by Melinda Gallo

Florence nurtures me back to my heart

After being in Paris for two weeks, something shifted in me. The city did not change, but I did. At the beginning of this week, I felt completely empty. I tried many different things to cheer myself up, but nothing seemed to work. Running didnít give me a high, I wasnít inspired to take any pictures, and my writing projects didnít excite me anymore. When I was in Florence just a few weeks ago, I had focused on one writing project in particular and was happily working on my fourth draft. But after returning to Paris, I felt completely empty as if I had nothing to write.

Living in Florence :: Florence nurtures me back to my heart

My heart felt as if it had broken in a million pieces because the momentum for my writing project just vanished. I picked up other writing projects and still I felt nothing. I even wrote a couple of blog entries that were difficult for me to write and impossible for me to post. My writing felt lifeless; I felt lifeless.

It was probably one of the rare times in my life when I just felt stifled. All I could think of was going home to Florence. I knew that if I could make it back home, I would somehow realign with my beloved cityís energy and make sense of it all. I wanted to feel invigorated by my writing and mostly I just wanted to feel alive again.

After my flight last night was deviated to Bologna because of a thunderstorm, we were put on a bus back to Florence. I found it odd that my arrival would be delayed by a couple of hours. The upside was that I did strike up a conversation with a man next to me and talked to him about one of my writing projects, which suddenly felt alive again.

As soon as I got off the bus at the airport, I rushed outside, grabbed my suitcase, and hopped into the first available taxi. Because the street next to my apartment was closed, the taxi driver had to let me off in via dei Neri and I had to walk with my suitcase to my door. It was the first time in the four years that Iíve been going back and forth that this had happened.

I lugged my suitcase up the stairs, entered my apartment, unlatched the shutters and left the windows wide open to let the cool air enter my apartment. I unpacked my computer and rushed immediately outside. Not to get food, but rather to take in my beloved city and take a photo of the sunset before it was too late.

All I had been thinking about for the past couple of weeks was taking a photo of the sunset on my first night back and I was afraid that I was going to miss it. I first headed to Ponte alle Grazie to catch a glimpse of the sunset. After taking a couple of photos, I walked along the Arno past the Ponte Vecchio and stopped at Ponte Santa Trinita. I made my way to the middle of Ponte Santa Trinita and snapped a couple of pictures. I took in a deep breath while looking out at the Arno to appreciate all the lovely colors in the sky and water. Finally, my body relaxed.

Even though I hadnít eaten anything since lunchtime, I was in no rush to leave the Ponte Santa Trinita. All the stress and anxiety I had been feeling while I was away suddenly seemed so far away from me as if I might have left them all behind.

For the time being, I am in Florence soaking up as much joy, love, and light that I can before heading back to Paris. Florence is not just my home because I have been living here for almost 11 years, but because Florence is where I feel nurtured, protected, and loved. Florence is above all the place where I am revitalized. Its message to me is always the same: all the answers are in my heart, never in my head.

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