Frammenti di lacrime

 

 

Sono seduta su un autobus giallo diretto verso Karlstad, lasciato Uddeholm venti minuti fa, arriverò tra circa un’ora.

Stamattina mi sono svegliata e scesa in sala dove tutti stavano finendo di guardare un film con Julia Roberts, che dopo qualche minuto ho scoperto essere Eat, Pray, Love dal momento che il titolo in svedese era abbastanza diverso! Mi ricordo di aver visto l’inizio deö film qualche anno fa rifiutandomi di continuare a vederlo dopo il suo viaggio in Italia e le scene troppo stereotipate delle vie romane. Questa volta invece ho visto la fine, commuovendomi sorprendentemente nell’ultima scena, sentendo l’audio in inglese ma soprattutto leggendo i sottotitoli in svedese. Riporto le parole qui…quelle nel nuovo paragrafo sono quelle che sento molto vicine alla mia esperienza. Buona giornata e a presto!

“…I’ve come to believe that there exists in the universe something I call “The Physics of The Quest” – a force of nature governed by laws as real as the laws gravity or momentum. And the rule of Quest Physics maybe goes like this:

“If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting (which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments) and set out on a truth-seeking journey (either externally or internally), and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared – most of all – to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself….then truth will not be withheld from you.” Or so I’ve come to believe.”

Of dancing frogs, about sleeping on flowers and midnight baths

..and the ****** (*) on its way…

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…which is probably or for sure not what every Swedes is thinking about right now about the Midsummer day celebration, or is, Midsummer evening, which is actually the day before Midsummer day. For those who do not know about this very typical Swedish tradition, this happen every year between the 20th and the 26th of June, and the really celebration part is to be done in the afternoon of the Friday (Midsummer afton) and during the night. As Swedes seem to like this way of partying, the morning, afternoon and evening of Saturday they will likely lay hungering somewhere, eating rests or starting to drink again depending on how old they are. The second Midsummer in Sweden I am experiencing the Midsummer celebration with the host family, which includes chilling really much, eating very traditional food, being celebrated for the turning 20 years on the 22nd, dancing around the Midsummer pole and sleeping, staying in the Sun, eating rests and planning the Midsummer Midnight bath.

I woke up by myself around 8, turned in the bed for a while and got the best shower of this week after being done with moving, being helped by friends and the host family. Then I put on me a very summerish dress, ‘cause it does not matter whether it was going to be cold or not, today it is Midsummer and Summer has to be cheered! Well, little breakfast ‘cause food was not really gonna be missed today. The mother of my host father came and had lunch with us, after we ate a strawberry cake – or is a very traditional Swedish cake made for Midsummer or National Day on the 6th of June, called jordgubbstårta in Swedish. Sill, potatoes, meatballs, salmon and ham and more was served around 2p.m. and we sat outside drinking coffee and eating strawberries later. At 3 we went to the Midsummer pole in the park in Uddeholm and sang traditional songs such as like “The little frogs” and “the fox in the winter”. Maaikee, a Dutch girl I knew from my exchange year, was there with her sister and we had a very nice chilling time. She was an exchange student as me but in the USA, went back home but had felt in love with USA and moved there for twenty-one years ago. We talked very much and then invited them at a midnight bath to take today at the lake in front of the house.

Well, I’ll tell you about the presents I got from the host family today for my birthday. I had a necklace with the symbol of the region of Skåne, where Malmö is located. Then a present card from Ikea and a very nice card made by Rebecca, the host sister. Got also other very super presents from family and friends. My dad thought about my love for traveling and got me one of those books with a lot of images you have to paint, color, and which help you to relax a lot – which I definitely need after this last stressing and fast-mode weeks. The drawings are not just flowers but they are a lot of city maps to be filled with color. I already imagine how my room in Malmö will look like with all this drawings hung on the walls. I got from my mother the premium update for wordpress, so that I can upload way more photos on the blog – coming soon, just have to activate it!

In the afternoon I made a Midsummer crown but it did not work out as two years ago since flowers have flowered a bit earlier then it had been then so the crown did not look as nice as that one. By the way, applying to girls the tradition says that seven kinds of flowers have to be put under the pillow where you will sleep on during the night to Midsummer day. Then you will dream about your loved one. Pretty romantic legend right? After the midnight bath I guess I will be tired enough to sleep as deeply as I did in the afternoon – gosh, I thought I was on another planet when I woke up after a two hours “nap”.

I will not spend too much time reminding that the 20th of June has been the Summer solstice and soon – usually a few days after that the length of the days is the same – days will get shorter and shorter, which inevitably reminds of Winter if you live in Sweden. Just saying, since April, if I just said the word winter, cold, snow, or Christmas, Sweds used to look at me nasty and almost get angry to me! I got enough Winter I could live without snow for ten years now on, but that will come back inevitably and every Swede will have to deal with it. But in Malmö Winter will likely be a bit easier and not as dark as it gets here in Värmland.

My birthday celebration was just what I was hoping for, or is smiling faces, a lot of dance and much laughs. In the morning I had gone to Ikea with Veronica, and ate a very big Swedish food-made buffet brunch together. Then went to but some boxes for packing and went home. I started to prepare for the party in the night and so. The only thing that did not really go as planned was the weather – sounds a bit Swedish right? – since it started to rain exactly when we started to move things outside at the barbecue place at campus, so we had to go in and eat dinner there. We had speakers and the girls from Germany made a lot of food, and I made pizza and a cake with berries. In the middle of the dancing we sprang out and started to dance in the rain, with It’s raining man!, singing later some of the songs we sang in the choir, since Elisa and Veronica were there – soprano and alts on place! At the end it was time for goodbyes which always make me a bit sad of course. I am trying to make the best of it leaving always a smile on my face and on the other’s, but this time it was a bit hard.

This was the resume of a big part of this year Midsummer day, the start of the end of this wonderful adventure in Värmland. Some more days and I will be heading to Finland, work there for  a month while I will hopefully find an apartment in Malmö. Then again to Värmland, then Italy and Malmö, finally to start the International Migration and Ethnic Relations program. I am very excited and looking forward to it but I need to experience and enjoy every single day here yet.

I just got to know that I will be able to work in the restaurant in Finland from Monday, very excited for this!

Finish to see P.S. I love you, and preparing for the midnight bath soon! See you later and goodnight 🙂

* -> Winter

Sul bordo dell’età adulta

Sole ancora sopra l’orizzonte, mobili sparsi nella stanza, odore di pulito, pareti bianche lavate da poco. Sono le 22,10. Legalmente sarò ventenne tra meno di due ore, tecnicamente tra circa ventiquattro ore. Sono stanca, distrutta, ma puesto post non può essere lasciato non scritto, non si compiono vent’anni spesso in questa vita! Inutile dire che per me questi 20 anni saranno davvero importanti, anzi sento di ripetermi a raccontarlo di nuovo. Fine di un anno a Karlstad fantastico, e inizio di mille altre avventure, prima il lavoro in Finlandia, poi il trasferimento a Malmö per almeno tre anni!

Oggi sveglia alle 7 come ieri e tutto il giorno a impacchettare e pulire. The con un’amica ed il ragazzo che poi m ihanno aiutato con dei consigli super utili per pulire lavandino e cappa…insomma, alla fine sono stata fino alle 22 a pulire e per fortuna il cielo sereno e luminoso aiuta a non sentiresi troppo stanchi. Ma domani sveglia alle 6,45 – prontamente ho lasciato il telefono con la sveglia in cucina come avevo fatto stamattina, almeno sono obbligata ad alzarmi! Mi faro la prima doccia da ventenne ed uscirò con Veronica per andare ad IKEA a fare un tradizionale brunch svedese a buffet, poi giro a ikea per comprare altre scatole da trasloco, ICA per comprare gli ingredienti per la torta e la pizza (manca solo la farina!) e poi a casa.  Anzi no! Il salto al systembolaget è d’obbliigo! Diciamo che sarei potuta entrarci anche da più piccola senza comprare nulla, ma finora ci son ostata solo una volta con la mia famiglia ospitante…l’emozione sarà forte domani 😀 Più tardi mi incontrerò con due ragazzi al campus, un ragazzo e una ragazza tedeschi, per impacchettare dei cuscini che gli studenti hanno lasciato, in modo che si ricicla e si risparmia per i prossimi studenti! Quindi alle 13 andrò al campus portandomi tutte le cose necessarie per la festa…dopo l’aiuto per i cuscini prepareremo le varie cose per la festa, sperando che il tempo rimanga bello anche per tutta la giornata di domani, e verso le 18 inizierà il barbecue-chill evening. E a quanto pare anche dei ragazzi della scuola dove ero stata exchange student verranno! La playlist deve essere completata!

I miei ultimi minuti da diciannovenne, da piccola, da mascotte tra gli studenti internazionali, da “coraggiosa a lasciare casa così presto”, da teenager, da “ancora un po’ bambina, forse senza ancora troppe responsabilità. Ora vi lascio, tra meno di due ore mi sveglierò ventenne! Spero che stasera riuscirò a dormire e non pensare troppo a Malmö e alla Finlandia…ma si, dopotutto sono distrutta!!!

Buonanotte! 🙂

Chi arriva, chi se ne va

Cari lettori, credo convenga abituarsi al fatto che ormai mi riferisco al passato scandendo il tutto in periodi di sei mesi, o meglio semestri. Da studentessa credo sia il modo più facile per orientarsi nel tempo, valutare cambiamenti e situazioni pre e post semestre autunnale, primaverile ecc. Almeno credo sia meglio così per i lettori italiani, invece che usare il conteggio delle settimane che invece viene usato qui. Non ho più la testa per fare brainstorming, anche se adoro farlo, quando scrivo i miei post. Italiano, inglese e svedese, sono abbastanza confusa, oltre a crisi di identità culturali che si sono manifestate particolarmente durante il match di venerdì (17!) tra Italia e Svezia. Vedere per la prima volta una partita in un ambiente completamente internazionale, con gente da tutto il mondo, la telecronaca in inglese, e un ragazzo austriaco che ha la maglia svedese di un giocatore metà italiano metà svedese che gioca per la “tre corone” (per chi non lo sapesse, sono simbolo della Svezia e simboleggiano le due proprietà della corona svedese che erano prima Norvegia e Danimarca). Per la prima volta mi sono trovata a sentirmi completamente neutrale al gioco – si intende molto più di quanto non lo fossi mai stata davanti ad una partita di calcio! – ma particolarmente felice quando l’Italia ha fatto il primo gol, ascoltando gli “insulti” molto divertenti della gente intorno. Insomma, è stato davvero molto divertente guardare la partita con loro, sicuramente una cosa da rifare in un ambiente internazionale, anche se mi sono mancate le chiacchiere ad alta voce e di commenti sui giocatori di entrambe le squadre.

