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!

Biking in Malmö, course intro, work and home sweet home

I’ll start saying that Malmö is one of the first cities in the world regarding cycling paths, number of bikers and of bikes.

Let’s say that since I stepped the second time in Malmö during March this year, and the third time last week, I was wishing I had a bike from the very first moment, ‘cause it seems to be that unless you have a bike, you do not count really much in this city! In the last days I almost got killed by two bikes, once because I did not look properly when I was crossing the cycle path, secondly ‘cause going out from a shop, a guy cycled crazy coming from left. He said sorry, also in English so I guess he was a new exchange students thinking that Malmö is a paradise for bikers. And well, it is partly true. But there are a few things that did not make me feel safe to have my music on during my first kilometers done by bike today.

Firstly, all the rules you would follow on the road with cars, apply almost in the same way between bikers, so those cycling on main cycling paths, have precedence on those coming from minor roads, and so on. Second, even though it is a bike friendly city, it doesn’t mean you have precedence on everybody and do not need to watch over yourself, car drivers expect you to respect rules and to bike carefully, so free biking city if everyone respect each other. Thirdly, there are people, cars and bikes coming everywhere, so you’d better watch out all the time! There is a thing I never experienced before and it is that of really using your bike to replace a public transport, the feeling you get is a completely different one. On the one hand because it is pretty long and uphill and windy on the way to university from my place, on the other because in this way I really spare money on the bus, and why not on gym card!

Let’s say that there is kind of a underground market of bikes here, but you know, Malmö is close to Copenhagen, Kristiania not far away, lots of people from anywhere (there’s the major underground crime space for what I heard from someone, do not believe in that completely though!). Many bikes on market are stolen, and when you want to buy one which is not, you should ask the bike seller for a paper signed by the previous owner, maybe warranty sheets and so. Opposite to what I thought, it is not easy to buy a bike – I am talking about second-hand ones – and the average price is around one thousand crowns, which is 100 euros more or less. But I found someone selling a very old bike, with rust, an annoying sound and a not working dinamo for just 400 crowns, well you think I said no? I can still have a complete refining in city for 200 crowns, yes, so cheap! This happened yesterday and I am so happy I can bike around, have some sport and spare money not taking the bus. Now, I don’t know where this bike comes from, but I hope nobody got stolen of it, even though I expect it to disappear soon, or maybe it even looks too old to be stolen?! By the way, here in Malmö I saw everything, bikes without wheels, wheels without bike, but also heard from a girl from the US that she got stolen of her bike, and the person returned it in the same place the day after. So, Malmö is a place to be, just to laugh a bit and experience it.

Malmö is really the place with the kindest people all over Sweden, as I was told by many before moving here. In the last few days I asked a few people for directions – today also to another biker – and I always got the answer “well I am going there, you can follow me and I’ll show you!”. Really, really kind people.

Today I had my introduction lesson to the program I will start soon, the first lesson is on Wednesday, and following the Swedish academic style, there will not be many lectures every week, instead we have a more individual work to focus on. The literature to read though is still not really much for this first semester, still much to do though. This made me think of how many activities I will be able to do in order to fill free time and get some experience in this multicultural environment.

As I said, on Wednesday I came with my father and host family to Malmö, then I was with my father until Friday night. We went around, to Ikea of course, and mounted a lot of furnitures, and here are some pictures of the days together. I know that in the last months in Sweden I took way more photos, but now I am very used to Sweden and less things come to my eyes as often as it happened before.

P.S. With a average wind of 8 to 10m/s here in Malmö, the way to dress your hair is definitely a chignon (we say “cipolla” in Italian, “onion”), and I think the this is how most people will see my face now on!

Malmö!

Domenica 28 agosto 2016, Malmö

Sei e trenta, ticchettio continua di pioggia sulla finestra che di solito trasmette un sacco di luce nella camera da letto, tuoni. Come non ne avevo mai sentiti prima qui in Svezia. Ma probabilmente a Malmö, attaccata alla Danimarca mediterranea dei vichinghi svedesi, le cose procedono in maniera diversa.

Ho risposto alla persona dalla quale comprerò una bici questo pomeriggio, spero che smetta di piovere – ho scritto – anche io – la risposta. Forse questa pioggia non è tanto frequente dopotutto, o forse sono solo gli studenti internazionali a non essersi ancora abituati. Anche la proprietaria del ristorante si é fatta sentire verso le 6,30!

