La nostra Web Radio!

Carissimi, qui la volontaria italiana di SE.M.I. in Grecia. Quest’oggi voglio raccontare in cosa consista un progetto a cui la mia organizzazione ospitante, You in Europe, ha preso parte e ha reso partecipi anche noi volontari del Corpo Europeo di Solidarietà. Si tratta di una web radio creata per iniziativa di un’organizzazione italiana nell’ambito della Key Action 2, azione del programma Erasmus+ che mira alla cooperazione per l’innovazione e lo scambio di buone pratiche; questa tipologia di progetti è indirizzata a tutte le associazioni e ONG che lavorano all’interno di progetti Erasmus e che vogliano iniziare delle collaborazioni, anche di lungo periodo, con altre organizzazioni europee. È questo il caso del progetto “Broadcasting Europe”, questo il titolo scelto, che coinvolge quattro organizzazioni e le loro web radio. L’idea del progetto “Broadcasting Europe”, nato nel 2018, parte dal desiderio di creare una rete di cooperazione e scambio transnazionale tra diversi enti europei situati in quattro stati: Italia, Grecia, Polonia e Spagna. Lo scopo del progetto, globalmente, è quello di promuovere abilità e conoscenze dei partner coinvolti e metterle in atto attraverso tale rete internazionale, in modo da sviluppare sempre di più la consapevolezza sulle proprie competenze condividendola con altre persone.

Ma a livello pratico, che cos’è una web radio, e come funziona? All’inizio, non appena i nostri coordinatori e il nostro mentore hanno iniziato a parlarci di questo progetto, non ci è stato chiaro sin da subito come potessimo fare per mandare in onda il nostro programma, dove registrarlo e come farlo. Poco a poco però ogni cosa è apparsa più chiara, quando ci è stata mostrata l’apparecchiatura che sarebbe servita al nostro scopo. Tutto ciò di cui si ha bisogno è un mixer a cui vanno collegati un microfono, delle cuffie e delle casse, per poi collegare a sua volta il mixer ad un computer, tramite il quale verrà mandata in onda la puntata radio, o registrata e poi caricata sul sito dedicato. Broadcasting Europe si serve infatti di un sito internet, Spreaker (https://www.spreaker.com/), dove ogni partecipante può pubblicare le puntate del proprio programma, che rimangono poi visibili e ascoltabili da tutti.

In questo modo è quindi iniziata anche la nostra collaborazione con questo progetto, e insieme agli altri volontari ESC con cui sto condividendo questa esperienza abbiamo iniziato a pensare a un titolo per il nostro programma, i contenuti, come lo avremmo strutturato e via dicendo. Data le nostre diverse provenienze e nazionalità, ci piaceva l’idea di trovare un punto d’incontro tra i nostri paesi, che ci permettesse di aprire dei confronti e scoprire in ogni puntata qualcosa di nuovo riguardante Italia, Polonia, Portogallo e successivamente, all’arrivo del quarto volontario, Spagna. Il risultato finale delle nostre riflessioni è stato “The Random Show”, un programma casuale, senza un tema fisso ma con un argomento diverso in ogni puntata, in cui ognuno di noi avrebbe raccontato le proprie tradizioni, usanze e costumi, e in questo modo tutti avremmo potuto sentirci inclusi nella discussione e avremmo potuto portare le nostre opinioni e idee. Gli argomenti trattati sono stati i più variegati, dal cibo alle vacanze, dal cinema al Natale, il tutto condito da canzoni sempre legate al tema della puntata.
Random Show

