Thursday, January 10, 2019

Living in Florence :: Florence is my greatest inspiration

Florence is my greatest inspiration, and yet at times my greatest distraction. I often want to lose myself in her embrace. I enjoy navigating the streets in the centro storico (historical city center), strolling around her gardens, visiting her museums and churches, standing on her many bridges, and seeing her at different times of the day and from different angles. When I’m outside, Florence often nudges me to go in different directions, whispers ideas to me, inspires me to look around more, and leads me to explore more of the city. It feels like she wants me to embrace more of her with my heart.

Read Blog Post

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Living in Florence :: Delighting in Florence’s vivacity

The moment my foot stepped onto the loose gravel path in Giardini Bardini, I exhaled and my entire body immediately relaxed. I smiled when the sun peeked over the stone wall and greeted me. With every breath, the sweet scent of the giardino instilled my body with peace and joy. All the time I spend in Florence’s gardens is not only precious to me, but also sacred. It’s a time for me to tap into Florence’s energy so I can release whatever needs to be released, become more present, and open myself to the love around me.

Read Blog Post

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Living in Florence :: First Sunrise of 2019

When I heard the 8am church bells ringing, I hopped out of bed and dashed outside to watch the sunrise. I planned on waking up earlier, but the fireworks went on for hours last night and I watched them from my window. It was the first year, I saw so many people with their own fireworks and fire crackers in the street. The celebration lasted for hours. Besides being startled awake around 3am by fireworks, I heard them even when I was outside this morning too.

Read Blog Post

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Living in Florence :: Florence emanates love

A few days ago, I stood on Ponte Santa Trinita to watch the sunset. The muted colors in the sky did not inspire me to take many photos. I was contemplating whether or not to go home as the wind kept whipping past me, sending a chill throughout my body. I decided on staying a little longer only after wrapping my scarf a little tighter around my neck and hugging my body to keep warm. After a few moments, I noticed the colors in the sky gradually change. The sun burst through the sky, producing a bright orange, pink, and yellow streak on a strip of clouds overhead that was ultimately reflected on the water. Savoring the view, I felt an unexpected pang in my heart. It felt as if Florence had infused me with love like when the sun shines on my clothes and warmth permeates my body. That moment reminded me that Florence is always emanating love to us. Sometimes it takes something spectacular to emphasize that fact, but Florence transmits her love to us all day every day through every single street, church, building, bridge, tree, flower, museum, lamppost, square, and statue in the city.

Read Blog Post

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Living in Florence :: Savoring Florence at sunrise

For the past month, I’ve been waking up before the sun rises. It doesn’t matter how late I go to sleep, I still manage to be fully awake at around five every morning. My body and mind are rested so I just begin my daily routine. This morning, while I was writing, I was thinking about how much beauty is around me and how it’s only a matter of pausing to recognize it that will fill me up with even more joy. I stood in front of my open window and peered outside listening to the long pauses of silence in between the sounds of a motorino passing by or a car navigating the uneven stoned pavement below. I smiled when I heard the 7am bells echoing all around me. When I saw how the sky was turning a pale orange, I suddenly found myself pulling on some sweats, lacing up my running shoes, and donning a baseball cap. Within a few seconds, I was out the door.

Read Blog Post

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Living in Florence :: Evolution of a sunset

I never knew how magical sunsets were until I moved to Florence. Within the last few years of my living in Florence, however, I have become fascinated with sunsets. Before that time, I would only watch the sunset if I happened to be outside or in a location that had a view of it. Nowadays, I enjoy watching how a sunset evolves: the sun sliding down the sky, the clouds transmuting, and the colors in the sky changing. Not only is a sunset a visual feast for my eyes, but also a significant experience for me in which I reflect on my day, release what needs to be released, give thanks, and set an intention for the next day.

Read Blog Post

Friday, June 29, 2018

Living in Florence :: Delighting in a sunset

Excitement bubbles up inside of me the moment I reach the low brick wall along the Arno. In the couple of minutes it takes me to get there, my mind flips through the many options of where I can go to delight in the sunset. I only make the decision after I arrive along the Arno and examine the sky. Many factors must be considered, like the presence or absence of clouds, the trajectory of the sun as it sets, and the wind. This week, the sun is a bit farther north so when it sets, it’s not in the middle of the Arno like it was a couple of weeks ago.