Comunque ora a ha smesso, e la camera inizia ad illuminarsi – altro lampo.

Da quando sono arrivata con mio papà mercoledì, non c´è stato un momento di pausa, siamo andati in giro, ovviamente andati da ikea e montato tutti i mobili, visitato i primi ristoranti stranieri della zona – e a Malmö ce n´è tanto di multiculturalismo! Ho avuto anche un incontro con la proprietaria di un ristorante/bar per un lavoro di cameriera/preparatrice di piatti ecc, di cui poi vi racconterò.

L’appartamento studentesco dove vivrò per i prossimi tre anni è molto spazioso e c´è spazio per un tavolo grande nel soggiorno/angolo cottura (che è più una parete che semplicemente un angolo) ed un piccolo divano letto ikea molto molto “dolce”. Ci sarà tempo e spazio per mettere una piccola tv su un mobiletto davanti al divano, ma l’altro giorno ad ikea ho preso la confezione sbagliata, portando a casa un’anta per un armadietto invece!

La camera da letto è quasi completamente arredata, con letto (non mi dire!), libreria, comodino e scrivania e relativa sedia, manca solo una parte estraibile della scrivania che non potrò montare finché non avrò un mago cacciavite. Well, Ikea is the solution!

Ci sono decine e decine di cose da organizzare ancora, e da quando sono arrivata non mi sono mai svegliata più tardi delle 7.00, andando a dormire più che distrutta intorno alle 21,30 quasi tutti i giorni.

Venerdì sera mio papà se n´é andato e diciamo è iniziata realmente la vita da sola, ma quasi non me ne accorgo ancora, dato che c´è un sacco di cose da mettere  in ordine, e poi l’anno scorso a Karlstad mi è servito da allenamento.

Venerdì comunque sono andata all’università per assistere ad una lezione, parte della settimana introduttiva, del servizio lavorativo presente all’università, tramite il quale aiutano gli studenti a scrivere i loro curriculum, le lettere di motivazione, preparare un colloquio, fare network ed usare LinkedIn bene. Ci saranno workshop all’università con la cadenza di un paio di settimane in media.

Per quanto riguarda il lavoro, questa settimana inizierò i primi turni a partire da mercoledì fino a sabato, questo posto si chiama Noi’s Café & Deli e si trova in centro vicino la piazza Triangeln. È specializzato in piatti vietnamiti ma soprattutto nel preparare cibo vengano, senza glutine e senza lattosio, insomma non proprio la mia cosa ma ultimamente sembra proprio essere una moda!

Venerdì all’università ho incontrato una ragazza nepalese con cui ieri sono andata in giro per la città alla ricerca di bici, ma non è stato facile come immaginavamo. Molte bici di seconda mano che vengono vendute sono rubate, ed il resto si aggirano intorno ai 100 euro e più, che a noi non andava molto di comprare! Comunque, durante questa passeggiata infinita, siamo arrivate vicino Rosengård, il quartiere delle proteste degli immigrati di cui si sentì parlare una decina di anni fa – macchine che hanno iniziato di nuovo ad essere bruciate la scorsa settimana. Ma intorno tutto tace e l’ambiente non è assolutamente spaventoso. Nella piazza di Gustav Adolf c´è un mercato di frutta e verdura – cosa che mi manca sempre stando in Svezia e nelle città piccole. Una via che parte dalla strada è piena invece di negozi alimentari di libanesi, afghani e molto più. Abbiamo comprato un po’ di frutta e verdura e chiacchierato con i venditori, qualcuno mi ha chiesto del terremoto in Italia. Mi sono sentita incredibilmente a casa con queste chiacchiere spontanee. Con Aastha abbiamo deciso di andare ogni sabato a fare spesa di frutta e verdura li – i prezzi sono assurdi, 1 euro al kl per le zucchine, dove  nei supermercati svedesi si paga per zucchina che compri!

Comunque, la mia sveglia ha suonato qualche minuto fa, forse dovrei alzarmi per farmi un caffè e fare colazione, oggi altra giornata impegnativa per me, spero solo che la pioggia smetta del tutto e possa andare ad ikea senza problemi e senza bagnarmi troppo!