Abbiamo quindi caricato sul sito web la prima puntata all’inizio del mese di agosto, con l’aiuto indispensabile del nostro mentore, membro dell’associazione You in Europe, il quale tra noi è l’unica persona ad essere in grado di utilizzare l’apparecchiatura necessaria. Abbiamo stabilito che avremmo registrato gli episodi ogni due settimane, per un totale di due al mese. Durante la prima registrazione l’imbarazzo e l’agitazione ci hanno accompagnati, ma poco a poco abbiamo preso familiarità con questo tipo di lavoro e adesso è diventato un gioco in cui ci divertiamo e riusciamo davvero a parlare delle nostre diverse culture in un clima informale ma al contempo con la consapevolezza di star contribuendo ad un progetto europeo molto più grande. Per ascoltare l’ultimo episodio dedicato alle tradizioni natalizie e per trovare tutte le puntate del programma seguite questo indirizzo: https://www.spreaker.com/user/broadcastingeurope/the-random-show-episode-8
Insieme a You in Europe abbiamo poi organizzato una festa nella piazza principale di Nea Moudania, il paesino dove sto svolgendo il volontariato, per promuovere non solo il nostro show ma tutto il progetto della web radio. Durante la serata abbiamo presentato il nostro lavoro, preparato e offerto cibo tipico dei nostri paesi a tutte le persone che si erano riunite in piazza e attraverso musica e balli abbiamo provato a promuovere questo progetto.
WEB Radio Party
E per l’occasione abbiamo anche stampato delle magliette con il logo della nostra radio:
WEB Radio Party
Da sinistra: Igor, il nostro mentore e Bartek, entrambi polacchi, Federica, ovvero l’autrice di questo articolo che state leggendo, Sofia dal Portogallo e Jorge dalla Spagna.

Per concludere, quindi, creare una web radio non è difficile, tutto ciò di cui avete bisogno è la giusta strumentazione! Vi saluto con l’augurio di aver reso l’idea di cosa sia una web radio e con l’invito ad ascoltare il nostro show in onda ogni due settimane. Stay tuned!

A presto,
Federica

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

The European Parliament is an important forum for political debate and decision-making at the EU level. The Members of the European Parliament are directly elected by voters in all Member States to represent people’s interests with regard to EU law-making and to make sure other EU institutions are working democratically. The Parliament represents the second-largest democratic electorate in the world (after the Parliament of India) and the largest trans-national democratic electorate in the world. The President of the European Parliament (Parliament’s speaker) is David Sassoli (elected in July 2019).

European Parliament in Strasbourg

The Committees of the European Parliament

In order to do the preparatory work for Parliament’s plenary sittings, the Members are divided up among a number of specialised standing committees. There are 20 parliamentary committees that meet once or twice a month in Brussels and whose debates are held in public.

Languages, translation and interpretation

Speakers in the European Parliament are entitled to speak in any of the 24 official languages of the European Union. Simultaneous interpreting is offered in all plenary sessions, and all final texts of legislation are translated. With twenty-four languages, the European Parliament is the most multilingual parliament in the world and the biggest employer of interpreters in the world. Citizens may also address the Parliament in Basque, Catalan/Valencian and Galician.

Plenary

Plenary sittings are chaired by the President of the European Parliament. The President of the European Parliament is assisted in this task by the 14 vice-presidents, who can take over the chair. The President opens the sitting, sometimes with a tribute or a speech on a current topic. Parliament is in fact constantly concerned to respond to the latest developments in any major issue and has no hesitation in changing its agenda in order to call on the Union to act. The President’s influence can be decisive in this respect.

European Parliament 2019

References

About Parliament. European Parliament, web: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/about-parliament/en (page visited on 09/12/2019)

Wikipedia, European Parliament, web: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Parliament (page visited on 09/12/2019)

Brisighella sei bella!

Ciao carissimi lettori,

We are here to entertain you for another time! Well, let’s see want is going on this week. We don’t have a lot of changes, the everyday life goes on pretty smoothly and I am working in different things.

As you can easily understand in this point, I am usually talking about my weekends so I can describe better the life in Faenza. The weekends I am going out, I am travelling and actually enjoying some alone time.

Something like that happened this weekend, too. Friday night we had our traditional dinner with pizza and wine, as we do every Friday. Thankfully, we found a cheep pizza place and also we don’t have preferences in our wine, so we don’t spent a lot of money every time. The difference of the past Friday with the previous ones is that finally I convinced the others to go and dance a little bit. So we did! Faenza is small -fact that I am repeating in every blog- but it has things to do and places to go out and also has a place that you can go and dance until the morning. After some hours, at 4.00 o’clock in the morning we returned home with my Lithuanian and blond friend to sleep until the next evening -because is Saturday and I don’t care if I am waking up late.

