Il ritorno dopo Natale…

Ciao a tutti,

and a Happy New Year!!

I am back here to start the 2020 with a lot of energy, new experiences and food, of course. For the Christmas holidays I went back in Greece to see my family and my friends and enjoy some time in my home.

My feelings were mixed…

2019 memories photo

Before even leaving from Faenza to start my trip back to Athens I was pretty sure that I didn’t want to return. I had to stay in Italy to see how is Christmas time for the Italians and have this experience, too. But, my tickets were already paid and I couldn’t chance my mind so easily -after all, I think I already told you that I don’t have that much money to spent…-.

So, I returned in Greece and I landed in Athens. After a long journey I was finally home, in my bed sleeping during the afternoon because I was really tired from the flight and the change of the environment. I woke up at the right time to start my first night out in Athens and meet my friends. And that is how everything started….

I spent a week in Athens going out every single night and having fun. Of course with a bit of sleep and a lot of food. I saw all my friends and we had so much fun that after a point I almost forgot that I live in Italy now. After this fun and exhausting at the same time week, I took the bus to visit my parents and surprise them. They had no idea that I am going to my hometown to see them, even though they were literally begging me to go I was always telling them that I don’t have the time. Their reaction was precious!

I spent New Years Eve with them in our small village, in which they have a small, beautiful and traditional coffee shop. It was exactly what I needed after the previous week. I relaxed near the fireplace, I drunk coffees and hot chocolates, I took long walks with my dogs and I ate a lot for an other time. I also helped them if it was needed.

After 4 days with them, I returned to Athens to start getting ready to come back here, in Italy, in the magical Faenza. But, I never expected that for another time I didn’t wanted to go away. I got comfortable in Greece, with all these people around me that I love and it was really hard to come back here. I had to sit and think about all the positive and negative things to realize for another time that the opportunity to be here is amazing and I don’t want to change a thing.

After all, I am going back in Greece soon…

Danai, Greece

URGENT! Call For Participants!

Attenzione, attenzione, c’è la possibilità di un’ esperienza memorabile!

In Bulgaria, a Lyaskovets dal 29 di Novembre fino al 5 di Dicembre 2019 ci sarà lo Youth Exchange, “Digital competences- key for youth employment” e cerchiamo 2 partecipanti italiani.

Forse questa è l’esperienza che tu aspettavi!

Nel progetto sono inclusi: – alloggio e cibo – costi del viaggio fino a 275,00 EUR – NO TAX

Se c’è qualcuno che vuol partecipare può compilare il modulo di domanda e invia un e-mail a: mladeji_lqskovec@abv.bg

Per più informazioni si può leggere l’Info-Pack.

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.

Intervista con una volontaria spagnola!

Vorresti conoscere delle opportunità che esistono per i giovani attraverso l’Europa?
L’Unione
Europea gestisce ogni anno programmi per i giovani, con lo scopo di allargare i loro orizzonti, l’acquisizione di esperienze lavorative e l’opportunità di vivere in un altro paese e conoscere nuove culture e stili di vita.

Una persona che ha già provato questa esperienza è Raquel Covelo González. Raquel è una ragazza di 26 anni, viene dalla Spagna e in particolare dalla Galicia. La sua città si chiama Mos, ma adesso vive in Italia, a Faenza, con me – una ragazza Greca e un po’ pazza – e Greta – una ragazza bionda e Lituana -. Raquel adesso ha passato 2 mesi e mezzo a Faenza e la durata totale del suo programma è 3 mesi. Questo programma si chiama ‘’Galeuropa’’ ed è una cooperazione dell’Unione Europea con il governo della Galicia per aiutare i giovani a muovere i loro primi passi lavorativi.

*IL LAVORO DI RAQUEL*

Raquel aiuta bambini dagli 11 ai 14 anni a studiare. La maggioranza di questi bambini ha difficoltà di apprendimento come dislessia, iperattività etc.