 

Sono in cucina, tutto sembra molto diverso da come era poche ore fa. Il microonde È già in una scatola di cartone IKEA, tre cassetti del frigorifero stanno ad asciugare dopo essere stati lavati questo pomeriggio. Sul letto oggi ho rovesciato tutti i vestiti contenuti nel guardaroba, per decidere cosa andrà in Finlandia, cosa dalla famiglia ospitante per i due giorni in cui starò da loro per la festa di mezza estate, cosa dovrà rimanere li per essere trasferito a Malmö, e cosa potrei eventualmente portarmi a Roma ad agosto, oltre alle cose della Finlandia. Insomma, logica e pazienza a me! Non avrei immaginato che tutto questo sarebeb stato così stressante fisicamente e psicologicamente. Questo anno a Karlstad mi sono vista cambiare, un’esperienza decisamente piena di ostacoli da un lato ma piena di soddisfazioni dall’altro. Come mi ero trovata cambiata dopo l’anno da exchange student in Svezia, lo sono ora dopo 10 mesi a Karlstad. Ho avuto la mia rivincita su alcune cose che non erano esattamente andate come avevo immaginato durante il mio primo anno in Svezia. Ho migliorato il mio svedese e decisamente anche l’inglese, avendo studiato molti corsi sento di essere pronta per affrontare il tanto atteso e desiderato programma di laurea in International Migration and Ethnic Relations. So stare da sola e mi piace, ma so anche quali effetti la solitudine può avere – soprattutto tra i mesi di ottobre e febbraio, quando nuvole e buio ti rendono un animale in letargo forzato alla veglia e alla ricerca di luce, cibo, e caldo. Ho una conoscenza abbastanza ampia – o almeno interculturalmente accettabile – di diverse culture, tra cui generalmente quella Asiatica, Europea e Centro Americana, anche se di strada ce n´è molta da fare per approfondirle. Come già scoperto nello scorso semestre, gli asiatici sono persone affidabilissime e molte educate. Prima di venire a Karlstad ed incontrare così tanta gente non ero molto attratta dal visitare l’Asia, ma ora che mi sono davvero resa conto del bagaglio culturale che si può raccogliere, ed ora che conosco molta gente che potrei andare a trovare, ho decisamente cambiato idea. Ho promesso alle ragazze e ai ragazzi asiatici di rivederli al più presto in Asia (fra quattro anni credo sia la promessa più credibile che ho potuto fare, e allora sarà anche l’anno del topo, ovvero l’animale segno di chi è nato nel 1996 ad esempio). I tedeschi sono sicuramente le persone che ho conosciuto e sto conoscendo meglio durante questi due semestri. Solamente un mese fa ho iniziato a vedermi spesso con un gruppo di tedeschi e sembra che mi sono abbastanza integrata e che mi accolgano a braccia aperte – da non prendere letteralmente per una volta, essendo tedeschi! – usano molto sarcasmo e sono persone deliziose, leali e gentili. Insomma, da cosa racconto sembrerebbe che dovremmo avere un po’ più di fiducia in tutta la gente che ci circonda…ai tedeschi ho promesso di tornare una volta al mese a Karlstad per salutarli, anzi…ahimé abbiamo fatto una scommessa, che se non tornerò ogni tre settimane dovrò farmi un bagno gelato quando poi tornerò! Che dire, sarebbe comunque un’esperienza no?

Andare in Finlandia per lavorare come cameriera, a Malmö per studiare, e diventare ventenne solamente tra tre giorni mi sta riempiendo la testa di cose a cui pensare, non solo da fare ma soprattutto di pensieri che girano senza sosta. Questi venti anni li vedo davvero come un traguardo, dopo un’anno di raggiungimenti, tristezze, risultati universitari e soddisfazioni. Ho molti piani per il semestre prossimo, la vita a Malmö, e magari a seconda di quanti soldi guadagnerò (perché riuscirò a trovare un lavoro per dindirillina!) per i viaggi. In lista per ora sono Irlanda con una mia amica, Repubblica Ceca da sola e al terzo posto l’Asia, che sarà declassata non appena destinazioni più economiche mi verranno in mente! In ogni caso, nonostante oia molto eccitata all’idea di questen nuove esperienze, la tristezza e la pesantezza nel lasciare Karlstad e la mia vita qui si fa sentire. Soprattutto perché come era successo prima di Natale, proprio all’ultimo momento sto incontrando nuova gente, ma per fortuna saranno a Karlstad anche il prossimo semestre e li potrò incontrare, e comunque la Germania non è così lontana da Malmö no?!

Mi inizio ad avvicinare al letto, devo mettere in ordine dei vestiti nelle scatole, e domani devo pulire la casa e chiamare il negozio di seconda mano e cheidere se possono venire a prendersi dei mobili. Avrò tempo fino a martedì per pulire e svuotare casa, perché mercoledì sarà il mio compleanno e non ho intenzione di stancarmi! Il programma è svegliarmi prestissimo per fare una tipica torta svedese alle fragole che viene servita per la festa di mezza estate (si chiama jordgubbstårta per i golosi curiosi 😛 ). Dopo andrò con Veronica a fare un brunch da IKEA, e che brunch! e prima gita da ventenne al systembolaget, il negozio che vende bevande sopra il 3,5 di alcool – gita d’obbligo! Poi qualche ora al lago e preparazione per la festa bbq che farò al campus, dove appunto c´è un posto barbecue con delle panche molto “cosy”. Il giorno dopo dormirò il più possibile ma dovrò pulire le ultime cose in casa e caricare tutte le scatole nella macchian della mia host family, dato che alle 15,30 verranno a vedere l’appartamento che dovrà essere pulito e completamente vuoto. Good luck to me!

Ora vi lascio, i vesitti aspettano di essere inscatolati! Buonanotte!

Of Scandinavian books, smiling faces before sad goodbyes and Asian dinners

I am in the strongest writer feeling I ever had. Sitting on my bed with the back against the wall, a pillow inbetween. A mug with hot camomilla was waiting to cool down dancing on the bed until some seconds ago. Now it is empty and I leave my writing flewing.

Yesterday, or exactly for forty minutes ago, is been the last day of my first week free from school/university. Definitely a very nice week very full of things, satisfactions and sport, and also a bit of Sun. Monday was the Swedish national day and I went with some friend to a city park where we got free coffee and sunbathed and talked. During the week I biked a few times to and back from the city, I went to the cinema with my Swedish friend Veronica and watched The Dressmaker (which I recommend, but be prepared for very depressing moments!). On Friday – or Thursday? – I went to the hospital ‘cause I was really not feeling that well, but then they told me just to take some paracetamol and to rest – ok I am probably getting paranoid about illness? I know there is a word for it but I really cannot remember which it is! Funny thing…when I was at the hospital I saw a girl which I would actually meet again at campus yesterday…never met her before but she has been staying here for the whole semester!

During this week I also got the result from Linköping university, telling me that I actually passed the TISUS exam, which means that my Swedish is at this time on level C1 and that I could – but I want to wait a bit first – study at university in Swedish. Because now, for the 15 credits I have left in each semester  I will prefer to study extra courses in English. For example for this semester (the first one, the autumn semester) I subscribed for “Childrens’ rights” and “Creative Writing 1”, let’s see which one I get in! The other thing about TISUS is that it could be very useful to show it for job opportunities.

Another nice thing is that I completely fixed accomodation and travel to Finland where I will work as a waitress during the whole month of July! I will arrive there on the 28th o June and probably couchsurf for a night to see the capital (Mariehamn). Then the people who will host me – they are a family living just a 3-kilometres walk from the restaurant – will come and pick me up from the city to the little village.

One of these days I had a dinner with some girls from Hong-Kong sitting outside in the Sun at campus…very nice evening, followed by a very late walk to the lake to see the Sunset at 22.15)…we did not make it in time but the colors at the horizon were still amazing.

Yesterday morning I went with some people to IKEA to have the brunch they sell for 69kr. I did not eat it yesterday but it looked wonderful and very good so I will definitely try it on the day of my 20th birthday! Replacing the trial of KFC which will open exactly on the 22nd! Going out from the restaurant we went around IKEA and I bought a candle (a-must-to!) and some paper boxes to move from the apartment. So yesterday afternoon after a little siesta of JUST two hours more or less, I started to pack a bit. In the evening I went to campus and played Chinese chess with the German girls.

But what about today? I woke up around 8 and had breakfast, continued to pack a bit and then biked to the second hand market – I learned a new term today since this is called also flea market! I got lost a bit of course before finding the place…the market was pretty big and there were nice things and very cheap! I totally spent 30 kr – around 3 euros – and bought six books and a little painting with a Japanese girlturning to the viewer, very relaxing picture! The books I bought are from Swedish, Finnish and Icelandic authors, all in Swedish so that I can train a lot the language. I think I will pack them very soon since I still have other books to finish. Flea market are definitely good to buy cheap books! If you are interested about the books I read, you can just check my page on Goodreads here 🙂

When I biked back I passed by the museum in the city centre and I went in to visit some exhibitions, but unfortunately the historical part – the biggest and usually most intresting one – was closed so I jsut walked in very fast and used the bathroom! When I was unlocking my bike to go home, I saw how nice it would have been to just lay on the grass in the sun for a bit, and so I did for half a hour. When I biked home I was very tired and with a bit of headache and the last uphill is been as difficult as it never had. So I slept 2 hours – I am really tired when the Swedish summer arrives! – and had dinner later…and went to campus to say goodbye to some girls leaving tomorrow.They prepared food like spring rolls, sushi and coconut milk with some riceballs in it…very tasty! Something that really surprised me is that one girl from Hong Kong that I know is not good in using chop sticks! And most of the Asian people I know do not like soy sauce because too salty!

I am a bit excited to see Italy playing against Belgium tomorrow ( it is the first match), but especially playing against Sweden on Friday! It is very intresting to watch a match with people from different cultures…and yes, I am a real culture addicted-geek!

Btw…meeting all these people from Asia during these two semesters really made me change my mind about visiting Asia. Now it is in the third position of the ranking of places I want to visit…Ireland, Czech Republic and Asia! Mmmmhhh…just need the money, but I am very positive about finding a job in Malmö! So good luck to me!

Just a thing more about today’s day. I met a guy I know who is from Pakistan and is fasting right now, and what more? He is actually following the sweidhs time – I am surprised because I read that people were admitted to eventually follow the time at La Mecca if the days were getting too long in some part of the world – as it is in Sweden. But he actually told me that he is fasting for 20 hours – so 2.15 to 22.25 today for example. I really enjoy to get to know cultural and religious realities by really meeting people and not just by reading things on the internet orin books!

I am gonna get some sleep now, I’ll see you soon!!!!

Goodnight!

Reflection of the book “The Shadow of the Sun” by Ryszard Kapuşciňski.

Ryszard Kapuşciňski was a Polish journalist who travelled throughout Africa for forty years as a reporter of the rich multicultural background and difficult social situation. In this book he presented what he experienced during his different trips of the entire continent. This reading made me think about another two I had for some months ago, and I am going to explain in which terms.

There are two evidences in the reading of this book that I found interesting. Firstly, the view given to the reader about Africa is not an official one, as those known by everyone or basically stereotyped. Indeed, it is a trip along unofficial routs. This reminds me of the book “The Songlines” by Bruce Chatwin, who also followed unofficial paths to take itself through Australia. Secondly, the fact that the author chose to present his views about his exploration without any too simple or general description, reminds me of the book “Travels with Charley” by John Steinbeck. This book tells about the trip that the writer made with his dog Charley, through America. Similar to Chatwin, also Steinbeck puts his personal views and experiences in the narration.

“All are arrivals from elsewhere, all are immigrants.” If I was asked to summarize the book “The Shadow of the Sun” I would definitely use this words. As interested in the issue of migration, which is especially a current one, I was really struck by these words. As written before, I appreciate the personal observations and the social meaning of it. In fact, Kapuşciňski was not only a traveler and writer but firstly a journalist, therefore he saw things in a different way and with different targets. Going through the pages I could imagine myself walking around the same territories visited by the author and meeting the same persons. I enjoyed this reading very much and would definitely recommend it.

Heading to Warsaw, Poland

12th April. Start of the trip, going to Gothenburg.

Metres of smoke from the coffee factory reflect the sun in a clear  Karlstad today. I am sitting on the train which in some minutes will leave to Gothenburg. Alarm clock at 5,45, but was too excited about the trip that I woke up at 4,15 by my own instead…good for me because otherwise I would have stressed too much to prepare…but you know what? I had not packed anything so I had the time to do it. We are leaving, of course I sit in the wrong direction back to the front…I will never remember about it!!!!

Kizunguzungu, All I want and a Swedish version of Hallelujah in my ears. Still ballerinas and black trousers regflecting the sun…love this Swedish Spring, cannot just get enough of it. No flowers though, leaves are going to appear in May or June…just light, sun and long days.

The travelling song in my ears. Worked at Bunkern last Friday. Incredible how Sweds can behave in so different ways when drunk…they can get very rude but at the same time very kind, open and funny! I was sure I would forget something and so it was! The mask I usually sleep with when it gets Spring and too lighty in the mornings. But we are still in April and Warsaw is a little souther than Sweden…so I should make it…

So! Why this notebook? This is my first travel/trip compeltely by myself…I have been looking forward to one of those for so long!!!