Saturday wasn’t a lot fun and it was certainly chill. I had a breakfast with my roommate and then with chilled all day in the apartment watching Netflix and eating. It is not ”party hard” kind of weekend, but I was really needed to stay in my warm couch all day and do nothing. I love myself, I have to respect its needs.

Sunday on the other hand was pretty interesting. We planned a small visit to Brisighella, a picturesque, tiny city near by. We spent only 10 minutes in the train and we were there, somewhere between 21th Century and Medieval Times.

Brisighella has the tittle of the most beautiful small city in Italy and I can’t give them wrong. Within 5 minutes walk from the station we were in the city center, which was full of little shops and restaurants. It is easy to notice from the first minute in this city the beautiful towers around its hills. Using the stairs we got to one of them and after 10 minutes we got to the highest point. The view from up there is certainly breathtaking and combined with the warm and nude colors of Autumn it was one of the best things I saw lately.

After a small walk upon the hills and enjoying the view, we decided to take a break and something traditional. As you may know one of the traditional dishes of Emilia Romagna is the ”piadina”. It is a kind of wrap, but a different one depending the area, stuffed with whatever you want. It is delicious, I love it, I ate it in 5 minutes.

So, that was it for today, I don’t have anything else to describe you.

Until the next time, have fun and eat italian food..

Danai, Greece

European Union: Agriculture

Vibrant rural areas and quality agricultural products

World food production needs to double by 2050 to cater for population growth and evolving food habits. It faces the impacts of climate change on biodiversity, soil and water quality, and the demands of the global marketplace.

EU farm policy has changed considerably in recent decades to help farmers face these challenges and respond to peoples’ changing attitudes and expectations. EU agricultural policy covers a wide range of areas, including food quality, traceability, trade and promotion of EU farm products. The EU financially supports its farmers and encourages sustainable and eco-friendly practices, while also investing in the development of rural areas.

EU institutions collaborate on food and farming policy-making, implementing, monitoring and evaluating it. National and local authorities implement the laws agreed at EU level. Through the EU budget, funds are made available to member states in accordance to rules set at EU level. The EU also monitors how laws are applied, how effective they are, and coordinates amendments.

Agriculture and food related industries and services provide over 44 million jobs in the EU, including regular work for 20 million people within the agricultural sector itself. Thanks to its varied climate, fertile soil, the technical skills of its farmers and the quality of its products, the EU is one of the world’s leading producers and exporters of agricultural products.

Agriculture and rural development in EU: Rural development 2014-2020

The EU’s rural development policy helps the rural areas of the EU to meet the wide range of economic, environmental and social challenges of the 21st century. Frequently called “the second pillar” of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), it complements the system of direct payments to farmers and measures to manage agricultural markets (the so-called “first pillar”).

There are 118 different rural development programmes (RDP) in the 28 Member States for this period, with 20 single national programmes and 8 Member States opting to have two or more (regional) programmes.

EU framework for rural development programmes

Member States and regions draw up their rural development programmes based on the needs of their territories and addressing at least four of the following six common EU priorities:

* Fostering knowledge transfer and innovation in agriculture, forestry and rural areas

* Enhancing the viability and competitiveness of all types of agriculture, and promoting innovative farm technologies and sustainable forest management

* Promoting food chain organisation, animal welfare and risk management in agriculture

* Restoring, preserving and enhancing ecosystems related to agriculture and forestry

* Promoting resource efficiency and supporting the shift toward a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy in the agriculture, food and forestry sectors

* Promoting social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development in rural areas

Source: Official website of the European Union

Aperitivo con altri volontari…

Ciao carissimi lettori,

and continuing in English as usual…

So, here I am, the Greek volunteer, to entertain you and keep you posted for another time. The life here in the beautiful and small Faenza goes on with calm and happiness. I am really appreciating that I am working for an organization (SE.M.I association) that keeps me motivated, find all the time new things to occupy me and I am never bored.