Nella stessa area, Raquel ha fatto il suo post-laurea. L’iniziativa di ‘Doposcuola’, con il nome ‘’Learning is fun’’ è una cooperazione di varie organizzazioni come Pigreco, La Palestra della Scienza, A mani LIbere e Associazione SE.M.I. Si tratta di una progetto sostenuto con i fondi ‘’Otto per Mille’’ della Chiesa Valdese

*GALEUROPA*


Abbiamo un po’ parlato di Raquel, conosciuto il suo lavoro in Italia e adesso possiamo parlare un po’ del programma che offre questa opportunità.

In particolare, è un’iniziativa per i giovani Galiziani con lo scopo di fare un tirocinio all’estero (Internship), in un ambito che è collegato alla loro laurea. Dopo l’esperienza del tirocinio, la partecipazione a questo programma ha una grande influenza sulla ricerca di lavoro, è una carta forte per il curriculum vitae. 

Ma come si entra in questo programma?

*HOW TO…*

Chi vuole partecipare a questa iniziativa è obbligato a essere iscritto a ‘’Garantia Juvenil’’.

Iscriversi è possibile in due modi differenti: si può fare il tirocinio individualmente, trovando un posto di lavoro e un appartamento senza aiuto. Oppure si può partire con un’organizzazione che si occupi di tutto (lavoro e appartamento). In tutti e due i casi la durata è la stessa e anche i benefici finanziari.

Ma il primo e forse il più importante passo del programma è la tua decisione. 

Sei sicuro che vuoi fare questa scelta?
Questa esperienza influenza radicalmente la vita del partecipante sia in modi positivi che negativi. Un cambiamento così grande logicamente genera paura e insicurezza. Devi parlare prima con te stesso, armarti solo con energia positiva ed essere pronto per affrontare ogni difficoltà nella tua strada. 

Nel caso di Raquel il cambiamento non è stato così difficile. La cultura spagnola assomiglia molto a quella italiana e lei non sentiva mai ‘’mancanza di casa’’. All’inizio, l’ostacolo della lingua le ha creato difficoltà ma adesso è capace di capire l’italiano e prova a parlare senza paura anche se fa errori. Comunque, alla fine della giornata, tutti facciamo errori linguistici anche nella nostra lingua materna.

”Raquel con i ragazzi di doposcuola”

A parte le difficoltà, è stata per lei un’esperienza memorabile! Ha fatto molti viaggi in Italia ma anche in altri paesi europei; ha trovato il modo perfetto di vivere da sola e stabilire la sua quotidianità; è indipendente e libera anche se è stata in un paese straniero. Ma la cosa più importante è la sicurezza che ora sente nel suo lavoro attraverso questo tirocinio.

ABOUT BOOTS AND SHOES

New country, new experiences, new gladnesses and new problems. Possibility to grow internally, danger to have a mental breakdown. My life in Italy its has ups and downs, as everyone, as everywhere. One of my favourite writers Terry Pratchett has said: “Wisdom comes from experience. Experience is often a result of lack of wisdom.”

I have to say that Italy is quite a messy country – people are often quite disorganised, the traffic is crazy… But at some point I also kind of like Italian life style… sometimes. Lately I went to the market, because I needed new boots. I found one quite nice pair, not very expensive, but when I tried them, I discovered that unfortunately these ones don’t fit very well. So I asked for smaller ones. I have used to the fact that everything is in order and placed in a clear way – when you want to find smaller or bigger boots of the same type, you just go and take them from a place where you have all the same type of boots. Clear and easy, isn’t it? But how things work in Italy? Well, after I’ve told to the salesman that I would need a bit smaller ones, he tried to find them from the boxes that were under the boots I had tried. Then he went to the other side and searched them from there. He was looking for those boots almost everywhere and finally he came back and told me that he was sorry, but he couldn’t find them at that moment; and he told me to come back on Thursday… 😀

