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

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

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Aperitivo con altri volontari…

Ciao carissimi lettori,

and continuing in English as usual…

So, here I am, the Greek volunteer, to entertain you and keep you posted for another time. The life here in the beautiful and small Faenza goes on with calm and happiness. I am really appreciating that I am working for an organization (SE.M.I association) that keeps me motivated, find all the time new things to occupy me and I am never bored.

I mean, I was used to work a lot back in Greece and there was a time last year that I was doing three different works in the same time and I managed to handle it and enjoy it in the same moment. As you could understand in the start here I was afraid that I might be bored. A job with specific working hours and not many to be sincere, in an office like a normal human being and without the necessity to run like crazy all day, all of these things made me wonder if I could managed them. I know that sounds crazy but I was used to it, to run like hell and change two jobs everyday, then come back to my apartment with my energy levels in the lowest possible point.

Likely, the situation here is not like that. Even though, I work in an office the most of the time and I have specific work hours, I am occupied the most of the time. The association finds new things for me to do everyday and I feel like they understood me from the first moment, I am an active and a little workaholic person, I am finding new activities to do all the time.

Another thing that I am, is a communicative person. I mean, I have too my personal daily limits in communication, but they are pretty high. I love communicating and meeting people for the first time. And for another time, SE.M.I didn’t let me down…

I am almost two months in Italy now and I socializing with the other volunteers that we work together and also with some Italians that I met through my activities. The things is… I wanted more. One part of the ESC experience is travelling all year, explore the new country that you are currently living. So if you combine these two you can easily understand that I want to meet volunteers for other cities in Italy. And the organization saw that need of mine, but need of other volunteers too.

Our coordinator organized an aperitivo in a city near to Faenza, Forli. Forli has a big team of volunteers and also we met other three guys from Cesena. All together, a team close to 25 people, we managed to find a table in a place a little away from the station, but really nice.

The majority of the volunteers were Spanish or at least spoke the language because they were from Ecuador or Argentina. At this point I have to note that Spanish people in Italy are sooooooo many. We have two in our team too, but in Forli there were too many. Also, you have to know that I love Spanish people. When you do programs like SVE you are dealing also with cultural gaps and differences, which is truly interesting if you are asking me, but also can create problems. To conclude, with Spanish people I feel really close and I can communicate easily, they are cool and fun in every situation, I am enjoying their company and I made already a lot of Spanish friends.

Back to the aperitivo after a small pause, it was amazing knowing all these new people from all around the world. We shared our stories, we talked about our jobs in Italy, our experiences here and of course we exchanged number so we could meet again. As the true face of a party animal, I may be in Forli this weekend to party with them to an event that they recommended me.

Pretty much that’s it for this week, I think I shared enough with you my lucky readers. I think that there is no need to highlight that the ESC experience is the best and you certainly have to try it.

Arrivederci,

Danai, Greece

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Firenze: Una città bella ma ”piena come un uovo”…

Ciao a tutti,

Sono qui per ancora una volta e con un nuovo travel blog! Or better I can keep going on with English. Sooo, I am still here, still living, working in Faenza and still travelling. For this week I have a really special city to talk to you about, but as you already understood we are going to speak for Florence!

One of the most famous cities in Italy, that I am sure everybody have heard about it, is Florence. Is a city with a huge history background from Medici and Renascence until the Modern Italian Ages. Easily can somebody say that while walking around the city seems like you are moving through the rooms of a museum. There is something to see in every corner of this city and you can easy fill your camera with beautiful pictures of Florence.

I think these are enough as an introduction for this town, so let’s move smoothly on my personal experience.

Here in Italy the 1st of November is actually a bank holiday and lucky me, happened this year to be a Friday. As you can imagine it was the perfect opportunity for me to start my trip from Friday, since I didn’t worked. I took a train at 10.00 o’clock in the morning and after two hours of an amazing route with the train, between mountains and cloudy autumn trees, I was finally in Florence. I had a date with a friend, in which house I stayed these days, in the central station of the city and from the first minute we started to explore Florence.

After a quick look in the city center I realized that Florence is a touristic destination, but a REALLY TOURISTIC DESTINATION. People were everywhere and it is getting extremely difficult to see the famous sights of the city. People are everywhere, you can’t move easily and of course in every place you have to wait a long to drink, eat, order etc.

