Me, My Heart, and I

by Melinda Gallo

Thursday, July 9, 2015
Me, My Heart, and I :: An expat is both a foreigner and a local

Iíve been an expat for over 20 years. The word ďexpatĒ is not a word I use to describe myself; itís a word I use to succinctly explain my life in Florence and Paris. Being an expat for some people means living overseas and returning ďhomeĒ every year. For me, being an expat means being a foreigner and a local all at once in a place that is your ďhome.Ē Living overseas is a big part of my life and is at the heart of who I am. It explains so much about me: not just how I live my life, but also how I interact with others and how I see the world around me.

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Friday, June 26, 2015
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 wasnít 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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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.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

One of the most common questions Iím asked after I explain where I live is, ďArenít you going to eventually just pick one place?Ē The oddest part is that Iím never prepared for the question and rarely have a good answer. Iím usually surprised because I didnít know that I was supposed to pick just one place. I usually try to explain that I didnít plan my life to be split between two cities, but I do enjoy it.

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Friday, August 29, 2014

I miss Florence. Not in a way that doesnít allow me to be happy elsewhere, but in a way that doesnít allow me to ever forget my beloved city. I donít 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. Itís not that I havenít 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 cityís embrace where love flows so easily in and out of me like my breath.

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Friday, May 30, 2014

The first five months of this year have gone by like a bolt of lightening. I almost canít believe itís almost June. I have been trying to balance my life between Paris and Florence even though at times I have felt more like a Ping-Pong ball bouncing back and forth. Although I am completely settled in each place, I usually need at least one full day to adjust to the language, culture, and rhythm of the city. The double-expat life can be a little exhausting at times; however, it has taught me about the necessity of keeping my life balanced.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

When I woke up this morning, I decided to take the day off from work. I had a lot planned to do, but I wasnít feeling very optimistic. Itís odd for me to be in Florence and not feel connected to it. Iíve been here for almost a week and just havenít had a chance to commune with Florence alone. My beau spent the weekend with me and we were able to enjoy the sunny days in Florence over the weekend, but it wasnít enough for me. When I am away from Florence, I feel my connection to weaken just a little bit so when I return I always feel the need to rekindle the flame I have for my beloved city.

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Monday, March 10, 2014
Me, My Heart, and I :: A weekend basking in Paris

Because I live with my beau in the suburbs of Paris, I feel as if I am completely out of touch with it now. We go in from time to time, but it feels more like a quick visit to do something specific, eat out, visit a museum, or go shopping. Each time I go, I never feel as if I have much time to truly enjoy the city, connect with it, and bask in it. I love to feel the rhythm of a place as it flows through me by watching the sun as it progresses through the sky, admiring the change in colors of the buildings, and breathing in the air.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Me, My Heart, and I :: Tapping into Florenceís energy

I spent very little time engaged in my beloved city when I was there a couple of weeks ago. Now that I am in France, I miss Florence. I looked out at the Arno from my apartment windows every day when I was home, but I wanted to take in the city a lot more: stroll the streets, walk along the Arno, and maybe even visit a museum. I wanted to open myself up even more to my city, savor it, and bask in it. Florence is unlike any other city I know. Its energy not only inspires me, but it uplifts me, opens my heart, and fills me up with love and joy. No other place on Earth does this for me time and time again.

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