Read Blog Post

Friday, May 18, 2018

Living in Florence :: Immersing myself in Florence’s gardens

While I was walking outside today on my way to run a few errands, I suddenly felt a desire to go to Giardino Bardini. Even though I didn’t really have the time, something inside of me insisted that I walk through the garden. After entering the garden, I hiked up to the top as quickly as possible to stand on the terrace and admire Florence from above. There is something powerful about embracing a larger view of Florence. It not only allows me to admire more of its beauty, but it also allows me to gain a better perspective of my own life.

Read Blog Post

Friday, May 11, 2018

Living in Florence :: Capturing Florence at sunrise

Florence belongs to those who capture her. Those were the words that popped into my head as I was running toward the Ponte Vecchio a little before 6 AM this morning. With my iPhone in the pocket of my running pants, I was not only prepared but also excited to capture all the beauty along my path. The moment I saw the pink hue of the clouds behind the Ponte Vecchio, I knew my run was not going to be as fluid as it normally was because I wouldn’t be able to resist taking photos of Florence as she wakes up.

Read Blog Post

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Living in Florence :: Delighting in the Giardino dell’Iris

Florence comes alive in the spring. Trees are waving their bright green leaves, roses are budding, fruit trees are blossoming, the wisteria is flourishing, and the irises are blooming. I keep my heart and eyes open to admire and appreciate all of the gifts this season offers us. While I enjoy visiting every giardino (garden) in Florence, my favorite one to visit is the Giardino dell’Iris because it reinforces the idea of living fully in the moment. It’s only open for only a few weeks while the irises are blossoming.

Read Blog Post

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Living in Florence :: An unexpected sunset

Last Wednesday, I stood alone on Ponte alla Carraia hoping for the sky to change colors. When I reached the lungarno and looked toward Ponte Vecchio, I saw that the sky did not look promising. For a moment, I wondered if I should just go home. I had been working all day and didn’t go outside until the early evening. I was determined to watch the sunset as a gift to myself.

Read Blog Post

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Living in Florence :: Scrolling through my photos on Instagram

The other night when I was unable to fall asleep, I picked up my phone and began scrolling through my photos on Instagram. It’s something I rarely do except to see if I recently posted a similar photo. I felt quite happy browsing through the photos I’ve taken over the past few years because each one is a part of me. I was surprised that so many of the photos were moments I vividly remember. I thought that after a few years or even a few months, I would forget what I was feeling in a specific moment captured in a photo. Often, however, it triggered my memory of the moment.

Read Blog Post

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Living in Florence :: My heart expands in Florence

We have the opportunity to open our hearts and to love more every day thanks to every person, place, and event in our lives. Without any interaction with others, it’s impossible for us to love as much as we do. Some people, places, and events, however, knock slightly harder on our hearts and entice us to open them up just a little bit more. Florence is one of those places for me.

Read Blog Post

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Living in Florence :: Bidding farewell to Astori

Even though I was fighting off a cold, I couldn’t stop myself from going out for a run Thursday morning. Through a few gaps in the gray clouds, the sun cast its bright rays down on the city. My intention was to take a photo of Florence from Piazzale Michelangiolo for Davide Astori, or as we call him “capitano (captain).” The Fiorentina’s capitano passed away suddenly last Sunday. It was a shock to us here in Florence as well as around the world. It wasn’t just because he was a famous soccer player, but because he was a highly regarded man and a beacon of light.

Read Blog Post

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Living in Florence :: Basking in the Giardino delle Rose

For me, there is something magical about sitting in the Giardino delle Rose. I enjoy hearing the hum of the cars whizzing by in the distance mixed with the sound of the birds chirping in the trees. The various sounds traversing the air remind me of how I'm able to simultaneously embrace all of Florence’s facets—from the tranquility of the gardens to the busyness of the city. On a windy day last week, I found myself mesmerized by the rustling of the tree branches in the giardino. Usually they are quite silent, but on that day, they made their presence known.

Read Blog Post
Back to Top