A bit norther

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you soon 🙂

Roots – Radici – Agli sgoccioli

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Piani estivi di esplorazione, work in progress.

Una Serata di Maggio

Città di visi, visi sconnessi.

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

Verde, colori, fiori, blu cielo.

Silenzio rumore noia.

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

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

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

A summary of Red Cross activities in Malmö

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You may never see the world as others do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Reactions

Yesterday Sweden was shocked by a news which nobody would have ever expected to come. A truck drove into one of the most crowded streets of Stockholm around 3 in the afternoon on Friday the 7th, killing 4 people and heavily injuring at least 15. I got blocked when I got to know about what happened, it was more striking of a reaction than I would expect from myself, but it seems like expectations are not to be fulfilled lately.

During a press conference held today, the police gave no further details about the attack than that a 39 y.o. man from Uzbekistan was stopped and retained as strictly related to the attacks. There are still uncertainties about the actual and complete relation of the man to yesterday’s event. An explosive object was found in the truck. The Swedish page of The Local is one good place where to find clear updates.

Police is now way more present and spread within Swedish cities than it was before. Just yesterday night in Möllevångstorget, Triangeln and the central station in Malmö – the third biggest city – one could see how police was spread. One curious thing for me was to see a policeman kicking a football ball to some guys who were playing in the square. A friend told me that a main character of police in Sweden – nevertheless belonging to Swedish culture in general – is to develope and transmit trust and confidence to inhabitants so that in return they can feel safe and protected by them. What can seem as an insignificant and small gesture can instead be the way to a stronger community building.

It is sometimes hard to not be able to help in these moments, I wish I was living in Stockholm to also open my door to people in need or in some other way give support. Here is a video showing the support showed by the Stockholm folk and others right after the attack. People tried to help those directly involved in the attacks or who could not get home because of traffic being closed, by literally opening their houses to them (#openstockholm) or offering coffee and food on the streets. One of the main churches was left open, police made a space available for people to have a roof on their head, sleep and talk with someone, and an increasing number of people donated blood.

I Malmö möts vi – Hjälp till med integration!

Eller, att bli svensk kontakt person utan att vara svensk medborgare.

‘Men va!?’ kanske tänker ni. Nu ska jag berätta kort om vad det innebär att vara kontakt person inom “I Malmö möts vi” – som är kopplat till den sociala resursförvaltningen på Malmö kommun, som dessutom ger flera möjligheter att engagera sig ideellt.

Allt började för några månader sedan när jag skickade in en formulär för att bli kontaktperson/mentor till ett ensamkommande barn, fast jag fick svar om att det inte fanns behov av det då. Efter några veckor fick jag en till mail där någon frågade mig om de kunde skicka min dokumentation vidare eftersom det fanns behovet någonstans i Malmö. Bara för två dagar sedan blev jag kontaktad av “I Malmö möts vi” för en intervju i fredags kl17.00. Jag blev förvånad och väldigt glad och cyklade då till “Invandrareservice” byggnaden med många positiva tankar. Jag träffade en väldigt positivt kvinna som presenterade mig den tjej hon hade tänkt matcha mig med. Allt lät väldigt bra och

Situationen just nu är att det saknas kontakt personer och att de flesta som inte lyckas få någon match är först och främst killar som kom till Sverige som flyktingar. Killar som vill vara kontakt person är därför dem som mest saknas! Åldern? Inom projektet är de vuxna som tas hand om, därför från och med 18 år och äldre. Men just nu behövs det mest hjälp för dem mellan 18 och 30 år gammal.

Men vad handlar det om? Man blir helt enkelt matchad med en person som så mycket som möjligt har gemensamma interessar, ålder och personlighet, för att träffas två gånger i månaden, men tanken att dela språket – dem flesta som man blir kontakt person för brukar ha redan gått på SFI kurserna. Mötespunkterna i det hela är att dela med sig av svenska språket och det sociala utvecklingen både för den person som är ny i Sverige/Malmö och kontaktpersonen.

Nästa helgen ska jag träffa personen jag blir matchad med för första gången, medan nu på torsdag ska jag på en gemensam aktivitet som arrangeras för dem som är kontakt personer. Ser fram emot att lära mig mer om det och träffa mer folk!

Att sitta still i en stad som Malmö som växer och växer och växer, där mycket händer men ännu mer sägs om kriminalitet, utan att göra något annorlunda än kritisera negativt eller klaga tycker jag är lite dumt. Bäst och i stället sluta prata om vad man inte vet än och använda dagen på ett mer produktivt sätt.

Jag flyttade till Malmö för att jag har alltid blivit lockad av mångfalden och mångkulturalism, olika åsikter – mat så klart – och en ung stad. När jag kom i augustis tyckte jag att det inte fanns mycket att göra här eftersom jag kände inte till mycket eller många än. Men ju längre jag är här desto flera aktiviteter hör jag prata om. Speciellt är det otroligt många ideella föreningar som riktar sig till integration av nyanlända personer till Malmö och Sverige – nästa för många så att man inte kan bestämma sig vilket man ska engagera sig i! Några av dem som jag hört tala om än så länge är Näktergalen Mentor verksamheten (ni kan läsa om min erfarenhet här), Open Skåne, Kontrapunkt, Kultur Kompisar, Kompis Sverige och flera mer. Kanske just för att det finns så många ställen där man kan engagera sig i för att hjälpa till så är det inte alltid lätt att få en koncentration av personer, och många känner säkert inte till. Vill man engagera sig för ensamkommande barn här i Malmö kan man läsa mer på denna sida.

Hoppas att du som läste detta inlägg blev lite nyfiken och börjar tänka dig att vara med i projektet! Läs något om det här om du vill veta mer och anmäl dig för att bli kontakt person eller blir matchad med en kontakt person…och lycka till!

 

About Sameblod – Samiblood

..and the inspiration it brought.

 

I was sitting at the cinema Panora here in Malmö for a few days ago with my friend, watching the first scenes of a breathtaking and inspiring film which was having that night the first premiere through all Sweden. A few minutes earlier a woman with a traditional dress member of a Southern Sweden association for the promotion and protection of Sami culture, was introducing the film and thanking the audience. I did not know what to expect from the film and as violence scenes took the screen and more and more the main character refused to explicit her cultural belonging, anger was boiling and drops were struggling to flow out.

Two weeks ago my father who came visiting and I went to an exhibition hosted at Malmö museum (Malmö Slotthus) called “Vi är Romer” going through the persecution through history of Roma people, and of the ethnic cleaning pursued by different countries especially Sweden. Crazy to read about what happened just until some tens of years ago, and even more sitting and watching Sameblod just a few days later.

Surely since coming back from Sweden after a long period spent there (can’t believe it has gone almost three years since!) I started to learn and appreciate cultural differences within my culture more than I would have ever expected. The fact that a side of my grandparents come from a little village and that there are different interests shared in my family made it easier to get into the topic with interest and passion. And surely the fact of living in Sweden and studying the program in IMER here in Malmö is helping to put attention on situations for ethnic and language minorities.

Sameblod has been for me one of those steps which leads you to some interesting – and hopefully durable – decisions. University of Tromsø is offering stunning courses – even by distance – in nordic studies and Sami culture. Even though I am already out of the deadline to apply for the next fall semester (they had it in December for international students!), I will probably try for 2018. In the meanwhile, next week admissions for courses and programs in Swedish universities are opening and Uppsala is actually offering distance courses in South Sami language (Sydsamiska)- which is threatened as a minority language among the nine dialects/variations of the Sami language, and it is currently spoken by 500 people in the Swedish territory.

I was wondering whether the Sami singer performing at Melodifestivalen would have received big appreciation after the debut of the film just a week ago, and in some way one can say that this actually happened. The song came third and even though it is “just a music festival” I hope it is symbol of a more participation of the public opinion into the discussion about minorities and recognition of the persecution they have been subject of and they still are paying consequences for. Here below is the song performed at Melodifestivalen which includes extracts of joyk. A jojk (some info in English here) is a traditional Sami song which is usually sung in memory of a person, a place, or an animal, etc.

 

Hope you enjoyed the reading, and if you are interested you may want to check some more about the plot of the film reading this review.

See you soon!

1244737_Sami-Blood

8 marzo , consigli ambientalisti e weekend primaverile

Venerdì, 10 marzo

Fiuuu, che settimana e che giornata! Tempo di weekend, anche se domani si torna a studiare!

Un post lunghissimo che spero non sia troppo “pesante” da leggere, altrimenti durante la lettura potete ascoltare e vedere qualche video musicale con cui mi sono “fissata” negli ultimi giorni.

La giornata di oggi è stata massacrante ma soddisfacente. Sveglia presto e corsa alle 6,40 per riuscire a stare in biblioteca sul presto. Con il mio gruppo abbiamo finalmente presentato oralmente l’ultimo progetto di ricerca – questa volta ricercando i motivi per cui l’ultimo passaporto britannico è disegnato in modo estremamente maschilista, conservatore e nazionalista – ed ho scritto una parte del saggio del corso a distanza di bilinguismo ed identità. Da quando ho visto il film Samiblood (Sameblod), sul quale tra poco scriverò un post, ho iniziato ad interessarmi sempre più alla discussione delle minoranze etniche e linguistiche, ed in special modo della persecuzione storica del popolo Sami, che è ora cercata di essere dimenticata e le ferite curate. Mi sono messa a cercare i centri di ricerca più famosi di questa materia e mi sono ritrovata sul sito dell’università norvegese di Tromsø, perdendomi tra i corsi di studi nordici e di lingua sami nordica. Probabilmente è un’idea plausibile per un erasmus o un master. In più hanno un programma di un anno da seguire a distanza con cui si può continuare a studiare il bachelor’s in studi nordici.

