Il ritorno a Faenza…

Ciao a tutti,

It’s me, Danai and as every Friday from now on I will be here giving you details about my ESC project and my life in Faenza. If you read and remember my last article, I was talking about January, my little first taste of 2020. We are only watching the previews and I am already tired, like really tired…

Brisighella

I spent my January between two countries, Italy and Greece, while studying and actually dying from boredom and of course travelling and changing zones of hour. After, the first difficult weeks, I returned, for good this time in Italy, but it is just for 2 weeks since I am flying to Brussels at the start of February -you will learn all about it with plenty of photos and a huge blog post.

In any case, since I came back to Italy, I am feeling really empty regarding my energy batteries. Living like a nomad for only a month made me realize that I am getting old. You can laugh as much as you want, but since my birthday -2 weeks ago- I am feeling a grown-ass woman of 25 years old, that I have to eat healthy, before 8.00 a.m and sleep a lot. This is a clear sign that I need some rest, it’s not logical for me to feel old.

Office, office, office

But guess what… my body might need some rest but my head is all about the outgoing side of life and is yelling at me all day YOLO (You Only Live Once). So as you can imagine, it’s been 6 days now that I am living again in Faenza and I was out the 5 of them.

First, when I returned I had to see some friends that I has been literally a whole year since the last time I saw them. We went to a sushi place in Faenza, which I love from the first glance. It’s an all you can eat place with 20.00 every person and you can literally take everything on the menu. In the start I though that the quality will be low, but nooooo, everything was delicious, really really tasty. I ate until I was ready to pass out on that little table, still full of food and I return home only to realize that since I returned in Italy I have to get use again the waking up at 8.00 o’ clock every morning. I got over in as a drunk a glass of water trying to digest all the food and went to sleep.

Sushi Life choose me…

Since that moment the 8.00 o’clock awaking became again a habit. And so on my days kept passing with coffees, aperitivos, pizzas and drinks that gave not only calories, but also a bigger need to sleep and relax alone, away from all; ”JUST GIVE ME A BIT OF SPACE” I was saying to myself while I was getting ready to go out again. Yes, I have to say that I am an irony with a pair of feet, really you have to stop taking me seriously.

The weekend came and my bed was waiting for me. Saturday free, Sunday free, what could it gone wrong? Yes, I forgot I am making plans without even thinking about it, without consciousness, without checking…

Long story sort, I spent the whole Saturday in the streets, the bars and the restaurants of Bologna. It will be unfair if I say that I didn’t had a good time, I love Bologna as a city and I had a really good time with plenty of friends this Saturday. The only black and bad thing is as usual Trenitalia with all the train delays… I had to wait almost an hour to the cold and melancholia station.

Aperitivo?
Yes, please…

‘TGIS” (Thank God Is Sunday) was my new moto before even start walking in Faenza after Bologna. And finally, I stopped. I stopped making plans, I stopped going out, I stopped changing 5 outfits per day and I had my Sunday to sleep, rest and chill on Netflix. I did nothing -except an aperitivo, but it was really close to my house, doesn’t count-. It was nice and relax, but to keep on grumble a little bit more, as I told you before the awaking at 8.00 o’clock has became a habit again, so even though was Sunday, I woke up around 8.30… but all good, really tutto bene!

Alla prossima,

Danai, Greece

Screen Shot 2020-03-10 at 14.23.14

FOOD SAFETY IN THE EU

Every European citizen has the right to know how the food he eats is produced, processed, packaged, labelled and sold. The central goal of the European Commission’s Food Safety policy is to ensure a high level of protection of human health regarding the food industry — Europe’s largest manufacturing and employment sector. The Commission’s guiding principle, primarily set out in its White Paper on Food Safety, is to apply an integrated approach from farm to fork covering all sectors of the food chain.1

Ensuring safe food from farm to fork

Health protection is the aim of all EU laws and standards in the agriculture, animal husbandry and food production sectors. An extensive body of EU-wide law covers the entire food production and processing chain within the EU, as well as imported and exported goods.2

EU countries implement these harmonised standards and establish controls to enforce them. The EU audits the application and effectiveness of the laws and controls, and also provides training to the responsible EU and international authorities.3

EU food safety policy and action is concentrated in 4 main areas of protection:

* Food hygiene: food businesses, from farms to restaurants, must comply with EU food law, including those importing food to the EU.

* Animal health: sanitary controls and measures for pets, farmed animals and wildlife monitor and manage diseases, and trace the movement of all farm animals.

* Plant health: detection and eradication of pests at an early stage prevents spreading and ensures healthy seeds.

* Contaminants and residues: monitoring keeps contaminants away from food and animal feed. Maximum acceptable limits apply to domestic and imported food and feed products.4

Food Hygiene

Rules on hygiene of foodstuffs were adopted in April 2004 by the European Parliament and the Council […]. They became applicable on 1 January 2006.5

The 2004 rules merged, harmonised and simplified detailed and complex hygiene requirements previously contained in a number of Council Directives covering the hygiene of foodstuffs and the production and placing on the market of products of animal origin.

