Quarantine Diaries: Second phase and EVS.

Hello again my beloved readers and I’m sorry for my disappearance. It’s been hard for everyone and hard for me too. After almost two months I can try eventually to be productive and active again…

We are happily moving to phase 2 of this lock down situation and the atmosphere here in Italy is certainly better. This week finally we can move easier around the city, drink our coffees, see our friends, go to the beauty salon-it’s a necessity- and try to enjoy the last days of spring until summer comes. In all of these activities of course we can add the use of face mask in everything we do from now on.

Let’s start from the begging and talk a bit about EVS in Faenza and the lock down. I wrote various articles in the past for the EVS experience and the amazing opportunity that I had, coming to Italy for a year. The true sense of EVS and all the similar European Union funded projects for young people is the chance to visit a new country for an amount of time and explore it. ”Travel” is the key word and I was ready to travel a lot this year. I did it also as much as I could before the lock down, but now everything stopped. Of course, life goes on and I will continue traveling if I’ll be patience and wait until the situation calms down. IN an case, the lost of these two months of my EVS experience is a bitter piece in my mind, all the travels that I could do, all the new places of Italy that I could see… thinking of all that is making me a bit sad and angry.

From my last trip before the lock down in Dozza…

But we will always have to think the bride side of life and there is one now; our chance to go outside again. This week our EVS activities have started and we went back to the office in the morning. Only this small step is enough to give you some confidence after all these months locked into your house. This week I had the chance to go outside and understand better how important is to take a walk sometimes and socialize with people in your life. Without these the past months I felt lonely and stuffed even though I could grown myself in many ways.

So this week I walked every morning in the office and enjoyed it so much. I had a coffee, a lunch. an aperitivo and a dinner and again I really enjoyed them. It’s been so long and now it seems the best…

Until the next time,

Danai, Greece

ESC experience, the Pandemic and some ”blue” thoughts…

The subject of this week’s article is pretty obvious and easy to think about it. CoronaVirus, Covid-19 or SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that influenced millions of people worldwide, killed a lot of them, closed borders and set the world in a Quarantine mood. I’m not going to give you general information about the virus, to present you the current situation or give you numbers of cases and deaths. I’m only here, blogging and speaking about my EVS experience in Italy as always…

So, I stayed… It’s over a month now that the situation in Italy became serious. First, the schools closed and with them our EVS activities that were pretty much related to schools and kids, as I described in my previous blogs. For around two weeks I had almost nothing to do and I had to stay in the house as much as possible. I can say that at this point I hadn’t really realized the seriousness of the situation; the numbers were still low and the people seemed cool, even though they were staying more at home and bars and restaurants weren’t so full as usual. At this point I had the chance to go back in Greece and spend some time in quarantine, but yet I would be with my family and it would be easier. I decided to stay in Faenza for several reasons, but the main one was that I didn’t want to risk get infected neither infect other people without even knowing it. Also, I didn’t know when this situation will end…

Supermarket reality the first days…

The next week the association start giving as activities to do from home and helping us to deal with the quarantine situation. I didn’t realize before now that it is really hard to live a global crisis like that so far from home and from people that you’re counting on. So, as you could easily understand I had my ”blue” moments, too. Actually the majority of the moments at this point are ”blue” given that each time that I open articles to see the numbers of cases always are bigger and bigger and you’re just feeling far and far from home.

Leaving a bit apart the plethora of thoughts that I have, I manage to feel better through work and activities that the organization gave me. I started some yoga lessons and I did workout from YouTube -like everybody at this point- and I tried to study a bit for my exams. Of course, the house like any other house in the world is cleaner that has ever been and I am cooking like crazy, because I’m running out of things to do in the house pretty easy.

Supermarket lines with 1 meter distance from each other

The latest lock-down found me in the position that I already was, it wasn’t for me a big surprise that we should stay home, we should stop going to the supermarket every day and we should be careful. The only change was that I stopped cooking so much and start a diet for the 5th or 6th time this year.

Reading again all these that I wrote above I just realized that I wasn’t funny at all at this new blog -eh, it doesn’t matter, we aren’t always funny.

Two of the reasons that I miss Greece…

I want to leave you with some food for though this time. I read a lot about solidarity, social awareness and new profound respects for human lives and I strongly believe that everybody should take a moment and think about all of these regarding what’s happening in the world and the new needs and issues that are created. Anyway, one of my results and I really want to spread the word about it, is to cancel 2020 and start using 2021, it will just take the stress out of my shoulders…

Until the next time-that I promise I will be funnier-,

Danai, Greece

Carnevale nel Mondo

We are official a step before Carnival and me, from the lovely Italy, I couldn’t be more excited to live this period in the country of one of the most famous Carnivals worldwide; Carnival of Venice.

Of course, except the famous Italian Carnival there are also a lot of particular and popular celebrations all over the world, that I hope I could visit some day. Let’s take a look to some of this places…

NEW ORLEANS- MARDI GRAS

One famous and particular celebration is the Mardi Gras of New Orleans. The parades and masquerade balls are organized by krewes, social clubs that date back hundreds of years in New Orleans. This carnival celebration is popular known as one of the most debauched celebrations in the traditionally Puritanical United States. This masquerade tradition is accompanied by another particular one, the King Cake, in the colors of justice (purple), faith (green), and power (gold). 