I mean, I was used to work a lot back in Greece and there was a time last year that I was doing three different works in the same time and I managed to handle it and enjoy it in the same moment. As you could understand in the start here I was afraid that I might be bored. A job with specific working hours and not many to be sincere, in an office like a normal human being and without the necessity to run like crazy all day, all of these things made me wonder if I could managed them. I know that sounds crazy but I was used to it, to run like hell and change two jobs everyday, then come back to my apartment with my energy levels in the lowest possible point.

Likely, the situation here is not like that. Even though, I work in an office the most of the time and I have specific work hours, I am occupied the most of the time. The association finds new things for me to do everyday and I feel like they understood me from the first moment, I am an active and a little workaholic person, I am finding new activities to do all the time.

Another thing that I am, is a communicative person. I mean, I have too my personal daily limits in communication, but they are pretty high. I love communicating and meeting people for the first time. And for another time, SE.M.I didn’t let me down…

I am almost two months in Italy now and I socializing with the other volunteers that we work together and also with some Italians that I met through my activities. The things is… I wanted more. One part of the ESC experience is travelling all year, explore the new country that you are currently living. So if you combine these two you can easily understand that I want to meet volunteers for other cities in Italy. And the organization saw that need of mine, but need of other volunteers too.

Our coordinator organized an aperitivo in a city near to Faenza, Forli. Forli has a big team of volunteers and also we met other three guys from Cesena. All together, a team close to 25 people, we managed to find a table in a place a little away from the station, but really nice.

The majority of the volunteers were Spanish or at least spoke the language because they were from Ecuador or Argentina. At this point I have to note that Spanish people in Italy are sooooooo many. We have two in our team too, but in Forli there were too many. Also, you have to know that I love Spanish people. When you do programs like SVE you are dealing also with cultural gaps and differences, which is truly interesting if you are asking me, but also can create problems. To conclude, with Spanish people I feel really close and I can communicate easily, they are cool and fun in every situation, I am enjoying their company and I made already a lot of Spanish friends.

Back to the aperitivo after a small pause, it was amazing knowing all these new people from all around the world. We shared our stories, we talked about our jobs in Italy, our experiences here and of course we exchanged number so we could meet again. As the true face of a party animal, I may be in Forli this weekend to party with them to an event that they recommended me.

Pretty much that’s it for this week, I think I shared enough with you my lucky readers. I think that there is no need to highlight that the ESC experience is the best and you certainly have to try it.

Arrivederci,

Danai, Greece

European Union

This is the new column to give information about European Union.

The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 28 member states. Its combined area is quite big and an estimated total population of about 513 million.

The EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states in those matters, and only those matters, where members have agreed to act as one. EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services and capital within the internal market, enact legislation in justice and home affairs and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development.

For travel within the Schengen Area, passport controls have been abolished. A monetary union was established in 1999 and came into full force in 2002 and is composed of 19 EU member states which use the euro currency.

The EU and European citizenship were established when the Maastricht Treaty came into force in 1993. The EU traces its origins to the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC), established, respectively, by the 1951 Treaty of Paris and 1957 Treaty of Rome.

The original members of what came to be known as the European Communities were the Inner Six: Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany.

The Communities and their successors have grown in size by the accession of new member states and in power by the addition of policy areas to their remit. The latest major amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU, the Treaty of Lisbon, came into force in 2009. No member state has left the EU or its antecedent organisations (Greenland, an autonomous territory within Denmark, left the Communities in 1985). The United Kingdom signified its intention to leave after a membership referendum in June 2016 and is negotiating its withdrawal. The United Kingdom and its independent territories are scheduled to leave the European Union by 31 January 2020.

Containing 7.3% of the world population, the EU in 2017 generated a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of 19.670 trillion US dollars. Additionally, all 28 EU countries have a very high Human Development Index, according to the United Nations Development Programme. In 2012, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Through the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the EU has developed a role in external relations and defence. The union maintains permanent diplomatic missions throughout the world and represents itself at the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the G7 and the G20. Because of its global influence, the European Union was described in 2006 as an emerging superpower.

