This morning I went for a run under the rippled grey clouds and the Arno at my side. I enjoyed the cool air brushing against my face as I ran down the lungarno (road along the Arno). I let my thoughts swirl around me while I took in the beauty of my beloved city. With each breath, I left my stress and worries behind me.
What I have noticed about Florence is that I can’t help but feel alive. It’s not just that my beloved city is pulsating with energy that it passes on to me, but people acknowledge each other. This morning as I passed a runner, he called out to me, “Ciao cara!” Even though I am more alone here (or at least not often accompanied), it was a sweet reminder that I am not alone. It’s not that anything would transpire, but people notice other people and they want to interact with others.
When living in a larger city, like Paris, it seems as if that type of acknowledgement is lost. Many avoid eye contact as much as possible and when they do look at you, it’s a look of indifference and sometimes worse, judgment. It’s something I accept in Paris, but it’s not something I like.
So when I run along the Arno and say “buongiorno” or “ciao” to the other runners, I feel joy ripple through me. It is not just my beloved city that fills me with joy, but also the people. They interact from the heart and they aren’t afraid to say hello to a stranger.
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