The beginning of a great journey

Dear readers,

Firts of all let me introduce my self. My name is Mary ,i’m 26 years old and i’m from Greece. Two years ago i finished my University and i took my dergee in Business Administration with specialization in Project Management.Meanwhile during my studies i did various jobs more or less unrelated to my field of study. I was working as waitress, as barista etc. and one day on my shift a colleaque of mine announced that she would go Erasmous+ in Germany. The very same day i had checked all the information on European programs and i decided participate also in Erasmous+ .So, i went in Poland for six months and let’s say that “the germ” for European programs entered me for good!

But i’m not here to talk about my Erasmous+ experience , i’m here to write to you about my ESC experience that is now begins!

On October 4,2020 i arrived at Milan airport with my final destination Faenza. It was a long long journey that lasted 14hours. The truth is , if you are asking my oppinion,if you ever want to come in Faenza i suggest to you not to choose:

1st, Milans or Romes airport, cause its easier to take a flight from Bologna which is closer to Faenza

2nd, take large luggage with you, it’s more comfortable to send your luggage to the place of residence than carrying them throughout your journey.

And i’m speaking from personal experience because i regretted doing the above…

When i arrived in Faenzas trailstation someone from the organization picked me up,helped me with my luggage and took me finally home. There for the very first moment i felt like home. The other guys (my flatmates) they welcomed me ,showed me the house and immediately took me to my room to settle dowm. I found the house a very pleasant place that doesn’t differ in anything from the warmth of my own home.Then with the new week’s start i joined my team ,i’ve met all the members of the orgsnization and our activities started! Of course during the next few days i din’n miss to go for a walk in the city which i found quite small but pleasant with some hidden jems which will make staying in the city definitely much more enjoyable… I’m very optimistic and excited adout my decision to come to Faenza and i can’t wait to see where all this will finaly take me!

Until the next time,

Mary ,Greece

P.S.Did you know that every afternoon between 6pm-8pm in italy they are used to taking aperitivo?this means that if you buy a drink or spritz automatically they offer to you some food and in some cases unlimited food!…so now you know!!!

Call for 1 Italian volunteer!

Siamo in ricerca di un volontario Italiano per un progetto ESC a La Coruña!

Are you ready to experience an amazing opportunity? Our Spanish partner ”Paideia” is looking for an Italian volunteer to join their ESC project for the next 8 months.

Are you an active person and want to work with people with disabilities? This project is for you!

DURATION: 8 months

ACTIVITY TOPICS: Disability

LOCATION: Spain, Coruña

We are looking for a volunteer with interest and sensitivity towards people with disability, who has initiative, creativity, empathy.

All you need to do is to send your CV and a motivation letter written in English or Spanish in this e-mail: evs@paideia.es

Read the Info-pack below and take this amazing opportunity for 8 months that you will never forget!

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.

Laboratori didattici al tempo del Covid 19

Anche quest’anno Progetto Policoro Faenza e l’Associazione SE.M.I. – seeds for more interculture APS- hanno avviato il loro laboratorio di orientamento in uscita per le classi V degli istituti del territorio faentino. L’Istituto Oriani ha accolto la proposta formativa che ha avuto inizio, come di consueto, nelle aule della scuola a inizio febbraio.

La didattica si è svolta in modo laboratoriale, strutturando in ciascuna delle dieci classi V dell’Istituto un percorso di gruppo finalizzato ad aiutare gli studenti a riflettere sulle loro prospettive professionali o formative post diploma. Gli studenti si sono esercitati nella redazione di un proprio Curriculum Vitae efficace, hanno sperimentato la ricerca delle offerte di lavoro e approfondito lo studio delle tipologie contrattuali in cooperative learning. Mediante gioco di ruolo hanno simulato un colloquio di lavoro, mettendosi nei panni dei recruiter o dei possibili candidati, per porre in risalto le loro competenze e le loro qualità.

L’itinerario formativo è cambiato radicalmente nell’ultima settimana di febbraio.