A presto!

 

p.s. Ci sono e ci saranno foto a partire da questa settimana, solo che nel trasloco non trovo più il cavetto usb del telefono, che dovrò comprare in questi giorni, e soprattutto non ho tanto internet per caricare foto!

Spiegando il tempo

Quattro anni fa ho iniziato questo blog. Per qualche motivo avevo già da molti anni prima in testa che la mia vita si sarebbe rivolta verso il Polo Nord, e che amavo viaggiare. Durante questi anni un sacco di cose sono successe, e penso non sia male scrivere qualche specie di riassunto per i neo lettori di questo blog, o per tutti quelli che tra questo miscuglio di lingue, paesi, deadline, consegni di documenti e viaggi non sono riusciti a mettere bene in ordine tutti i fatti, beh, come non capirvi!

Nel 2013, il 15 agosto, sono partita alla volta della Svezia per trascorrere il quarto anno di liceo con una famiglia ospitante svedese. Comune di Hagfors, una frazione chiamata Uddeholm, a 90 km da una città a misura di studente (come la chiamerò qualche anno più tardi) chiamata Karlstad. Tra difficoltà e soddisfazioni più o meno grandi, ho imparato lo svedese e l’inglese. Tornata in Italia ho fatto il quinto anno di liceo, preso la maturità e sognato di tornare in Svezia qualche mese dopo il mio ritorno.

L’iscrizione a Malmö non è andata a buon fine, i documenti sono arrivati troppo tardi rispetto alla deadline e quindi ho deciso di andarmene comunque un anno in Svezia, studiando corsi singoli di primo livello all’università di Karlstad, che avevo anche visitato e di cui mi ero innamorata. Insomma, nell’anno 2015-16 mi sono trasferita tre volte da appartamenti condivisi ad appartamenti interi. Ho studiato corsi di inglese, svedese e relativi a materie culturali. I crediti mi verranno calcolati se un giorno vorrò iscrivermi a dei corsi che richiedono la frequenza ad altri corsi, e sicuramente questo anno di studio in inglese mi è servito per prepararmi ai tre anni che passerò a studiare a Malmö da fine agosto in poi. Per chi se lo chiedesse, ad aprile ho ricevuto l’ammissione all’università di Malmö, aspettata per un anno e mezzo diciamo, al programma di laurea triennale chiamato Migrazione Internazionale e Relazioni Etniche. Le lezioni inizieranno il 29 agosto e mi trasferirò il 24 nell’appartamento studentesco che ho ricevuto a inizio luglio mentre lavoravo alle Åland.

Quindi eccomi qui, dopo un mese di primo lavoro come cameriera alle isole Åland, e dopo tantissimi mesi di attesa, seduta al computer, con dei fogli di una lettera da inviare ad una ragazza incontrata nel mio viaggio fatto da sola in Polonia, ragazza che è diventata pen friend e compagna di futuri viaggi. Pensando a come l’appartamento dovrà essere arredato, a come organizzerò le attività, come si arriva in bici da casa all’università, che lavoro troverò, i miei prossimi viaggi ed altro ancora…ma per ora l’obiettivo estivo è quello di abbronzarsi!

Tra gelati, pizze, sole e chiacchiere a voci alte, mi sto godendo l’Italia dalla quale mi assento per mesi quando sono in Svezia, ma il caffè svedese, il silenzio in biblioteca, le giornate limpide ma fresche mi mancano sempre in un certo senso.

Ora vi lascio, a presto!

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Of new goodbyes, new plans and coffee addiction.

I never manage to leave places I have been living in for a while without gather so many memories. Maybe it is just because I am growing, or the routine of travelling makes appreciate every single minute. Or the philosophy of always changing and getting better thanks to what we have gone through in the past. Or maybe the quotes by Henri Bengtson I studied on my last year of school, saying that “The pure present is an ungraspable advance of the past devouring the future. In truth, all sensation is already memory.” is really starting  to be part of me.

I am writing a short post, my English got worse in this month since I spoke Swedish all the day, but there are always pros and cons for everything right?