Source: Wikipedia, “European Union” (page visited on 18/11/2019)

LET’S TALK ABOUT LITERATURE

So this is my last text like that here and I decided to dedicate it to my one of my big passions, namely to the literature. This was also one of the reasons why I decided to study French Language and Literature in the University of Tartu. These were the best years of my life! I really enjoyed being a student. Now, after I’ve graduated, I try to continue using critical thinking while reading books, without loosing the ability to enjoy the story.

I’ve read a lot of books in my life and some novels have left a deep impression on me. So this time I’ve decided to talk about some of my favourite books and/or writers.

Firstly, one of my absolute favourite authors is Sir Terry Pratchett. I love his Discworld series (Serie del Mondo Disco). All the activities take place on a flat, circular, disc-shaped world which sits on the back of four big elephants, which in their turn stand on the carapace of a giant turtle. Some popular characters who appear in different books, are for example gods, a failed wizard and the DEATH.

I really like his writing style. Pratchett’s books are very funny and enjoyable to read, especially because he treats in a comical and satirical way real world issues and problems. You can also find references about different religions. For example the characters called The Four Horsemen of the Apocralypse are described in the last book of the New Testament (The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse). Also, The myth of a giant turtle/tortoise supporting the world occurs in Hindu, in Chinese and in Native American mythology.

My another favourite book from Russian literature is “The Master and Margarita” (Il maestro e Margherita) by Mikhail Bulgakov. He imagines very well the Russian/Soviet society of that time. At first sight, the text seemed too weird and confusing to me. But the more I read the more interesting it seemed. Finally I got used to the characters like the giant talking cat and the devil Woland, who had come to Moscow, and all the weird things that happen. This book has been considered as one of the best novels of the 20th century. I really enjoyed it and I would recommend reading it for those who haven’t done it yet.

The next book series doesn’t need a long introduction, I guess. I really like “Harry Potter by British author J. K. Rowling. In my mind, it’s absolutely amazing how she has described all the characters, all the places and all the mystical events.

A German-speaking Bohemian author who I quite like is Franz Kafka. I have read his books called “The Castle” (Il castello) and “The Trial” (Il processo). At the beginning, his writing style seemed very weird and it was very hard to understand what he wanted to say. While analysing the text a bit more closely, I found the books actually quite interesting. The main characters of both of the books have to deal with ignorance. There are events and circumstances that don’t depend on them.

In “The Trial”, the main character called Josef K. is unexpectedly arrested one morning. Nobody never explains him what he had done wrong (if he had done anything wrong at all), he only has to go to the court. Even the lawyer doesn’t seem to have any intention to help Josef K.

In “The Castle”, the main character is called simply K. He arrives to a village where he should have had a job. it’s impossible to speak to an official named Klamm. K tries to go to the castle to ask for any information, but he fails.

Another great book that I enjoyed a lot is “The picture of Dorian Gray” (Il ritratto di Dorian Gray) by Oscar Wilde. It’s a great story about double life, supernatural events that reflect the reality. In Gothic fiction, that this book also represents, the paintings have often a sinister role. In this book, Dorian Gray stays young and beautiful while the painting of him becomes more and more ugly and finally it’s so disgusting for Dorian himself that he hides it. Although “The Picture of Dorian Gray” might be a bit terrifying, I believe it’s still worth reading.

Concerning Italian literature, I really love “The Divine Comedy” (La Comedìa/Divina Commedia) by Dante Alighieri. I have read only the first part (Inferno). Other two parts include Purgatorio and Paradiso. It’s a poem where ‘sweet new style’ (Dolce Stil Novo) was used for the first time. It represents the vision of the afterlife through the medieval world-view that had been developed by the 14th century in the Western Church. In teh forst part, the main character travels with Virgil throught the underworld.

Another book from the Russian literature that I really like is “The Idiot” (L’idiota) by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I should read it more attentively myself, but I still believe it’s a great book. It’s a story about social issues and norms in Russia that cause a lot of problems for the main character called Prince Lev Nikolayevich Myshkin who has returned to his homeland from abroad and who is not able to integrate to this society any more.