La sospensione delle lezioni in aula per Covid 19 ha interrotto tutti i laboratori didattici attivi nelle scuole, mentre i docenti, che non si sono mai fermati, si riorganizzavano per la didattica online. Lo stesso è stato fatto dalle operatrici del progetto.

Grazie all’appoggio dei docenti promotori e della scuola, si è fatto tesoro del tempo di pausa per ripensare e rimodulare la proposta formativa e concludere il laboratorio in modalità “a distanza”. Sei delle classi incontrate a febbraio hanno ripreso l’analisi del mercato del lavoro attraverso gli incontri online con le operatrici del progetto. Si sono interrogati sui cambiamenti dovuti all’emergenza Covid 19 rispetto all’economia e all’occupazione; infine hanno e integrato la formazione con le indicazioni sulla selezione dei candidati in videocolloquio. Gli studenti interessati hanno poi svolto una esercitazione individuale allo scopo di simulare un percorso personale di ricerca e inserimento nel mondo del lavoro.

Ora che questa esperienza formativa si è conclusa, svelando nuove possibilità anche dove si intravedevano inaspettati ostacoli, le operatrici del progetto Debora e Ina vogliono ringraziare i docenti promotori, i professori Luca Bandini, Anna Maria Rava e Marco Piolanti, che hanno sostenuto la proposta con lungimiranza, credendo nelle finalità e nel suo valore formativo per gli studenti. Un grande ringraziamento va agli studenti stessi, che si sono messi in gioco anche in questa situazione difficile, che ha cambiato le loro prospettive ma non ha affievolito le loro speranze e il desiderio di essere protagonisti, liberi costruttori del futuro.

Viaggiare, dormire, forse sognare

Cari lettori di questo umile blog, torno a cercare di offrirvi uno spaccato della vita in Grecia, anche se in questo periodo le mie giornate, sono certa, assomigliano a quelle di altri milioni di persone, e non credo ci sia nulla di notevole da riportare all’interno della mia routine che, come ho forse accennato precedentemente, ho costruito attorno ad attività più o meno dinamiche che vanno dagli allenamenti casalinghi agli esperimenti culinari, dai film agli audio libri ai corsi online e dalla scrittura di articoli come questo alla registrazione di podcast e scrittura di progetti europei (attività legate al mio volontariato e che sto portando avanti a distanza con SE.M.I.). Ad essere sincera le giornate stanno passando molto velocemente da quando è iniziato il lockdown, ma nonostante stia sfruttando questo particolare periodo per dedicarmi a tanti passatempi diversi, ça va sans dire che come tutti mi auguro che tutto possa tornare presto alla normalità.

La lista delle cose che mi mancano in questo presente è molto lunga, ma ce ne sono alcune la cui assenza mi pesa più di altre. Si parte da quelle piccole, come prendere un caffè al tavolino di un bar, organizzare una cena tra amici, andare a una festa, abbracciarsi. Ma senza dubbio al primo posto si classifica l’impossibilità di viaggiare, muoversi nello spazio e vedere luoghi nuovi, o anche semplicemente tornare in quelli familiari. Il viaggio per me non è solamente un’esperienza fisica, di spostamento, lo considero piuttosto come uno stato mentale, un’attitudine alle cose, l’essere curiosa e avere voglia di provare, esplorare, scoprire, mettermi alla prova. Un viaggio parte sempre da un atto pratico: prenotare il biglietto, preparare la valigia, prendere l’autobus per l’aeroporto. Ma dopo che queste azioni meccaniche si sono concluse, nel momento in cui si arriva a destinazione, è lì che la parte interiore comincia a mettersi in cammino per andare più lontano, è quello il momento in cui gli occhi si spalancano, l’udito si affina, in cui tutti i sensi hanno finalmente la possibilità di liberarsi e si può respirare appieno l’aria di una nuova città e si inizia davvero a rendersi conto del processo di spostamento che si è appena compiuto.
Mantenere questo atteggiamento verso ogni esperienza quotidiana, anche la più banale, si traduce per me nell’aver sempre voglia di fare passeggiate, di prendere un treno e visitare il paesino accanto al mio durante il weekend, di vedere un film appena uscito al cinema, di continuare sempre ad imparare cose nuove, in una frase direi un naturale opporsi ad una routine predefinita e sempre uguale a se stessa.

