by Melinda Gallo

Preparing for my return to Florence

A strange thing happens when Iím a few days from my return to Florence: I suddenly begin inserting Italian words into my vocabulary and my beloved city begins to surface more in my mind. Itís almost as if my brain is preparing itself for the switch. Tomorrow Iím returning to Florence after a six-week stay in France. While Iíve been in France, I havenít longed much for my beloved city, but I admit that I have missed it dearly.

For the last week, I have been doing a mental countdown of my return to Florence. I havenít contacted my close friends, but I am looking forward to reconnecting with them. It was a change for me to spend Christmas and the New Year in France since Iíve spent them for the last five years in Florence. I was happy to have seen the Christmas tree next to the Duomo and the lights hung above the narrow streets, but I missed the spirit of the festivities that is so palpable.

One of the highlights of this trip, however, is that my beau is coming with me to Florence for the weekend. I love being able to show off my beloved city and share it with him.

I am especially eager to see the Arno so I can enjoy contemplating it. I love how its reflection and color changes throughout the day. I canít wait to see the green hillsides and the colorful buildings. Iím also looking forward to seeing some of my favorite monuments and churches. I would like to sit inside Orsanmichele, walk up to San Miniato, run up to the Piazzale Michelangiolo, sip a coffee or cocktail while looking out at my beloved city from a rooftop terrace, and meander the streets to take in the energy that pulsates all around.

No matter how lovely a city can be, for me there is nothing like Florence. Its charm, vivacity, and power are almost intoxicating. My beloved city constantly nurtures and inspires me. ďDrop into your heart and live from here,Ē it whispers to me. My body relaxes and I sense a lovely layer of peace and joy that envelops me.

My true home will always be Florence no matter where my body is. It is the city that calls to me, welcomes me, and fills me with great love and joy. I am honored to call it home and grateful that it is such a powerful force in my life.

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