Tomorrow I am leaving heading to Italy. Friends, family, Italian food and talks of this and that have been missing. Every time I go back to my country it feels like the first time, though after a few times I did it, now I am not as excited as I used to be in the past. Sweden feels like home now and when I dring cappuccino I miss the Swedish coffee, “to talk” very much to everyone because otherwise I look “shy” makes me always missing the silent and peace among Swedish people. The first times, seeing that nothing had changed back in Italy was kind of a disappointment, now I am nothing else than happy to have something to go back to, to compare Sweden with.

“It takes three seconds to give an impression of yourself to someone else”…I heard when I started to work at the restaurant some weeks ago. Nothing more true than this if you are working in a restaurant…you can’t help people? Still smile and say you’ll come to them very soon. Incredible how you get to learn in a “short” time as a month if you start to work in a new place.

Tomorrow I will wake up soon and get the ferry to Stockholm, then bus, bus, and plane to Rome. 30° and thunders are waiting for me tomorrow there and smog is not going to miss!

The time of staying alive thanks to coffee will be soon over…my Italian part is soon gonna recommend to me not to drink more than an espresso or cappuccino each day 😉

I will start this new part of my life with my new experience in Malmö with the book, The way, the walk and the life by Fredrik Lång (Vägen, vandringen och livet) bought in a second hand store of Mariehamn, looking as always for a literary souvenir from abroad.

I need to sleep now, I will write to you in the next days.

And I promise, I am coming back to Åland, I will see you soon!

Sulle Åland i giorni sono passati molto velocemente ma vissuti intensamente. Da domani fino a domenica lavorerò al ristorante e poi lunedì partirò per amcora non so dove. Quasi completamente sorpresa, una settimana fa ho ricevuto una chiamata da Malmö, sapendo che si trattava ovviamente dell’appartamento studentesco. Sono molto felice di aver ricevuto il contratto per un bilocale di 39mq, in un palazzo/casa studentesco/a a 15 minuti in bici dall’università che si trova davanti alla stazione centrale. Ora il prossimo passo è tornare nel Värmland e trasferirsi a Malmö per poi tornare a Roma, o forse il contrario? I tempi stringono e l’organizzazione di tutti questi passaggi è abbastanza complicata, ma ora che già sono quasi alla fine della mia prima vera esperienza di lavoro, tutto sembra almeno un pizzico più facile.

 

La scorsa settimana è stata massacrante riguardo al lavoro, avendo lavorato per sei giorni di fila per almeno dieci ore al giorno. Ma poi la mia famiglia è venuta a trovarmi da Roma e sono riuscita a rilassarmi in questi miei tre giorni liberi. Domani si torna a lavoro piena di carica!

Non ci siamo fatti mancare le visite al ristorante Smakbyn dove lavoro, con tanto di dessert all’aperto e cena all’interno ieri sera!

Un paio di giorni fa ho fatto invece la mia seconda sauna finlandese qui alle Åland, temperatura a 98 gradi e acqua sempre pronta per essere gettata sul carbone. Doccia gelata ogni quarto d’ora e muscoli rilassati! Ecco qualche foto!

Ieri sera verso le dieci…ovvero prima del tramonto…cervi e cerbiatti giravano per la foresta e ne abbiamo osservati a decine dalla macchina…a presto qualche foto!

Ora ho appena finito di schizzare qualche idea di arredamento per l’appartamento di Malmö, e crollerò a dormire tra pochissimo!

A presto!

Di matrimoni svedesi e balli antichi scandinavi

30 giugno

Diciamo che parlare di accento calabrese, liquore messo nelle pesche dolci al cioccolato e sensazione di stare al paese dei nonni non credo vada d’accordo con lo scrivere post in inglese, svedese o altra lingua diversa dall’italiano. Quindi eccomi qui scrivendo questo altro aggiornamento da un’isola super svedese ma della quale gli abitanti si ritengono molto patriottici (secondo la famiglia svedese – non delle Åland – di questa ragazza conosciuta martedì) e protettivi del territorio (non puoi comprare una casa o un terreno a meno che non sei cittadino delle isole Åland, il che vuol dire aver vissuto qui per almeno cinque anni)

Martedì 5 giugno

Sfrutto la mia insonnia dovuta all’eccitazione da primo lavoro e dall’ora in più di luce (come se non fosse già bastato vedere scendere il Sole alle 22,30 in Svezia – nel Värmland!). Come forse avevo anticipato e raccontato, lunedì scorso ho avuto un’introduzione al ristorante, e poi ho lavorato tre ore. Venerdì scorso (fino a ieri, lunedì) invece ho iniziato il mio orario regolare, dalle 16 alle 23 escludendo sabato, dato che dovevamo servire per un matrimonio, ho lavorato dalle 14,30 alle 01.30. Proprio di questo vorrei parlare!

