by Melinda Gallo

Continually learning to go with the flow

The last few weeks have reminded me of how much Florence changes on a daily basis. Itís almost as if I can never settle into a routine because change is always just around the corner. Changes can be seen and felt every day: the weather, the air, the number of locals and tourists in the streets, shops opening and closing. I realized just the other day that no two days are ever alike. And if I try to force them to be, no good comes of it. I have learned that the more I go with the flow, the easier things are for me here. Accepting change is crucial to living serenely in this bustling city, but the real challenge is embracing them.

Iíve been to and lived in places where the weather can change at the spur of the moment, but never have I lived in a place where one day itís dry and the next day itís humid. The fluctuations of humidity have an impact on me and I notice that my attitude shifts. Maybe the weather influences us all because we are outside so much, and rarely jumping in cars and into buildings. I canít avoid the weather, living in the centro (downtown area). Sometimes I can even feel a heaviness come over me while at other times I donít.

Another change is the flux of people in and around the city. Itís not just the tourists, but the number people who are strolling the streets. Sometimes the streets are empty while at other times, they are packed. And itís not a matter of which days, but also at different times of the day.

The city is back in full swing now that the last festa (holiday) was on January 6. Many people did the ponte, which means they took off Friday to enjoy a four-day weekend, so the city was quieter near our apartment. The main shopping area near via Calzaiuoli was much busier because the saldi (sales) began last Thursday.

Last week, some of the less touristy streets were quiet, but this week the city was bustling again with people back from vacation. And to top it off, Pitti Uomo, a menís fashion event, was being held at the Fortezza. Even if I didnít know the exact dates, I could tell it was here because there were more taxis passing by and the streets were filled with fashionable people walking about.

With more people in and around Florence, there is increased traffic too, which brings about an increase in noise. More cars and motorini (scooters) were navigating the streets. I notice it most along the lungarno when Iím outside walking or running in the mornings. The difference between last week and this week is quite remarkable. I think sometimes that more people and more noise certainly create stress in the people who live here. Last week seemed much calmer to me than this one.

Living in Florence can be challenging because of the constant changes that occur all the time, and even in the same day. I have lived in a city that is much bigger, I never felt so much intensity living there. I think that all the changes can be quite trying on those of us who live here. I have learned that life is much smoother if I go with the flow. Even though at times it can be difficult to do, I realize that by doing so my life is even sweeter.

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