by Melinda Gallo

The magic of my two cities

After spending the holidays with my beau and my sister and her family in both Florence and Paris, I thought about my two cities a little differently. My sister told me how she experienced Florence and Paris and that spawned me to think about them too. I generally try to accept and appreciate my cities as I would a person, and rarely thought to compare them to each other in detail. Living in both cities is a source of great joy for me.

Living in Florence :: The magic of my two cities

After spending time in one and then the other these past two weeks, I really got a sense of their differences. Usually, I can feel the difference within me, but then quickly adapt to each one because it is almost ďnormalĒ for me now. But this time was different because I was experiencing the city more as a tourist instead of as a local.

For me, Florence represents understated and eternal beauty that is born from the inside out. The buildings donít look like they were planned, but somehow magically create harmony together. Itís almost as if their uniqueness allows them to stand out and yet blend in.

Florence is discrete. It doesnít announce its treasures from the rooftops; it invites you to discover them at your own pace and delight in them.

Florence is like a mother who welcomes me home each time, embraces me, and encourages me in all that I do. Florence is where I began to listen to my heart, to truly listen to its yearnings. When I am in Florence, I feel a deep sensation of creativity and passion swirl inside of me at the pace of the Arno flowing through the city: sometimes quickly and at other times slowly.

Paris, on the other hand, represents sophistication and elegance. Parisís beauty is found in its perfection: trees that are lined up like soldiers standing at attention and buildings that are almost identical in terms of its size, design, and color. Paris seems to have been planed out in all its details without leaving anything to chance.

Parisís beauty is more external in that it doesnít allow you to slowly discover it. It taps you on the shoulder and wonders what took you so long to notice. The outside of any building, shop, or museum is enticing and invites you to enter. Whereas in Florence, the outside of a building has nothing to do with what you might find inside.

I love both cities for different reasons, but especially for how I feel when I am in each one. In Florence, I feel comfortable as if my heart beats at the same rhythm as the city. In Paris, I feel as if I am unique, independent, and unwavering like the Eiffel Tower.

Both cities inspire me differently. In Florence, I am inspired to follow my heart and to let love flow through me. In Paris, I am inspired to achieve greatness by sharing my gifts and talents with the world. It is probably no surprise then that my path has led me to live in both cities so that I can find the balance between following my heart and achieving all that I desire.

I am blessed to live in Florence and Paris. In 2012, I opened the doors to change by living in both cities; in 2013, I balanced my life between my two cities, and this year, I plan on planting my roots and reaping my fruits. I hope that my two cities continue to work their magic on me.

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