When I am in Paris, Florence feels so far away. My last images of Florence in my head were from when the plane took off. The city was on my left out the window appearing in a hazy fog where I could only make out the Duomo, Palazzo Vecchio, and a few other buildings as well as the Arno snaking through the city. Then, the plane veered north and the city disappeared. For some reason, it is that memory of my beloved city that I take with me to Paris. Not the millions of other images Iíve seen in the last two weeks I was in Florence.
My two weeks back in Florence were enjoyable even though they went by so quickly. I am fortunate to spend three weekends a month in Florence and one in Paris. The ratio of time in each location is perfect for me. Iím away from my beloved city just enough to miss it, yet still enjoy my time in Paris.
Itís almost hard to believe that Iíve been commuting to Paris for work for an entire year already. In the beginning, things werenít clearly defined but now they are. I get to choose when and where to stay (although I always choose a place near the Eiffel Tower because I love running around the Champ de Mars). I pick the apartment also for convenience: it has to be close to a specific mťtro line so that I can get on, hopefully get a seat so that I can read for 20 minutes before getting off and walking to the office.
I wouldnít say that I have a double life; however, I will say that life in both cities is very different. Because I work from home when Iím in Florence, I feel much more freedom and flexibility. When I am in Paris, I am on a typical work schedule and the office hours dictate my start time. But, I enjoy the mix. The variety keeps me on my toes and actually stimulates me.
I do spend more time alone in Paris than in Florence, but somehow that seems fitting. Culturally, I think itís actually perfect. More of an individual lifestyle in Paris and more of a family lifestyle in Florence. I almost canít imagine switching the two cities and their lifestyles.
I miss Florence just enough to appreciate it a little more each time I return. I donít long for it while Iím in Paris, but mostly because I know Iíll be returning sooner rather than later.
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