When I already started to talk about boots and shoes, there is another cultural difference that I’ve noticed: entering the room with your boots. In Estonia, it’s very impolite, disrespectful and even unthinkable to enter (especially somebody else’s) room/apartment/etc. with your shoes on; we always leave them in the corridor. There are some rare cases when the host asks you not to take off your shoes though. But here in Italy, it seems totally normal and usual thing to just to drop in with your shoes on. Well, in Italy or not, but in my room, I wouldn’t let people walk around like that. As my future room mate (who will arrive very soon) is from Finland, I hope that we share the same principles…

As the time flies by so fast and we’re always in a hurry, I feel that I need to charge myself and to take some time off. And the yoga classes are perfect for that! it’s the place where you can feel really calm and relaxed.

Also, finally I had the chance to practice again another activity which is one of my my big passions too – it’s rock climbing!! The last time I had the chance to rock climb was in the beginning of September. The climbing hall where I go here in Faenza is quite small, but at least it’s something. There is the possibility of climbing with ropes (lead and top rope climbing), bouldering and speed climbing (that I personally don’t like very much). Hopefully I will have the chance and courage to do more lead climbing in the near future as well.

Last but not least, last Sunday I visited Bologna! It’s also very beautiful city. I’ve always liked to watch some street artists from YouTube, but now I finally saw myself a wonderful drummer playing his self-made drum kit, a guy who was playing guitar and singing very nicely, an artist who was moulding a dog…

In general, it was again quite nice week full of different activities. Although you can never know what to expect from Italy and from the other people. But if it doesn’t kill me, I can manage it.

A presto!

A due passi da Faenza…

Ciao a tutti,

I am here almost two weeks now, let’s start talking a little bit in italian, too! The ESC life goes on with more and more activities every week, new things to learn, new adventures to live and new people – especially Italians- to meet.

The office hours passing fast while dealing with European Exchange Projects – at least I am trying- and social media work. The italian language is becoming a friend of mine step by step and regarding my social life, we made a pretty good start with the other volunteers here. But, as good as it can be the everyday life, you always waiting and counting the days – the hours, the minutes- for the weekend!

I made a pretty good deal with myself for this year when they anounced me that I am accepted for this European Union opportunity. I decided to travel a lot this year. Don’t get me wroght, I also want to live in an italian lifestyle and get to know this small city that I am currently living, Faenza, but it is also a pretty good opportunity to travel around the courty every weekend. So, this weekend I made my first, small step and I visited Bologna!

Private moments with my friend in Bologna

I got into the traveler mind from Friday when my friend from Florence visited me in Faenza. After two – ok, maybe three- Spritzs as an aperitivo – I really like this italian habit- we decided to visit Bologna for one day. The next day, Saturday, me, my friend and other two volunteers as travel buddies, we woke up and took the train to Bologna. Ok, I knew it was really close to Faenza, but seriously it is just 30 minutes away and with the train you have to pay only 5 euros to go – that’s perfect because I don’t have money-. Almost at 11.00 we arrived in Bologna and start moving around these beautiful streets, visiting the local market and of course having breakfast as real Italians in the most lovely coffee shop in town. It was a weekend, so Bologna was full of people in the streets, shopping, drinking their coffees fast, having fun and enjoying their free time.

We moved as fast as we could to visit all the right places in only a day. We went to the center of the city, where the market is – of course I did a little bit of shopping and it’s one of the reasons that now I don’t have money for food-, but except the market you can see there the Two Towers, the Piazza Maggiore, the Cathedral and a lot of bars, restaurants and coffeeshops. The time passed as fast as the water flows and we got hungry, but who could expect that the weekend in Bologna it’s pretty hard to eat for lunch! All the places that we went at almost 1.00 o’ clock was full or had no more food and after 2.30 o’ clock they started telling us that they were close until the afternoon. We ended up eating at 5.00 o’clock but at least we tried the official spaghetti alla bolognese.