Comunque, nel pomeriggio ho incontrato la mia mentor child e siamo andate all’acquario di Malmö. La sera ho fatto una lunga e veloce passeggiata con una mia amica e mi sono caricata la spesa sulle spalle, per poi tornare a casa e preparare delle bakpotatis con condimento di crema ai gamberetti, lunghe chiacchiere. Poi sono crollata a dormire stanca come ormai sono ogni giorno! Qui qualche foto del piatto preparato, e di una scoperta abbastanza “peculiare” nel supermercato!

 

 

 

La vita è sempre imprevedibile, si sa.

Una settimana fa entrando a lezione mi sono ritrovata una ragazza che mi chiedeva se quella fosse la lezione di IMER. Le rispondo di si e mi siedo vicino a lei pensando sia una nuova arrivata. Dopo aver iniziato a parlare in inglese ed esserci chieste da dove venivamo, ci siamo rese conto di essere italiane doc entrambe. Dopo lezione abbiamo fatto un giro nell’università e nella biblioteca e ci siamo dette a presto. Qualche giorno dopo abbiamo deciso di vederci per la manifestazione delle donne a Malmö dell’8 marzo, cosa che poi non abbiamo più fatto – e grazie al cielo, dato che tra vento e pioggia, la manifestazione, il traffico, ed un maxi incidente davanti al quale mi sono ritrovata a passare in bici, quel giorno sembrava l’apocalisse! Al ritorno da un incontro di cui vi scriverò più tardi ci siamo quindi incontrate alla stazione, per poi recarci con l’autobus a Möllan, quartiere multietnico e più vitale della città. Abbiamo camminato un po’ per la grande Bergsgatan, dove decine di odori di cibi diversi si incanalano nella via e negozi di alimentari sono aperti fino a notte fonda. Si risparmia comprando lì, ma si perde in qualità. Allo stesso tempo è questo che rende Malmö una città diversa, quasi non svedese, quasi ci si perde. Come essere a Roma.

Siamo quindi andate ad Inkonst, un centro sociale/teatro/spazioeventieconcerti dove si sarebbe tenuto il dopo manifestazione, e abbiamo ballato un po’. Il piano era quello di andare in giro per locali finché durasse “il periodo gratuito” ma in verità era quasi tutto chiuso e c’era abbastanza poca gente in giro. Cosa che in effetti mi ha abbastanza sorpresa, forse in fondo non hanno bisogno di tutto questo femminismo in Svezia? I numeri dei manifestanti potrebbero spiegarlo, anche se sembra che in effetti al cultura della protesta qui ormai non ci sia proprio, o tardi ad arrivare! Quindi ci siamo sedute a Möllans falafel a mangiare e poi abbiamo iniziato a tornare alla stazione.

 

Giorno dopo giorno mi innamoro sempre più di Malmö, sarà il normale evolvere delle cose, o la primavera in arrivo da oggi – sperando che questo non sia un terzo falso allarme! – il fatto di poter andare in bici, o il costruire sempre più a lungo qualcosa di duraturo! E se dovessi rispondere alla domanda “la consiglieresti come città dove trasferirsi?” non aspetterei un secondo a rispondere di si, soprattuto ad uno studente internazionale!

Sabato, 11 marzo

Vivere a Malmö, che tra l’altro è il nucleo del veganesimo, ma soprattutto dove la bici si usa così tanto – è la 6° città al mondo nell’indice bike friendly – ed avere un giro di conoscenze fatto di persone che o sono vegetariane o comunque molto ambientaliste, mi sono ritrovata a pensare a come le mie azioni potessero iniziare a cambiare per avere un impatto, o meglio ridurre l’impatto, dell’inquinamento. Ritrovandomi a scrivere quello che sto per scrivere, mi rendo anche conto che molte delle cose che elencherò non sarebbero facilmente fattibili in altri paesi come ad esempio l’Italia, sia per la discrepanza nello stile di vita svedese e quello di altri paesi, sia per la cultura ambientalista che ancora non è molto radicata tanto quanto in Svezia.

Il primo punto è quello di usare la bici, i cui benefici sia per l’ambiente che per la salute sono innumerevoli. Malmö è stata giudicata 6° tra le migliori città al mondo per accoglienza dell’uso della bici, in un indice che tra l’altro si chiama Copenhagenize (è Copenaghen a guidare la classifica), con le sue decine di chilometri di piste ciclabili, una mentalità aperta che porta i pedoni a controllare se stanno passando bici, parcheggi e rastrelliere gratuiti per le bici, parcheggi a pagamento con tanto di docce, bici elettriche e non da affittare, pompe della bicicletta sparse per la città, ed altre piccole grandi cose. Al momento c´è l’idea di costruire una pista ciclabile di 15 km che collega Malmö a Lund, quest’ultima cittadina che ospita una delle università più antiche e prestigiose del Nord Europa, e spero davvero che l’idea vada a buon fine! Parlando di lavoro, la bici viene usata anche in questo senso. Unica difficoltà? Quella di dover pedalare con i forti venti del mare nordico che spesso si fanno sentire, ovviamente contro la direzione in cui stai andando! A volte forse ti potresti ritrovare a dover raccogliere una vecchietta che per il vento si è letteralmente rovesciata per terra, e per fortuna ritrovarla a ridere della cosa!

Insomma, un quadretto paradisiaco che mi porta spesso a chiedermi perché le macchine qui a Malmö siano ancora così tante, gli automobilisti siano ancora così imprevedibili e tesi – il che suona esilarante pensando che sono nata e cresciuta a Roma – , che dopotutto le piste ciclabili non coprono tutte le strade della città, il trasporto pubblico sia abbastanza non in linea con l’idea di costruire una città a basso impatto ecologico, ed altre cose di cui magari parlerò in seguito.

 

Un’altra idea è quella di usare sempre buste di stoffa per andare a fare la spesa, o magari di plastica rigida, ma che siano riutilizzabili. Ieri ho iniziato anche a portarmi delle buste di plastica ermetiche per contenere i dolci per la colazione o i panini che compro al supermercato, invece di prendere una busta di carta ogni volta. Le buste ermetiche modello Ikea sono quelle che uso di solito dato che sono di una plastica abbastanza rigida e non si rovinano subito e si lavano molto facilmente 🙂

Ogni giorno in media mi bevo un caffè all’università, e ho quindi deciso di portarmi da casa una tazza take-away per non ritrovarmi a dover buttare tutta questa carta. Io ad esempio ho questo modello, ma qualsiasi tazza che saprete di usare almeno 70 volte porterà beneficio per l’ambiente.

E per aggiungere qualcosa di positivo per l’ambiente, avete mai provato Ecosia? È collegato al motore di ricerca bing per fare ricerche su internet, e si può usare per così dire al posto di google. Ad ogni ricerca che si fa corrisponde un albero piantato parte di un progetto di rimboschimento della Terra. Ed in alto a destra vengono mostrati quanti alberi hai piantato dal momento in cui hai iniziato ad utilizzare Ecosia.

Come detto prima, la voglia non porta ovunque se non viene incontrata da un’apertura mentale dall’altro lato e da un impegno per fare le cose. Infatti, mercoledì 8 marzo, mi sono ritrovata a visitare la Green House che è un complesso residenziale enorme e con l’obiettivo di essere a zero impatto ambientale, super moderno e dove tra l’altro alloggiano in alcuni appartamenti gli studenti dell’universita agraria svedese. Insieme ad altre tre persone, ho incontrato due persone che lavorano nell’agenzia che affitta gli appartamenti studenteschi, per decidere come iniziare un gruppo di giardinaggio tra noi studenti. L’idea finale è stata quella di utilizzare una vecchia stanza in uno dei corridoi ed adibirla a sala studio e posto per fare giardinaggio, ovvero ci sarà la possibilità di coltivare le nostre piante in una prima fase prima di trapiantarle, o comunque di avere degli scaffali per mantenere eventualmente le erbe aromatiche in un posto tranquillo, caldo e luminoso. Dopotutto, sembra sia stato dimostrato che studiare in un ambiente più verde porti più risultati!

 

Con la primavera in arrivo, l’idea del gruppo di giardinaggio e l’essermi avvicinata un po’ di più alla natura (vivo nella zona di appartamenti studenteschi chiamata Sege Park, e la finestra affaccia su un parco), più il consiglio di mio padre che è venuto a trovarmi qualche settimana fa, ho iniziato a piantare piantine ed erbe aromatiche. Ho utilizzato una delle confezioni di carta nelle quali vengono vendute le uova e per ogni striscia ho piantato dei semini di timo, basilico, insalata e cetrioli, e dei fagioli neri in un vaso più grande. Quando avranno raggiunto una grandezza accettabile per affrontare le temperature non proprio miti dell’esterno (anche se la zona climatica di Malmö è quasi paragonabile a quella italiana, se si pensa all’estate) le trapianterò nei grandi vasi che ci sono nel prato davanti casa, parte di un progetto di coltivazione comune.