As last recommendations, I decided to choose something also from the French literature. The first book, that is quite difficult to read, but that is still an amazing piece of work, is “Nausea” (La nausea) by Jean-Paul Sartre. The protagonist, Antoine Roquentin, tries to finish one of his researches, but he often feels that the world is weird and absurd that evokes him a sense of nausea. The only way how he can deal with it, is music. Sartre’s philosophical approach and existentialist concept makes it a bit difficult to read, but it’s still very interesting novel.

And the final one… I’m a huge fan of Molière, a 17th century playwright, actor and poet. Strongly influenced by italian commedia dell’arte, his comedies treat social issues in a satirical way. Although commedia dell’arte was based on improvisation, Molière’s early comedies were based on its scenarios, but with scripted dialogue and not improvised. Some of his plays I really like are: “The Imaginary Invalid” (Il malato immaginario), “Tartuffe”/“The Impostor”/“The Hypocrite” (Il Tartuffo), “The Ridiculous Précieuses”/”The Affected Ladies” (Le preziose ridicole).

A French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist René Descartes has said: “The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest (people) of the past centuries.” In my mind, reading is fun, educative and a perfect leisure time activity. So I would like to invite everyone to read books and to think about what the writers have to say.

Veloce e Facile..

Ciao a tutti,

Sono io, la volontaria greca, per ancora una volta! And as always I am continuing writting in English. How are you today? I am currently feeling melancholic, because we have a moody and rainy weather here today and I am always ready to hug my ”dark side” days like that.

It’s been almost two months that I am living in Faenza and ten more to go -if I go haha-. The volunteering work goes on and my days here passing by really quick while working with the communication part of the organization, the social media and organizing international projects. I like all of the parts, that I am currently working on, and I am pretty happy about it.

Usually, I am talking to you, my lucky readers, about my weekend adventures and the trips that I am doing every time. This time, the topic of the blog is a little different. It has to do with my weekend, but not with a trip, it has to do with Faenza.

This weekend I tried to save some money and I decided not to go away from Faenza. Also, the weather was rainy and cold so I and my roommates decided to stay put, in our beautiful and pretty warm house and enjoy a weekend in the moody Faenza.

Friday evening after our office hours and our Italian lessons we did the thing that is pretty much a tradition by now, we drunk wine -a lot of wine- and we ate pizza. At this point, I strongly believe in the therapeutic effect of this tradition of ours. It’s our own way to move away for the everyday life and leave behind the possible stress and negative energy. It is our way to say ”Hello weekend”. So, the Friday night went smoothly like that and we had all the Saturday morning to sleep.

So I did. I slept until 11.00 o’clock and full of energy I started my day. I went with my friends to the market to buy some vegetables and fruits -because after pizza always I am telling myself that I have to start eating healthy- but unfortunately the first thing that I am seeing when I am going to the market from my apartment is the stents with the clothes. I don’t know if I already talked to you about my obsession but I am a bit of a shopaholic. I can’t keep my eyes and my hands of clothes. It’s a problem -a REAL problem- especially when you don’t have money. Anyways, I bought two scarfs -which I needed and costed only 4 euros in total- and then moved on in the vegetable and fruits plan of mine. After this small walk, we went for a quick coffee and the evening for an aperitivo -I hope that you remember that is one of my favorite Italian traditions-. The most interesting part of this Saturday was that we managed to try some new things here. We went for dinner in a restaurant, which seems more like a drive-in restaurant, and we tried the traditional piadina, an other thing you looks like a calzone but it’s a little bit different and last but not least we tried a fried pizza.

As you can understand, I am on a diet!

Sunday morning went by with sleeping until late and then studying a little bit so I don’t feel like I am not doing something serious all weekend. After lunch, we went for a coffee and an ice-cream and out of the blue we found ourselves in a local catwalk that was also the highlight for the town and everybody was there. After a huge try to see some models and outfits we went back to our house a little tired and ready to chill some more.

This is pretty much my life in Faenza..

Until the next time,

Danai, Greece

FIRST REAL CULTURE SHOCK

About a week ago I thought that all my days are the same now that I have nothing to write about any more. Well, I forgot – it’s about life… Something happens all the time; things go wrong, sometimes everything goes perfectly well. My room mate arrived and we have had a lot of fun the last weekend. But… then I also faced for the first time the first real culture shock!