An acoustic version of Welcome Home by Radical Face.

Plans for today? Jumping off the train and going around a bit…find a park where to sit and enjoy the sun, and eat my boiled corn with tomatoes. Then I will probably visit the museum of the city and then get to the hostel which is 3 km from the central station.

As I was saying…well I have the plan of writing a little notebook for every country/place I will be visiting now on, filled with postcards, tickets, places with adresses (so that I can come back to those if I will ever go back to these places) and impressions of my journey. We are in Kil now, incredibly foggy right now…I will try to sleep for a while now…see you later!

Here again…I am sitting in front of the museum of world cultures in Gothenburg, some steps from the hostel where I will check in in a few hours. One of the exhibitions is called “Afghan tales”, and I look forward to get to know more about it. I sat a hour in a park near the river, read a little, enjoying the windy, sunny day, and eating my lunch. Both for having gotten up at 4,30 and for the sund shining for hours on my head, walking a lot (most of the times feeling very sure about my direction but at the same time not having a clue about it!), 2,5 hours on the train, I am definitely tired now. But I walked heading to the hostel, meeting a Pressbyrån, which you should definitely know about…it is the worst thing in the world if yu want to keep on a diet…I dreamed of coffee (and Pressbyrån makes it in my favourite way) since yesterday…and finally one with an “unmissable” kanelbulle (cinnamon bun) beside…you know what though? I guess here in Gothenburg they do not use the same coffee as in Karlstad (Löfbergs brand comes from KArlstad).

I love being around, and I enjoy not to be connected to Sweden in anyway if I want (just keep talking English instead)…and everyone will react in a much more oppen way than usual (the average Swedish loves to speak English, complains about his/her “bad” level, and is very shy to speak it). But as you Sweden is heading the ranking among the countries with the best second language English speakers. So, language relativism is a bluff? Not at all, choose a language and you will be treated, and feel, way differently! News of the day is that, for some unexplainable reason, I got accepted in the Sedish as a foreign language IV course…keep it or leave it? Being me, I just cannot refuse it…so next week is gonna be an even cooler one!!!

You know what? I am going inside now…need to see the museum.

Bet of this week? To show to my parents that you can actually get brown staying in the sun, even though you are not in Italy, and it is 9° outside! 😉

____

Before going inside the museum, I did actually got tanned on my face and my feet! (Ballerinas power!) The sun made me feel headache, but I cannot stop being outside, love the Spring here…Yeah…I repeat myself regarding this, I know…

The museum was very interesting. It is called Världskulturmuseum and it is located near the Universum, a giant museum with inside everything frm plants to butterflies and universum explanations…

I had been there during October 2013, on the first reunion weekend with STS, during my exchange year in Sweden. And it is amazing, I would really recommend it!!!. I read today that a 25 ms high tree from a tropical climate is growing there inside! Going back to the museum…

I went through the two exhibitions they have in this period. One called Afghan tales and one about gender equality and rights. Firstly, I  mistakenly went to another floor, where another exhibition was being built up…and it was pretty scaring actually: giant white spaces, nobody there, just three enormous screens with old photos, and a big panic of not being able to go out at first! But I am here safe and sound now!

Very nice photos in the Afghan tales exhibition…touching and well explained, both in Swedish and English. The other one about genders’ rights also made me think a lot and learn as much. Around 15.30 I started to look for the hostel and I setlled there . I relaxed for a while and then went out for a walk and to buy my dinner. I ate very early to be Italian! Now it is just 19,30 and I am already tired as a sloth! But I try to resist at least until 21 before sleeping! Tomorrow my bus from the train station to the airport leaves at 6,30 am and takes half an hour…so…waking up at 5.00 am!!! That’s why I’ll say goodbye and goodnight to you for today…tomorrow is going to be a long day!

Incontrando rifugiati, bici e barbeque nell’aria di Linköping

Mercoledì 11 maggio 2016

Insomma, la settimana 19 di quest’anno è finalmente arrivata, e con lei il terrificante esame di svedese livello C1, il temuto TISUS! Come raccontato in qualche post, ho deciso di farlo a Linköping, in modo da non dover dormire in un posto dove non conoscevo nessuno, e soprattutto per cogliere l’occasione per salutare la mia cara amica messicano-svedese Elisa, che era stata au-pair a Roma dove ci siamo incontrate quasi due anni fa. Sono stata ospitata da lei per due notti, ed ora aspetto ascoltando radio svedese (se siete curiosi, la frequenza 106,9  da Linköping vale davvero la pena di essere ascoltata 😉 ) che lei torni dall’università. Sono arrivata a Linköping lunedì intorno alle 15, dopo aver aspettato un treno a Karlstad ed il secondo a Kristineholm sotto un sole cocente (siamo intorno ai 25° in Svezia negli ultimi giorni!). Il primo viaggio di due ore è stato uno dei più piacevoli mai fatti. Dopo essere salita su un treno ed aver ricevuto una chiamata da Micael (hostfather) tra chiacchiere in tutte le lingue della gente che saliva sul treno e cercava di sistemare i bagagli, ed essere riuscita a capire tutto in svedese della chiamata, mi sono seduta al mio posto con il tavolino. Appoggio il mio caffè del Pressbyrån sul tavolo, insieme al primo libro in svedese letto seriamente, Solstorm di Åsa Larsson. Il signore seduto davanti a me, che poi mi racconterà proprio originario di Karlstad, nota l’autrice del libro. Sorprendentemente mi dice di essere stato insegnante di una giovane Åsa Larsson a Kiruna nel nord della Svezia, dove lei infatti è cresciuta, come ci si può anche accorgere nel romanzo. Quando gli ho detto che era il primo libro in svedese che mi trovavo a leggere mi ha guardato con uan faccia sorpresa, ma davvero sorpresa. Mi sono trovata senza parole e non sapevo come rispondere. Alla fine l’unica cosa che ho pensato è che non aveva capito che non fossi svedese, e gli ho detto che lo svedese non è la mia lingua madre. Ancora incredulo mi ha fatto i complimenti, facendomi notare l’unico errore che avevo fatto da quando avevamo inziiato a parlare, ma più tardi nella conversazione ho scoperto che ha un passato da attore e che probabilmente aveva finto molto bene sulla mia bravura!

Comunque, ritornando al libro, il signore mi racconta di come agitata la scrittrice fosse all’uscita del suo primo romanzo, e di come l’aveva letto tranquillizzandola sulla qualità del libro. Il signore è insegnante di musica, conosceva anche il coro Söt Likör dell’università di Karlstad ed il nostro direttore. Insomma, abbiamo parlato moltissimo ed è stato davvero interessante e divertente, dal momento che ad un certo punto si è messo ad imitare alcuni dei dialetti svedesi.

Dopo aver scambiato alcune parole con due signore estremamente british sedute accanto a noi, sono scesa dal treno a Katrineholm per aspettare la coincidenza. Sulla banchina, assolata, con lo zaino pieno di cose, vedo una ragazza con il velo che cerca di chiedermi se il treno da cui ero appena scesa era quello per Stoccolma, e le dico “si si è questo”, cercando di premere il bottone per aprire le porte, che però sono rimaste chiuse. Alla fine la signora aveva il biglietto per il treno seguente, quindi avrebbe solo aspettato il prossimo. Il suo viso era completamente segnato da ustioni gravi, insiemi a mani e piedi immaginavo che tutto il corpo avesse passato lo stesso orrore, poi scoprirò che invece era un po’ diverso. Iniziamo a parlare in inglese, ci sediamo in stazione e mi racconta la sua storia. Proveniente dalla Somalia, arrivata da solo otto mesi in Svezia, stava andando a trovare suo fratello che abita a Södertälje, vicino a Stoccolma. Avrei detto che avesse intorno ai 20 anni, ma poi mi mostra la foto di suo figlio che ha 10 anni, le chiedo quanti anni ha e mi dice 35. Non chiedo niente del marito, le chiedo solo se è arrivata sola fino alla Svezia. E si, era sola in un viaggio durato più di due anni. È stata fermata in Grecia per due anni, e quando si trovava su un pullman per partire finalmente da li, la polizia ha cercato di fermare l’autista che non si è voluto fermare e a quanto pare in qualche modo la polizia ha usato le fiamme per spaventare e farli fermare. Dico solo ora, alla fine del racconto, che ho dei dubbi su quello che mi è stato raccontato. Incuriosita dalla storia ho provato a cercare qualcosa su internet, scrivendo greece, police, burned, immigrants, e niente è uscito fuori, se non che i rifugiati spesso si bruciano con i carburanti delle barche con cui arrivano. Sedendosi sui motori il carburante li avvolge, ed il bruciore non si sente subito.

In ogni caso, dopo un’ora saluto la signora e attraverso la stazione per aspettare il mio treno. Viaggio di meno di un’ora ascoltando musica. Arrivo a Linköping e vado a casa della mia amica nel caldo e verde di questa bellissima città. Elisa arriva a casa dall’università dopo un’oretta e andiamo in giro con le bici per la città. Prendiamo un gelato e sentiamo dei romani parlare nella piccola gelateria. Sempre riconoscibili. Camminiamo e ci sediamo su un prato su una specie di isoletta vicina al centro della città, prendiamo il sole e mangiamo frutta, alternando svedese ed italiano. Luce fino a tardi, torniamo a casa con le bici e ceniamo con un risotto all’Amarone, che non conoscevo proprio. Vino Marrone, cipolla e parmigiano. Buonissimo! La mattina dopo ci siamo svegliate alle 6,15, perché appunto io avrei avuto l’esame TISUS all’università dove Elisa studia. Arrivate li in bici, ho fatto l’esame che è davvero volato, alla fine delle prove scritte ero così contenta di lasciare l’aula che mi sono scordata la borsa dentro! E sapete cosa? Non incontro un italiano in una delle pause?! Aveva davvero un accento finlandese sullo svedese, e non avrei potuto dire fosse italiano, lui credeva io fossi svedese! A parte la mia capacità di parlare svedese, che è più che discutibile, immagino che i capelli biondi e gli occhi azzurri facciano sempre la loro parte, soprattutto se poi me ne vado in giro con una tazza di caffè comprato al pressbyrån, e con un libro in svedese in mano!

Ho pranzato con Elisa su un prato in mezzo al campus, che sembra davvero una cittadina, atmosfera bellissima, e sono andata a fare il mio esame orale. Aspetto i risultati che arriveranno tra tre settimane. Faccio fika con un kanelbulle e del caffè, il prossimo è gratis dato che si accumulano i punti sulla carta, e ovviamente mi riserverò un caffè enorme per il viaggio di ritorno di oggi!

Torniamo a casa in bici, ci prepariamo per uscire di nuovo ed andiamo al Trädgårdsföreningen, un fantastico parco/giardino in centro. Musica e chiacchiere e sole. Dopo ore vediamo qualcuno fare un barbecue su un grill usa e getta. Propongo di fare lo stesso e andiamo a comprare l’occorrente (il grill costava solo 19 corone, tipo due euro!), torniamo a casa e prepariamo le cose da portare, torniamo di nuovo allo stesso parco. Il grill usa e getta dura non più di un’ora e non è molto forte, ma abbiamo davvero fatto una cosa molto svedese che tutti fanno quando finalmente arriva l’estate e la luce, soprattutto scordandoci sale e pepe!

Scrivo nei prossimi giorno di più su Linköping, l’incontro con un’australiana a Karlstad, l’Eurovision Song Contest, i 90 km in bici, ed il weekend con la mia famiglia ospitante ad Uddeholm, dove sono ora. A presto!

Walpurgis celebration in Sweden, a short guide

There is a picture stuck in my head since I was in Stockholm with my family years ago. I was a child then, but still something which really got me were all these teenagers going around with boxes of beer. It was Walpurgis that day!

Drink, drink, drink. Have fun. Sleep less or nothing. Hungover the day after.

This would be the start and the end of my post, if I were a Swede. Unfortunately, or luckily, I am from a place best known for pizza, pasta, ice-cream, and amazing history.