Queste sono solo alcune idee di come vivere più in “simbiosi” con la natura, ma diciamo che seguo tutte quelle che sono rappresentate nella foto qui sotto, anche se si può fare molto meglio.

Di conseguenza, dato che si sa che stiamo meglio se siamo in natura, ho iniziato a preoccuparmi di più dal punto di vista salutare. Tre volte al giorno io e la mia vicina andiamo a correre alle 7.00 di mattina nel parco davanti casa, con l’obiettivo di correre una piccola maratona di 5 km a maggio, e una di 10 a giugno. Per ora sta andando bene, il fatto che le giornate sono sempre più luminose e faccia sempre meno freddo aiutano, anche se la voglia di una sauna rilassante ormai è quasi diventato un’obbligo per alleggerire i muscoli, quindi domani mi sa che ci farò un salto. E se dovete fare una sauna a Malmö, assicuratevi di andare qui 😉

Ora mi preparo per andare a fare una passeggiata al sole con la mia amica, sembra proprio che finalmente l’aria primaverile sia arrivata! A presto

p.s. l’idea di andare a studiare all’università proprio oggi è andata subito alla deriva. Appena uscita per la passeggiata con la mia amica ci siamo accorte di quanto caldo in effetti faccia e di come meravigliosa sia la primavera ed il sole appena arrivato. Tra poco pranzeremo fuori bevendo caffè e prendendo il sole. Lo studio può decisamente aspettare domani! guardate qui…oggi tutta la Svezia è un paradiso!

Schermata 2017-03-11 alle 13.11.34

White flakes

Of Nightingale, mentoring for a newcomer, volunteering in Greece and other stuff

Long time since I wrote and it is surely time to keep track of routines and busy lives here in Malmö.

Let’s start saying that Malmö is a crazy city if you are interested in seeing how a society with different cultures is developing and may develop in the future. If you are an international student and living in a monocultural society may sometimes give you some anxiety, then Malmö is surely the place to be, where a bit more than in other places – at least from my point of view – people learn to see inside a person and not only stopping from their look. Of course, I am talking about a slighty difference and especially within the international students environment. Still, being in the middle of the change make you think of how little actions can make a difference and you are eager to influence things on a bigger scale. Together with being a bit less of an original Swedish society than other Swedish cities may be, it comes along that organization at vary levels is not as good as other places.

As coming back from Italy in January, I started the seconde module of the bachelor’s programme, as well as a distance course based at Malmö University, given in Swedish and called “Bilingualism and Identity” in which I totally dive in during my hours sitting at this lovely university library. First university course in Swedish and I totally recommend this one to everyone!

I then continued to meet my mentor child once a week within the Nightingale mentoring program, and things seemed to be better already from the first time we met after the long time of Christmas holidays.

As mentioned before, Malmö is a place full of integration related organizations, volunteering structures and, last but not least, start ups. Surely this makes you tjink a lot about what you could do to actually help people and not just send some likes or interests on Facebook.

Therefore, always in January, I decided to finally take action after I thought it through for quite a long time, and contacted Malmö municipality’s social work organization to apply as a mentor for a new comer to the city. Those whom I actually contacted are the “Sociala Resursförvaltningen, Ensamkommande barn. Familjehemsvården (Social Resource Management, Unaccompanied children, Foster home care), the links are two. “I Malmö möts vi” (in Malmö we meet) is an organization/activity where one can get involved voluntarily to help people who just arrived to Sweden/Malmö through telling them about the culture, or simply talking to/spending time with them as someone they can trust. The mentor is supposed to have lived in Sweden a while and know the basics of the structure, culture and language of the country/place. Unfortunately, in January they told me they were not in need of any mentor for the moment, but just yesterday I received an email asking me if it was ok for me to have my application forwarded to “I Malmö möts vi”. So I am simply waiting for further responses.

It is maturing in me the idea of going to volunteer helping refugees in Greece, through a Swedish NGO I was suggested about during the week. Let’s see how things develop, including the 8 hours online course for humanitarian action/emergencies that needs to be undertaken in order to apply.

I was at a meeting at university with other students with the idea of starting an “Anti-Trump” student movement of protest. Many ideas and interest came up and it feels that if we are going to put motivation, organization skills and tenacity into this we could create something really interesting, including film nights, discussion events, demonstration and more events. The more the merrier. And by the way, what had started as an anti-trump movement seems likely to become more of a “disappointment-for-politics-state-of-mind” movement.

My Swedish is surprisingly getting better after a struggle faced when moving to Skåne because of the dialect…less surprisingly and a bit sad, my English is not really developing in parallel, indeed it feels like I am getting only worse.

For two days ago it started to snow. An incredible amount of snow flakes (to be in Malmö!) finally landed on the city…it had happened earlier in the last months to see some snow flakes, and even a snow storm covered the calm and windy city of Malmö, but flakes never actually landed on the ground. We definitely experience a special snow effect, since it rather goes back to the sky as it is uses to be quite windy! So goodbye to my bike for the moment, as I am sure that if I ride it again I would slip as nothing as ice is covering much of the streets now.  But at least, taking the bus I can joke a bit on the traditional way Swedes have while waiting for the bus…staying in queue! I just saw a meme about it, but it actually happens! See some funny ones below!

I will leave the library now and start to go home, see you soon!

Risultati immagini per swedes waiting for the bus20170208_075131

Come bambini – parte terza ed ultima

…una ragazza scrive a due posti di distanza. Ho come l’impressione che prenotare un posto di domenica sera sull’Øresundståg (treno della regione Øresund, intesa come l’insieme astratto tra Danimarca e una parte dello Skåne) porti a grandi conoscenze, o almeno a più socialità degli altri. Viaggi lunghi, posti a sedere da scegliere a piacere, tante città universitarie che vengono viste di sfuggita durante il tragitto. Io con sole tre pagine bianche che seguono il libro che cerco di finire da mesi, in italiano.

Giochi di sguardi, sorrisi, risate ad ascoltare una bimba seduta dietro gridare “Pippiiii”.

Le ferrovie qui in Svezia non sono illuminate, ció rende i viaggi in treno ancora più mistici. Ritrovo ispirazione dopo settimane di semi-scrittura, infinite bozze, pensieri disordinati e frasi che si annodano tra di loro. Forse è lo scrivere in italiano, forse il viaggio.

Il ragazzo cerca comunicazione, accettazione, diversità, qualcosa che lo distragga dal gruppo di amici che molto probabilmente è andato a trovare nel weekend, provenienti dallo stesso paese, molti con le stesse memorie. “Lentamente muore, chi diventa schiavo dell’abitudine” scriveva Pablo Neruda. Mi fa notare che il mio cellulare non si sta caricando, poi mi indica una fessura dove infilare la mia bottiglia in modo che non rotoli ad ogni curva. Scherzo sul fatto di aver sparso troppe cose sul tavolino pieghevole del treno. Non ricevo risposte, solo un sorriso, approvazione, cosa che a me è ormai fin troppo familiare quando mi muovo ed interagisco in una lingua straniera, e so che gli altri ci si abituano presto.

Il misto di svedese ed inglese mi ricorda i miei primi passi nel farmi capire in una nuova lingua, le mie rinunce nello spiegare per la quarta volta qualcosa, accettandone invece una falsa interpretazione. Mi accorgo dei suoi sforzi ma qualcosa mi blocca nel cambiare lingua da svedese ad inglese. L’impegno di farlo sentire accettato, di fargli capire che lui non è da meno, che in fondo la lingua la sa e che tutti lo capiscono? Di mostare qualcosa, la lingua svedese e la cultura di questo paese, di cui mai più potrò privarmi? O forse il desiderio di fargli capire che gli svedesi sono aperti, amichevoli, e non silenziosi e riservati come spesso si immagina?

Non è il primo richiedente asilo che incontro in modo “ravvicinato”, ricordo a maggio una ragazza incontrata in stazione aspettando di salire su un secondo treno. Aspettava la sua interprete, appena tornata dal visitare una sorella a Stoccolma. Abbiamo scambiato qualche parola, lei aveva braccia, gambe e viso ustionati.

Alla sua fermata si alza, dopo che il signore seduto accanto a me gli aveva generosamente fatto notare il nome della fermata. Il ragazzo, tutto felice, si alza dicendo “hej då!”

As we were children – part one

On the train waiting for departure. Karlstad Göteborg – stop – train to Malmö.

Looking for the wagon, unnumbered seats, or is, for once I am not trapped in a mechanism, that of having numbered seats, decided and without a chance to be changed, which I see as an extreme and useless attempt to avoid what is new, the different and the unknown, to control things. And here the train fills up.

Someone with a musical instrument, in a case, too big for me to recognize what it actually is. Everyone is staring at their phone, differently from what happened on the first train I took today, made of wood, creaking compartments, with no wi-fi on board and a toilette never opened by those travelers of the wagon in which I was. Red green black.

