Me, My Heart, and I

by Melinda Gallo

Sunday, February 22, 2015
Me, My Heart, and I :: Simultaneously fitting in and sticking out

My upbringing has probably made my being an expat a little less challenging than for others. My parents were of two different (and opposing) races: my mother was Chinese and my father was Italian. As a result, I have never felt as if I really fit in anywhere and have always felt like the odd-one-out. I was brought up in my Chinese family so I was used to being “different” and never felt as if I fully belonged even though I did.

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Thursday, February 5, 2015
Me, My Heart, and I :: Indulging in Paris before taking off for Florence

I am a city girl. I have known that ever since I lived in Lyon, France for my junior year abroad. When I returned to California, I dreamt of going to live in another city and was fortunate enough to land in Paris. I am extremely fortunate to call two cities my home. In Florence, I live in the heart of the city, but in France my beau and I live just outside of Paris. It’s incredibly close and it only takes me 20 minutes on the métro to get to the center of town. But for me there is something about going to sleep in the city and waking up to it that I truly miss.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

As I settle into 2015, I have finally made room for some changes to occur in my life. After being an expat for so many years, I have realized that I can’t force change to happen, but I can make room for it to occur. I can’t keep pushing against the current; I have to just let go and allow the current to take me. For my first experience as an expat, I had to separate from my family and friends, my daily routine, my lifestyle, and my way of being in the world. It was challenging at first because I didn’t know who I was without all that had defined me up to that point. Eventually, after letting go of just about everything and feeling as if I were lost, things suddenly got easier.

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Expat life definitely looks glamorous when you see photos of expats doing fun and exciting things, visiting exotic places you’ve dreamed of, and eating foods that you haven’t yet tasted. But, it’s not really the case. We might be exposed to many new and interesting things, but the expat life itself is not exactly glamorous. Living overseas adds many other challenges that we wouldn’t have if we were living in our native homelands and it can be quite challenging at times.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Me, My Heart, and I :: Places affect and shape us

Every place affects us differently. Some places instill us with peace and tranquility while others instill us with other emotions. I have noticed that when I am in Florence and Paris different aspects are brought to the forefront. Florence accentuates my creativity and desire for freedom while Paris accentuates ambition and my desire for structure.

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Thursday, January 1, 2015
Me, My Heart, and I :: A jaunt to Venice before the year ended

Before the end of 2014, my beau and I decided to take a trip to Venice. I was happy when he suggested it for two reasons: I hadn’t been there in a long time and I needed a break from the flip-flopping between my two cities. I wanted to go someplace where I could prepare myself for the New Year. I love Florence and Paris and am stimulated by them, but it’s always nice to experience a different place. In that way, I’m able to keep myself open and more flexible for the arrival of 2015.

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Friday, December 26, 2014

This has been a year of introspection for me. I didn’t write as much as I would’ve 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. I’ve 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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Sunday, November 16, 2014
Me, My Heart, and I :: Celebrating ten years in Florence

When I returned to Florence ten years ago today I wasn’t certain that I would stay as long as I have. In my heart, I knew I didn’t want to never leave, but I couldn’t make such decisions alone. After my five-year hiatus in the US, I arrived in Florence accompanied by my then husband. I had never moved anywhere with anyone and I didn’t know how the move would affect us. Over time, my life in Florence became more important to me than anything or anyone else.

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

One of the reasons I feel in my element in Florence is that it is where I can freely live out my emotions. When I was growing up, I was taught to show only “positive” emotions (and not too much of them either) and hide all the “negative” ones. I learned at a young age that no one wanted to see me angry or sad. All the “negative” emotions I had were to be lived out privately and more specifically when I was by alone.

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