Of course, I couldn’t leave this full of people, full of life and amazing city without having an aperitivo first -yes, officially it’s my habit, too-. For another time, Bologna left me speakless and I am seriously in love with this city… So, after a little walking around the small streets of the center, we found a very, very small place, like a hole but full of people, in which bar you can drink a Spritz or a Campari with inly 2,5 euros. Take my money and give me clothes and Spritzs, SERIOUSLY! I was in heaven until we reallized that we have to go back to Faenza and of course we were late. As an authentic Greek one this time, I showed to my travel buddies how you can catch a train that leaves in 10 minutes and you are 15 minutes away and you don’t have a ticket, too. It’s pretty easy, you run, you run like hell, maybe the cars will hit you but seriously now, you have to run people!

That’s all folks! Just me, trying to leave me greek mark in Italy!

Ci vediamo…

Danai, Greece

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

A Greek is in Town

Hello to my lucky readers,

I am the last expected from this year’s voluntering programs (ESC) and I am finally in town. So many things to say, some many things to do and still don’t know how to start.

Funny, right?

I suppose that I can talk a little bit about the crazy and awesome opportunity that I have to come for a year and work as a volunteer in Italy. The European Union founds every year a lot of organizations to take volunteers and give them the best experience of their lives. This year I was one of the lucky, lucky ones and this organization in Italy, known as S.E.MI, saw something in me -I really don’t know what, I have to ask them at some point- and they chose me as a volunteer for a year in this little and beautiful Italian city, Faenza.

I arrived in this beautiful town of Faenza in a sunny Monday morning – I really hate Mondays, but that was a good one- and from the first moment I had the feeling that I was home. There are many differences between Italians and Greeks, for sure, but with the first impression, the energy that Italy and Italians give you feels a lot like the greek hospitality and kindness.

The first thing that everyone notices in Faenza is the medieval architecture with all these beautiful tall building, the huge wooden front doors, the vintage windows with the tiny balkonies and the small, traditional avenues. I think you can find it logical that I got lost from the first walk in this town. I mean, why people keep trusting me alone, right? Just kidding, I am pretty indipendent and I can find my way back in any case. But my first day here I really wanted to get lost in these small streets so I did it.

I also was really, really happy when I found Parco Bucci, a park full of animals like ducks, rabbits, swans and unfortunatelly pigeons -my greatest fear of all-. So, I desided to start healthy this year -as a resolution from the mainstream quote ”new town, new me”- and start running at this park everyday, even though I haven’t done it yet – it was raining,ok? I wasn’t bored-.

Parco Bucci, 02/10/2019

From the second day I started socializing with the other volunteers here and had a great time. We had a tour in the city of Faenza, we took all the necesities -because let’s face it, we are going to live here for a year, I need a lot, like A LOT- and then we tried some traditional things, foods and activities here.

So far so good, I don’t think that I can share anything else because we must have something to talk about the next time. For now…

Arrivederci!

Europe makers: Facilitating Youth

*foto: Elisa e Andrea, alla stazione degli autobus, aspettando i partecipanti dello youth exchange ThinkerINg

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Siamo arrivate a Lisbona il 15 Marzo e ripartite il 15 Aprile, dopo 1 mese di Job Shadowing (affiancamento lavorativo) con Check-IN, associazione Portoghese esperta di mobilità giovanile educazione non formale e progetti internazionali.

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Ci siamo messe in gioco, abbiamo imparato e condiviso competenze, ci siamo emozionate, abbiamo trovato nuovi amici e nuovi partner internazionali, abbiamo imparato i rudimenti del linguaggio internazionale dei segni, abbiamo visto la piccola e bella Beja, abbiamo scoperto un nuovo modo di gestire uno youth exchange, siamo cresciute, siamo cambiate e ora siamo pronte per nuove mirabolanti avventure!!

Grazie Check-IN team!!

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