Colors of a scarf hanging from someone’s neck, someone about whose country of origin I had made in my head an idea about, and that maybe confirms it. A few minutes later, some passengers and I were going to see him taking out of the jacket a document issued by migrationsverket. The train conductor would ask for his ticket, explaining to him a way to fold it so that he would not need to take it out of the transparent case every time he was traveling. Because without a ticket one cannot travel, and the Swedish rules, especially for a time advantage, need to be observed.

Come bambini – parte seconda

…qualcuno seduto accanto, in uno svedese troppo dialettale per me da comprendere, dice al ragazzo “Beh, quando non si ha la mamma dietro si deve imparare a fare certe cose da soli!”. Cerco di fare il possibile per convincermi che il signore non abbia visto il permesso di soggiorno dell’ufficio immigrazione, che gli siano sfuggiti i colori della sciarpa, l’insicurezza con cui il ragazzo si spostava nel vagone prima di sedersi ad un posto davanti al quale era passato più volte, lo scarso svedese. Spero nel frattempo che il ragazzo abbia capito molte parole meno di me della frase dell’uomo.

Tre ragazzi minorenni richiedenti asilo in Svezia e tutti provenienti dall’Afghanistan, si sono tolti la vita durante questo autunno (Aftonbladet, 2016), dopo che per la seconda volta gli era stato rifiutato il permesso di soggiorno, o meglio la protezione per asilo – che ora, dopo la nuova legge di immigrazione molto discussa in Svezia dello scorso luglio, equivale ad una durata di tre anni, e non ad un permesso permanente come si era fatto con migliaia di rifugiati.

Ignoriamo le notizie, basta spegnere il televisore, parlare sopra l’audio. Ma incontrando gli occhi a meno di un metro di qualcuno che ha vissuto tutto quello che per noi sembra così lontano, ci fa perdere tutte le nostre sicurezze, entrare in un mondo fatto di tristezza, senzi di colpa, voglia di aiutare.

Al giorno d’oggi, Siriani ed Afghani costituiscono il numero più grande di rifugiati che arrivano in Svezia. Anche se in svedese, questo articolo contiene un grafico sugli arrivi più che soddisfacente ed interessante sulle nazionalità di chi arriva in Svezia. Tra le cifre si vede come gli afgani sono sicuramente i più esposti ad atti di suicidio, dal momento che quasi il 40% non riceve permesso di soggiorno, ed il 37% avrà il diritto di chiedere asilo in un altro paese EU – ad esempio il primo che hanno raggiunto durante il loro lungo viaggio…

Come bambini – parte prima

Seduta sul treno aspettando la partenza. Karlstad Göteborg – pausa – treno per Malmö. Cerco il vagone , posti non numerati, o meglio, per una volta non mi sento intrappolata in un meccanismo, quello di aver i posti numerati, decisi e senza possibilità di essere cambiati, che vedo come un tentativo estremo ed inutile per evitare il nuovo, il diverso e lo sconosciuto, di controllare le cose. Ed ecco che il treno si riempie.

Qualcuno con uno strumento in una custodia, troppo lungo e difficile da riconoscere. Tutti fissano cellulari, a differenza del primo treno sul quale sono salita oggi, di legno, con gli scomparti scricchiolanti, senza wifi a bordo ed un bagno mai aperto dai viaggiatori del vagone dove mi trovavo. Rosso verde nero.

Colori di una sciarpa appesa a qualcuno sul quale mi ero fatta un’idea del paese di provenienza, e che forse la conferma. Qualche minuto dopo lo vedrò, insieme ad altri passeggeri, tirare fuori il documento di richiedente asilo emanato dal migrationsverket. Il controllore del treno chiedergli il biglietto, spiegando un modo di piegarlo che gli permetterà così di non dover tirare fuori dalla custodia trasparente il pezzo di carta ogni volta che sarà in viaggio. Perché senza biglietto non si viaggia, e le regole svedesi, soprattutto per una convenienza di tempo, vanno rispettate.

“Att lussa”, a verb for a secular tradition

As Christmas time approaches, here in Sweden the 13th December of every year is time for Lucia celebrations, related to the Italian Sicilian Lucia marthyr in 304 A.D., even though of unknown origins for many Swedes – or better, the path Lucia took from Italy to be part of a Swedish tradition is not really well known by many people in Europe yet. Let’s take it in an easy way, Lucia here is meant to bring light – Saint Lucia was, and still is, after all the saint protector of blind people – and way before the day which for some centuries ago was supposed to be the shortest of the year, almost every window is decorated by an advent candlestick (advent ljustake), reminding the Lucia parade taking time on the 13th. Therefore on the 13th you will do Lucia, and since in Sweden they like to make verbs starting from whatever more or less English word you may wonder of – see googla, luncha, fota, joina – you will “lussa”

So, what is all this fancy thing about?

Luciatåg (the Lucia train!?) is a procession/parade which manifests one of the basic cultural aspects of Sweden, not to forget one of the most struggling – but also cozy – aspects of living in Sweden. Winter, cold, dark, lights and sweet things to eat.

Lucia celebration contains and tries to solve the all of them, with people gathering in the early morning at working places, schools and universities, at crazy times if one thinks about the darkness covering Sweden in this time of the year. A procession of white gowns-dressed people – and with people I make no exceptions, Sweden is a land for gender equality and so it be! both women and men are gonna wear it – is gonna follow Lucia, a girl wearing a crown with candles. Possibly these should be real so that the panic of fellign down during the procession, and put the all building on fire gets higher on this day of joy! Oh I forgot, people wearing long white hats with golden stars on and holding a stick with a star on. Then, in the procession for children, ginger bread biscuits and Santa Claus costumes are also included!

With the university choir MASK at Malmö university we had Lucia both yesterday and today, as a  start of our concert-season since the choir was stopping for a while before this semester. But singing both at a company here in Malmö yesterday morning and at an old people house gave us the energy and hope for next semester!

As I said, Lucia covers part of the Swedish reality you may experience when living here, because of course, if there is not a big Swedish tradition which is not celebrated properly, then there is no celebration without a special cake, and for this I may advice you to check a recipe of lussekatter/lussebullar (here for Swedish reader and here for an English version), even if maybe a bit late for this year’s Lucia celebration. But surely you will still be able to smell saffron wherever you walk through cities in Sweden or buy them in the closest Pressbyrån.

Sankta Lucia started to be very important to me, underlining how culture can be shapeable, ever changing and not only to be acquired during one’s childhood. For some reasons certain things do acquire an importance personal to each of us. For me Lucia – celebrated the first time three years ago, but better last year with the university choir in Karlstad – puts together my passion for singing, the memory of the start of my life here in Sweden, especially in Karlstad, and a lot of more memories, which are part of something which I am definitely really missing every day!

I leave you with the one version I prefer of Swing Low Sweet Chariot, started to sing while we were on the bus back from our Lucia singing this evening, and with a French song which I listened to at least a twenty times so far (just today!).

Looking for other intresting readings? Check thelocal.se article and the official Sweden page sweden.se

Värmland is waiting for me after a presentation at university tomorrow, and before another to be given on Tuesday, then Italy will come together with Sun, family, friends and food!

I will see you soon!

Atmosfera

Non avrei mai immaginato che avrei potuto sentire lo spirito natalizio anche qui al sud, mancandomi così tanto il “nord” ed essendo i primi fiocchi di neve caduti a novembre ormai passati e scioltisi da tanto. Dopo una settimana di grande studio, visite e lavoro, eccomi a pubblicare qualche foto della mia vita a Malmö, che a quanto pare mi sta iniziando a piacere più in fretta e profondamente di come mi sarei immaginata. Vi lascio con un augurio di buona prima domenica di avvento, la mia candela bianca ikea illumina la finestra davanti alla quale sono seduta, il mio italiano fa fatica ad uscire e tra poco inizierò a leggere qualche pagina per poi crollare nel sonno.

I mercati di Natale sparsi nello Skåne sono circa 45, qui ne potete trovare alcuni, e ce ne sono di nuovi ogni weekend – ieri ad esempio ne è stato allestito uno nella piazza di Gustav Adolf, e la pista di pattinaggio sul ghiaccio è stata montata a Folkets Park.

Qualche tono per entrare nello spirito invernale e natalizio – “Canzone d’inverno”. Appena trovata su spotify e cantata da una cantante norvegese. Il terzo inverno qui in Svezia e sono definitivamente abituata a vivere l’inverno nel modo migliore possibile, senza dare a buio e freddo la possibilità di perdere energie ed essere triste, leggendo, studiando e dedicandosi più a se stessi e a chiaccheire con amici accanto ad una tazza – e molte di più – di té o caffé caldo….

Il tempo passa ma volendo si riesce sempre a fare tutto in tempo. Italia tra tre settimane e sembra ieri che traslocavo a Malmö, con un Turning Torso che rendeva la skyline di Malmö non delle più creative!

Ci sentiamo al più presto (spero!)

p.s. Linkedin è una mano dal cielo 🙂

 

Funny curious musical findings

I start with saying what I told about Sweds already more than once…that they love Italy, in every dimension. Surely sun, food and wine are the most appreciated things. The first one easily remarked by someone during the choir camp yesterday, something like – “we go to Italy during winter to gain energies, I do not know why we have not yet learnt to hibernate as many animals do”.