Some paintings

Usually don’t go out to have a dinner or to the cinema with somebody. One evening, my room mate and I decided to go out for dinner. As I’ve been in Faenza for about two months already, I took her to a place that I quite like myself. It’s a nice place near Piazza del Popolo. We entered the room. The first problems started even before we could sit down. The reason is quite clear – my Italian is almost non existent and my room mate’s Italian is not better. Fortunately one of the waiters spoke a bit English. So we got a table for two. The waiter brought us a menu and explained what they have. Usually I’m not able to choose very quickly one meal between all these Italian choices of food, but this time I knew already what I wanted so we ordered a drink plus buffet aperitivo. Later, my room mate took another drink. I always try to spend as few as possible, so I did also this time. The place was very noisy, a lot of people and quite loud music. But, well, that was fine. Surprisingly. Finally we went to pay for our dinner. In my mind it’s funny that here you can eat and drink before and then you pay. What if I forgot my wallet at home and I have no money? Sorry dude, but I already ate your food… Bye then!

Anyway, in Estonia it’s normal and very common that when you go out with your friends, everyone pays for the things they ordered. But here they had put the bill together, but we wanted to pay separately. And what did they do? They just split the final sum and I was forced to pay more than I should have paid!!! Ok fine, the sum wasn’t that huge, but this is a question of principle and I have to say that it was a shock for me…

A nice breakfast few days before the culture shock

Another time my room mate and I decided to go to the cinema. It sounds funny that two foreigners who don’t understand a sh*t of the language go to see a film without any subtitles… Well, probably one way to learn a language, but still… It was surprising that actually I did understand quite a lot. At least in my mind. And as weird as it sounds, but it is one of a few places where I can actually hear Italian (and hopefully learn at least something). Very soon I’ll start my personal project. I hope to be able to do many personal projects, but this time I’m going to do a language exchange. I don’t really know yet how it will work, but hopefully I can finally learn a bit Italian and in return help with some English and/or French.

Coming back to the previous topic. Again, a cultural shock hit my in the face even before I could enter the auditorium. At first, we had to buy tickets (hahah, at least here we need to pay before can actually see the film). As we went to see a film in Italian, I thought it would maybe be a bit too weird when we happily announce everyone that we speak no Italian at all. So I tried to use some few words that I managed to remember and surprisingly the booking clerk didn’t switch to English (I assume his English might have been even worse than my Italian, so he just let me suffer). I asked for one ticket, but as I was there with my friend, the booking clerk automatically asked about both of us. And as my friend don’t speak Italian yet, I did answer for both of us. Again, according to my Estonian background, I naively thought that each of us is going to pay its own ticket, but, you can already guess how did it go… The booking clerk asked me 9€. So it was obviously me who had to pay for both of us again!!!!!! At least when I saw the tickets I discovered that we both got a discount, but the fact that I always need to pay for someone else makes me so angry!!! So this is the price when you try to “speak” Italian!? Now I’m absolutely terrified to go anywhere with somebody again…

Tutto il mio folle amore (2019)

A few words about the film itself. The title of the film we were watching is Tutto il mio folle amore (2019). It’s a drama by Gabriele Salvatores based on a true story that talks about family relationships. At the heart of the story are an autistic boy called Vincent, Elena, his mother, Mario, Vincent’s stepfather and Willi, boy’s natural father. One night when Willi comes to the house of Elena and Mario after having a concert, he’s drunk. It’s the first time when he sees his son. Elena is furious at Willi and kicks him out. The next morning, Willi leaves to go to perform in another city. When he stops his car in the middle of nowhere, Vincent jumps out of it and starts running. Willi is shocked. He informs Elena that their son is with him. Elena wants him to bring Vincent back at home, but Willi decides to continue his trip with Vincent. They have a lot of problems, accidents and worries, but this adventure also makes the relationship between the father and the son much stronger.

Suddenly, there was a pause for 3-5 minutes… In a cinema!!? I couldn’t believe that, I’ve never seen something like that in a cinema before. Only possible in Italy… 😀

Elena didn’t give up and she went to search for her son with Mario. At the end, all of the family members meet. I quite liked the ending of the film which was a bit sad, thought-provoking, not like all of the Hollywood movies with an eternal happy endings… Although I think that this film had also a happy end.

