Summer Activities With Kids In Brisighella

As an international volunteer in Faenza, I have the chance to participate in very interesting and different activities. Now, when everything related to the COVID-19 has become to change, we can continue with our activities. Of course we still have to be careful and responsible: hold the distance and wear a mask, but I’m happy that the life has gradually becoming back to normal again.

The beginning of summer brought new experiences in new environments. Although I am the volunteer og S.E.M.I. – Seeds For More Interculture, we also collaborate with other organisations. One of them is PiGreco Apprendimento. So during the last few weeks I have been in Brisighella to help the local instructor with the activities for kids. We have about 6-7 children who have enrolled to this summer camp. That’s not a big group, but it’s even better, since in this way more personal approach is possible.

Every morning I travel from Faenza to Brisighella. The day is divided into different parts. We begin with a short gymnastics to stretch our body and to wake up, although the children don’t really like it. Then we sometimes have some activities, like inventing a story or writing down the vocabulary or describing our weekend in English. After that we have a bit of time to do the homework. That is interesting, because in my country, children never have to do homework during summer. Of course this year is also a bit different because of the coronavirus, but it’s still quite strange to me. On the other hand, we don’t spend for hours studying there, but only about half an hour, which is good, because the kids can study a little bit, but they can also play and enjoy the summer. I usually help them with English. When nobody has English homework, then I usually bring my own Italian book with me and I can study Italian myself and the kids can also try to help me, which is quite fun.

After homework we usually have some creative activities, such as picking herbs and putting them into a jar, building a castle, colouring the stones or self-made mini sculptures, etc. When it’s very hot we go to the river and the children can play there or we go to the park to play football.

These weeks have been super amazing, the kids are wonderful and the activities we do are so creative and interesting. I have really enjoyed working with these children and I hope that they have also learned something from me.

Another Week, Another Story

Ciao a tutti,

Sono Danai venuta da Grecia e come ogni settimana, sono qui anche questa Venerdì per raccontarvi le mie nuove esperienze!

And continuing in English, because it’s easier…

The truth is that this week I didn’t do a lot of new things. After my mini trip in Brussels, for which I talked in the previous blog of mine, I back in Faenza and back to work. I continue being poor, because I’m spending all my money to travels and aperitivos, but I’m having a good time regardless the money in my pockets.

I decided to talk to this blog about a new activity of mine -association activity- for which I didn’t talk enough, I think. So, after the Christmas vacation and when I finally came back to Faenza, my coordinator asked me if I want to do a new activity and of course I told yes! Before holidays I was pretty focused on writing a youth exchange and with International projects in general, but after finishing my work and send it to the National Agency, the thing that left me to do was to waiting for their answer -and that reacquires time-. In that moment, when they asked me to start something new, I ran fast to answer ”yes, yes and yes”.

My new activity takes place every Thursday from 14.30 o’clock until 19.30 and is something I was already familiar with, after-school. I’m doing some after-school also here in Faenza, every Wednesday and Friday, but after the new year, the organization started an after-school also in Brisighella. Brisighella is a small city near to Faenza- only 10 min away with the train- and is really beautiful. The after-school there has kids in the first classes of high school, which we help to study for the next day in school- and after them we have younger kids around 7 years old, with whom we do creative activities in English.

 

 

To continue we have to talk a little bit about my relationship with kids. Four years ago, I couldn’t even be in the same place with a little kid, I mean I couldn’t stand the screaming, the curiosity and the unstoppable urge of playing, I was tired even thinking about it. But the time passed, I grew up and I had to make some money. I have a degree as a teacher of the Italian language so it was easier to find a job as one. I started doing private lessons, to adults and after the kids came looking for me. Last year I rebuild my opinion about the small people, the kids. I did private lessons to some of them and I enjoyed it. Yes, I’m still tired every time after 1 or 2 hours with them, they are so active that they can take all your energy at once, but I’m having fun and I’m feeling useful.

 

 

Knowing all that, you can assume two things about me and about the new activity of mine. First, I enjoy it and second every Thursday I’m sleeping really early, because I’m so tired every time. In Brisighella’s after-school with the younger kids we are doing a so many creative and fun activities. Every Thursday we are planning new ones and we are focusing in the English language. We’ve done already the clothes, the body parts and the seasons. As you can easily guess the next should be carnival related.

And briefly I’m saying you goodbye, my lucky readers…

Soon you next week…

Danai, Greece

Screen Shot 2020-03-10 at 14.23.14

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

Screen Shot 2020-03-10 at 14.23.14

A LOT OF MUSIC

As the time goes on, the routine begins to take shape step by step. It means that during the week, I stay in the office, I write blog posts, deal with international project and go to the after school.

