More than home to me

Each city has its own personality. Most places stir something in us: in some we may feel joy or serenity, while in others we may not be infused with such good feelings. I didnít understand what Florence was all about when I first arrived. I had many signs, but I wasnít able to interpret them. I not only had to have a good grasp of the language, but also I wanted to know a few Florentines very well.

Each person will react to Florence differently. Its personality may not appeal to some and may even repel others. Everyone judges my beloved city, but I feel that unless you understand the people who live here you canít criticize them. A city, to me, is similar to a person in that it isnít the city as it stands, but it is oneís interaction and relationship to it that defines a personís judgement of it. Places arenít all good or all bad; I either feel comfortable in a place or I donít. Itís not the place that is good, but it is my relationship with it that may be pleasing to me or not.

I also had experiences in other cities, which allowed me to appreciate Florence even more. Some places pushed me more in my head and toward results while Florence entices me to drop down into my heart and act from there. My beloved city instills me with the desire to be as true to myself as possible. It has stretched me past where I thought I could go, but I am happy about where I am now.

Over the years, Florence has become like a mother to me. She whispers in my ear every day that I am safe, and that I can continue opening my heart more each day. She reminds me to focus on my qualities and accept my shortcomings. She loves me for the person I am and the person I am capable of becoming. She doesnít tell me that I need to achieve anything in particular, but that I just continue filling my life with joy and love.

Not only has Florence become my home, but she has also become my sanctuary. Each day that I wake up still in her embrace, I feel fortunate.

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