by Melinda Gallo

Lucky/unlucky

Dave and I are lucky and unlucky. Our jobs afford us the luxury of living anywhere in the world and so when we pick a place to live, it is everything to us. We have no other connections to the place other than those that we create ourselves. We don't go to work with anyone. We don't see many people on a daily basis. So, we are a bit more secluded than most people.

"Quando torni a casa?" (When are you going home?) I get asked quite often by people I know. They don't seem to understand that I'm not here for any determined length of time. We're here until we want to go somewhere else. But to me that question raises a red flag: I am not home. And that's what saddens me the most.

I feel like I am home here in Italy, but no one else seems to think so. When I lived in Paris, I never thought I'd ever leave. It wasn't perfect (as no place really is), but I felt at home there. No one ever asked me when I was going home. No one ever treated me as if I were a foreigner who was just visiting.

But France has a longer history of immigrants. Italy has only had them for a short while and I don't think they quite know how to handle them all.

When you look foreign, people treat you as if you were an outsider. They often assume that you don't speak the language, which has its upsides as well as its downsides. It's great when people are begging for money or want you to sign some form for them. But the downside is that you're invisible. People see you and look away as if they were trying to ignore you.

I love Florence. Its beauty is so enchanting and wonderful. There are so many things about Florence that I absolutely love, like the food, museums, buildings, churches, shopping, and weather. But, when will it really feel like home?

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