A bit norther

…and what in Swedish is called a “dagsutflykt”.

As sleeping issues are the new hobby, I thought it would me more ‘productive’ – apparently the only thing a student’s mind is set for – to sit and write on the blog, trying to write that post I was thinking about since Sunday.

Just this weekend has been again incredibly sunny and warm here in Malmö. I would say through all Sweden, as it uses to be when temperatures reaches the 20°, but Kiruna was an exception. I was scrolling the weather forecast when I saw that from South to North Sweden there was a difference of 20°, with snow in the top of the country and sun, happy and sweaty people on the bottom of it. I was deeply immersed into this crazy weather forecast when a minute later I realized that Kiruna would be my destination for a few days during the next week. But this is something I will write about when my deadlines . will be passed, and hopefully I will feel a bit less stressed with school work – stupid me, two extra courses did not really help, I guess!

So, back to Sunday, I woke up with a chill mood, realizing the sky full of strange shades of grey (oh how it sounds strange now doesn’t it?!) but later that bikers where going around with shorts and almost sweating. I messaged a friend asking whether she was up for a bike ride to Lund and back, as I had never tried it and neither did I have any laundry emergency going on, and one hour later we were biking on a 21 km path. Lund is a bit closer to where I live – ca 16 km by bike – but my friend thought we could have taken the chance to even reach Sularpsfarmen, in the little area of Sandby, to buy some eco vegetables and explore the area. After a very pleasant and quite fast ride, not without some google maps failures, we reached the place.

We had a very nice time enjoying the massive offer of vegetables, fruit, flowers and little snacks they sold. We first screened the place going through the market and just buying some chocolate snack and chips, then sat outside in the sun and recovering from biking. Then we went in again, chose among mushrooms, white asparagus and raspberry syrup. Then it started to rain (what a surprise!) but it was soon over so we biked to Lund, where we had ice cream and sat in a central square, enjoying the sun on a very special sort of armchairs.

On the way back there was head-wind, which together with the sun and a quite warm and humid air made the ride back a bit longer and tiring.

The great thing was to discover a longer part of bike paths in Malmö and Skåne than the one I am used to daily. There are more or less 800 km of walkable paths covered by the Skåneleden, and although not all parts may be reachable or practicable by bike, still many places are connected by bike paths, and more will come in the following years.

Something I would like to try soon is to bike to Bokskogen, just a bit southern of Malmö, visit the castle of Turup, probably camping or just as a day trip.

See you soon 🙂

Roots – Radici – Agli sgoccioli

A poche ore dalla nascita di un nuovo giorno, stanotte all’una e mezza ero nel mio letto, sfogliando le prime piccole pagine del libro “Foreign to Familiar – Understanding Hot and Cold Cultures”. Cercando di allontanarmi dall’effetto della caffeina di una tazza di caffè bevuta alle diciannove e trenta, mi sono ritrovata a leggere ed immaginare quello che mi sono sempre ripetuta, per poi riconoscerlo nei caratteri stampati su pagine ingiallite. Siamo in un momento di cambiamenti, continui, giornalieri, la vita va sempre più veloce e la cosa che probabilmente potrebbe spaventare è che non sembriamo rendercene conto.

La percezione della vita e dello sviluppo da giovane a “persona realizzata” è cambiata incredibilmente da quella che era “solo” vent’anni fa. Chi voleva fare qualcosa che gli piaceva davvero nella vita, ma che magari non avrebbe dato risultati maturi e veloci, vedeva spesso visto come libertino, creativo, inaffidabile, surrealista, almeno in Italia, almeno per quello che ho percepito da molti racconti. Tanti cambiamenti al giorno d’oggi e soprattutto per la mia generazione, e la cosa che un po’ spaventa è il fatto che diventa sempre più difficile accorgersene, tutto va troppo veloce.

I 2Cellos fanno una tournée in Italia e me la perdo per un briciolo…

Nelle sere estive svedesi mi fermo a vedere il tramonto alle 21,30, ti sciocca, rimani in silenzio, a volte mi sento asociale ma sembra che non ci sia altro.