The rules in place since 2006 innovate in making a single, transparent hygiene policy applicable to all food and all food operators right through the food chain (“from farm to fork”), together with effective instruments to manage food safety and any future food crises throughout the food chain.

A Commission report (2009) recounts the experience gained, including the difficulties encountered (in 2006, 2007 and 2008) from the implementation of the hygiene package by all interested actors. It does not suggest any detailed solutions to the difficulties reported and is, therefore, not accompanied by proposals.

1Food safety, European Commission. https://ec.europa.eu/food/overview_en (page visited on 17/12/2019)

2Food safety in the EU, European Union. https://europa.eu/european-union/topics/food-safety_en (page visited on 17/12/2019)

3Ibid.

4Ibid.

5Food Hygiene, European Commission. https://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/biosafety/food_hygiene_en (page visited on 17/12/2019)

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)

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

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.

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.

Cronache di un luglio rovente a Nea Moudania

Cari amici, eccomi di nuovo per raccontarvi la mia esperienza di volontariato in Grecia, a Nea Moudania, Halkidiki, presso l’organizzazione You in Europe.
Oggi voglio concentrarmi su ciò che ho vissuto durante il secondo mese trascorso qui, nel pieno dell’estate greca.

Innanzitutto posso affermare che luglio sia stato un mese molto movimentato, per molteplici ragioni: per prima cosa, la presenza di più di venti ragazzi provenienti da cinque diversi paesi europei arrivati per uno scambio di un mese (short term ESC) con You in Europe, impegnati nell’organizzazione e supporto di un festival locale insieme a un’associazione del paese. Sin dai primi giorni ho avuto modo di instaurare un rapporto di amicizia con molti di loro, per poi trascorrere insieme la maggior parte del tempo durante tutte le settimane successive.
In occasione di questo scambio è stato organizzato un corso di greco di due settimane, a cui io e gli altri due volontari di lungo periodo abbiamo partecipato con piacere, dal momento che qui molte persone, ma non tutti, parlano inglese, e non conoscere nemmeno una parola di greco ci stava rendendo la vita molto difficile! Così, insieme a questi venti ragazzi e un’insegnante molto carismatica è iniziato il nostro viaggio dentro alla lingua greca, e a lezioni concluse tra un kalimera e un kalispera avevamo imparato a leggere, scrivere e ordinare un caffè e una birra, praticamente tutto ciò che serviva per la sopravvivenza in una località di mare.
Sempre insieme a questo gruppo è stato divertente scoprire il territorio, andando ad esplorare nuove spiagge e nuovi paesini della penisola Halkidiki, oppure trascorrere le serate a chiacchierare davanti a piatti di ottimo cibo greco.
Insieme ai ragazzi dello short term ESC

Tutto sembrava procedere per il meglio, quando purtroppo il progetto dei ragazzi ha visto una battuta d’arresto dovuta ad un terribile tifone che si è scagliato sulla zona di Salonicco e la penisola Halkidiki il 10 luglio, colpendo principalmente Nea Moudania e Nea Potidea, un comune limitrofo, con vento e pioggia fortissimi. Questa catastrofe naturale, probabilmente causata dalle temperature altissime che si stavano registrando in quei giorni, ha portato ingenti danni non solo al territorio (ad esempio tetti delle case crollati, pali della luce sradicati) ma anche alla popolazione e al turismo: il bilancio dei morti è stato infatti di nove persone. Questo terribile evento ha causato la fine del festival locale di Nea Moudania a cui stavano prendendo parte i ragazzi, dal momento che avrebbe dovuto svolgersi nel teatro aperto della città, e che ora aveva solo bisogno di aiuto per essere ripulito dalle sedie e i tavoli distrutti, impalcature a pezzi, scenografie da ricostruire, per non parlare dei danni elettrici causati dalla pioggia che aveva allagato qualsiasi locale chiuso come i camerini e i bagni. Allego una foto del luogo prima della tempesta.


Superato lo shock, i ragazzi si sono rimboccati le maniche e hanno dato una mano all’associazione organizzatrice non solo per ripulire il teatro, ma anche la spiaggia e le strade da rami, alberi e spazzatura trasportata dal vento. Il loro sforzo è stato ripagato da tutta la comunità locale che non ha mancato di ringraziare personalmente sia il gruppo di volenterosi che You in Europe.

Dopo aver raccontato quelli che sono stati gli eventi delle prime settimane, passerò ora alle attività del nostro progetto, che nel mese di luglio hanno infatti iniziato a prendere forma e consolidarsi.
I miei colleghi volontari e io infatti siamo stati parallelamente impegnati tutte le mattine nel lavoro di due centri ricreativi (KDAP), uno per bambini e un altro per persone con disabilità, luoghi in cui siamo sempre affiancati da operatrici e insegnanti, ma dove ci è data la possibilità di proporre delle attività originali e gestire da soli il tempo con gli utenti. È così che ho iniziato un piccolo corso di italiano con i bambini, attività che ho portato avanti fino alla fine di agosto, e un corso di yoga con gli adulti affetti da disabilità, devo dire con molta soddisfazione!
Il bilancio di questo secondo mese può essere quindi positivo, dal momento che abbiamo avuto modo di ampliare le nostre amicizie e conoscenze, ci siamo inseriti attivamente nel lavoro del nostro progetto e nel tempo libero ci era possibile viaggiare e goderci l’estate greca. Ho accennato al fatto che il caldo durante luglio era diventato insopportabile, ma d’altronde ci dev’essere sempre un piccolo scotto da pagare per vivere in un paese di mare.
Durante quelle settimane io stavo cercando di capire che forma stesse prendendo il mio progetto di volontariato, pensiero che ho portato avanti e sviluppato soprattutto nei mesi successivi e di cui vi scriverò più dettagliatamente nel prossimo articolo. Grazie per aver dedicato del tempo alla lettura di queste righe, a prestissimo, da Nea Moudania!