Ok, sorry for these extra stereotyped pictures, but this is what I have been actually learning since a while. There are two big days in Sweden that need to be celebrated properly during the year, where celebration and properly stand for getting drunk, do not remember anything the day after and hungover. One of them is Walpurgis (known as “Valborgsafton” in Swedish, that means “Walpurgis’ evening, ‘cause you know, Swedes like to celebrate the day before, especially to be ready to be hungover the day after), and the other one is Midsummer (Midsommarafton, here as well, you drink all the day, stay awake all the night, and naturally are hungover the day after, a point that I really do not get!). Even though you did not get a so optimist view of it so far, I really like how most of the celebrations still relate to some Pagan celebrations, thus related to seasons and nature. 1st of May stands here for the first day of Spring, guess what, I cannot blame them for their will (and need) to celebrate. Most of the times you will likely not have a Spring feeling at all, since it could be still pretty cold, but the light is already lighting the days much longer than the dear old winter you just got through.

Midsummer (the night between Friday and Saturday after the 21st of June) is instead the start of the summer and the celebration of the longest day of the year. Here in Värmland we do not have the midnight sun, but still, there is almost just 1 hour of pitch dark in that night.

As said, traditional of the two days is the bad weather, as it is for example in Italy with the day after Easter.

What is actually usual to do in the weekend of Walpurgis is to stay with people, enjoy the long days (preferably the warm), drink, eat, sing a lot, and gather around the fire. I was at campus just some hours ago and saw the students already drunk at 6, always smile when I see these scenes! Very particular is the champagne breakfast which you can have both on Saturday and Sunday (the 30th of April and the 1st of May).

My weekend is gonna look pretty Swedish I think, since my desire is actually that of experiencing Valborg as much as it gets. Tonight I am gonna get as much sleep as I can, since starting from tomorrow morning, I will have around 40 hours awaken. I am skipping some of the singings with the choir in the morning, but I will start singing with them in the big square in Karlstad (Stora Torget) at 15, sound checking at 14.15. I will borrow a studentmössa (the hat Swedish high-school students wear at the end of their last year of school to run out of the school and take pictures – it looks as a sailor hat!) from a girl I know from some courses at uni, and will sing a lot of traditional Spring songs, of course in Swedish. For this, tomorrow I will try to do my best and learn all the words by heart.

Later, we will sing at the bishop’s house. I think I will also go to the city park to gather around the bonfire for a while, since there will not be any in the square and I really want to experience that, and the man choir is gonna sing with another choir. Later, we will go to a kind of cottage (“stuga”!?) where we will start our party (“sittning”) with both the man and woman choir. We get food, dance, sing and have fun, trying to make the others awake until the day after. The challenge is to stay awake until 15 – forgot to say that, at 15 the day before we will put the hat on our heads, supposed not to take it off but 24 hours later!). I will go home at 9 a.m. because at 10 I have to stay at Bunkern to work for the Hungover Sunday, which is the most incredible thing you could do at the pub (because you need to slice 10 kg of bacon and fry it!). No people seemed to be available to work there on Sunday (guess what!?) so I took the shift ‘cause it sounded as a great and funny experience!

Now I will get my 10 hours of sleep (hope I do not wake up because of the light, which among my friends seems to be a common problem!) and will see you soon. Need to take a pic of my face every 12 hours I will be awake tomorrow! 😉

Let this weekend start!

Will that be as funny/ridiculous as the week just passed?

At least, I finally experienced one of those days that more than a few Swedes told me about. Rain, clouds, sun, snow and hail in one day. Feel like an experienced girl now!

It is not that I am tired because I have been doing so many things this week. It is actually even worse. I have studied while sitting in the library which got warmer hour after hour because the sun was shining for all the last days. Since Monday, first day in Karlstad after the trip to Poland, I always woke up very early – around 6.30 (even if I wanted to sleep more, that would have been impossible because the light and the no presence of appropriate curtains, do not actually help with that!)

Studied a lot on Monday and sat in the sun for a while. Had choir in the evening until 21. Fall asleep at 22. Very, very tired.

The first funny thing of the week was that after have grabbed a free cup of coffee from the Student centre stand in the welcome centre at university, I dropped half of the cup just 30 seconds later. I burned my hand and could not do anything else than run to the bathroom and wash my hands. I sat at my place and wondered whether I should have gone back with some tissues to clean and dry the floor, but that would have probably been the most embarrassing thing ever, so I just stayed at my place. On Wednesday I decided to take a break and go to university just to sit outside, reading a little and enjoy the sun. I did that and “sunbathed” for 4 hours, having a coffee at the end with the Italian girl. I actually got brown! And I will never sto telling you that I love the Swedish spring coming after a depressing winter, I would say that is almost worth to experience the sad, cloudy, cold and dark months, to then reborn with the 5° still, sunny and warm days! And the Swedes! They are amazing when the Sum comes back, wearing shorts and tops, sunglasses and taking photos of this strange alien called Sun, and warm! There is a song called “Sommartider” by Gyllene Tider, which completely express the feeling of this lovely folk, saying “Time for summer, I feel that something is happening”. I definitely laugh a lot every time I hear that, just think about the difference between Italy and Sweden when it comes to seasons, since in Rome spring usually starts almost right after Christmas, with leaves sprouting in February!

By the way, after almost have burnt myself, and got a headache (moreover, I sweated as well!) I went home, and prepared to go to the place of a girl in my choir voice, where we should meet to practice. This sounds as a very tough thing, since it usually lasts for a three hours – and I still think that it is everytime I go to such a practice days – but it is actually not a practice accompanied by a fika, but usually the opposite, a fika time accompanied by singing songs! We met at 18, started to fika at 19, chatting, eating and laughing a lot (my Swedish in this period is pretty much better, is maybe the Sun positive influence!?) so I got all the jokes and every single word of the conversations in three hours! and started to sing some minutes before 20! Went home at 21.30….was in my bed at 22!

Wait a minute! I have to go to buy some onions, and send the contract back to Finland for my job at the restaurant in July!

I just found out that I never used the tag “fika” in my blog! This is kind of creepy! Have to solve this. And just to talk about something different, let’s go back to the evening with the girls of the choir. Following the Swedish habits, if you are going to host people at your home making food, you usually ask for something to bring (so that it does not too expensive for the host, and everyone actually will be able to eat what they really like). Fika “theme” of last Wednesday was biscuits and cheese (very typical here in Sweden), so everyone could bring a type of cheese and some chocolate for a dessert with banana, berries and melted chocolate she made at the end of the practice! We sang a lot, drank tea and ate good food. Definitely a cozy and enjoyable night! In the voice everyone gets to know each other pretty good. I for example got to know Veronica who lives close to me and with which we often drink coffee and go out. Went back home with the bus together with some of the girls.

Oh! I forgot to tell you about Tuesday morning, definitely one of the most awkward and hilarious times I have ever had since I am here!

Two persons should have come to my place to see the apartment (since I told the agency that I will leave the apartment in June, and those who are in line contacted me to have a look). So, I told the two persons to come at 10 in the morning last Tuesday. One of them came in time and gave a fast look. The other one told me he would be late half a hour. 45 minutes later I wrote him that I should soon go to university and asked how long it would take for him to come. He said me he just had a few minutes left, but then he started to call me because he did not find the place. We turned into English since he seemed to have a little problems (I told him there were not any problem since I was also not a native speaker of Swedish!) and we tried to find out where he was. We exchanged maps (where I was and where he was) but nothing. At the end I told him that I had to go and sent instead some pictures of the apartment. When I arrived at university, he called me to say that what had been wrong was that we were actually in different cities! And there was the same dress in Göteborg as well as in Karlstad! And the wrong person to which he sent the message some weeks ago (or is me) actually had to show the apartment to some people! Funny thing ever I think. Do not think this will ever happen to me!

Thursday was time for another cup of coffee to fall from my hands. In the middle of the university cafeteria, at 13 where everyone was there. Thankfully I was not in Italy, where nobody could have hold their laughs, but the Swedes are always very kind and did not seem to laugh.

Want to know about more funny things?

Yesterday, as soon as I got out from H&M I slipped on a flyer, and I fell in a more hilarious way than Mr.Bean would have done. Embarrassing happenings.

By the way, I am now making dinner (to be more precise, I am just warming some corn-maid-chickpeas salad in the microwave) and will get soon ready to go out tonight 🙂 It is still so bright in the sky so that time flies without noticing about it!

Tomorrow is time for the male choir and the female choir to sing at campus! Looking forward to that 🙂

Have a nice evening, see you soon!

The road to home

Bus to the station, then train heading home. Sitting on the bus writing on the phone. I wrote tens of pages in a diary just for the Poland trip, my first solo trip, and I will write  them down on the post in the following weeks.

Crazy to look forward to come back from a solo trip. Crazy even more to feel at home in a place that is not your original one. To miss the Swedish coffee when in Poland, and the extreme kindness of this super peaceful folk. Still cannot believe that this rainy cold day that welcomed me in Gothenburg is not making me sad. At the start before I left to Poland I thought that when I would come back I would probably miss the flight, looking on the screen for the one to Rome and not that to Gothenburg. But I did not, ‘cause I will live here at least three years more and it just completely stucked in my mind. And I like it.

This week I have two old courses and one new to which I was inexpectedly admitted even though I missed the subscription deadline. I look forward to experience those that will unfortunately be my last months in Karlstad.

I loved Poland and I am definitely going to travel more there. East Europe is definitely on my bucket list…especially for the extremely affordable expenses.

I drank a cup of coffee from pressbyrån…now we drive to the central station. Have to switch the phone down for a while. Coffee is waiting for me later on!

I will see you soon!

Benvenuta primavera!

Forse è il caso di scrivere in italiano.

Buongiorno primavera. Uscita di casa con il sole, maniche corte sotto la giacca di pile, ballerine ai piedi. Dicono 6 gradi ma si brucia al sole. Pantaloni neri stile svedese, così non ti vedono, o almeno attiri il sole ed il calore. Tanto la primavera ce l’hai dentro.

Notizie della settimana? Lunedì scorso mentre tornavo a Karlstad da Roma sono stata accettata all’università di Malmö per il programma di laurea triennale chiamato “International migration and ethnic relations”. Da quel momento è dire poco che non sono riuscita a dormire molto bene pensando all’idea di trasferirmi li! Ho iniziato a cercare un appartamento, che spero di trovare in un’edificio adibito agli studenti, e sono stata mezza accettata per un appartamento che mi interessava e dove son stata messa al terzo posto nella fila d’attesa. Stamattina mentre infilavo la chiave nella ruota posteriore della bici per andare all’università ricevo una chiamata da Malmö…100% dialetto della Scania, ho capito circa il 50% dell’intera chiamata…insomma, i due che erano prima di me in fila d’attesa avevano rifiutato e quindi ero diventata prima…se non fosse stato per il fatto che mi sarei dovuta trasferire il 1° maggio e quindi essere studente già da quel periodo (mentre io inizierò ad agosto). Telefonata troppo bella per essere vera! Grazie al sole di oggi non me la sono “fatta prendere troppo a male”.

Ora sto all’università cercando di scrivere una pagina per un lavoro di gruppo per Business English, che tratta dello scandalo dei Panama papers. Dopo cercherò di anticiparmi la lettura di 4 capitoli di Business Cultures prima di partire domani per Göteborg. E di un pezzo di un enorme compendia! Un salto a casa per prendere i brani di coro. Lavoro di gruppo alle 16. Coro dalle 18 alle 21. E sai cosa? Non ho ancora preparato niente per la Polonia, la casa è un casino e sono distrutta…qualcosa mi dice che da oggi a domenica il caffè sarà il mio migliore amico!

Ora lascio il post, a presto con aggiornamenti da Varsavia!

Of Madagascar planes

For some strange reason the flight Rome-Frankfurt-Jönköping-Karlstad does not put luck on my side every time I take it.

