that tickled my fancy: bare trees, birds floating on a pond, the Carousel just outside the gates, the reflections of the sunlight on the puddles the rain left behind, and the sun setting next to the Eiffel Tower. While others were wandering through the gardens, I began to rush around to take as many pictures as I could before the sun set. Many of the photos from my stroll in the Tuileries I posted on my Instagram account.
Wherever you live, it’s easy to get busy and not take the time to visit where you live. Many times, I rush down via Calzaiuoli and take a peek at the Duomo as I pass by it. I don’t always have the time to admire the Duomo, but I rarely miss a chance to get a glimpse of it. The same is true in Paris. When I take the métro, I can cross the entire city and not see anything, so I try to get off one stop early so I can walk around and admire the city.
If there is one thing that being an expat has taught me, it’s that I must always remain open to appreciating the day. I have learned to keep my eyes and heart open as I go about my day. I never know what I will find, who I will meet, or what I will experience. It’s not just about seeing beauty, it’s about appreciating it and allowing it to affect me.
The ability to savor each moment I get in my two cities is a great gift of being an expat in Florence and Paris. It is certainly one gift that I will forever be grateful for.
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