Forse per questo mi sembra che quest’anno sia passato ad una velocità incredibile. Nonostante quattro saggi da scrivere, alcuni da finire ed altri ancora da iniziare completamente, siamo agli sgoccioli di questo anno pieno di avventure e sfide.

Due giorni fa è stato il momento dell’ultima presentazione orale con una coppia di studenti della mia classe, il nostro tema si concentrava su un articolo sui bambini non accompagnati che arrivano in Svezia, e sulle procedure di accoglienza in case famiglia, famiglie adottive ed altri tipi di strutture. Nonostante la sfida del parlare mezz’ora in inglese, ed alti e bassi tra black-out di memoria più o meno visibili a causa dell’ansia di parlare in pubblico, il nostro argomento ha suscitato molto interesse, che si è poi sviluppato in una discussione molto accesa sui temi di integrazione, assimilazione, lingua ecc.

Questo maggio sta cambiando un po’ le cose, sarà il sole e i soliti cambiamenti di umore che esso porta, sarà il prospetto di rimanere a vivere a Malmö ed in generale in un posto per un periodo più lungo di solo un anno, come è successo ultimamente. Trasferirmi così tanto mi ha stancata, in qualche vuoto ti svuota, ti lascia letteralmente senza radici, che però nel tempo vengono ricostruite nella memoria, nei ricordi e nelle conoscenze.

Nove mesi fa alla ricerca di una bici perché vivere al Malmö senza una due ruote manco a pensarci! Ora me ne sto con una bici usata all’ingresso, l’altra

Momento estremamente creativo, sarà l’estate? Saranno le soddisfazioni che una dopo le altre si accumulano (poi vi racconterò meglio delle varie possibilità di lavoro che avrò per il prossimo semestre, alcune delle quali sono già state confermate)? O le migliaia di parole in inglese e svedese lette e scritte che piano piano si dissolvono di nuovo dalla mia bocca, occhi e orecchie come piccoli sogni.

In un tramonto che scioglie tutti tra silenzi, risate e bicchieri di una bevanda ai lamponi che sa di svedese. Ruote di bici che si bloccano mentre torni a casa di notte, un parco che non ti aveva mai fatto così paura, musica nelle orecchie ed auricolari che perdono i gommini a causa del forte vento, bici che sempre per il vento non può essere guidata con una sola mano. La bici che quando la vai a riprendere dal biciclettaio ha la ruota montata in modo diverso, e scopri che puoi guidarla senza mani. Le pedalate veloci, contro il vento, col vento dietro manco a pagarlo! Fiori bianchi e profumati, rubati da alberi di giardini, piante piantate e mai cresciute, sole che scalda, brucia. Bici grande compagna, in una Malmö che cresce e diventa sempre più mista di culture, dialetti, e accenti che non sono più accenti ma ormai sono già lingue.

Svedesi, e me compresa, impazzita per 25° in un venerdì di maggio, lezioni sospese all’ultimo momento che tutti immaginano sia perché il professore voglia prendersi il sole, violoncelli, persone che camminano, e lo sport che qui in Svezia è sempre al centro di tutto, colazioni a contemplare davanti alla finestra che affaccia sul parco. Finestra aperta, cinguettii e soffi di vento leggero.

Il programma con alcuni amici di pedalare fino al bosco di betulle a 15 km da qui questo sabato, rimanere una notte in tenda, esplorare, tornare cercando di trovare l’orientamento.

Piani estivi di esplorazione, work in progress.

Una Serata di Maggio

Città di visi, visi sconnessi.

Scarpe che toccano vetrine fredde,
in una primavera più che inoltrata.

Verde, colori, fiori, blu cielo.

Silenzio rumore noia.

Case chiuse e luci accese, autobus che brillano nel caos silenzioso
di una città in chiusura.

Corpi sereni e dritti, giacche al vento
e capelli all’aria.