Giovedì scorso, 30 giugno, ho seguito la famiglia con cui vivo ad una serata barbecue ad un camping vicino alla spiaggia, nel centro dell’arcipelago. Berit è stata organizzatrice e responsabile di un festival di danze popolari di vari paesi del nord, e questa serata è stata un raduno dei vari partecipanti. Musica tradizionale e danze tipiche soprattutto da tradizioni antiche danesi e norvegesi. Quando ce ne stavamo per andare io e Sofi, una delle sorelle della famiglia abbiamo cercato di farci spazio in un cerchio strettissimo di danzatori molto felici – ed alcuni molto ubriachi – provenienti da tutto il nord che ballavano e cantavano, a volte non conoscendo la lingua ma capendo comunque. tra le tante, Sinklars vísa è una delle due che abbiamo ballato. Ritmo regolare, molti versi e sempre due passi da ricordare, due a sinistra e uno a destra. La danza che vedete nel video è esattamente quella che abbiamo danzato noi! Davvero bello poter conoscere cose così nuove e diverse! La canzone è originaria della Norvegia, e le parole narrano la battaglia di Kringen avenuta nel 1612 ad Otta, in Norvegia . Qui trovate informazioni in inglese sulla battaglia – e qui in italiano anche in generale sulla guerra di Kalmar, mentre qui il testo completo in originale e la traduzione in inglese.

 

Per continuare, sabato c´è stato il matrimonio e anche quella giornata è stata una bella esperienza – ovvero assistere ad una festa di matrimonio svedese! Sicuramente molto diverso dai matrimoni italiani, la cena è statamolto tranquilla all’inizio, non c´è stata né musica né nessuno che ballava fino alle 23.00. La serata è stata piena di discorsi – gli svedesi sono molto attenti alle tradizioni, burocrazie e diplomazie varie in certe occasioni! e, sopresa sorpresa, giochi di gruppo! Una delle prime canzoni – che poi hanno anche accompagnato alcuni brindisi – diceva “chi gioca a calcio si alzi dalla sedia” “chi è fidanzato faccia una piroetta” e “chi ha figli faccia un inchino”. E ogni mezz’ora per qualche motivo sconosciuto a tutti noi camerieri, un gruppo di gente iniziava a correre intorno al tavolo passando dagli sposi e facendo qualcosa che mi è sfuggito dato che in quel momento cercavo di non essere colpita da questa carica di gente che correva e di rimanere in equilibrio con il mio vassoio pieno di bicchieri di cristallo 😀 Alle 23 la band ha iniziato a suonare e anche se eravamo molto stanchi la musica ha aiutato molto, anche se trattenersi dal ballare è stato difficilissimo per me! Sono stata fortunata ad essere stata mandata a casa all’uan e trenta perché alcuni sono ovviamente dovuti stare fino alla fine, ovvero alle 4,30!

Comunque…qui sotto potete sentire uno dei brani da brindisi che si cantano in Svezia, questo l’ho anche cantato con il coro dell’università di Karlstad!

Qui alle Åland è l’una di notte. Anche se l’insonnia ha fatto i suoi danni nelle scorse due notti, ora cerco di addormentarmi che domani sarà il mio secondo giorno di riposo e avrò una prima festa con i colleghi di lavoro a casa di una ragazza. Barbecue, sauna, e pallavolo…non suona male vero? All’ultimo minuto prima di andare a dormire sono anche riuscita ad organizzare un passaggio per l’andata e il ritorno…il non avere la patente si fa sentire qui al Nord! Soprattutto quando l’ultimo autobus passa alle 6 e il primo la mattina alle 7.

Perdonate gli errori sintattici se ci sono, ma sono abbastanza stanca e ormai non scrivo in italiano da molto tempo. Mi piace molto di più scrivere in inglese ma ciò esclude molti lettori dal leggere i post (compresi i miei nonni!) e quindi devo trattenermi e scrivere in italiano!