Let’s start from the thing that I unintentionally blocked my Swedish sim card when I was at the airport in Rome. This means no chance to make calls or connect to internet once in Sweden. During the flight to Frankfurt, I started to wonder wheter I booked the shuttle taxi from the airport to Karlstad, which gives you the possibility to pay jsut 65 kr instead of 440. Well, of course I could have checked that at the airport in Frankfurt, if just my laptop had worked with the free wifi, which of course did not happen. Or no wait, it actually worked for some seconds, enough time to receive the email from universityadmissions which told me I had received the result from the university of Malmö…guess what…I could not open it! Now, I waited for that response since December, or even more since I tried to get in last year and could not get a place because of late in submissions of a document. And trust me, to wait from 15 to 21.30 to get to know if you are accepted at Malmö university, is not the funniest thing ever. But just have fun about it, ‘cause I actually got accepted!

Well, so I got off from the last plane in Karlstad, 45 minutes earlier than scheduled, and could still not check the booking of the taxi, since my Swedish phone was still blocked (which of course I could not unlock with the puk to be found online!). I asked a taxi driver whether it was the shuttle one, and he said yes, but I will call someone and check for you…which ended with a “it results that you did not book it, can’t you call someone to take you home?”. Now…guess again…you can imagine how not funny it is to not only know to be alone abroad, but to really notice it having to answer nothing less than “I do not have anyone!”. Ok, this sounded pretty desperate does not it? End of the story…I had to pay 350 kr to get home…and today having checked the email I found out that the taxi driver completely fooled me, ‘cause the booking was there!

Well…want to know the previous experience regarding my trip to Karlstad via Frankfurt?

Once arrived at the desk in Frankfurt, I was told that my ticket had been cancelled, probably for a technical error. Four hours to get a new ticket (which was given to me free just because I looked you and cute to the woman helping me) and a night-stay in Frankfurt. Well, I call them experiences 😉

 

 

 

Questions on education systems

Education is always been a question at the centre of our political discussions. Is the educational method being used now really leading to something useful and efficient? Do we need to change something in the approach to learning processes? And is theory actually the best basis to be provided in education? To which degree is strictness to be used in school environments?

Ricardo Semler is CEO at a famous Brazilian company and was named Brazilian businessman in 1990 and 1992. In his talk “How to run a company with (almost) no rules”, he gives the chance to reflect about the rules present in both work and study environments. He starts the talk explaining a catching-the-day way of living he has been using in the last few years: doing something he would do if he would have a short life expectancy. What he does later is the explanation of how his company decided to approach to rules and hierarchy customs. He later links to the fact that school does not provide us with things we are not prepared to and instead it fills us with pretty useless notions about history and others subjects.

In my opinion, there is definitely something to be changed regarding education systems. We are in the age of information technology, where most of the traditional knowledge can be shared and found within a click, therefore an innovative education cannot any longer lie only in the amount of informations we are flooded with, but in the way these are exchanged from teacher to students.

I enjoyed watching the talk by Ricardo Semler. The system he started to experiment and analyze in his company for 30 years ago is indeed a very modern and innovative one, which should be shared around the world as a model of reliability, effectiveness in work  environment and life satisfaction.

The coffee land

I am finally back in the normal land, country or planet or whatever we want to call it. The normal place is for me a place where car drivers do not try to kill you as soon as you try to cross the road, where people smiles to you in shops, and where they ask you if you want the receive even if you paid with the card, at the end, the country of coffee. It is also the place where if it is cloudy, people do not give up to meet because they feel sad.

Well, yesterday I came back to Karlstad with the famous flight Lufthansa/BMI which requires you to land and take off three times in a day, with a stop of around four hours in Frankfurt. Kind of a experience I would say.

After I had to wait almost eight hours to check my application result for university in Sweden, I got to know that I actually got admitted at the bachelor’s program in “International Migration and Ethnic Relations”, in a few words the course I was dreaming about for two years. Today I will start to look for accommodation in Malmö, and in the next days I will have to fix the personal number request.

I also got from the Italian Embassy an envelope to vote abroad in the middle of April, pretty excited for that!

Well, after woken up at 10 (late for me, early to be the day after the three-round travel), had some kind of breakfast finding hidden food in the refrigerator and prepared my lunch, I am finally at university.

See you later!

 

International brain storming.

I can’t stop writing.

Flying makes us safer than staying on the ground, what wrong is happening to society?

Into the Wild will be my film during the next flight. Saw it tens of times but it never get old.

In Sweden teachers thank you for your take home exam when you receive the grade. It takes time, but it is so rewarding.

Some faces met this morning made my day, spontaneous talks with Korean exchange students and smiles together with a sunny and pretty warm day in Karlstad. Stayed outside drinking coffee and enjoying the sun. Closed my eyes hearing voices of Sweds to happy for the sun, to keep wearing a jacket, even though it is just 6° outside. Love it. I will be back in the middle of Spring. Look forward to it. Look forward to enjoy sun and friends and family in Rome as well.

I am in Frankfurt airport, after the flight from Karlstad I am waiting 4,45 to get the flight to Rome. Security checks were crazy today at Karlstad airport….the third time I fly from there and they were never so accurate. Once I “bipped” at the metal detector, they asked me to put my feet in a sort of scanning machine, then the woman “touched” me very accurately and also checked the part of the legs inside my boots. Then she took a manual metal detector and checked me again.

Here in Frankfurt there is much police more. I was a little nervous before the flight but actually now I am relaxed, I will fly soon and stay far away from this place where love does not seem to be included in our lives.

Happy to have been able to find connection to write this blog.

I will see you soon!

P.S.

Coffee is killing me! Be aware of its consequences when you fell in love with it!

 

Chill.

I am in a line. Sitting in the library around people of which I would like to read feelings. It feels often stupid to be so much caring for terroristic attacks happening in Europe, while when this happens in Africa nobody is really touched. But I find it normal, the closer we are to what happens the more we get affected. Being abroad makes you much used to cultural differences, sometimes you even stop to see them. Sometimes you forget where your mate comes from, since you are so used to see the similarities you both have instead of the differences in behaviors. But at the same time, especially if you are European, you feel part of something big, you strengthen your belong to some kind of nation. Yesterday they were saying this about the erasmus students who did not survive the bus accident in Spain. Seven of thirteen were Italians, impossible not to be involved emotionally.

The worst is that we are getting used to it. We do not cry. We stay in silence. We lost hope completely. We are probably accepting we will have to live with this. I will not write that we have to fight, that we have to stay together, to show love. All this is just making us to calm, not being able to fight all this hate.

I cannot read faces when I am among Swedish people. As a cultural fact, they do not show their feelings as we Italians do, and this is sometimes kind of a difficulty for me. But I am sure they are thinking much about what happened. Today when I got on some busses every driver had turned the radio on, tuning on news about the attacks.

When you are abroad all the feelings feel strange. I lost an uncle during last semester abroad. I cannot explain how bad it felt. It was very hard not to have someone hugging you as you would, but also not having someone as sad as you are. I dressed in  black the day after which really made me feel better, closer to what had happened. In Italy you do this to show your sorrow, here I learned to do it for myself.

I do not know what will happen tomorrow, we do not know if our plans are right to be done, if being abroad is the right thing, if it is right to feel our safe so extremely safe day by day. I will fly to Rome tomorrow and stay for a while until the start of April. Cannot explain how much I look forward to cross that door tomorrow night.

Sono in una fila. Di gente seduta in una libreria di un’università. Qualcuno cerca di studiare, altri scherzano. Mi giro intorno e vedo facce tristi. Mi chiedo se come me quello che gira nei loro pensieri sono gli attentati di stamattina. Mi sono svegliata e ho letto di quello che era successo solo dopo mezz’ora dopo la catastrofe. Un’ora dopo un altro attacco alla metropolitana.

Non so se tutto questo ci stia rendendo più inclini ad amare il prossimo, o se stia semplicemente congelando i nostri sentimenti. So solo che personalmente divento sempre più triste ogni volta che degli attacchi del genere accadono. Anche ieri è stato un giorno pesante. Di 13 studentesse che sul pullman schiantatosi in Spagna non ce l’hanno fatta, 7 erano italiane. Impossibile non sentirsi coinvolti.

Svezia, Danimarca, Finlandia e Germania hanno aumentato i livelli di sicurezza. Gli aeroporti avranno un maggior numero di poliziotti. Troppo sta cambiando.

Domani torno in Italia e la paura è a mille. Faccio scalo a Francoforte e penso cercherò di stare il meno possibile in luoghi affollati. Ma so che tutto andrà bene in fondo. Ma il terrorismo sta facendo l’effetto che vogliono loro.

 

 

Early Tuesday briefing

Let’s not say too much about the fact that I woke up at 4 a.m. today. I set the alarm clock at 6.30 a.m. but I guess I was thinking about too many things I have to manage before going to Malmö tomorrow and Thursday, and before going to Italy for two weeks.

Yesterday was a full day. I was at university at 9 to study Swedish for the TISUS exam (C1 in Swedish that I need to study in Swedish at university level) and kept on until 15. I had a lunch break which I thought was good to have outside, so I sat (even without jacket!) in front of uni in the Sun…it was 10°! As I always say, it is wonderful to see Spring approaching here in Sweden! After that, I walked around the library to find some interesting book and I picked up and borrowed “The language instinct-How the mind creates language” by Stephen Pinker…I saw it already some time ago and finally started to read it. Read just 20 pages but it sounds already very interesting and well written.

Now I am making some food to be frozen (my bad for not being able to use earlier than today  that tomato package which otherwise would have expired!) and cleaning clothes. I will go to the library at 8.00 and stay until afternoon…then I will definitely need to tidy the apartment and prepare/plan a little for Malmö tomorrow/Thursday trip. If you did not know I am going to visit the university which has open day, and I will stay there for a total of 24 hours!

I will keep you updated, have a nice day!

Summer job and other shifts, of coffees and Sun (finally!)

Hi everyone again!

Today I definitely had the best good morning ever. Better ones where just waking up on the last day of school, Christmas Day during childhood and waking up to the sound of rain, or a blue sunny day after weeks of clouds. So, add to a blue super sunny day with the Sun which shows itself after two weeks of snow and grey, an email that tells you that you are warmly welcomed to work in a restaurant in the islands of Åland, in Finland. There, where a lot of people goes for summer vacations, where the 84% of inhabitants speak Swedish and your knowledge in Swedish is by the way only a merit. So, I applied just a few days ago via nordjobb.org and got a super fast answer for two days ago, where they asked for references. A guy I work at Bunkern with sent them a very nice reference mail, and today early in the morning they sent me the welcome letter. Taking in mind that I worked yesterday night at the pub until 1,30, was home in the shower at 2 and slept only until 9 this morning, cycled to university where I met some people from my Swedish high school coming to visit the university, then had a book presentation, back home to sleep, still very tired because of the shift at Bunkern, well, this mail really made my day! Tomorrow they are going to send me the contract, I will work four weeks since the end of June and I look so forward to it! Especially because my family will probably join me there for a while! The restaurant is called Smakbyn (village of taste), and it is located 23 km from Mariehamn, the principal city of the Åland islands.

By the way, I am sitting writing the blog, still very tired after yesterday’s first swimming training after being sick and the shift at Bunkern. I will probably watch some episodes of Dowton Abbey (my family is following it in Rome, so they technically made me love it!) and then sleep for a long time, and I hope I will wake up with a blue sky again tomorrow. Then I will either go to the swimming pool first or to university to study, to go later (at 15,30 tomorrow, two hours earlier than normally, because the student union booked the pub)  and I will have another nice (hopefully) day. Now my goal is to study Swedish as much as I can for the TISUS examination I will have in Malmö in May. Oh, I was actually thinking about going to Malmö next Thursday because they open the university for those interested, but the journey is either too expensive (100 euros return ticket by train) or too long (ten hours by bus), so I will decide consequently.

If I did not already write enough times, you probably noticed that today it was sunny! And as many things have many pros and cons, so it is with very sunny days. You are not longer used to all this light and actually get a little pain in the eyes and headache (or at least I do) and you also get very tired because the Sun gives/gets from you so much energy. And you drink coffee, better if staying or sitting at the sun as many Sweds love to do, and so do I! So, if this was not clear, enjoying the Sun, and the color blue, after so many days is one of the best joys one can experience here in Sweden…..