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E per l’appunto la scorsa settimana, in occasione delle vacanze pasquali, avevo in calendario un viaggio verso la Turchia, per visitare Istanbul e le sue moschee, per vedere il Bosforo con i miei occhi. Dopo aver appreso che tutto ciò sarebbe rimasto solamente un sogno, una delusione cocente mi ha colpita, per quanto comprendessi perfettamente le cause, ma dalla premessa a questo paragrafo si può facilmente intuire come io senta il viaggio come un bisogno e che anche solo il pensiero mi porti felicità come poche altre cose. Da quell’istante hanno iniziato a salire a galla i ricordi dei viaggi passati, recenti e lontani, e la consapevolezza di quanto sia stata finora fortunata a poterli intraprendere tutti, dal primo all’ultimo. Questa presa di coscienza ha mitigato lievemente la tristezza che la presente rinuncia portava con sé, sempre accanto alla speranza di poter ricominciare a viaggiare presto, con ogni mezzo. Al momento l’unico che mi è rimasto a disposizione è con la mente, e tanto mi basta. Forse.

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Senza lasciarsi andare a sentimentalismi auguro sempre a chi è arrivato alla fine di questo articolo di trovarsi in ottima salute e vi lascio con la speranza di salire presto su un autobus, treno, aereo e continuare a scoprire il mondo per com’è: sempre nuovo.

A prestissimo,

Federica

Quarantine diaries: What to watch now?

And the ”Quarantine diaries” project continues…

Last week I wrote about ”What to do” during this lock-down and I added to each particular activity a chilling atmosphere and a slower way to live your everyday life inside the house. Today, first I forgot that I have to write a blog- sorry, I’m so influenced from the chill way to live- and then I couldn’t find a subject. Finally, it came to me… What I do like a boss? What am I good at?

The answer is easy, I’m really good at watching movies, series, documentaries, all kinds of stuff that you can take the opportunity of the lock-down and watch now that you have plenty of time. So, for this week I decided to recommend you some TV series that you can start watching during this quarantine and who knows (?) maybe you’ll manage to finish them until the summer that maybe we’ll be out again.

*For the story, I decided to share with you some series and not movies simply because I prefer them. Usually I’m tired to stay and watch a whole movie and I’m falling asleep at the middle of it.

  1. When They See Us” (2019)

One of my personal favorites of all times. ”When They See Us” it’s a Netflix production -even though usually I don’t like Netflix productions- and it’s an American drama mini-series based on a true story.  It is based on events of the 1989 ”Central Park jogger case” and explores the lives and families of the five male suspects who were falsely accused then prosecuted on charges related to the rape and assault of a woman in Central Park, New York City. The five suspects were children of color that were wrongfully accused for a crime that they never did. The TV series is following the trials and the stories of each particular protagonist and it successfully makes you a part of the events. The ’80s atmosphere, the discrimination of people in color and the poverty of the American society of these times are visible and well displayed.

P.S: Grab some tissues if you easily get emotional and watch this masterpiece ASAP…

2. ”This is Us” (2016-…)

Ready for some family time? ”This is Us” it’s a diversity series even for its category, it’s a drama/ comedy family series. How is it possible, right? The story follows three siblings (known as the ”Big Three”), two brothers and one sister, all born in the same day. One of the most interesting parts of the series is the changing of the timeline once in a while; you see the protagonists in various ages and aspects of their lives. Each one of them has its own problems, joys and obstacles to overcome, but they are all connected with a family drama that follows them the most of their lives. The variety of the protagonists and the diversity of each particular life and story keeps your interest in high levels in every episode.

P.S: In this series you’ll find the best father figure ever played in TV. I love him!