Talking about food, Italy is definitely admired for pasta, pizza, and whatever can be called “Italian” going from the add of some oregano to a squeeze of tomato sauce. I am definitely not against food experiments since I love to prepare food and eat and try new things and whatever, but sometimes homesickness is on the way when hearing the “Italian” be used too often.

Speaking wine – Systembolaget surely has a 50% or more of the total amount of wines coming from Italy. If you ask recommendation they would probably recommend you an Italian wine – many Swedes I know really do not have a wide knowledge about wines characteristics, and I am not blaming anyone, since I myself do not have any clue about how a wine can taste differently from one another!

(If you want to put all these things together and really try to understand the feeling – almost one of repressed cultural belonging that Swedish people have towards Italy – you should definitely watch the film Små Citroner Gula. I finished to watch it with a girl from the choir some hours ago, and I will never be tired of it!)

…and then the music. I do not know how it has been possible to cope and translate – mostly the melody was taken – from Italian as many songs as it happened here in Sweden without making everyone aware that those songs actually had an Italian origin. Three years ago I sat in the car of my host-family listening a song from Veronica Maggio who is one of the most famous singers in Sweden, half Italian from father side and half Swedish. Just the song they send on the radio that time was Välkommen in.

Trying to fully immerse in the text and try to understand as much as possible, all of a sudden she started to speak Italian – “Oh mare nero oh mare nero oh mare nero”. These words are from an Italian song from the singer Lucio Battisti – one of them who made the history of music in Italy – in 1971. This is just a little example since just some words are used and it may be fun to know which the original actually is.

Going on…

but there is one which is probably one of the most know Swedish songs called Var ska vi sova i natt (Where should we sleep tonight) which is a song from 1982, just a year after the original “Sarà perché ti amo” was released. Swedish peopel do love Italy and they are more than fast to show it!

And to finish…another very famous artist part of the Italian music culture, was Adriano Celentano who started to sing when he was younger than eighteen. He wrote this song and sang it in 1966.

And one year later Sweden got another smash music example…

I definitely find this interesting, fun and a bit funny. There are surely more examples than these ones and surely between a lot of countries and languages which takes place! And it is so interesting to see hoeunfortunately now, for just some words taken from another song, or maybe two or three tones in a sequence someone is called for plagiarism, while the sharing and diffusion should be way more promoted than it actually is!

I leave you with a pair of pieces I heard in the weekend..goodnight!

 

Got to sing this one in the choir while the conductor was playing by piano and we were free to sing whatever we felt comfortable with. The result was a 20 voices compainment to a very know piece, and a perfect self confidence and team building experiment for a choir.

Gite fuori porta – Lund

Approfittando del bel tempo, della tessera dei mezzi gratuita valida in tutta la regione della Scania che mi è stata regalata dal comune, e sentendo il bisogno di fare qualcosa di “libero” dopo l’esame di questa mattina, nel pomeriggio ho deciso di recarmi a Lund. Con soli dieci minuti di treno da Malmö ci si trova in una dimensione completamente diversa da quella della “grande” città in cui invece sto vivendo, e forse non proprio ciò che mi ero immaginata e di cui ero “invidiosa”. Lund è infatti quasi esclusivamente una città universitaria, il campus è distribuito su quasi la maggior parte dell’area cittadina e tutto è a misura di studente – e ovviamente di bicicletta! Arrivata lí intorno alle due di pomeriggio ho iniziato a perdermi nelle strade, sicura che comunque non mi sarei mai persa del tutto. Tutto è familiare, a partire dagli autobus che fanno parte dello stesso sistema di mezzi di trasporto di Malmö, il dialetto, e l’alto numero di studenti. Avrei immaginato di trovarmi in un posto pieno di coetanei, che vivono la vita universitaria e lo spirito comunitario al massimo, in confronto a come la vita studentesca di Malmö si differenzia. Invece ho trovato strade abbastanza deserte nel campus universitario, e molta gente in centro, che però assomiglia ad un qualsiasi centro di una qualsiasi città, sebbene ospiti una maggiore concentrazione di caffè accoglienti e librerie. La città si gira a piedi senza problemi, massimo due ore e si può riuscire ad andare in giro tra quasi tutte le vie della cittadina. Tutti i palazzi sono molto antichi – ebbene si, da romana ho iniziato a vedere ogni palazzo svedese come antico anche se magari risale all’Ottocento, come fanno tutti gli svedesi! – e sembra quasi di essere catapultati indietro nella storia passeggiando tra i vicoli incontrando gente che sembra essere molto più tranquilla e rilassata dei cittadini di altre cittadine svedesi più grandi.

Sicuramente un’idea per riempire una giornata noiosa, o per immergersi nello spirito invernale e natalizio, essendo Lund addobbata e illuminata manco dovesse ospitare i re – il papa l’hanno già accolto nel weekend dopotutto! – entrando in chiese e negozi per sentirsi immersi nella storia e riscaldarsi dalle fredde passeggiate.

Devo dire che l’inizio di quello che spero sia una lunga collezione di gite fuori porta per visitare la Scania è iniziato con il piede giusto. Certo, la sfida tra Scania e Värmland sarà dura ma ce la metterò tutta per cercare di immergermi al più non posso in questa regione che anche sembra piena di cultura, storie e tradizioni. Allontanarmi un po’, per poi tornare a Malmö rendendomi conto di come da cittadina di una città come Roma mi sentirò sempre a casa nel caos – soprattutto sentendo dei romani parlare nella stazione centrale di Malmö non appena tornata dalla “provinciale” Lund.

Notteprimadell’esame

The night before the first class room exam at Malmö university I sit here and wish to put something meaningful in this post.

I am try to find solutions since I am struggling with learning Skånska, which is one if not the most difficult dialect spoken in Sweden, hard to understand not only for second language speakers but also for native Swedish, for what I heard at least! Compared to Värmländska – the dialect which I learned to understand during my first year in Sweden and which is also considered to be “on a different level” because of the similarities to Norvegian language spoken just some steps from the Värmland county – Skånska is definitely more similar to another language than to a dialect. To put it in brief, Skåne was part of  Denmark indeed for a long time ago, and the language still presents deep influences of the Danish – “they speak as they had a potato in their mouth” to cite one of the most “stereotypes” on the Danish language. Funny enough, I happened to be stopped and asked informations by some Danish people and understood everything, while they were those struggling, but when I speak with someone with dialect form Malmö I may ask to repeate a sentence more than a few times! Curious about this all dialect thing? Check some audios from this page. The region in the link is Skåne, and the closest area to Malmö is the on on the lowest left. Good luck!

The main problem is that with the few Sweds I am meeting here in Malmö I do not even speak Swedish, sometimes because they speak this dialect, or sometimes because I am so afraid to not understand this dialect that I even convince myself that I do not understand those who do not actually speak this dialect. Amazing psychological process uh?

Moving on, I went on svt play to see which series and films were available to see on demand, and doing my best cutting off horror, thrillers and other not-for-me-films which Sweds seem to love from my list, I found Friman Frökens krig, a short serie about the life of Anna Whitlock. Born in Stockholm in 1852, she fought for women and education rights. I will not tell more about it and recommend to watch the movie, as there are good historical insights and the language is pretty clear, excepting some old forms.

 

Part one. Reality matters – Of refugees routes and Sicily

Italian navy rescue asylum seekers

June 7, 2014 – Mediterranean Sea / Italy (Massimo Sestini)

I like music, therefore rythm, structure and contrast. Thoughts and questions, ideas. Emotions are neverto be taken apart. I do keep my playlist of romantic music and passion for romantic comedy movies, but deep emotions which are difficult to go through are important as well. I will talk about films, something which in the last months I have been particularly being passionate about. Be it to get to know Sweden a bit more, or to higher skills in a language which I will probably never speak as good as I would like to, to compare places, people, or just because in that strange feeling of feeling moved more and more, I feel comfortable.

I was going through one of the first week of “settling down” in this new city. Time was never enough and everything felt as I was floating on a cloud metres from the ground. I tried to follow every event or social activity hoping I would soon find my favorite places, weekly appointments I would not have missed in the following months. I missed Karlstad a lot, especially the choir and my really good Swedish friend. First from my father and later in a course at university, I got to know about the Italian film named “Lampedusa“. I was late to see it and the last cinema where they were screening it was indeed a very particular one, called Panora. It is a folketsbio – the translation to English is not that difficult as it becomes “cinema of the people/folk” – which (should) mean that the prices are not that high and the films screened are on a different level than than those advised with the only commercial aim. I love this type of cinemas and I have my favourite one in Rome, called Eden, another reason for which I was desperately trying to find something similar here in Malmö. So the first film was a very emotional Italian film, with such a strong Sicilian dialect it was even easier for me to read the Swedish subtitles.