In my opinion, it’s a good film, worth watching. I’s a bit sad, but beautiful. The actors were very good. I liked the main character’s acting, in my mind, the actor played well a person with a mental illness. And the music they used in the film, was also good. I really loved the Imagine Dragons’ song Next to me at the very end!

In conclusion, I really enjoyed the film and the fact that I was able to watch it in Italian! I definitely want to watch some other Italian films in the future.

Firenze: Una città bella ma ”piena come un uovo”…

Ciao a tutti,

Sono qui per ancora una volta e con un nuovo travel blog! Or better I can keep going on with English. Sooo, I am still here, still living, working in Faenza and still travelling. For this week I have a really special city to talk to you about, but as you already understood we are going to speak for Florence!

One of the most famous cities in Italy, that I am sure everybody have heard about it, is Florence. Is a city with a huge history background from Medici and Renascence until the Modern Italian Ages. Easily can somebody say that while walking around the city seems like you are moving through the rooms of a museum. There is something to see in every corner of this city and you can easy fill your camera with beautiful pictures of Florence.

I think these are enough as an introduction for this town, so let’s move smoothly on my personal experience.

Here in Italy the 1st of November is actually a bank holiday and lucky me, happened this year to be a Friday. As you can imagine it was the perfect opportunity for me to start my trip from Friday, since I didn’t worked. I took a train at 10.00 o’clock in the morning and after two hours of an amazing route with the train, between mountains and cloudy autumn trees, I was finally in Florence. I had a date with a friend, in which house I stayed these days, in the central station of the city and from the first minute we started to explore Florence.

After a quick look in the city center I realized that Florence is a touristic destination, but a REALLY TOURISTIC DESTINATION. People were everywhere and it is getting extremely difficult to see the famous sights of the city. People are everywhere, you can’t move easily and of course in every place you have to wait a long to drink, eat, order etc.

One of the first things I actually wanted to do in Florence it was eating because I hadn’t had breakfast -as usual as we are talking about me- and I was pretty hungry around 2.00 o’clock. So, we tried the most famous place to eat in town, ”All’ Antico Vinaio”, and from the very first moment I was scared. There are three shops under the same name in the same street and the people were making huge lines to wait for a panini. Of course, I started complaining and begging my friend to find something else, but eventually she convinced me and I don’t regret it. After an 1 hour waiting we finally got our Panini and it was really delicious, maybe the best thing I ate in Italy so far.

After that really long waiting, we visited some of the sights in the town but I didn’t actually enjoyed them enough because of the people who were everywhere and in big, big numbers. The last thing that we did and it was maybe the thing I liked the most, -even though it was a little bit far from the city center-it was to visit the Michelangelo’s Square which is up to a hill and you can see all Florence from up there. The view is incredible and even though the people was pretty much for another time -I know you are bored for reading this today-, I enjoyed my time up there, listening to smooth music and drinking beer.

We went back home at 8.00 o’clock and we had plans to party a little bit in Florence by night, but as you can imagine all my energy was spent in only one morning in the town and just dealing with this huge number of people.

The next day we were expecting an other friend for ours, a fella volunteer as me and he was in town around 10.00 o’clock. Also he had a problem with all these people as me, but a bigger one. Our original plan was to stay in Florence since Sunday so we can visit for free all the famous museums in the city -because every first Sunday of the month you can enjoy a free entrance in all museums-, but after all we felt really tired in this town and I was started getting pissed off with this crowd of tourists.

We started our trip back in Saturday evening and around 9.00 o’clock in the night we were back in our quiet and rainy Faenza. We decided to make a common dinner and we drunk our two bottles of wine in the peace and quiet of our apartment, while enjoying quiet and calm conversation.

Yes, you got it right, it’s pretty crazy down there in Florence. I am voting ”Pass”, but I really don’t want to influence you, just take a visit too and tell me your opinion.

Until the next time…

Ci vediamo,

Danai, Greece