I will see you later, have a nice night!

 

Of Sundays and unreal Springs

I don’t like Sundays. Never did in a very special way. But you know, I come from Italy and I am used to the big traditional Sunday lunches. Best if prepared by the “Italian grandma” who should almost be considered as important as a UNESCO cultural heritage since she is known all around the world, really! So, Sundays always kept being something special to me since I was born. The all thing you do from the start of the weekend is to relax after the week or meeting friends, and then of course, think about the Sunday lunch! If you will be at your grandma’s place then she will start to prepare at 9 in the morning, make food for at least the double of the real number of guests, trying to fill you as much as she can (the goal is to finish all the food on the table, which as I said, is more than the double you would be able to eat!).

So, yesterday was a little different Sunday than the ones I experience when in Sweden, but quite similar to the ones I am used to in Italy. I actually missed the Sunday lunches quite much, and I decided with the other two Italian students who came this semester to arrange a tipical one. After a long time we opted for a “fettuccine ai funghi” which took almost one hour and a half to be prepared. In the campus kitchen there was a Dutch girl…who would have been best to ask making pancakes to? We got simple pancakes, pancakes with Nutella and pancakes with cheese! Crazy lunch that lasted until 5 in the afternoon.

By the way, arrived at home at 6 in the evening I started to be excited for the new starting week. I have a Swedish book to read due tomorrow and I find it very difficult. Also I will have a little concert with the choir at university today before choir rehealsals, which will then last until 21. So today I prepared both snacks, lunch and dinner to bring to university. Among lessons, work at the pub, and the book to read I look forward to fill this week as much as I can…also it is just 16 days left until I will go back to Italy to celebrate Easter with my family and spend time with them, so that is also why I want to do as many things as I want in these last days.

Spring seemed to be on its way for some days ago. Then it started to snow. And snow. And be very white, fortunately not that cold though. But I took a look at the weather forecasts and it looks like Spring will actually come in the right period. Next week it should be sunny and over 0°.

Saturday and Sunday it will be time for me to visit my host family in Uddeholm to say goodbye before I go to Italy. And guess what? It will be the last part of the competition Melodifestivalen, for which all Swedes are crazy and that selects the winner that will go to the Eurovisions. And guess another thing? It looks like it will be sunny and 5° warm in Uddeholm!

On Thursday there will be open house at Karlstad university and I will probably meet some of the students and teachers I know from my exchange year in Uddeholm.

I’ll see you soon!

Have a great start of the week!

Sunday

Good morning and good Sunday! Of course it has been too much time since I wrote the last time. I always want to write, maybe I start a few drafts on the blog and then leave them with no future. You probably saw the last update…I do not blame you if you wondered “where does this come from!?” because I did not write anything to explain it! In the course of Business English we were told to write some comments about an article explaining the refugees crisis. We will have to comment on three others’ comments and receive feedback from them.

The problem here is that I forget most of the things I do during the week, even though most of the days I actually go to bed very tired and knowing that I did a lot of things!

Last Sunday I finished a take home exam for the course Cultural Heritage which was in my opinion way too long. Ten days to write 5 pages and I completely lost sense of the time, I was not stressed at all, therefore not motivated to finish it! I ended up writing it at the last minute, on a cold Sunday in the library, pretty sick because of my cold (that still does not leave me in peace!).

On Wednesday I worked at Bunkern…there is not many people coming there during this semester, because it looks like the new erasmus students actually want to study a little more than the last ones, and probably do not like to go out that much!

All the week studying, especially reading a Swedish book in “easy Swedish” that I will have to resume with a course mate for Thursday. 200 pages total and I am still at one third of it!

I usually go to the library very often, and I like it so much!

Today’s lunch will have an Italian taste. The two Italians and me decided to arrange a little traditional Italian Sunday lunch and yesterday we went and bought some mushrooms and tagliatelle (I feel so happy when I find Italian brands here!)

It is snowing! There have been two very nice, warm and sunny weeks for a week ago, but now at least until Tuesday we will have cold (well just around 0°, but we got used easily to the warm!) and snow. And if it snow much, it means that the snowplow will wake me up around 7 in the morning!

Another news of the week is that on Monday we had a meeting with the choir to decide who should be part of the board for this semester, and with the other girl with which I am in the “producer group for the Spring concert” we decided to be part of the sponsor group. So, I am not going to help as much as the others because I will probably not call in Swedish to convince people to give us money, but I will try to come up with some ideas and so on…

Tomorrow we will have a short concert at a café at university for the “Women Day” on 8th March (but as you maybe know, in Sweden everything is celebrated a day before.

As you probably read in the previous updates, I am applying again for studying in Malmö, southern Sweden, a bachelor program starting in August. Last year I did not get in because I could not get rid of the high-school diploma from my Italian school in time for the deadline. So, the response from university admissions Sweden should have come the 21st March (I could have celebrated it in Italy because I will be there 23rd March-4th April) but it will come two weeks later, exactly the day I will be traveling back to Sweden! This because they noticed they had too many applications and would not make it in time otherwise.

On Friday I received at home the paper version of my take home exam for the course Globalization and Culture, which had been corrected and marked very precisely by the teacher! I really like this Swedish way of doing it!

As a “morning bird” as many call me, I try to wake up at 7 everyday, so that I can use my day as best as I can…Today I did the same but rolled in the bed for half an hour. Now I am at the library updating the post, trying to read the Swedish book, and do the reflection about some posts for the English course. I checked the weather forecast some minutes ago and I have big news! Until the week I will go back to Italy it will be very sunny!

I really like the library, even though sometimes it is very cold in here! But it is very good to concentrate for whatever you have to do and not to feel alone or bored at home, “netflixing” or doing “stupid” things.

I will see you soon! (Waiting for thewriterinspiration!)

Backpacking

I think that without flight companies as Ryanair or Easyjet words as “backpack” or “wanderlust” would barely exist. Next stop? Warsaw in Poland! I found a pretty cheap deal, a return ticket for 30 euros, and I did not take too much time before booking it! My first standing alone backpacking trip (at least someone I know will not get interested in it and join me!)

So, I am totally getting crazy thinking about it! I am doing a bucket list of things I would really like to do, and what cannot be missed is to taste many of the Polish street foods! Guess what? The Zapiekanka is similar to the Italian pizza and one of the most diffused street foods….What I know until now is that I will be there in the middle of April for five days, and I will need to stay one night in Gothenburg because the flight leaves at 8.45 in the morning. I want to have my first couch surfing experience so I wrote to a Finnish girl living in Gothenburg who could maybe host me for a night, waiting for the response!

In Warsaw I will stay at the hostel Warsaw Downtown Hostel, which on booking got a very good mark of 9.1., hope in the best!

I am at my former host family place right now, arrived here with my host-sister by bus yesterday afternoon…Before that I handed in my CV at Burger King downtown in Karlstad. They are looking for night-staff and I really hope they will call me back! Money for the future trips and etc are needed!

Last Wednesday the choir was having the audition for the Spring semester, and many exchange students took part in it. I was there to give them support, and luckily every exchange student who tried got in! On Fat Tuesday we will have a Fat Tuesday fika to get to know the new members of our voice, and in two weeks we will have a weekend outside Karlstad to get to know each other, have fun and practice a lot for the next concerts.

Today here we will make Semlor, or is some typical Swedish buns filled with a mix of almond and cream.

I will let you know about any news in planning my trip…have a nice weekend! And make delicious food for the next Fat Tuesday 😉

 

Warm, fog, and smelted snow

My brain did not have anything better to do than waking up at 4,31 this morning. Sounds  like a sleep disturb but I guess it is because I am pretty excited to start my two new courses at university today and tomorrow. Business English and Cultural Heritage. The second one is a very short one lasting for 5 weeks with three books and two articles to read. Everyday I get always more interested in the issue of cultural studies…so I was going around the library yesterday and got lost in a lot of books regarding this field. I ended up borrowing “Communication between cultures” by Samovar, Porter, McDaniel and Roy…already started to read a bit and it is very interesting and well written. It gives insights into the biggest world religions, and since I wanted to attend the course World religions which were than cancelled, I am interested to read about it at least! I actually have a lot of books on my bedside table…”The brother Ashkenazi” by Singer, in Italian, “The first forty-nine stories” by Hemingway, in English, and another book I borrowed at the library, called “When a Jew celebrates” by Gersh.

Yesterday I sang with the choir in welcome ceremony for new incoming students at the university of Karlstad. Before that, I went to Jula, one of those shops selling everything, looking for the lime-green pants the hosts for international students use to wear…the color is not the best existing, but it is very nice to have something in common, and it is also a way to be recognized, maybe in case of need of help. As a host, I am the only one who still did not find them or at least did not manage to find them in time!

After that I sang a couple of songs with the choir in the Aula Magna, went home and had lunch….in the early afternoon I went to campus to have a fika with my host group where we started to get to know each other a little better. Then back to university for choir rehearsals until 21. I went home, had dinner, fixed some things for the courses I will start, then read a little and slept! I was completely with no energy

On Sunday I took a walk with some students to the lake Astern…we lost the way and it took nearly two and a half hours to get there and go back, but the lake was fantastic, even if the weather not exactly the same. After that…another pika at campus with some new students and then back home.

Friday was busy as well, because in the afternoon I worked at the pub Bunkern, the first time after Christmas break, and since around 200 international students had the place booked for them, and I worked in the kitchen preparing meals, I can say it was pretty tiring! But I really enjoyed it, and learnt that international students love hamburgers! We got like 20 orders in less than 15 minutes, 15 were burgers, and the kitchen is a small place, and we work there just in two!

Today is gonna be fun as well! As a result of the very warm temperatures we are experiencing after going through around -15° in the last two weeks, the air is very humid and all the snow is smelting since Sunday. We have a few degrees above 0 and I saw people wearing t-shirts some days ago. By the way, as I said it has been foggy for many days now, after we had the typical cold and sunny winter days back in the two last weeks. But! I am so excited because it should be sunny today, so I am going to take a walk when it gets light, that means in like two hours. I will also buy some ingredients for making little butter puff pastry pizzas for my German friend Sofia, who is living tomorrow and is having a goodbye international dinner at campus tonight. I will make the pizzas and  after that I will go to university and start to study for the course of Cultural Heritage starting tomorrow…Then I will have lunch with Veronica, a friend I met at the choir. Then studying again, lesson between 17 and 20, (Business English which I really look  forward since the course in English for international students really gave me much!). I will go to campus for the goodbye dinner and back home again. Almost same routine tomorrow, with another goodbye international dinner!

I would like to point out something about the Swedish universities. At the start I hesitated a little about the thing of having just one or two courses at a time, thus having what seemed to be a lot of free time besides. But now I understand it is not like this, because short courses really give you much to do, and they are more worth to attend because you concentrate on one thing at a time!

News of the week…I stopped to drink coffee! I noticed it was making me too excited about many things and I was overthinking about others, as well as I was overwhelmed by simple thoughts. So, I  can say that I went through the long Swedish winter pretty well this year, and I am ready to get the best of the days which are always more getting longer 😀

I got to know that we will have a concert with the choir one day before the Women day, so it will be the 7th March. You should know that in Sweden every festivity is celebrated a day before, so you say Julafton (Christmas’evening) and you celebrate on the 24th and so on with the others….so it was decided to have this little concert which will be the premier of the biggest Women concert we will have on the 29th May! In the middle of February instead, we will have a kick off with the all choir, a two days away in a ex-military building some km from here to have fun and train a lot of songs.

I hope the snow will finish to smelt pretty soon because it is very slippery on the ground right know, since kilos of snow are smelting pretty slowly right now.

 

I think I forgot to tell you about being host for the international students! Well! It is a lot of things to do, especially in the two introduction weeks. It is about picking up students at the different places the arrive, go with them to campus helping them with the first things they could need. I picked up students from Hong Kong and Germany, and one of those day was -26° as perceived temperature! I thought I would die, but I bravely survived with pride! 😛

I will now go…I think I will also sleep for a while. I will see you soon!