As many of you may know, Lampedusa is a small island in the South of Italy, in the region of Sicily. Way less than 200 km from the Tunisian coast, it has been in the past few years end of one of the roots mostly used by Africans looking for refuge as a way to easily – difficult to write these words, but peculiar criterias are used in order to determine whether one’s choice to cross tens of countries is “easier” than the other one – reach a European country. It starts to be replaced by other routes such as the Balcan route but unfortunately still many are crossing the Mediterranean sea. Lampedusa is known for the hospitality of its inhabitants, not even comparable to the levels of racism that Italians would otherwise reach in other spaces, influenced by different political views, other historical backgrounds, those behaviours that “sea people” (Gente di mare) would not even think about. But it is also famous as a land of first steps into a bureocratic system and carelessness which has been raising deep questions about laws regarding refugees status. The film shows the calm of a Sicilian – let’s say traditional – household, contrasting the struggle of hundreds of people dying and seeing other disappearing in the depth of a water, a nightmare for all of them. the contrast of people playing footballn the same who some nights Before where risking their lives for toxic inhalations, cold or drowning. Racism does not find place in this movie, at least not in a direct way. But if you watch it you will inevitably feel guilty of something you did not directly chose to be, to do. You will realize how our extremely political and economical conception of borders is destroying the world, not talking about the extreme and sometimes useles importance we give to racial and ethnical division . Inevitably, maybe unwilling, but we do. Éuropean Union defines everyone not belonging to that as a not ever “second country Citizen” but a “third country Citizen”. You may not only miss a document, you miss a document from a “civilized country”, and then you miss European citizenship. The more the borders the more the distinction, the more importance is given to difference the less we pay attention to similarities among us.

I admit I liked how the film director mainly focused on the emotional and tragic obstacles faced by these refugees – Italians like highly emotional things, which makes the first point in this post even more valid- even because focusing too much on the concept of racism often makes it loosing its meaning and importance or even developing the fear for it, causing racist behaviors to occur even more. Although, showing how good at the end the emergency is being faced does not lead to a realistic screening of reality. Dublin Convention requires every migrant arriving without documents to have their fingerprints collected by the entrance of an EU country. Scenes in the film where this is done are showed, inevitably convincing those watching that these rules are indeed being followed, that the refugee “crisis” is exclusively originating from the outside, and that a political European catastrophe is not implied in neither the cause of nor the solution process for it.

But everything has pros and cons, good and bad sides, and I do recommend to watch this film.

 

 

Näktergalen mentorsverksamhet – The Nightingale program

Definitely one of the most valuable and satisfying experiences I have decided to put myself into during this first semester at Malmö university, is that of being mentor for a girl as part of the Nightingale program. In Swedish “Näktergalen” the idea of a network of children between 8 and 12 years and university students was actualy started in the city of Malmö in 1997. I wonder if any other city would have given such a chance for a program like this to develop, taking in mind the high level of cultures present here and the social issue which came forward as a theme to be faced following an innovative path. But what is the Nightingale program about?

Basically, applications are received from a bunch of university students who want to dedicate 2-3 hours of a day in the week to a child, doing daily activities, such as getting around in the city, talking, watching a film, baking etc. On the other side, children between the age of 8 and 12 attending different primary schools send their applications, looking forward to meet their mentor, someone who will be a friendly, adult, and fun person to be with. Both of them will send their applications with their interests, motivations, and a photo, and other thing which may be relevant and useful when it comes to the matching. As a mentor, one will have an introduction course on what it means and implies to take part in the program, and then visit the school to meet the teachers and get to know where the class of your child is – since you will mostly pick your “mentor child” from school.

Neither kids nor mentors get to know each other if not on the starting day, which in the case of Malmö university was yesterday. After I “was found” by my mentor child looking for the number I was holding, we went around for a quiz walk – in Swedish “tips promenad” really characteristic of the Swedish culture – to get to know each other a bit more. Later on mentors, children and parents met each other to learn a bit more about, at the end, everything about it. Which days are best to meet, contact details, allergies and other “adult stuff”, while of course eating a fika and getting coffee.

What the program is not about. It has nothing to do with working as a baby sitter. The mentoring is voluntary and meeting times are decided together with the child and the parents, taking in mind the load everyone has because of university study and work, as well as personal needs and other planning issues. It is just about meeting once a week for 2 to 3 hours each and it is definitely something that, if you want, you can make as part of your routine with no problems. There is completely aknowledgement about the meeting time and nor of the parts are supposed to feel stressed about finding time to meet, otherwise the all meaning of the program would disappear. Although, the point of the program is to care about the other, for both the student and the child to be responsible and flexible and to be open to learn from the other and teach the other things. In some way one of the meanings of the process is to learn to teach to and learn from the other and stay with the other. Recognizing someone’s values as well as encouraging them, engaging themselves in something you would not think you would otherwise do.

The Nightingale program is part of the variety of programs available at different universities and schools in Europe, especially in the Scandinavian countries, plus in Uganda. It is reaching more and more popularity through years. When I was in London one month ago, visiting the office of “The Challenge” which “raises awareness of the social and economic risks associated with social segregation”, we talked about their interest in starting to be part of this mentoring program, so the network is continuously is growing.

Of student associations and happy phonetics

After some hectic moments since I arrived in Malmö, I can finally say I am on the right path for a bunch of good moments during my stay in this city. Taking in count that after I stepped to Sweden as exchange student it took almost more than a year to go through and overcome a struggling culture shock, I am more than happy to see that after two months I start to feel at home here in Malmö.
The variety of student associations at the university of Malmö gives you a way to develop your interests and get to know new ones as well as a lot of people around, and most important it gives you the chance to feel at home easier and faster. The UF Malmö – Utrikespolitiska föreningen/Foreign affairs – association arranges lectures and debates every week. Among the others, in the last two days we had the chance to see the US presidential debate in a lecture room, followed by a debate seeing politicians from both democratic and republican side as participants. I saw the first debate on my own and still need to see the following two, but seeing the last one sitting together with a lot of students from the Global Political Studies department, interested and at the same time confused about the level of many of the discussions in the debate, gives you a totally different feeling.
Another association is MASK – Malmö studentkör – which started to rehearse again after a long break last year.
Sweds like to schedule and to see things well organized, so some of the things you will never be able to escape if you take part in a student association at a Swedish university, will be:

  • a membership fee, which can be within a range of 20 to 200 kr – 2 euros to 20 euros more or less
  • a meeting, in the start of the semester where board members have to be decided and decisions about a variety of things need to be taken. It can take up to hours – as it happened in the choir I previously sang, or a few minutesas it was this week in the MASK.
  • fika – happily pronounced fee-ka, is not just part of whatever meeting or social activity you will take part in Sweden, it is a basis in the Swedish cultural iceberg. Funny or not, some days ago I was talking with some Germans about the thing that in Sweden you need a special word and activity to be social, which – at least from a not Nordic prospective – is a bit sad. On my side, I do love it. The “fika thing” is as informal way to get to know each other or gather with a friend, which can be similar to “having a coffee” in Italy or “going out for a pizza”, with the difference of the basic need of sugar and coffeine you definitely appreciate in dark times, a part from the social part. Therefore assimilation of the Swedish culture is made way easier that other ones just thanks to this: coffee or tee, fruit and some sweet thing, most of the times offered in different occasions or brought by some members of an association. You can decide to take your own, or the choir decide that everyday a voice in the choir need to bring it.
  • a sittning – a word which actually relates to a party you will participate mostly sitting, but of course is not, or at least not totally. Organized to get to know each other, as an international participant I appreciate these events a lot, since I learn to see how outgoing and talkative many start to be in when they are in a party mood.
  • a weekend of meetings and partying. Board members or members of an association usually reunite for a weekend where to know each other better, organize things and party. In two weeks we will have a cottage weekend with the choir, staying two nights, taking saunas and excercising songs for the coming winter concert.

The city is full of events going on, especially if you have an interest deeply related to culture and language issues, as I do. An Arabic bookshop is opening next week, a film screening and a debate are taking place tonight at Garaget, part of the city libraries network, and national day celebrations of different countries are often held, and English in already “the new Swedish” in a city regarded as not part of Sweden by everyone in this country.

Sapore di vento

Qui al sud del nord le giornate si accorciano come di programma. Ma sopravvissuta ad ormai ben due inverni trascorsi nel Värmland, sempre a sud ma un po’ più su in questo nord interminabile, il buio non mi fa paura, o almeno, non per ora. Per la prima volta nella mia lunghissima vita, questo pomeriggio cercando di dirigermi verso l’università insieme ad altri ragazzi di corso, mi sono trovata a camminare con il torso a 90° cercando di affrontare il vento fortissimo, che ancora si muove tra le foglie degli ippocastani sulla via del mio appartamento, e fa tremare i vetri. Per non parlare di come debba essere stato buffo vedermi pedalare sulla mia bici rimanendo però inevitabilmente ferma, con qualche spostamento laterale sempre dovuto al vento multi direzionale.

Ieri sono stata a un colloquio di lavoro, incontrando una delle tante persone che pensa che io sia norvegese sentendo la cantilena ondeggiante che il mio svedese assume. Comunque, a quanto pare è andato bene, e tra una settimana avrò un corso di introduzione, e se tutto va bene potrei iniziare a lavorare da sabato prossimo.