During the weekend, I try to find some places not very far from Faenza (mostly because of money) to travel a bit, although sometimes I feel very lazy, I would better stay home and sleep. But I don’t want to deepen my laziness, so I try to find something to do. On the other hand, I feel that during the week I have a lot of things to do, my daily schedule is quite full. So maybe there is some kind of balance after all?

This week I went again to Brisighella to visit an event called “Sagra dell’agnellone e del castrato Q.C.”. There was a market where products like meat, jam, etc. were sold; some musicians were performing onstage and a lunch was offered as well. I have to say that I really like Italian food, but the menu might be very confusing for me; and not only because of my inability to understand Italian, but also because the meals can be cooked so many different ways and it’s hard for me to choose which ones I might like the most. Also, I’m a horrible cook myself. Nevertheless, while in Brisighella, I also used the chance to enjoy once more this wonderful nature and picturesque landscape 🙂

There will also be other similar events in Brisighella which might me worth visiting.

Back to Faenza, I discovered that there was an event in the Piazza del Popolo: “Camminata del dialogo“. It was the final gathering of a walking tour organised by the “Centro di Cultura Islamica” (Centre of Islamic Culture) which was dedicated to the promotion of the coexistence of different religious cultures. A great cover band called Onde Radio were singing Italian songs of different artists and also some food and drinks were offered there.

I really love music and that’s a shame that I’m not really able to play any instruments myself. But I listen to music a lot. Usually I combine my love for music and my love for languages and so I mostly listen music in different languages. The following list of singers and songs is a bit long, but hopefully there’s something interesting for you too 🙂

First of all, some singers (and some of their songs) in French:

1. Zaz (Isabelle Geffroy) – a French singer-songwriter who mixes jazzy styles, French variety, soul and acoustic. SONG EXAMPLE(S): “Je veux”, “Eblouie par la nuit”

2. Black M (Alpha Diallo) – a French rapper and singer-songwriter. SONG EXAMPLE(S): “Sur ma route”, “Le plus fort du monde”, “French Kiss”

3. Maître Gims (Gandhi Bilel Djuna) – a Congolese singer, rapper and composer who grew up in France and who has worked with several international artists such as Sia, Pitbull, Lil Wayne, Stromae, Maluma, Sting, etc. SONG EXAMPLE(S): “Est-ce que tu m’aimes?”, “Lo Mismo” ft. Alvaro Soler

4. Stromae (Paul Van Haver) – a Belgian musician, rapper, singer and songwriter. SONG EXAMPLE(S): “Alors on danse”, “Tous Les Mêmes”

5. Christophe Maé (Christophe Martichon) – a French pop singer. SONG EXAMPLE(S): “Tombé sous le charme”, “Il est où le bonheur”

6. Gaël Faye – a French-Rwandan singer-songwriter, rapper, writer and interpreter born in Bujumbura, Burundi. SONG EXAMPLE(S): “A France”

7. Grand Corps Malade (Fabien Marsaud) – a French slam poet and lyricist. SONG EXAMPLE(S): “Roméo kiffe Juliette”, “Funambule”

A great Spanish-German singer-songwriter is Álvaro Soler (Álvaro Tauchert Soler). SONG EXAMPLE(S): “Sofia”, “Volar”, “El Mismo Sol” ft. Jennifer Lopez

Some great Danish singers:

1. Tina Dickow/Dico (Tina Dickow Danielsen) – a singer-songwriter. SONG EXAMPLE(S): “Pigen ud af Aarhus”, “Alt hvad hun ville”

2. Rasmus Seebach – a singer, author and producer. SONG EXAMPLE(S): “Øde Ø”, “Under stjernerne på himlen”

Some singers and songs from Iceland:

1. Friðrik Dór – an Icelandic R&B and pop singer and songwriter. SONG EXAMPLE(S): “Í Síðasta Skipti”

2. Gréta Salome & Jonsi: “Mundu eftir mér” (Iceland ESC 2012)

Some great songs in (Scottish/Irish) Gaelic:

1. “Cé a chuirfidh tú liom” by Arcanadh – a six piece traditional Irish vocal group of musicians from all over Ireland

2. “Cad é sin don té sin” by Caladh Nua – a band with origins rooted in the south-eastern counties of Ireland

3. “Hùg Air A’ Bhonaid Mhòir” by Julie Fowlis – a Scottish folk singer and multi-instrumentalist

Finally, there is a great Malian singer-songwriter Fatoumata Diawara who sings in the Malian language called Wassoulou. I really like her album “Fatou” (2011) where she explores themes of war, abandonment of children and female circumcision.