One of the first things I actually wanted to do in Florence it was eating because I hadn’t had breakfast -as usual as we are talking about me- and I was pretty hungry around 2.00 o’clock. So, we tried the most famous place to eat in town, ”All’ Antico Vinaio”, and from the very first moment I was scared. There are three shops under the same name in the same street and the people were making huge lines to wait for a panini. Of course, I started complaining and begging my friend to find something else, but eventually she convinced me and I don’t regret it. After an 1 hour waiting we finally got our Panini and it was really delicious, maybe the best thing I ate in Italy so far.

After that really long waiting, we visited some of the sights in the town but I didn’t actually enjoyed them enough because of the people who were everywhere and in big, big numbers. The last thing that we did and it was maybe the thing I liked the most, -even though it was a little bit far from the city center-it was to visit the Michelangelo’s Square which is up to a hill and you can see all Florence from up there. The view is incredible and even though the people was pretty much for another time -I know you are bored for reading this today-, I enjoyed my time up there, listening to smooth music and drinking beer.

We went back home at 8.00 o’clock and we had plans to party a little bit in Florence by night, but as you can imagine all my energy was spent in only one morning in the town and just dealing with this huge number of people.

The next day we were expecting an other friend for ours, a fella volunteer as me and he was in town around 10.00 o’clock. Also he had a problem with all these people as me, but a bigger one. Our original plan was to stay in Florence since Sunday so we can visit for free all the famous museums in the city -because every first Sunday of the month you can enjoy a free entrance in all museums-, but after all we felt really tired in this town and I was started getting pissed off with this crowd of tourists.

We started our trip back in Saturday evening and around 9.00 o’clock in the night we were back in our quiet and rainy Faenza. We decided to make a common dinner and we drunk our two bottles of wine in the peace and quiet of our apartment, while enjoying quiet and calm conversation.

Yes, you got it right, it’s pretty crazy down there in Florence. I am voting ”Pass”, but I really don’t want to influence you, just take a visit too and tell me your opinion.

Until the next time…

Ci vediamo,

Danai, Greece

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Spooky Halloween Arrived!

It’s today, it’s official, Halloween is here. Have you prepared your best costume? Are you ready to be scared and also scare people? If not then don’t read this article. I am just kidding, I am only here to bring some more international info for this spooky and creative festivity.

Halloween as a holiday is most known in America with the famous tradition of trick-or-treat. All the Americans going crazy around Halloween, they buy a lot of candy for the kids that will knock their doors tonight and decorating their houses with huge scary pumpkins and spooky lighting.

Except the America this festivity arrived also in Europe the past few years and there are a lot of countries that celebrate the idea of Halloween and they organize big, memorable parties with people wearing scary costumes. A lot of movies also are dedicated to this holiday and you can actually start to be scared watching them.

In the other hand, expect the imitating of the Halloween festival there are actually some countries that already have similar traditions in same date.

So, let’s talk a little bit about International Celebrations

CHINA

In China they don’t use the Halloween name of the day, but they calling this festivity as ”The festival of the Hungry Ghosts” or ”Yue Lan”. This festival has some differences with the american one. The americans all scared are trying to hide themselves, with the use of costumes, from the dead who came to life for just this night. In the other hand, chinese they are not scared at all. They prefer offering gifts to the Hungry Ghosts, so they don’t harm them. Even though, if you are asking me, if I am dead, don’t like the present and I can’t change it, I might be harming you!

IRELAND

Did you know that originally the Halloween idea came from Ireland? The name was ”Samhain” Festival and it was a tradition of the Celtics. The idea and the celebration changed through the years and the Halloween is the result. Even though, in Ireland still celebrating the ”Samhain Night’‘ in the some way that the Celtics did, lighting up bonfires and fireworks. That may be the most difficult day for emergency services, but it sounds like fun.

JAPAN

This may be one of my favorites. The name of the Japanese holiday is ”Bon Festival’‘ and is a Buddhist holiday that honors the deceased. The festivities include grave meetings and cleaning, but the thing that I really like is that they are lighting lanterns to flow down bodies of water, symbolic for the spirits returning to the underworld.

ROMANIA

I am sure you know about that.. Who is the most famous man in Romania? Dracula, of course and he is pretty spooky that’s so seems logical to have his own celebration in the Halloween period. The story is that the scary Dracula lived and terrorized in Romania’s small villages because is pretty dark there and a lot of witches excited too. He felt like home, he stayed there. I can’t blame him!

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