Ora vi saluto! A presto e buonanotte!

P.S. Credo che la confusione riguardo a dove le isole Åland si trovino sia ai massimi livelli tra i lettori dei miei post. E vi capisco! Quindi vi darò una breve spiegazione. Le Åland appartenevano in passato alla Svezia e poi per qualche casino storico di cui potete sicuramente leggere qui se volete 😀 le Åland sono mezze indipendenti, ma legate legislativamente e politicamente – anche se hanno un proprio governo e parlamento! – alla Finlandia, e culturalmente e linguisticamente alla Svezia! Confusione ancora eh? Insomma, in poche parole sono in Svezia!

E poi, mi sono appena resa conto di aver tralasciato alcune cose accennate nel primo paragrafo! Appena potrò ci ritornerò e scriverò tutto 😀

Paddling, chilling, and sunbathing.

Wait, yet, where am I?

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I am not gonna say I feel already at home at Åland, or maybe I should. The thing is that now, as long as I have a place to stay and a roof on my head I do not longer need too long time to feel myself comfortable in a new place. For some months ago, starting a new activity I would feel the need of meeting persons in that group, but now I just panic and stress a bit before arriving in a new place though I know I will meet people quite soon after approaching that new place. Åland – talking about this – has been kind of a surprise to me. I knew I would meet someone during this month and that I probably would not have that much time to meet people because of shifts at the restaurant, but the thing is that a lot of things just happened from the very beginning of my stay here.

News of the day
Meeting this girl yesterday at the lake was one of the things that made my routine rolling faster than I would have ever imagined. Together with one of the sisters we went to the lake this mornign around 11.00 and laid on the platform sunbathing a lot, drinking coffee with the sound of the water and talking very much. Later Linnea – the girl from Karlstad – and me took a kayak and paddled up to Kastelholms slott. There are so many images I would like to share with you but as long as I do not find the camera cable that will not be possible. Everything is pushed into my trolley, the only thing is that right now I just have everything there and things are not as easy as it may sound 😀 So, patience and I will publish images soon 🙂 🙂 Btw, as I was saying, the castle is close to the restaurant, and after the kayak part we bought a ice cream and sat in the sun, and later again we visited the little prison in the old village. Intresting and cheap! We canoed back home with a bit of head-wind but it was ok. In the evening I was invited for dinner at their place, and crap what a nice house they have, together with the view from the terrace. For those who  already follow me from my exchange year in 2013, you maybe remember the images of Carl Larsson’s family house, full of colors and really particular architecture inside – besides, those furnitures ispired many IKEA furnitures! And if you do not, sure you can check here and here don’t you? 😛 Sorry for that, I just saw it is in Italian, but sure you can use a browser translator right? 😀 Well, the house I visited today was not much different from that, incredibly nice. We ate a traditional Swedish summer dinner I would say, on the balcony eating grilled meat and sallad, finished with sitting on the sofas outside drinking coffee – is there something sounding wrong with all that? At least I am sure I will have energy to keep finishing writing the post and maybe uploading images!!! 😉

I am so happy to be familiar with the Swedish way of living. If a thing does not work at the moment, it will. If something goes wrong, it will surely be better. There are no bad weather conditions just bad clothes. If you learn how to experience every season of the year you will never get depressed during winter. Feeling bad about one thing will not make things any better. And drink coffee for God sake, that surely will help any pain!

I am developing my Swedish as I ever could imagine, Åland is much more similar to Sweden than it may seem, it is actually the same, and products are being imported from both Sweden and Finland, it is very incredible to be here 😀

When I move from Sweden I often keep with me that part of cultural background I learnt about Sweden and which I made mine. It works just like this, I meet people and Imost often behave as a Swede than everything else, still keeping by deepest Italian cultural background. But ways of greetings, of feeling comfortable at almost strangers’ places, being able to see silence as a pause between talks and not just as a miss, always still stay with me when meeting at least Sweds and others from Scandinavia – often just no Italian people. When I speak Swedish I am often a bit more relaxed, while with the English I speak very fast and let me Italian accent flow stronger 🙂
Another curious thing is that when I speak with Sweds about Sweden I always see myself – a bit of course, not directly and completely – as one coming from Värmland, and I find this very interesting. It was actually very interesting how I could feel linked to Värmland and Karlstad when today I spoke very much about Karlstad with Linnea who has been living there all her life!