This list is definitely not complete, there are a lot of wonderful singers and very good songs and I like to listen almost every genre of music, vocal and instrumental.

VOYAGE VOYAGE

Elif Şafak has said: “I love commuting between languages just like I love commuting between cultures and cities.”

I’ve been in Faenza for a bit more than a month by now. The lingua franca is still English; sometimes I can use French, but not very often (and speaking French one of the things I miss a lot). Lately I went to the laundry. I was quite afraid to do that because I knew that probably they don’t speak English there (which was the case by the way). I wasn’t able to understand what they said in Italian, but as a little surprise, one if the ladies said that she spoke French! So, thank god, we were able to communicate!

Faenza

From time to time, I try to use some words or expressions also in Italian. Here are some examples of my attempts to use Italian:

– One day, I was ordering a coffee in a bar. I was alone, so I didn’t have a wiser and braver friend to help me out with the language. I have to say that I was quite proud of myself that I used no English, although I said only one short sentence in Italian. Nevertheless, it’s extremely hard for me to speak in a foreign language if I don’t speak it well, and especially with native speakers.

– The other day, I was trying to say something in Italian to the kids in after school, but it’s still too hard for me, because my level is not good enough for that. Sometimes I do feel myself like Mr. Bean on his holiday in France: “Oui. Non. Gracias.” (Mr. Bean’s Holiday, 2007).

– Sometimes when I’m in a shop, I don’t ask the salesperson to use another language when I’ve understood the price for example. However, if they decide to say anything else besides the price, I need to ask them to say this in English or to answer in English that I didn’t understand this or just smile, nod my head and to pretend that I’ve perfectly understood them (although this wouldn’t be very smart thing to do).

All these small things make me feel good, but they also make me overcome fear and break out of my comfort zone.

Piazza del Popolo, Faenza

I’ve been talking quite a lot about languages now. Last but not least I need to say that I’ve finally started my Italian classes. I decided to try B1 level which is pretty crazy, because normal people don’t usually skip all the basics when they start to learn a new language. I mean, after a bit more than one month in Italy, I can already understand a little bit more than when I arrived here (which is quite logic, I think). Still, I know nothing about Italian grammar and it’s too hard to create a normal and understandable sentence. In general, I quite like the challenge and I do feel that A2 level is a little bit too easy and the progress might be a bit too slow. Hopefully I will be able to survive in B1 level classes…

Concerning the activities, there are not many changes. Things are going to be more calm and stable now. Twice a week I go to after school classes and once a week I work with international projects. I also write blog posts and follow some courses related to art therapy and teaching in Udemy. Hopefully I will soon start to develop my personal project as well.

In my free time, I finally have stable yoga classes and I really really hope to go soon to rock climbing too! Mostly when I come home, I’m quite tired; I like to spend time alone in my room, to relax, to listen to music and sometimes practice ukulele.

Ukulele

So much for my everyday life and for “commuting between languages”. Just like Elif Şafak, I also like “commuting between cultures and cities.” During the last weekends, I’ve been travelling to the towns and cities near to Faenza. I started with the town closer to Faenza and every time I went farther. As a picture is worth a thousand words, I will add more photos than text in the following part.

So my first destination was Brisighella which is undoubtedly my favourite place so far! This lovely small town just about 10 minutes from Faenza by train is a real paradise! I really love nature and the hills. It’s so green and lively everywhere. I felt very calm and very grateful among all this beauty and I’m very happy that I had the chance to visit such a wonderful place. Besides the nature, I also saw some towers: I visited La Rocca and La Torre dell’Orologio wchich were very beautiful as well.

My next destination was Ravenna which is a very nice place too. I visited some museums and mausoleums. It’s weird that they don’t sell any single tickets, you have to pay about 10€ and then you can visit all of the places there. But in general, the city was nice.

Lastly, my third destination was Florence (Firenze). It’s a very beautiful city and very popular among tourists, so it was too crowded. Still, I really liked the Ponte Vecchio (the Old Bridge) and the river. While walking around the city, I saw statues, street art, the panorama of the city, etc. I also went to a bar for lunch. I really like Italian cuisine, it’s definitely one of the world’s best. However, it is not very pleasant for Italians to see how I try to eat long pasta (if possible, I try to avoid that). As I haven’t acquired (yet) the right technique, it’s very painful for me to eat this kind of food when I try to twirl a kilometre long spaghetti to the damn fork… But well, maybe I will learn how to do that one day. Anyway, I try to give my very best.

Definitely I’d like to get to know more about this culture, to continue learning Italian, to travel more and to discover other closer and farther cities. It’s so easy to fall in love with Italy with all its beauty, weirdnesses, vivacity, architecture and impressive nature!

From Estonia with Love,

Triinu