Truly?? How could this be possible? Finding my way to this place-this Florence, this Italy-it has been a way for me to get away from people. and to simply exist in a place. A beautiful place, a place that I chose with contemplation and deliberation. At that point, it was supposed to be about the place and the art, not about people.

It was, for the most part, that way in my first year in Florence. Last year, it was still primarily about the place, but people seemed to be finding their way into my existence here.

This third year, friends and people (and characters) have just kind of crept into my little self-proclaimed florentine world. I now understand that there is no such thing as a private nor a self-proclaimed world here in Florence, nor in Tuscany, nor in Italy. Perhaps that was the true reason for the initial draw and what I truly needed. I came here in total isolation and have found more friendship, more generosity, more sincerity and more passion for the things that I love than I have ever found or discovered anywhere else on earth.

I came here to be alone, but the wonderful people here will not allow one to be alone.

So, now, as I enter into this new phase of my love and part-time living in Florence, it becomes more and more about the people who I meet here. Every day–it suddenly seems to happen every day. I ponder that perhaps it is because I have finally taken it upon myself to learn and study this beautiful language. I had no idea how beautiful this language was until I began to learn a bit of it. I had studied French extensively as a college student. French is an exquisite language. Italian is a robust language. Exquisite French was enchanting when I was 19 years old. At 52, I shall embrace and study this robust Italian language– and everything else within me that is Italian– with gusto!