For those who are EU-citizens and can speak any nordic languages, I really recommend Nordjobb, since I think is an enormous opportunity to take the first steps in the working environment and get some experience, as get as having a work place in some of the nicest and most relaxing places in Europe 🙂 More info will come later in next posts 🙂

See you soon, I’ll crush in my bed watching a film!

First days, Swedish feeling

Hi again! Quarter past eleven in the night here at the Åland islands, still very tired as it was 1.00 a.m., I guess my brain is still processing all the things happening here!

Yesterday was the first time I was at the restaurant, I forgot to write in the blog but I actually had an intro to the restaurant and then got the chance to work 18 to 21. Many things going on since I never worked in a restaurant before, but it looks very intresting and motivating to be there, so I look forward to my next shifts. Nice “colleagues” (makes me feel so old to say this word!) and very nice environment!

At home – Berit and one of the sons had picked me up at the restaurant – we sat watching a part of England-Island cheering so badly for the latest! I went to bed around 23.30 incredibly tired. Woke up this morning again around  10,30 and had breakfast. Lunch later and then sat in the sun for a while, as well as reading some papers I got from the restaurant yesterday. We had dinner outside and then I got a walk around to explore a bit the place. When I came back from the lake the all family was going to take a bath and I followed them there again. The funny thing is that among the family’s acquaintances is a family from Karlstad, and the daughter reached us at the lake. We talked a bit and tomorrow we’ll take a kayak tour. Things are happening just after some hours, always so exciting to travel!

When we went home I was actually planning to watch a movie on my own in the bed before starting to sleep, but I was very glad to be called from downstairs to help set the table before a “kvälls te” (an evening tea) with the family. I really appreciated that and had a pleasure time with them – everyone is very talkative which is so similar to my way of being. Feels like I will get along pretty good with the siblings!

I need to sleep now, I’ll see you soon!

Where am I? Of foggy (is)lands, boat names and new dialects.

Monday, 27th June 2016

Try to imagine my face when, finally arrived on the island of Åland, in the harbor of Mariehamn, I was welcomed by a tall, thin, super kind and nice woman – I had been talking to her with e-mail in the last weeks – who met me in a very warm way and gave me a very warm hug. The trip has been a long one yesterday. I left the campus in Karlstad after having breakfast with some friends and at 8,45 my bus was leaving to the bus station. I then took the first bus to Stockholm, and here the adventure starts. A police car was in front of us and someone from the inside told the bus driver to stop. Thee “old uncle” as it was later called by the woman driving the bus, gave her a alcohol test and told her that the destination on the screen should not be blinking. Well, for such a stupid thing we waited for 20 minutes, and the bus company had to call the train company to ask if the train from Örebro which many where going to take, could stop and wait for the bus passengers. Well, when the woman who was driving the bus told us what had just happened, she was very anxious about the consequences and a bit angry…so at the end she got a warm applaude! Rain, warmth and heavy luggages when I changed the bus. Arrived in Stockholm I was very tired after some hours of sitting in the bus. I had lunch in the station, went around a lot, took a coffee, had videochat and calls, reda and wrote on my blog, spoke with someone at the very end. I then took the bus to the harbor which would take a hour to be reached. The funniest thing is that the boat is called Rosella! Super foggy had been already in Sweden, but on the way to the harbor and all the way to the island it was impossible to see anything, so you can really imagine how boring the journey was!

On the bus to the harbor the driver was also very funny, he took the microphone and said something like “well welcome onboard, just say that I would have really liked not to be working in the Midsummer weekend but this is life…well, let’s drive on this (“rondella” in Italian, can’t find the word since I don’t have internet) just once otherwise they get angry!

