Holland has never really made sense to me. Instead of lifting my spirits up, it took them down. Instead of nurturing me, it drained me. Instead of flourishing, I was wilting. I felt more and more out of place; I was that weird woman who didn’t fit in because she wanted more than the nine-to-five, because she wanted unpredictability instead of secure safety, because she wanted to feel alive instead of already knowing what her life would look like in years’ time. She wanted out, even though she seemingly had it all.
“The perfect picture”
She had the relationship, the house, the job. The only thing that was missing was a pet but my ex-boyfriend was asthmatic, so that was the only tiny detail that didn’t match “the perfect picture.” The truth about that picture was that it actually was my version of the unlived life; the life full of potential that remained buried under the “shoulds”, expectations and society’s standards. A prison that had gotten too small for my outgoing personality with crazy dreams and wild desires.
Long story short, one day I said to myself: “f*ck that shit. I’m done.” I wanted to live a life that would thrill me, fill me up and make me really, really happy. Not half-assed happy. So I decided to leave it all (relationship, house, job) and to move to Florence, Italy; the place that made my heart sing.
When I was about to leave for my Florentine adventure people told me: “you’re so brave for doing this!” I always thought to myself: “I’d be brave if I stayed.” Being in Holland had become so unchallenging, so boring and so predictable that my soul was screaming at me from the inside: GET ME OUT OF HERE!
I needed fresh air, sunshine, smiles and laughter. I needed life. Sweet life. What better place than Italy where they master la dolce vita.
My senses were aroused in every way thinkable
I’d always felt good when we came here on holiday. I’d perk up, like a flower that had been hanging her head down all year round and finally caught a ray of sunlight that would lift her up. The atmosphere in the squares, the sounds of coffee cups in the morning, the warm and generous “ciao bella!”, the sense of being seen, the theatrical gestures, the loud laughter, the unrestrained physicality, the unapologetic personalities, the colourful cars, the smell of fresh pizzas, the proud pine trees and the waves crashing against the seaside rocks. My senses were aroused in every way thinkable – and they still are on a daily basis.
The friendly yellow of the palazzi that ooze grandeur, the stupid street stones that make your bike fall to pieces and your bell go off even when you don’t mean to. The recognition in the café owner’s eyes, the cheerful chat with the guy from the trattoria, the “ciao Sophie!” from that intelligent homeless guy when I walk into my favourite square Santo Spirito. The creative forces constantly hit me around the head and the friendly vibes make my heart swell; the feminine nature of this small grand city still captivates me after nearly a decade of calling it my home.
The warm feminine energy welcomes every lost woman who’s looking for her soul’s connection. Florence just manages to find them, attract them and give them the sense that she’ll never let them go. She makes her womb into their home and they feel nurtured, carried, loved and touched by her warm presence. You can leave, you can stay; like a mother she loves you unconditionally and is there for you when you need her. When you show up for her, she shows up for you. She shows her magic when you turn on yours. She makes you feel that here you can finally be who you really are; here you’re safe to explore and to express yourself fully. Here you can get lost, be found and start all over again.
Florence is the birthplace of renaissance, of rebirth. She has attracted and been home to so many lost artists looking for a place to rest their troubled soul. She’s been warm and welcoming and has given them the power to express, nurture and develop their talents to the highest of heights imaginable. She is a safe house for the odd ones out, for those who feel limitless, who experience love within every fibre of their being and crash down into despair at the slightest setback. This is the sanctuary to the sensitive, the over-excitable thrill-seeker who’s greatest values are love, beauty and connection. To the outcasts who feel rejected by their tribe and who’ve found a new one, with Florence as their matriarch.
Here there’s room for creativity and no need for competition. There is support, mutual understanding and sisterhood. There is appreciation for art in whatever form it comes. It’s soft, it’s soothing, it’s uplifting and brings out the best in you. Or at least in me it does. When people ask me: “why Florence?”, I always smile and say – even if it might be an unusual answer: “because here I can be the best version of myself.” And that is exactly why life in Florence makes all the sense in the world to me.
Love & courage,
P.S. Are you thinking of moving to Florence and would you like some help in taking the leap? I always offer a first free consultation in which we can get to know each other and see if we’re the right match to work together. Feel free to book it here.
P.S. 2 Do you already live in Florence and are you looking to make meaningful connections with like-minded women? Then please join my fab Facebook group The YES Woman for daily insights, inspiration and a safe space to share your unique story. On top of that, the monthly meet ups allow you to meet the other wonder women in person and to create new best friends in Florence!
All fabulous photos by: Christine Juette Photography