by Melinda Gallo

Taking off for Paris

Iíve been wanting to walk around my beloved city, take in her beauty, and admire the changes sheís going through every day this week. I was only able to do a little of that when I went for my morning runs, but it wasnít enough. With the sun coming up around 7am and setting around 5pm, the days were short and dense. I was only able to walk around at night and admire the addobbi natalizi (Christmas decorations). I was eager to see the lights hanging across the streets, strung between buildings. I even strolled through Piazza Santa Croce to check out the annual mercato tedesco (German market), but was a little disappointed to find out that the giostra (merry-go-round) didnít make it here too.

I take off for Paris tomorrow. I look forward to my trips, but I always feel a twinge of sadness at leaving behind my beloved city, and of course my marito (husband), family, and friends. The trips away do allow me to spend more time reading and writing, which I am grateful for. I get to miss my beloved city just enough so that I donít take it for granted and am able to appreciate it even more.

For me, love is a balance of connectedness and separation. Each time I return to Florence, I feel a sense of peace and joy that come over me like a warm blanket. I enjoy Paris a lot, and it certainly is a gift to travel there every month, but Florence has definitely stolen my heart and will always be my home.

Florence is perfect for me. Its energy keeps me stimulated, its serenity makes me feel safe, and its charm continually intrigues me. It doesnít matter to me that it has its faults; what matters to me is how I feel when I am in my cityís arms. The connection I have to Florence is strong and deep. No matter how long I am away, it is in my heart and I believe that I too am in hers.

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