Differently from what I was expecting, nobody here speaks Swedish with a very strong accent (or is, actually, a dialect) and I actually missed the thing that they are not at all bilingual in the Åland island, but the first language is Swedish, and when they grow up they start with studying English and then Swedish. Berit is the name of the woman who came and pick me up, and since I will stay here for a month and I have already lived with a host-family for a long time, I definitely feel part of the family – as long as they tell me I can do so, and she did! Since we were going to pick up one of her children to another harbor at 1.00 a.m. (Finland is a hour more than Sweden) she drove me everywhere in the island to show me things a bit, even though unfortunately it was incredibly foggy, which was a nice experience anyway. Brit told me a lot about everything, including the thing that one-hundred-fifty folk dancers from Sweden will come in this week for the Nordic Fold Dance festival, and that she is managing a lot of things related to that. Moreover, they will eat on Thursday at Smakbyn, the restaurant where I will start to work today.

When we went and pick up the daughter at the harbor in the other side of the island, it was not at all cold but very very foggy – around 14°! I can just say that Berit is Finnish from the strong “r” she has sometimes, but the eldest daughter sounds completely Swedish!

It took a hour to go home after the harbor, so we were at home at 2.00 local time. The house is very nice and big! They have vegetables and fruits cultivation and the house is just in front of a forest and close to the water. The son works in a bike shop and we will have to try to find a bike for myself, since I am very short compared to the people here! So, this is gonna be funny as well! Berit showed me the house and when I went upstairs some animal skins where just hanged close to my bed! But I was so tired I got asleep very fast!
Berit’s husband I have heard works in the forest! and that really makes me feel of stories about trolls and fairies in the north, I know that’s stupid, but it just does!

I am totally surprised about how many things I have to tell after less then 5 hours awake here in Åland.

Funny thing? Meeting people from the Åland is making me feel very Swedish! And I guess many thinks that I am a Swede with Italian background!

Another funny one? The word “tatti” – my surname – means a kind of mushroom in Finnish!

They just asked me if I wanted to put something in the laundry starting now, that’s not really Italian is not it? I mean putting your clothes in almost strangers laundries, but as said, here in Scandinavia people really welcome you as a part of the family almost right away, then it stands to you to accept the invitation or not! So, I really got used to this and I like it!

Well, I got breakfast with porridge, strawberries, apple mousse and smashed raspberries! I will have a little lunch later, but first I will need to study the menu of the restaurant and got used with the different ways of preparing the table for new guests. If there will not be any new work shifts for me in this week, I will start to work on the 1st of July which is this coming Friday, and for the following three days, including serving at a wedding on Saturday the 2nd!

I will see you soon, and sorry to my family and friends if I cannot answer but I do not have internet, maybe I will not buy it either, since it is just for a month! Maybe I will just use a bit from the house’ internet to publish my posts 🙂

See you soon and have a nice start of the week!

Varmt och fuktigt

Sitter i centralstationen i Stockholm. En kopp kaffe bredvid mig och jag väntar att den ska kyla ner. Skjol och kort armat tröja gör mig inte känna mindre stressad och kallare än luften är. Regn och varmt har det varit under hela resan som jag började i morse från Karlstad till Stockholm. Trafik under sista delen från Västerås, och i början fick chaufforen stanna då destinationen blinkte på bussen och enligt polisen var inte det o helt ok, antagligen. Blev 20 minuter försenat men ankom i Stockholm ändå i tid.

Åt en macka på Subway och lugnade mig lite en stund innan jag gick och satt mig på stationen. Backpacking verkar vara top resstil just nu. Ser fram emot och göra en sånt trip igen, utan att boka tak över huvud eller annat.

Ska dricka min kaffe nu, och läsa Solstorm av Åsa Larsson. Kl.18 ska jag ta bussen som åker till hamnen och åka då båten till Mariehamn, på Åland. Där ska familjen där jag kommer att bo på en månad hämta mig.

Har introduktion imorgon på restaurangen och ska faktiskt ta mitt första passet imorgon. Märkte att på lördag blir det bröllop på restaurangen. Ser faktiskt fram emot att jobba den dag 🙂 😉

Ses snart och ha en bra söndag! 😉

Frammenti di lacrime

 

 

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

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

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

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

Of dancing frogs, about sleeping on flowers and midnight baths

..and the ****** (*) on its way…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* -> Winter

Sul bordo dell’età adulta

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

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

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

Buonanotte! 🙂

Chi arriva, chi se ne va

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Goodnight!

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

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

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

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

Heading to Warsaw, Poland

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

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

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

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

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

An acoustic version of Welcome Home by Radical Face.

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

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

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

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

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

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

____

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

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

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

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

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