Città di visi, visi connessi ai giovani occhi
da musica che ti porta altrove

A summary of Red Cross activities in Malmö

… and how to get involved in a massive number of volunteering work in the city.

Since I moved to Sweden I started to think more and more about how and where to engage in some volunteer activities, and lately decided to take part to those organized by Swedish Red Cross organization, as here and especially in Malmö it is easy to see their presence in a lot of areas.

But before I start to tell you something about the Swedish Red Cross, I want to break the ice with a few reasons why I think you should take the big step and start volunteering!

Because there is a big need of it! And Sweden may be taken as a very good example, as it is known since many many years as an immigration country, which although a relative small population is doing much to make integration work. Is this falling from the sky you think? Of course not, it is both because of the lack of educated social workers and thanks to the big will of helping that big hearted Swedes have that led to a strong network of volunteer work.

Stop hoping and thinking and complaining about how things do not work and take the big move instead! One person cannot do everything but what may be a little difference may be the butterfly causing a hurricane! Well, in this case in a good way 😉

Because it will not only make other feel better but yourself as well! Moreover, you will realize things about yourself you may not have experienced otherwise.

It will contribute drastically to meet new people, socialize, getting to know how things work within the volunteer network, among the others. In case

It will make you aware of how besides finding a job which will pay your bills and all stuff, you should do your best to find something which really satisfy and complete your days 🙂

Last but not least, it gives you experience! And with this I do not only mean something which you can write in your cv! Volunteer work will make you aware of the possibilities available to help, and to focus your energies on something you really are fond of and for which you think you can really make a difference!

You think I should write some cons as well? Well, here to you two of them… 😉

You may never see the world as others do.

You may have troubles trying to make your schedule work. Once you will be into it you will want to do more and more!

One of the first things which may come to your attention when visiting a city in Sweden is the high number of second hand shops bringing the name of Red Cross, Humana, Emmaus, a few among many others.

Both the interest in an organization which was behind all these second-hand shops, the leaflets I saw in school, but also seeing how Red Cross was present in Stockholm after the terror attack in April, made me get more and more interested to join them!

Although I actually started my volunteering year last October becoming a mentor within the Nightingale mentoring program (organized through Malmö University), a few weeks ago I started to contact the different project responsible after I had read some leaflet on some message boards at university. Just in Malmö there are around twenty projects (verksamheter) to which contribute and take part as volunteers, mainly focused on integration, social development, health care, language sharing and first help groups.

“Malmö Kretsen” (Malmö Circuit) operates on five big operating areas, in turn including a number of activities. Those are called:

Health and Social Participation. Among those you have homework assistance, language cafes taking place in different libraries of the city. Meeting points for children, women, unaccompanied children are also included. Support for Homeless People. Soup kitchen, neutral support people, meeting point between addicts and supporting people. Association Development. Human Rights and Migration. These are the two which I am most interested to, including for example “folkrättsgruppen” through which refugees and other people in need can get legal advice. MASKA works with issues such as investigation, family reunification and return. Transit is a way to offer a human support to newly arrived refugees. Crisis and Disaster preparedness. Including the first help group which carries out an ideal emergency response group.

To start, I decided to take part in the project “Kul på Hjul”, (Fun on the Wheels) aimed at teaching – in a fun way – children how to bike safely. The first days we met where Monday and Tuesday, and next week I will volunteer a couple of times more. Our main task was that of playing some games with a group of 5 people each time, with cards showing traffic signs. A way not only to teach but also learn something you would not otherwise think about!

During August another opportunity will be available. Malmö is one of the cities hosting the Red Cross treatment center for war injured and tortured families, women and children. During summers summer camps in the nature are arranged through which participants can have a place where to find tranquillity and be with their relatives. In June a training weekend will be arranged so that one will be prepared to volunteer as a leader in the camp.

I hope I got you a bit interested in the topic of volunteering, a new post is hopefully coming soon about another association present in Malmö which supports unaccompanied children.