Me, My Heart, and I

by Melinda Gallo

Friday, September 26, 2014

During my run yesterday, many thoughts came to mind about my life in Florence and a Parisian suburb. When I talk to my friends, I understand that it looks like a dream to be living between two different countries and be able to speak both Italian and French fluently. I didn’t get to this point in a day; it took many years of persevering. I remember when I was in my university library studying for my French literature class and how all I dreamed about was living in France. In my early twenties, I would’ve been content waiting tables or working in a bookshop just to live in France. Fortunately, I got a hired by a French software company that sent me to Paris. France drew me into its web after I stayed with two different French families (one month each) right after graduating high school. Florence, on the other hand, called to me after only spending three days in its embrace.

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Monday, September 15, 2014
Me, My Heart, and I :: Experiencing and cherishing beauty

For me, beauty can be transmitted through photos and words, but the feelings that bubble up inside of you when you experience beauty are personal and powerful. Even though I live in Florence and just outside of Paris, I am exposed to a lot of beauty. I am very sensitive to my surroundings and crave beauty because it inspires me, emotionally moves me, and touches me deeply.

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Saturday, September 6, 2014

I plan out my weekends in Florence like most people plan out their vacations. I make mental lists of what I want to see, eat, and visit. The past couple of days, I’ve only been able to go out for brief periods of time due to my work obligations. At night, however, I’ve been walking around the piazze and streets to reacquaint myself with my beloved city’s energy.

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Friday, August 29, 2014

I miss Florence. Not in a way that doesn’t allow me to be happy elsewhere, but in a way that doesn’t allow me to ever forget my beloved city. I don’t 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. It’s not that I haven’t 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 city’s embrace where love flows so easily in and out of me like my breath.

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Friday, August 22, 2014
Me, My Heart, and I :: Testing out the third arrondissement

After my three-week stint in California, I wasn’t able to settle back into my “normal” life right away. The day after I returned, my beau and I moved into my friend's apartment in the 3rd arrondissement between the Marais and the Place de la République. For six days while she and her family were away, we lived in their Parisian apartment in a typical Haussmann building. Even though I wanted to ground myself after being away so long, I was willing to put that off so we could stay in Paris.

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Saturday, July 5, 2014

When you are an expat, you walk a fine line between two worlds: where you were raised and where you are currently living. It’s not like you can hold one world in one hand and the other in the other hand; you have to hold onto both worlds with both hands without crushing either one of them. I have the added benefit (and added challenge) of embracing three worlds: Italy, France, and the US. I try to embrace fully the world in which I am right now without negating the other two. At times, it can be a bit challenging especially when there is some international sporting event. For me, the challenge comes around every four years for the World Cup.

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Saturday, June 14, 2014
Me, My Heart, and I :: Florence as friend, teacher, and lover

My trip home to Florence went by so quickly, but I gained so much this time around. It’s interesting that each time I return home and then go back to France, my understanding of both city increases. Not in a way to define each one better, but to open myself up to discover more around me, to appreciate the details, and to understand that the world is beautiful in all of its complexities.

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Saturday, June 7, 2014
Me, My Heart, and I :: The joys of being in Florence

The time I spend at home in Florence fills me with so much joy. While I enjoy my time in France, I am always so happy to return to my beloved city. The minute I walked into my apartment on Wednesday, my body relaxed and I felt a wave of joy ripple through me as I looked out onto the Arno. The words that inspired me to move to Florence the first time always come back to me when I return, “You are home.”

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

That’s exactly what I feel about Paris. When I first started coming to Paris three and a half years ago for work, I was staying in the city. I had taken a liking to the 7th arrondissement because I was able to run around the Champ de Mars and admire the Eiffel Tower every day. Since I moved in with my beau a year and a half ago, I have been living only two miles out of the city. But those two miles might as well be two hundred miles. Paris’s energy can’t be felt outside the city.

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