RIO DE JANEIRO- CARNIVAL OF RIO

Who doesn’t know the most famous Carnival of all? If think there is nobody that never heard of the Carnival of Rio De Janeiro. This celebration is full of colors, feathers, parades and samba dance for days and days. The first Carnival in Rio started in 1723, and today it is held to celebrate the gods and honor the the great waters. Over 200 samba schools, or communities who decide to attend Carnival together, parade the street with colorful floats, dancing, and decorations.

TRINIDAD- CARNIVAL OF TRINIDAD

And continuing with the famous carnivals all over the world, in the second place you can find the Port of Spain, Trinidad. After the Carnival of Rio is the second most colorful and popular one. Performers and dancers prepare their costume all year for the celebration, with giant feather headdresses and sequins. The main attraction is the music and dancing, with Soca music being traditionally featured, as well as music from cultures around the world, including Calypso, chutney, steelpan, claves, and drums. 

LONDON- A CARNIVAL IN AUGUST

It’s sounds a bit weird after all there exotic places that London -with all its seriousness- hosts a famous Carnival, too. London’s Caribbean Notting Hill hosts a carnival with influences of Jamaica, Trinidad and other West Indian Cultures, every August. Given that is rooted in Caribbean Traditions is also plenty with colors, dances and exotic music.

BELGIUM- BINCHE

Moving to the central Europe, you can find a really interesting carnival tradition in Belgium and in particular in the city of Ghent. Ghent is home  to one of the strangest carnival celebrations in the world, Binche. Only Ghent natives are allowed to dress in the whimsical masks, called Les Gilles during the Binche festival.

INDIA- GOA CARNIVAL

This festival is a MUST- meaning that I have to, I need to, go there once in my life-. Originated to Portugal, the Portuguese people brought their Catholic traditions and festivals to their colony of Goa, India, which has morphed into a spectacle that’s a fascinating blend of Hindu and Catholic customs. This Carnival is considered one of the most famous and beautiful in India and millions of people visit it every year.

That’s it for now, folks…

I hope you will enjoy your Carnival!

Danai, Greece

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Brussels is Calling!

Ciao a tutti,

So, I don’t know if you read my last blog, but for those that didn’t I was influenced about my favorite thing, travelling and I talked about my ideal destinations for 2020.

The very first one was Brussels, in Belgium and to be sincere I told that it wasn’t ideal and I booked this trip because it was cheap. I can honestly tell, I was wrong!

 

 

First things first this trip was really quick. I landed in Brussels Saturday at 7.30 o’clock and I flew back Monday at 7.00. It was from the start a small and economic trip. I also had the luck to find a cheap hostel, but really nice in the center of the city.

To do a good presentation of the trip, I have to start from my co-travelers, which were two friends of mine from Spain. We started all together our trip from Faenza to Brussels Saturday afternoon, first using the train and then the bus to arrive to Bologna airport. From there a beautiful, sunny Saturday of this February we took the plain to go to the less sunny and extremely windy Brussels. We have seen in the Internet that the weather wouldn’t be by our side, but we didn’t expect that.

Our first night, Saturday night we didn’t had the chance to do much. We arrived in the hostel at 11.00 o’clock this night and we were also a bit tired. We went for a walk around the block to grab a bite and we ended up to grad a couple of beers, too. For those that they don’t have a clear idea about Belgium, I have to say that is famous for the beer, the waffles and the french fries -which as I learned in a free tour were not French at all but Belgian and they named them French the American Soldiers of World War 2 that hearing the Belgian people talking French and eating the fries, they thought that they are French. Until this day, the name remains ”french fries” and the people of Belgium are trying really hard to change it to ”fries”. So, if you want to help them, just start to call them ”fries” and spreed the word.

 

 

The next day we had a full plan of visiting the city center and see all the sights. What we didn’t knew was that in Brussels this day, they had an ”orange alarm”, that means that the weather was really bad and the wind so strong and the most of the people were actually afraid of going out of their houses. And the strangle was real! We fought with the wind, we got wet from the rain and we were cold the whole time, but we saw it all! We walked the center alone and then we booked a free walking tour; we tried the traditional street waffles and the fries that are double fried to they can be crispy outside and soft inside; and last but not least we drunk different beers that is a MUST once you go to Belgium.

Saturday went by smoothly even though the weather was extremely bad and the wind tried to hit me in the walls several times. As the night was coming one of my friends had to go, return to the airport, because she had to catch an early flight and there wasn’t a midnight bus. So, she did, but the weather played a tricky game with us again. Of course, the wind couldn’t stop early on Monday morning and the fight of my friend got canceled twice. She had to spent more that 12 hours in the airport waiting her flight back home.

 

 

On the other side, me and my other friend had one more day to spent in Brussels and we took this chance to visit the famous European Parliament. The Parliament is placed in a centered quarter and it was really easy to find it. I wasn’t impressed from the building actually; I expected it bigger and nicer. Except that, I enjoyed the sights of it. There is a place that called ”Parlamentarium” that is helping you to get more information about the European Union, its formation and history and also there is a European History Museum. Unfortunately, I had only the time to visit the ”Parlamentarium”, it was interesting and gain a lot of new information.

After these two days of moving around, watching and tasting new things, we had to return. We took our flight at 7.00 o’clock and thankfully we didn’t had a problem with the wind that was continuing being strong. We landed in Bologna around 8.30 o’clock only to discover that the wind followed me here. But, I will survive….

P.S: I also got tested for Corona Virus when I landed in Bologna. That thing is becoming bigger and bigger, right?

That’s it for today…

Danai, Greece

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