 

Memorie di una studentessa ibernata.

Ovvero di narici congelate e facce screpolate.

Avrei probabilmente dovuto scriverlo qualche giorno fa, dato che dopo il gelo che abbiamo attraversato ora i -11° non fanno più così tanta paura. Certo, quando si è alla fermata dell’autobus ci si allena in equilibrio e pazienza, dato che più ferma e con le gambe tese e vicine sei meno freddo senti, o almeno pensi di sentire. Capelli che si gelano, naso che quasi appena dopo essere uscita diventa una piccola catena di ghiaccioli, telefono che si scarica molto più velocemente a causa del freddo, e rischio di scivolare a causa del ghiaccio. Tutto questo è un inverno svedese trascorso nel Värmland. Ma poi ci sono i paesaggi innevati, il silenzio dato dalla neve che attutisce tutti i rumori, e gli uccellini che muovendosi sugli alberi fanno cadere piccoli fiocchi di neve, le finestre di casa con i cristalli di ghiaccio sui bordi, ed il sole che quando è sereno, inizia davvero a scaldare, e magari anche a sciogliere la neve su un lato di tutti gli alberi delle foreste in cui si snoda la strada per casa. Inverno è la stagione più svedese che ci sia. Chi non si guarda in faccia non perché sono freddi, ma riservati, e perché si deve stare attenti a dove mettere i piedi che sennò in un secondo sei spalmato sul ghiaccio duro.

Consigli per sopravvivere? Sembra strano e non proprio divertente, ma appena arrivati a casa, nonostante ci si vorrebbe buttare in una sauna per scordarsi del freddo appena sentito, lavarsi le mani con l’acqua calda potrebbe portare tremendi dolori alle mani, e soprattutto farle seccare immediatamente. Quindi giù di acqua fredda, tanto che importa, a -20° ci sei stata fino a questo momento no? 😉

Crema, crema, e crema. Prima di dormire, appena ti svegli, prima di uscire e quando ritorni. Sulle mani, sotto i guanti, sulla faccia appena lavati i capelli e anche un po’ più tardi. Sulle labbra chili di burro di cacao o crema, soprattutto quelle alle mandorle o al karitè. Insomma, il mio parere è che sotto sotto l’inverno non è per niente male. Soprattutto se il sole luccica e inizia ad essere sempre più alto e splendere sempre più a lungo nelle giornate. E se ti ci svegli e pensi che si “forse domani dovrei mettermi la mascherina per gli occhi in modo che riesco a dormire un po’ di più” e puntualmente te la scordi.

Scherzi a parte…sabato sono andata a prendere quattro ragazzi venuti da Hong Kong che staranno all’università di Karlstad fino a giugno. E la fortuna ha voluto che sabato facessero -26° percepiti. E che gli studenti arrivassero in ritardo, e che la stazione degli autobus dove si può aspettare al calduccio, fosse chiusa (perché che senso avrebbe tenerla aperta per quegli sfigati che devono aspettare al freddo alle 9 di sera?). Insomma, ho avuto paura di morire congelata! Ma poi alla fine sono arrivati, abbiamo mangiato a McDonald’s, e mentre tornavamo al campus, uno degli studenti (l’unico del mio gruppo di cui mi prendo cura) si è scordato lo zaino sull’autobus. La faccenda si è risolta in due giorni dato che la compagnia di autobus l’aveva trovato e lui è andato a ritirarlo, tutti felici e contenti. Buona educazione svedese? Direi proprio di si! Mercoledì della scorsa settimana ero andata a fare la spesa, e da li non ho più trovato la mia tessera dell’autobus. Super depressa ho iniziato a comprare biglietti prima di ricomprarmi una nuova tessera magnetica, ma poi una signora che abita al palazzo accanto mi ha suonato alla porta dicendomi che aveva trovato la mia tessera (con scritto il nome sopra) proprio davanti alla porta del mio palazzo. Insomma, she made my day really!

Comunque ora chiudo, domani arriveranno altri post….buona serata!

Ah…ora esco, le temperature sono decisamente più calde…-4° dopo due settimane sotto i -10°! Felicità!

About some books – 2015’s readings

I do not like to make lists of books, maybe it is because I sometimes do not succeed in reading many books every year, or just because I think that every book has its way of being…that is what actually I do, I do not make list to say which one is the best. Therefore, I will try to give you a short summary of the books I read during this year, and at the same time I will try to express the feelings and the meanings each of them has given to me during this year.

I will start con “La Bestia” (“The Beast, by Óscar Martínez). A famous Italian journalist and writer recommended it for some months ago. This writer, Roberto Saviano, inquires on mafia events in Italy and in different parts of the world (even though Italy could count for twenty countries regarding this). I started to read the book in May, and for some reasons I did not finish it. I had the final exam at my upper secondary school, then I visited my host family in Sweden in July, and while there I got accepted at Karlstad university, where I came back after some week in Italy, the 21st of August. During my first semester in Karlstad I met many many many exchange students, including one from Mexico. I remembered about the places in the plot of the book “The Beast” and talked about them, exchanging comments between “mafia’s” witnesses (Compared to a Mexican I do not have experience at all about mafia!). Differently from Italy, when immigration, drugs and mafia mix together, the setting does not stay “low” but start to become the same where “civil” and daily life happens, not to tell about the unfair difference between Mexico and U.S.A.. Look at this image to see the border between the two countries. The wall you see in the Mexican side on the left was built in 2006, not to let immigrants from Central America go through U.S.A.. This is just an insight of what the book tells about, and I really recommend it to you. By the way, when I came back to Italy to spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve with my family, I was really curious to finish this book…I did it with a completely new and at the same time strange and sad feeling.

The first book I completely read in English for the first time, was The White Lioness, by Henning Mankell. He was a Swedish thriller writer who sadly passed away this year…I love his books for they give an incredible insight of what Swedish society is, and always has been. Most of his stories are set in Southern Sweden, in the region of Skåne. Close to Denmark, this region is often influenced by the big flew of immigrants who enter, without any checks until this December, into Sweden. Skåne is a region with a big business of drugs, and the situation is far from being “easy”. His stories exaggerate this situation creating breathtaking pages with many murders. I feel it every year closer since I learn to know about the Swedish culture more every year.

Egenmäktigt förfarande: En roman om kärlek (Unauthorised procedure: A novel about love) was the first book I read in Swedish since I learnt this language. I actually did not get every word I read, but the general meaning and many sentences I could understand. I will take some weeks before reading another one in Swedish, but at least the first, and always most difficult step of reading in another language than yours, has been done.

Noa Noa by the painter Paul Gauguin was a collection of letters and travel book pages written during his journey in Polinesia. Maybe was for the cover or the slightly opaque color of the pages, or probably for I was reading it to write a final essay to be presented orally at the final exam of my last year of school, but the book gave me the chance to totally get into the surroundings Paul Gauguin had been experiencing, feeling the feelings he was living. For great travelers/dreamers/globetrotter/writers/readers I really recommend to read this book!

Another book, again in Italian, was Vai e Vivrai (Live and Become) by Radu Mihaileanu and Alain Dugrand, which I also read for the final essay at school, which has the title of “Il Viaggio” (The journey). Telling about immigration, racism, love and persecution, the book relates to the historical moment of the Operation Moses in 1984, which was organized by U.S.A in order to migrate a group of Ethiopian Jews to Israel, moving them through Sudan. In one of the refugee camps, the mother of a Christian Ethiopian let the son travel to Israel with a Jew mother hoping for a better life for him. The whole story develops fast and is very interesting because it really gives a basically explanation of what happened during this year, which I totally ignored! One of the meanings of the book is that of the racial distinction between white and black Jews.

Sulla Traccia di Nives by Erri De Luca is about a climber who practice her sport/life choice together with his husband since many years. The climber is interviewed by the author, which is on his side a very talented climber and sportive person. Nives Meroi is one of the few women on Earth to have climbed seven one fourteen peaks over 8000 ms, and this book is very special!

Ok, I probably did not read that many books in 2015, I will do my best next year! What I already have in my bucket list is “The Brothers Ashkenazi” by Israel Joshua Singer, a novel settled in the end of 1800s to present the reality of Polish Jews during a hundred year before the Olochaust. While this one is in Italian and I will probably leave it in Italy if I do not finish it before getting back to Karlstad (I never succeed in reading in Italian when abroad!), “About a boy” is the first English book I will read in 2016. I got it free from an exchange student leaving from Karlstad after the first semester. It is a little funny how so many exchange students/free-mover/erasmus have full luggages at the end of their period abroad and need to lighten them!

By the way, even though I just read six books in total in 2015, there are many books of which I miss to read just a few books…which are:

Le vie dei Canti by Bruce Chatwin (The Songlines) which I also read in Italian, is about an Australian old myth which says that for aborigines the Earth was created thanks to the existence of natural elements and figures which embodied Gods, and walked and sang throughout all the lands. Nowadays, only the aborigines closest to Australia have the ability to hear the songs which still are played, and orientate through the lands. Bruce Chatwin experienced the “walkabout” in this wonderful land of Australia, meeting aborigines and old people during his travel. Still need to read the very last pages of this book, I will do it, or probably not, but I still really recommend to read it, as well as I recommend to see the film “Australia”, “Into the Wild”, “The Way” and “Tracks”.

The Introvert Advantage: How Quiet People Can Thrive in an Extrovert World. I received this book from a exchange student in Karlstad, which on his side borrowed it from a friend. So, some months have gone and I still have to give it back, even though I did not read a big part of it. Generally, the book gives some pillars for why introverts should not think they are worse than extroverts, tells the differences between introverts and shy people and other interesting things. I do not know for which reason I did not finish it, or maybe it was to scientific sometimes, but otherwise I would recommend it.

So, this was my list of books I read in 2015, I really hope I will do better next year, especially regarding books in another language than Italian.

I will not list any resolution on this blog, I prefer to keep them personal, and instead I will write about the activities I will do during the next semester at Karlstad university. Firstly, I will try to find a job/jobs. The Swedish university system give students the possibility to organize their weeks both with study, work and pleasure, and I try to get the best of it. Moreover, days are getting longer since the 21 (Hip hip hurrà!) and doing more activities in a day will be easier and less tougher both for mind and body. Secondly, I have a take home exam of a week as soon as I will leave from Rome, then an oral presentation to finish the course of English for International Students, as well as an academic essay to hand in a week after. Thirdly, I will be host for the international students coming to the university in the middle of January. Fourthly, I will help to organize the woman concert our choir will held in May, being in the “producer group”. Finally, but actually one of the most satisfying things, I will continue to work in the student pub in Karlstad, getting very little money but much training and language exercise.

I keep resolutions for me, I hope you will try to fulfill yours as best as you can, not just showing them to the people, but try to believe that you can make it. And in bad moments, think about you reaching this day, you will probably realize that you are not that bad as you probably think!

I wish a very very happy New Year’s Eve, and I will see you next year!

 

What was it you say about Sweds? Cold people?

Yesterday afternoon I had the most touching moment of all the period I experienced in Sweden. During the day we sang in the library of the university in order to get money for the “Musikhjälpen 2015” that this year have the slogan “Nobody is supposed to emigrate because of climate change”. It was very cosy and relaxing to sing for students “trying” to study in the library.

Then I got to lesson and the others went to the city hall to sing for refugees (I would have really liked to do it as well, but I needed to be present at lesson!). But I went to sing Luciatåg at the retirement home in Kronoparken near university. It was my last Lucia celebration with the Söt Likör and then we got a little fika of course!

Then we moved to university where we had our last meeting with the choir, having fika, singing some song and doing a group quiz about musical things. The touching moment came when a girl of our voice (I am in the A1, the next lowest voice) shared with everyone that she would leave the choir after some years of partecipation. You know those persons who inevitably end up helping and welcoming you without you doing anything for that to happen? I really feel more closeness to those people when I am abroad ‘cause they are the same people who understand when you do not understand something in Swedish, without either saying anything or asking, they just see you and understand you by once! So this voicemate was very important for me, and while she was listening to us singing the song she wished us to sing and she started to get moved, I inevitably did the same. It was a very sad but at the same time very very important moment for me! after the song we all went to hug her and it was a moment full of feeling and warmness really!