La nostalgia dell’Italia, stranamente, si fa sentire in modo maggiore mano a mano che il tempo trascorso all’estero aumenta, e confidando nella mia capacità di non cambiare idea e decidere di fare mille cose in una sola estate – si magari! – la prossima estate sarà il momento di trascorrerla completamente in Italia. Insomma, dopo tre anni, sarebbero i miei primi due mesi e mezzo nella penisola del sole, sto ritorno s´ha da fa!

Per quanto riguarda la mia voglia e capacità di scrivere, soprattutto in italiano ed in modo ordinato, devo ammettere che sono in un periodo che sento di definite “crisi linguistica”. Troppi pensieri e troppo esercizio ogni giorno in tutte e tre le lingue. Anzi, il fatto di utilizzare poco l’italiano ha creato in me una specie di crisi di identità, ma soprattutto grammaticale, che per me che sono sempre stata veloce a scrivere e ho amato bloggare per mesi quasi senza sosta, è un segnale un po’ demoralizzante. Ma sicuramente lessico e ispirazione torneranno presto, almeno quando alcuni dei problemi maggiori saranno stati risolti. Per ora vi lascio con una delle perle di saggezza dell’alternativo professore del mio corso: “I am not overweight, I am just underlenght!”

 

An eye on Esperanto, and open eyes on Malmö

28th September

As you probably noticed by yourself, I am pretty productive in this week and feeling optimist about blogging. I mean, always loved my blog but my interest in it is just developing deeply. Coming back from London I feel like my life is leading somewhere – don’t ask me where, since that would really be a deep issue to talk about, and the excitement of the moment would not accept it! Maybe because of the number of activities done last week, or because taking a break and coming back to Malmö really made me recognize where I have to stand now, or for the book in sociolinguistics I bought, and the first good presentation at university with a balanced interested and funny group…I feel to write as much as it gets.

Today as said we had this presentation in class, after I woke up at 6.00 to get prepared and relaxed before the presentation. The first-graded work of the program went actually well and we cheered eating a kanelbulle with the others. Want to know more about this strange and dangerous thing? Just go here 😉 The hall of the major building of Malmö university was full of stands from student associations, from the Nightingale program, to language exchange meeting, the foreign affair association, the environment one or the lgbtq issues one.

You should have seen the scene when I almost literally jumped on one of the desks full of papers with the word “Esperanto”. It did not quite come to my mind as soon as I read it – the amount of coffee drank since Monday for carrying on the preparation for the group presentation really made me a bit crazy – but Esperanto is a language created at the end of the 1800s with the uthopia of using it as a universal language. Putting together the easiest forms from different languages, though especially indo european ones plus something from Japanese, it should avoid misunderstanding between language speakers since it is thought to be easier to learn for adult than English would be. Reading fast some info about it, being a big pot of languages it is supposed to develop your brain abilities and your ability to learn other languages. By the way! I got this amazing paper about how Esperanto language works and some – or I think even all of them – gramatical rules. The Esperanto association meets just in the area where I live, and sometimes some teachers from Denmark comes there for a lecture, directly jumping into a talk in Esperanto. I know how all of this can sound uthopian and senseless but I was just thinking about focusing on learning a language and did not yet have the motivation to do it…this is just completely crazy and I am completely in of course!

30th September

Two days ago it started to blow in Malmö. And Malmö is one of those city you see in the news where people have to do their best in order not to fell down walking by the sea or biking somewhere. Well you probably will see me in one of those scenes if I keep biking everyday to uni, even when the wind is on a average of 8/s and it does not seem to get lower. At least we have the Sun! Wait…at least the sky is blue, the Sun almost said goodbye to Sweden…

Have to go to university now, and find a spot of time to take a photo for my Swedish ID!

See you soon

 

Rumore di fondo

Questa mattina

Buio. Sveglia. Notte, lampada.

Sei di mattina, o di notte. Dopo la sveglia irreale delle due per partire per Londra più di una settimana fa, oggi è stata la prima volta che mi sono dovuta alzare “di notte”.

Oggi per me inizia l’inverno. Quella parola che gli svedesi non vogliono neanche pronunciare o sentire quando le ore di luce sono così tante da renderti così eccitato da non farti dormire, e quindi stanco come se in verità le ore di luce non ci fossero proprio. Inverno, parola che prima di vivere così profondamente la Svezia mi faceva pensare al freddo, la neve, foglie gelate e paesaggi da fiaba. Ora penso al naso colante, i capelli ghiacciati con il freddo del mio amato Värmland, tornando dalle esercitazioni di coro con un’amica e parlare per non congelarsi anche le labbra. Sopracciglia e ciglia gelate, neve. Penso al buio, ai pedali della bici che non si muovono a causa delle giunture completamente congelate.

Il proposito di scattare una foto al giorno dalla finestra che affaccia sul giardino, e gli alberi i tronchi scoiattoli sole che si intravede tra foglie che coprono strade dove le ruote della tua bici quasi rimangono intrappolate combattendo non solo con il vento caratteristico della città di Malmö ma con terreni scivolosi. Solo un gradino da superare e sei sulla via di casa. Speriamo puliscano la strada. Il manto arancione che crea cornici da fiaba.

Il freddo. Il buio. Una routine da mantenere. Previsioni del tempo. O meglio del vento. Gruppi che si formano. Vita che si respira. La gola che brucia. Aria secca. Malmo brucia, o te lo fanno credere.

Brixton district in London – a pop “ghetto” area

There is always something you will never forget about your trip, and among them there is always something you are not going to talk about. I will tell you about one of the areas I have been exploring in London which I am never going to forget. You thought I would tell all my “secrets” to you people right? Sorry for disappointing you 😉

 

Let’s start to say that Brixton may be called by many as one of the most multicultural ghettos of London, located in the southern part of the city. Going out from the underground you will be in the middle of a unstoppable wave of people coming from all directions – which is actually not that different from the rest of all the streets in London – restaurants, shopping centers and street take aways, plus maybe different people singing outside the stop.

I was a bit curios about this interesting area and looked up some infos about it, among the others, here. Thanks to the little things I read so far, I could see how the almost abandoned district was once a rich area similar to that of the Swedish area Rosengård, where riots are happening and of which people are mostly aware and afraid of. The history of the Brixton district is a particular one, going from being a poor area, to one of development, then place of social riots and then again gaining a certain “respect”. By the way, Brixton got a population boost in the middle 1900s, but after it was bombed in WWII, living conditions for those who still were living there after the war were not acceptable. Social riots started and especially during 1981, Operation Swamp 81 led by the police aiming at lowering crime rates, permitted to arrest whoever was suspected of crime, leading to up to 1000 thousands arrests. Gentrification happened mostly from 1990s on, and in a few words, it has completely changed the aspect of this area, luckily still keeping the level of multiculturalism pretty high – most people living there are from the Caribbean. If you are curious about the term gentrification, you may be interested in reading this article “5 myths about gentrification“.

Even though I did not take that many photos as I thought I did, these three are more than representative of the place. The way from the metro stop to the market was surprising frightening beautiful attracting smelling tasty at the same time. People of all countries meeting in a way I am used to since I come from Italy, sitting on plastic chairs in front of their houses or shops, though immersed in a too poor situation than the one I had been used to from the previous days in London. Take away places formed by a little kitchen on the side of the street, as it was someone’s apartment kitchen, where you could see in through the open window and glimpse a big pan. For some reasons I felt I was in Thailand or India, even though I have never been there and the most population in Brixton did not come from neither those countries.

We went into the market, being welcomed by huge flags of every country in the world, mostly placed exactly close by the restaurants serving food from those countries. Going into the market, half of it – mostly the shops in the centre – were closed because of the night time, but restaurants and bars where open, creating the right atmosphere/balance (still looking for the right word for the Swedish “stämning” making you feel completely out of time and space, maybe on a dancing street in South America instead than a suburb in London. We heard some music and being the last night before traveling back to Sweden what do you think we did? We started dancing following this caribbean music, just in front of the stereo, in a street – between the 5th and the 1st avenue – where everyone was eating talking enjoying the music getting warm in a slightly chilly air of a September night. We danced starting from an empty dance floor that nothing was if not a cement path with a table by the closest wall, where we put our things and forgot the others. Funny as it gets, was to see a video of us dancing, published on the fb page of Brixton Market.

Little things about Brixton

In 2009, the Brixton pound was coined, in order to protect the variety of business and to higher the popularity of the area. I was really surprised by reading this, and wish I’d known about it before leaving from London!

Brixton is also the part of the city where David Bowie was born.

I will just say goodnight with a music video of the song “La Gozadera” putting together many countries of South America, showing flags and some streets which definitely made me think of the Brixton market. See you soon!

Camden Town and its markets

Definitely one of the most popular destinations in the huge city of London, Camden town found a chance to steal a piece of my heart as well. You could definitely decide to spend hours walking through it – I suggest though not to bring your wallet and just go around getting lost – to find places where you will come back “the next time”.