3. ”Shameless” (2011-…)

**Providing this last -for today- TV series I wanted to highlight the difference between ”This is Us” and ”Shameless” and it has to do with the father figures. On the first one you see an emotional father figure, a made for family guy that loves his wife and its perfect in its own, realistic and particular way that makes you fall in love with him instantly. But in ”Shameless” you have a totally different person…

The series depicts the poor, dysfunctional family of Frank Gallagher, a single father raising six children. He spends his days drunk or in search of misadventures, and his children learn to take care of themselves. The show’s producers sought to distinguish this production from previous American working-class shows by highlighting how Frank’s alcoholism affects his family. Through the season of the series you’ll see the children growing up and changing while they’re becoming more responsible than their own father or sometimes irresponsible throwing the blame to the difficulty growing up in this family.

P.S: It might seems depressing as a concept, but the american black comedy atmosphere that follows the series is making everything more entertaining and realistic.

So, that’s it for this week, I might share with some more next week if I find a difficulty thinking of a different subject.

Danai, Greece

Quarantine Diaries: And now what to do?

Hello, Hello again from the beautiful Faenza that I’m currently see only for the window of my room. Sounds a bit depressing isn’t it?

The truth is that the situation is depressing and boring and sometimes so frustrating, but you can’t do anything to change it. I mean you can do a lot and we all heard plenty of things that will help improve the current situation and all of them end up pretty much in the same way, ”I’m staying home”, ”Resto a casa” and ”Μένουμε σπίτι” -I had to write something in Greek after all this time-. So, we have to stay in and find new activities every day to do. Okay, to be honest there is no need to change activities every single day, but if there is anyone out there that is as much active as I am could understand that I need to change activities frequently because either I’m finishing everything really fast, either I’m getting bored after a while…

After almost a month in ”quarantine mode: ON” I arrived to one and only conclusion, you have to chill. Yes, it’s the only way, it’s easier and you have to do this. You can combine ”chilling” with plenty of activities, for example the well known ”Netflix’n’Chill” or ”Working’n’Chill” -recommended more for ESC volunteers all around Europe, that the work isn’t so much and not so obligatory-, ”Studying’n’Chill”- especially for university that even though the online courses have started still you don’t know how is gonna be this semester’s exams-, ”Eating’n’chill” -because all of us, guys, we eat a lot these days, so let’s just chill while eating so will metabolize it better” and last but not least ”Exercise’n’Chill”-because with the quarantine a new, profound love for gymnastics started, but if you’re like me that all my life I wanted to join the gym and I never did, you certainly have to chill and exercise otherwise next morning the only you could do is ”Bed’n’Chill”-.

In conclusion, Chill, Chill and Chill and everything would be all right!

As for me, I pretty much do these kinds of chilling that I gave as examples above. The first weeks I was hooked to Netflix and I was ready to finish it all. This was my first hint to start ”Chilling”. Now, I’m only watching Netflix after dinner and it works for me. Next activity is the association’s work that isn’t a lot, but it helps the time to pass. I’m currently working and elaborating with other volunteers to write an International Mobility project (Youth Exchange), I’m always thinking new stuff to add in our social media and I’m working on things that I want to implement after the lock-down -when I will feel the sun in my skin and I will dance in the rain like the influenced by movies girl I wound become-. After, I’m cooking and cleaning, but always in a chill mood because you really can’t cook all you fridge in one day and then need to go to the supermarket the next one and the same with cleaning, if you clean all the apartment once the next day you’ll have nothing to do. I also discovered Playstation lately and I can assure you that is a good way to spent some meaningless time. Last, I’m trying to study a bit for my exams, but in this case I was chilling before the lock-down and I’m still doing it -after all these years I grew up wiser and I realized that I’m a last minute kind of person regarding studying, so I’m respecting and loving my self, no need to push me-.

Currently chilling

My beloved readers -if you exist- I think we’re done for today. The lock-down lifestyle isn’t the fancier but it’s necessary. To avoid mental break-downs my advise as I told and retold above is to ”Chill”, in any case and with any activity of yours.

Until the next chilling time,

Danai, Greece

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

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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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