A German boy and a German girl (she is one of my friends) will also leave before Christmas and they also said some words to thank you the choir and wished a song…the three songs were actually these ones, if you are curious to listen to them 🙂 This, this and this 😀

You want to know my favourite song ever sang in the unviersity choir? It is this one 🙂 Well, I get moved nearly every time I sing it in the choir!

Other touching songs we sang in this period were this one and this ^^

Well, I really could experience at 360° how Sweds are not at all cold, but it just needs more time to get to know them, they are just wonderfully simple and warmly warm.

Since I am an international student I had the chance to subscribe for a Swedish contact family, and I really did not feel to have big chances because I already speak Swedish and know the city, but I actually got an email some hours ago by my future contact family! It is a man and his wife who lived in Trento (Italy) for a year, and moved back to Karlstad for a week ago. I got invited to a Swedish Christmas aperitive tomorrow night, and I hope to make it work because the last days (omg tomorrow it is already wednesday!) are very fulled up with things to do (and saying goodbye to international students is one of them!).

I am pretty excited to enjoy the pretty unusual 15-6° in Rome since Saturday, but I am really messed up right know (the 12 pages to write for Globalization and Culture were moved to next Monday, but still I would like to be done with it before Friday!), and two days more here in Karlstad would not be that bad actually!

I will see you soon, probably once in Rome

Stay tuned 😀

Of goodbyes, Lucia celebrations and Swedish compliments

I was looking forward to go back and stay over during Christmas…then people started to leave Karlstad after their exchange programs, everyday I sent to and received messages from students to meet one last time before them “leaving soon”, then Lucia celebrations took me much time in the last week and I did not have time to say goodbye, and then a new course started, hundreds pages to read and write…and next Tuesday is the last “party”…I will probably leave it much earlier than I use to, goodbyes are so bad. Especially when you are pretty sure you will not see some people more, or maybe you will have to wait many years before having the chance to.

I am in a bad mood…yesterday though, I had the staff party at the student pub…pizza and a little “julbord” was managed by some students and we really had fun. They left in the morning but I got home at 2.00 ‘cause I really needed to sleep. The cold has arrived and last night on the bike I faced the “nice” -6° and the iced ground…pain near you heart, almost crying eyes, your scarf getting wet and frozen in some minutes…

I am messing up. A lot of things to do before I go back to Italy for the Christmas break. Last Monday I started a new course called Globalization and Culture which is a very short, fast and deep one.

I should actually shut up and cheer, next semester is going to be very exciting and full of things to do (I will tell you about it in some post), but people are more important than yourself, especially when they start to be part of your weeks giving you advices and staying at your side in the toughest moments. The more I stay abroad the tougher it gets when it comes to say goodbye, even though it sounds as it should be the other way. I get deeply used to stay abroad, make it by “my own” but I also learn to build relationship with other, especially foreigners, and this sometimes can make you very sad.

Many students who are leaving are selling or giving away things they do not have place for in the luggage, or that hey just would not need once back in their countries…so I got for free a book in English called “About a boy”…I guess it will be the first book of the year 2016…

I guess it is of common knowledge that Swedish people cannot “flirt”, or at least, said by an Italian, they cannot “court”…I am not talking bad about them, because it is just not in their culture, but sometimes it is just funny. So, two days ago at Bunkern I was talking about this with a Swedish and an Australian friend and the Swedish friend had the wonderful idea to joke about it, trying to “court me the Italian way”…the result was very very funny! One of the things he did was to touch my shoulders, while another one was to tell me few compliments (which is really not that common in Sweden, or at least for what I experienced in fourteen months). And a real Swedish compliment I got was “oh my God you are so funny, you produce so much noise from your mouth for so few things you have to say!!!”.

On Friday I had a very nice and rewarding day. I woke up at 4.00 a.m. because at 6.00 a.m. I had to stay in the Aula Magna at university to gather with the choir before the Lucia celebration at 7,30 a.m.. It was the first time in my life I got up so early, and having lesson after the concert did not help. I got home after class and then got to downtown…because we where going to have a Lucia celebration and a few “Christmas songs” in the Domkyrka… I just found this article telling about us singing in the church, and I am also in the picture, I am so happy for that ^^ Take a look if you want! And here is a video of us singing at Karlstad university on Friday morning 🙂

The Lucia parade (Luciatåg) is a very Swedish traditional event…Saint Lucia originally comes from Italy but it is very Swedish how all the entire thing is represented. The songs are learned in Sweden since kindergarten and tell about this woman dressed in white, with candles on her head, bringing light in the dark and cold days of December. In fact, the 13th December was considered, before the Gregorian calendar was introduced, to be the shortest day of the year (while today it is the 21st). Want to know something more about this very Swedish tradition? Take a look to this interesting and funny video! Are you out for the very origin of Saint Lucy? Then go here instead 😀

By the way, today my host family had lunch/dinner/food at 15,30 with me. We had a great time and now I am writing this post…later on I will watch a movie. I am not ready to start to write all the pages I have due Wednesday, but I will start tomorrow, now I have to relax psychologically!

This morning I was “googling” around, and I found out about the “Vätternrundan”. It is about cycling around the lake Vättern (the second largest in Sweden after Vänern). You can start from the late afternoon of a friday in June, until the morning of the day after…and you are supposed to finish before midnight of that day, or is Saturday…it is 300 km total and the price to partecipate is 1500kr. It is a lot of money, but you get food and a big organization is made around it, 20.000 persons use to take part to it. So, I am kind of cheering myself up thinking about the training I will start once back in Karlstad after the Christmas break. I should aim for an average of 30 kms at the start, mixing pace and duration, studying my diet, and so on, I really look forward to it! And also even though it is going to be pretty cold from January to March (the air cooled down by once since the middle of this week) days will get longer starting from the 21st December, so that I will have always a longer time during the day to manage both studying, training, relaxing, being host and so on…

Now I have to go…cosy night with a film and tomorrow I start a tough fourdaysstudymarathon before landing in Rome 😀

 

Di candele, neve sciolta e calendari doodle

Tempo di buio, l’effetto bradipo inizia a farsi sentire. Qui è tutto una corsa, tra sveglia, corsi, allenamenti, fare la spesa, studiare, andare alle prove di coro e soprattutto impararsi a memoria decine di brani in inglese e svedese, comprare il vestito di Lucia per il concerto che avremo tra qualche settimana in Aula Magna, e anche per quello di Natale fra una settimana. E soprattutto trovare tempo per fare quello che mi piace, ovvero scrivere delle mie avventure qui, leggere (qui proprio non ci riesco) e guardare film, magari per allenare inglese o svedese, e magari italiano!

La neve si è sciolta e non mi dispiace. Vanno benissimo alcuni giorni di biancore per illuminare tutto quanto e rendere tutto più cosy, ma quando è troppo è troppo. Un exchange student che conosco da altri amici l’altro giorno è caduto dalla bici rompendosi tre denti. Era solo scivoloso e neanche c’era la neve, e immagino sia stato un pizzichino poco prudente, ma gli effetti del ghiaccio andando in bici ci sono! E soprattutto, se so che posso arrivare in bici all’uni e all’allenamento in pochi minuti sono molto più motivata ad uscire di casa! Ieri mi sono svegliata con molta nostalgia di casa. Sembra assurdo perché torno fra un mese a Roma, ma in ogni caso andando all’università incontrando qualche amica (e poi anche solo “vedere” gente è “socializzare”) e ritirando il modem di internet, mi ha davvero tirato su il morale! Videochat con mia sorella di sera e poi sono crollata a dormire!

Manca come scritto prima davvero poco al mio ritorno a Roma e sono davvero fomentata, ma sempre molto sorpresa quando mi rendo conto che questo autunno/inverno buio svedese non mi ha fatta andare in letargo come era successo quando ero stata exchange student in Svezia. Comunque, oggi allenamento e poi mi precipito nella chiesa dove faremo le prove per il concerto di Natale del 4 dicembre. Alla fine credo parteciperò solo al concerto di Natale ed al “treno di Lucia” che ci sarà in aula magna la seconda settimana di dicembre, giusto per avere un assaggio di com´è cantare nel treno di Lucia in Svezia. Altrimenti ci sarebbero cinque concerti in più da cantare e proprio non ce la faccio!

Gli svedesi ed i  calendari doodle: in Italia non si usano, o almeno non mi era mai successo di usarli. I calendari doodle per chi non lo sapesse sono semplicemente dei modi facili facili di decidere un appuntamento o un evento in modo democratico, ovvero secondo il metodo de “la maggioranza vince”. Finora son stata invitata a quattro “sondaggi”. Due per decidere i turni al pub degli studenti, novembre e dicembre, uno per decidere quando riunirsi con la voce del mio coro a casa di qualcuno per studiare meglio i brani, ed uno per decidere quando fare il meeting iniziale per diventare host nel prossimo semestre. Questo dimostra davvero quanto in Svezia nessuno voglia sentirsi maggiore di nessuno, si decide insieme, e soprattutto si fanno le cose “ordinatamente”. E niente su carta soprattutto! Un altro esempio di questa libertà e possibilità di partecipare alle decisioni, e zero gerarchia, sta nel fatto che nel coro dell’università si organizzano spesso gruppi, composti da noi coriste stesse, per svolgere alcuni incarichi come l’organizzazione di concerti importanti, oppure il gruppo che si occupa dei social media ecc.. Tutti questi consigli vengono decisi ad inizio anno, ed alcuni meno importanti a metà anno, durante “meeting” informali e formali simili a questo. Un pochetto straziante vero? 😛 Comunque, a maggio canteremo un concerto tutto nostro che avrà come tema centrale quello delle donne. I brani scelti saranno solo quelli scritti o cantati da donne…e per organizzare il concerto c’era bisogno di un “producente grup” ovvero un gruppo producenti, e ho deciso di farne parte! Quindi…il prossimo semestre sarà pieno di cose da fare, come lo è stato dopotutto anche questo! Spero di riuscire a trovare tempo per rilassarmi, anche perché se non si ha mai tempo per fare quello che piace non ci si rende neanche conto che il tempo esiste! E la procrastinazione qui è diventata attività quotidiana! Comunque…il mio obiettivo di stare allenata e quindi non troppo stanca durante la diminuzione delle giornate sta riuscendo alla grande, e questo mi basta per essere un po’ soddisfatta.

Ricapitolando…il prossimo semestre canterò nel coro, sarò producente di un concerto fighissimo, continuerò ad allenarmi, frequenterò circa quattro corsi (tra una settimana mi diranno a quali sono stata accettata), probabilmente riceverò il personal number svedese, ovvero il codice fiscale che qui serve per ogni singola cosa, probabilmente andrò a trovare mia sorella che si è trasferita in Portogallo da qualche settimana, e sarò host per i nuovi studenti internazionali che arriveranno a gennaio. Emozionata? È dire poco!

Ieri ho visto in aula magna con un’amica un concerto di un cantante svedese abbastanza famoso che si chiama Danny Saucedo, che ha partecipato sia al Melodifestivalen che all’Eurovision Song Contest. È stata una specie di concerto chiacchierata con un altro musicista chiamato Nils Landgren. Davvero interessante. Dopo aver visto il principe Daniel due volte e la principessa Victoria una volta, mi rendo conto sempre di più quanto sia bello stare in questa università.

Ora vi saluto! A presto!

Fate un salto su questi link se volete sentirmi parlare di come vanno le cose qui in Svezia 🙂

E qui…se siete curiosi della situazione politica relativa alle immigrazioni.

 

Vlog from Karlstad

I should study and I keep saying and writing it, I will do it soon. This English assignment will not win on me!

But when I went to do the grocery today, I took some clips telling how it is going for me here in Karlstad. Just take a lot at the first one here if you want! 🙂 And leave a comment, or some questions 😀