We decided to visit Camden market on Sunday, the day after a hilarious group of girls from Malmö university stepped – many for their first time – on the ground of Luton airport. Starting already from the arrival day, we have had a very tight schedule visiting numbers of organizations, both NGO and GO, offices where programs for integration, migration and much more are led, journalists, relevant people in the issue of multiculturalism, gender equality, respect and more.

schermata-2016-09-25-alle-18-17-11

A map with some of the places we visited on Sunday

Having Sunday as a day to recover after the tiring travel – we woke up at 2 a.m. in the morning to leave from Copenhagen at 7.00 a.m. we visited pretty much, from Camden Town to Soho for a Chinese dinner all together, stopping at Primrose hill to see the city from a different view. On the way we walked to Baker street and saw the door to the apartment of the Sherlock Holmes stories. On the right side of the map is the hostel Clink 78, ten minutes walk from the underground station King’s Cross/St.Pancras. A big hostel which I definitely recommend if you are thinking about visiting London, especially if you are a backpacker. The hostel has a bar where to meet people in a very easy way with music and very kind staff. You have breakfast included in the price – and a big kitchen place, plus two or more living rooms, with tv and computers. I hope you will like the photos, I will definitely write more in the next hours/days 🙂

After this week I almost cannot see myself without all the knowledge I earned in a so full week. Really tired right now and cannot promise “real” and interesting posts, but at least I will show the originality of Camden markets, still asking myself why I did not see a wave of “Swedish” hipsters stepping by all the little stores.

Following my love for multiculturalism I will soon tell you about the suburb of Brixton – which I always mixed with Brexit, which on its side was wrongly pronounced “breakfast” by some of us in the first days. Brixton may seem as the ghetto of London, though its difference and originality – which would be loved by those famous nordic “hipsters” -definitely attracts thousands of Londoners as well as tourists, offering clothes markets during day and food places during night. I would love to write more but I’ll see you later with a deeper story about this part of the city.

City

Get off. Walk. Watch. Mind the gap. Red. Smells. Scents. Go. Run. Left. Difference. Map. Gap. Second. Ready. Culture. Diversity. Equality? Respect? Silence. Seats.

Arrived in Malmö with the train from Copenaghen half a hour ago, got a drive from the boyfriend of the organizer of the trip – who was more energetic than thirty five teenagers would be after such a busy week we have experienced.

We all slept a very few hours after a night of fun between the multicultural area of Brixton and Soho.

Meeting people dancing on streets on African rithms eating different singing the same new steps colored drinks stopping again starting moving arms hips waist hair black surprise images excitement between the fifth and the first in a market of hidden restaurants stereos tacos origami faces rythm drums and flowing convincing people bored up down moon shining and dogs barking wood of a table where sitting if not dancing serious faces moving as in films loud music lower volume up again. Dance.

London ♡

Chapter 2

The day arrived in which I finally start to be someone here in Sweden. I do not want to be too negative, but I have to admit that life without a Swedish personal number is, if not impossible, way more difficult than someone not living in Sweden – or whichever Nordic country – could imagine.

After a year of exchange where I got a temporary personal number but did not anyway have way to use it, I stayed another year in Sweden last year, just getting a student personal number, which is totally useless for everything since it is just indeed a student identification number. Full of surprise, here at Malmö university I got registred with the same code I had last year at Karlstad university. By the way! I got really emotional yesterday when someone from Skatteverket answered to my email saying that my procedure was completed and they had sent the letter to my letterbox. I could not believe how this four numbers really change you prospective!

It is a number formed by you birthday and then four numbers, calculated in a way I do not really care about right now. Since Sweden is a very bureocratic and “fair” and “right” and “serious” country – and tax paying one – they like to control and check that everything goes right. Whatever discount card you want to have you need a personal number, house ensurance, bank services without going to the bank for every least issue, booking a medical visit so that you do not need to queue after all the people who booked before you, or during you wait, book a gym – in my case! – without paying any month in advance, and getting the chance to actually have the student discount! There are thousand of things you may not be able to do without a personal number, which totally opens your doors to real life when you get it.

Yesterday it was a long and joyful day, also because after waiting my ups package coming a week later – you know, they were surprised that the entrance door was closed and they did not call, because of course not else in the world entrance doors are closed right? By the way, in the package there was this tv that I got as a present from my dad. I will connect it tomorrow when I will be able to get the right cable – and crap how I hate to go to electronic shops since I do not understand anything about these things! Today I will go to the bank and change my adress as well as leave my PN, buy cables, pay the money to get a Swedish Id card, compulsory as soon as you get a PN.

In the afternoon I will have lesson and then will meet with some of the classmates to discuss about what was spoken during the class. We came along on this after yesterday’s class and we all felt very productive and great, we’ll see how it turns out. What is sure is that we all are very mixed regarding culture and this always leads to discussion and more understanding during school.

Then I will go to Triangeln area, to watch an Italian film at Panora Folkets Bio, the film is called “Bortom Lampedusa” in Swedish, but the original title is Fuocoammare”. Italian audio with Swedish subtitles, bit of a challenge to find someone to go with, but I think some from class will follow anyway.

Something which I do not think I wrote about in the previous posts is that I will go to London on Saturday, with the foreign affairs student association at Malmö University (Utrikespolitiska Föreningen Malmö). I am so excited for the amount of meetings the organizer put together in a very full immersion in – generally – human rights issues. We are going ot visit among others, Amnesty International, Lgbtq associations and the Swedish Embassy plus much much ore. Besides the alarm clock at 4a.m. I think it will be very constructive!

I post some photos of the last days. Gosh it is just twenty minutes to ten in the morning but I am so tired already, and the mission no-coffee – except in the morning – is just at its start, but I have to make it fine preparing for the long winter! Hope I will make it to tonight when we will go at the student pub!

I am in shorts, this crazy time is getting everyone in shorts and beachwear, incredible right? 27° as highest yesterday in the afternoon, kind of sad if you think about climate change consequences, but people living in Nordic countries cannot do anything than enjoy it.

I’ll see you soon, have a nice day!

Migration rithm

Twenty after midnight. Thought I was going to write the second post of (the) – yester-day but it would not happen. I was just thinking of something that happened to me today.

I was going home tonight and saw a family, mum, dad and two young kids who probably were not 10 either yet. My eyes fall on them, especially the father, since he was wearing a t-shirt with the colors of the Swedish flag, a shirt reminding me of the Finnkampen (an athletic competition held every year in Sweden or Finland between the two countries). My eyes stood a lot on that shirt thinking about those frames happening three years ago. Then I saw a Finnish name on the back of the shirt – would not be surprising to see a Finnish competing in a Swedish team you know. Then my brain clicked again, thinking that person was maybe Finnish. All this happened too slowly not be shown to the people of the family. They looked at me.

Just a few seconds after I realized I was looking at a refugee family, with no little embarassement or guilt I have to say. I have been working – even if just once – at a refugee house where people after getting gathered, were displaced all over Sweden. They did not get to know where they were going to be “sent” if not the same morning. And the pawns game continues. They are just “things” in need of being moved, trying to adjust

I could recognize the mixed outfit the family I saw got to wear, gathering things at the refugee centres. And I could recognize the distance between me and them, a distance which I would have loved to cancel, if my mind just did not have gone so far with my memories in the past, just if I would not have been so selfish – but at the end, was I?

Braids on the girls black hair, making me think of different Syrian hairstyles I saw before.

Lost walks.

This is Sweden, this is Malmö. Incredibly full of culture and for some reason related to that, impossible to be free from clashes, cultural, political.

I’ll go to bed soon, I’ll see you soon.

Quitting caffeine

I am trying to make everything a bit healthier but without a Swedish personal number everything is way more difficult. I went to the gym on Wednesday to buy a monthly card but without a PN you are supposed to pay six months in advanced with no student discount. So I just tried the gym a day and will go back when I will get this holy personal number, or maybe I should check if they have a week trial.

Next week could be very good as well as very bad, since I am waiting for at least – so far – three very big answers.

  1. I have applied to become a Digital Ambassador for the Study in Sweden student blog. They take at max. m.o.l. 10 students (I think) to blog about their lives as students in Sweden. I read it just five hours before the deadline on Wednesday and got a little nap on it (one of those days I got naps around 18.00-19.00! And this sound as lazy as just a Italian could do right?)
  2. I am actually waiting for a personal number, that really, more or less soon, should be really mine! I got both a letter with a document to fill and more documents to send, and a email telling that I did not hand in the right documents – and I am getting a bit crazy about this! But I think next week my life may start again.
  3. Last Monday I did this audition to get into the choir at university, it is one of the two at uni and is called Academic Choir and Orchestra at Malmö University – it is a bit bigger and more talent-requiring than the other. I tried but I cannot really read notes even though I can sing, so the choir director will let me know in case the others he will examine will not be better than me. So, waiting for this also!

On Thursday night I went to sleep around 23.00, when suddenly I heard much noise coming from outside like shots. Boom-boom boom. Then long pause, and again. I really felt like something was wrong and I promised to check the newspaper the morning after. I read that – as usual I should add – there was a shooting toward an apartment in Malmö. What happens often here in Malmö are shootings between criminal gangs – even though I completely feel safe in this city!

A thing I really enjoy of Malmö is its multiculturalism which makes also the reason for which I wanted to study especially here. Everyday going around I at least hear five languages, excluding English heard almost all the time. And seeing so many differences is really making me feel in a so different way (which sounds strange but it’s awesome).

Now I will get ready to bike to work, or better to have coffee with a girl of my program. I leave you with some nice images from the last days in Malmö 🙂

See you soon!