Federica

M.E.I Music Festival in Faenza

Hello my lucky readers,

I can’t believe that I am already a week in Faenza, the time passes by really quick here…

I am currently working in the S.E.MI organization as a volunteer and every day I feel really lucky for this opportunity that the European Union has given to me. We have different activities, creative office hours and italian lessons so we will can interact with the local community really soon. In this way, the days of the week are full of new things to do and learn untill the weekend comes and it’s the proper time for… party!

I am from Greece -as you already know my little readers- and one of the things that we know to do best, is party! I finished work at Friday afternoon and I was ready to go home, eat and then going out to discover the nightlife of Faenza. The thing that I didn’t expected was the music that was played in all the city center.

What was that?

After a quick walk in the center of the town I realized that there was a music festival for independet and alternative artists, M.E.I Music Festival. The setting was perfect! There was like 4 or 5 different stages with all kinds of music and for all the ages. At the main square, Piazza del popolo, anyone could find a book market that also had second hand books – perfect things for me given that I am trying to learn italian so I could use an old book for practice- and they had a market with handmade clothes and accessories, too. The demons of consumerism inside me went like crazy and I think I lost a little bit in this small makret, I TOOK A LOT OF THINGS!

The next day, Saturday, the setting was the same but the musicians kept changing and offered all kinds of music to listen, dance and forget the stress from the week that passed. The streets of Faenza was full of people and the city was beautiful in every part of her, like she was wearing her best costume!

As it comes for me and my attitude this weekend, I tried to enjoy every little part of this festival. I am still pretty new in this town and I want to try all kinds of new staff, like tradition foods -PIZZA, PIZZA, PIZZA- and drinks. So, I did it, I ate a pizza, I drunk a spritz and I was happily dancing in the sounds of every band that we were meeting in the little streets of Faenza.

Untill the next time, Ciao…

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WHAT A WONDERFUL TOWN

Time passes so fast! I’ve been in Italy for almost three weeks by now. It has been pretty fun and full of activities. I’m quite excited that there are still many amazing things for me to discover in Faenza and about Italy in general.

Piazza del Popolo

During the last weeks, I’ve been preparing the room for after-school activities, thinking after school activities for kids and also done after-school helping children with their homework. I had no experience in working with children before, so I was a little bit worried, but the kids are actually very nice and cute and I quite like the task related to after-school activities.

The great thing about after-school is the fact that there’s time for playing and time for studying. We tried to find some games which are fun and which also help Italian schoolchildren to improve their foreign language skills. To get to know each other, we had an activity in pairs – each person asked questions we had prepared to another person and then they introduced each other to the rest of us. During this activity I also had the chance to practice my horrible Italian.

I really love those courtyards that I’ve seen quite often here. One of those courtyards belongs to this office where we have after-school activities. It’s so lovely – quite small and cute yard with a lot of plants and palm trees which looks like a tiny magic world. Very exotic to a Nordic person!

I have other duties such as promoting Erasmus+ projects on different Facebook pages and finding partners for different projects. Such tasks are not very easy for me, because I’m very bad with all this social media and technology stuff. But the positive thing is that at least there are many new things for me to learn and to develop. Another new skill that I learned was how to use Canva to create graphics. At first I thought it will drive me crazy, but it was really cool actually. As my first task, I created a sheet for students in the after school activities, which came off surprisingly nice in consideration of my computer skills.

On Sunday, September 22, there was an event of organisations in Piazza del Popolo. Raquel and I had a task to do – we had to exchange one sticker for any other thing. For that, we were forced to use our “wonderful” Italian language skills. Of course it was much easier for Raquel, who is Spanish, to speak to Italians, but I personally was in a big trouble! As my Italian is still limited – all I’m able to do is to introduce myself shortly using about five or six very basic and easy sentences. But this time I didn’t need to introduce myself, I needed to explain what I want and as I didn’t even know any words I needed for that, I just typed the sentence on google translate (one thing I usually never do) and showed this to the people I had chosen for he exchange challenge. The sentence was surely not correct, but somehow they understood what I needed and I did accomplish my task. Well, thank you, google translate!

Last but not least, I cannot omit to mention that I’ve been attending to yoga and mediation open days during the last week, which has been absolutely amazing! As in the other place, the courses are totally in Italian here too. Fortunately I’ll attend to official Italian classes since next month, so hopefully my language skills will be better soon and I really hope that after some months, I will be able to try writing a post also in Italian!