by Melinda Gallo

A short stay in Florence

After working in Paris for two weeks, a trip to the US, and a weekend stay in Paris, I finally returned to Florence on Monday. When I got off the plane, I took in a deep breath of air. The sweet scent of the Tuscan countryside tickled my nose. The air was warmer than it was in Paris and I felt my body relax. I was finally home after being away almost an entire month. It was the first time that I had been away this long from my beloved city since I moved here in 2004. I missed Florence, but fortunately I didnít long much for it.

On Monday evening, I went to see all my friends who have shops on via dei Neri. It was delightful to see their smiling faces when I entered their negozi (shops). I felt so welcomed and appreciated. I was happy to see that my absence was noticeable and that they even thought of me while I wasnít around. I think of them often and wonder what they are doing too when Iím not in Florence.

I picked up fruits and vegetables and was happy to see that cacchi (persimmons) were still being sold. I couldnít resist buying a couple. What I missed the most about being away from Florence was the freshness of the fruits and vegetables here. I couldnít wait to have a simple dinner with salad, cheese, bresaola, and schiacciata (Florentine flat bread). Of course, what I missed the most was olio di olive and now that we have the olio nuovo (the olive oil that was just pressed), I am in heaven.

I didnít get to see much of the city, but did take it in when I went to visit friends or ran errands. For me, it wasnít so much about seeing the city as it was feeling its energy and breathing in its sweet scent. When I could, I did however snap a few photos when I was touched by something I saw.

What I truly love about Florence is that I seem to drop down more into my feelings and check in a lot with myself. I notice when I feel like something or not a lot more when Iím here. When Iím in Paris, I do it a bit less mainly because I have to go to work every day and abide by a schedule that is not natural for me.

I take off for Paris tonight and am excited to return as well. I love taking in the ďCity of LightsĒ and feel that winter is one of its best seasons because it definitely has a delightful charm especially at night.

When I return to Florence, I will have more time to enjoy it, take it in, and appreciate it. Until then, I will keep her tucked away in my heart.

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