I figli della guerra

Ho iniziato ad incontrarli

ed hanno visi cicatrizzati da rovi

che nel cammino non sono riusciti

a fermare la loro fuga


Non hanno più di dieci anni

alcuni sono forse segnati a vita

poche parole escono dalle loro bocche

occhi che nelle foreste non riescono più a chiudersi come vorrebbero


Di padri con cui non riescono più a giocare

le mine hanno segnato le loro gambe

dolori e stampelle all’ordine del giorno

solo discorsi senza sosta ad allontanarli dai ricordi


Qualcuno sdrammatizza

si parla di sciabole minacce e ricatti

i più grandi quasi sorridono

ai ricordi di quelle torture


Mi giro
un bambino di otto anni carica un pennarello
su un fucile di rami
impaurito, quasi abituato, prende la mira




Kiruna – Malmö

From my point of view, coming back from a trip and sleep from 3.30 pm to 5.30 a.m. the following day is sort of a symbol for the amount of knowledge, energy, experiences and people met throughout the journey. As I am asked about the beauty of the place I visit I am often confused on the answer I should give. What I feel, takes way more than a 5 rows typed chat on messenger or an international call where emotions are impossible to show because of the inability to show facial expressions. That answer is about a personal perception of the place, the people met at a jewelry or the ones sitting by you when drinking a coffee, talking about places and understanding each other’s jokes as you are from Italy and they are from France. It is to not longer feel alone, after starting to exchange some words with some Australians in what before was a very empty kitchen in the hostel you are sleeping at, to then walk with them in the midnight sun.

National Geographic tells aspiring writers that what they are looking for is not a description of what a specific place is or looks like, or which things one may look forward to check out from their bucket list. They mainly look for a “basic” and “simple” thing: to awake in the reader the desire and will to leave and travel, and to just visit that place. Personal experiences are the most important as they embody that human character which a dry list of monuments, attractions and museums, may fail to transmit.

No city other than Kiruna among the ones I have visited so far, better embodies the difference of feelings that the sentence “I am coming back, I promise”, carries from place to place, person to person. Nature leaves you speechless as sun never sets and your body is not longer able to understand how much energy you are actually eager for.

I will soon write more about the journey, and going to load a bunch of photos more 🙂

A bit norther

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you soon 🙂


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

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

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

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

8 marzo , consigli ambientalisti e weekend primaverile

Venerdì, 10 marzo

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

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

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

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




La vita è sempre imprevedibile, si sa.

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

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


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

Sabato, 11 marzo

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Schermata 2017-03-11 alle 13.11.34

White flakes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Risultati immagini per swedes waiting for the bus20170208_075131

Come bambini – parte terza ed ultima

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As we were children – part one

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

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

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

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

Come bambini – parte prima

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

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

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

“Att lussa”, a verb for a secular tradition

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

So, what is all this fancy thing about?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I will see you soon!


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

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

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

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

Ci sentiamo al più presto (spero!)

p.s. Linkedin è una mano dal cielo 🙂


Gite fuori porta – Lund

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

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

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


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.



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.

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.

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!

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!

Paddling, chilling, and sunbathing.

Wait, yet, where am I?


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!

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! 😉

Of dancing frogs, about sleeping on flowers and midnight baths

..and the ****** (*) on its way…

…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!

Incontrando rifugiati, bici e barbeque nell’aria di Linköping

Mercoledì 11 maggio 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Walpurgis celebration in Sweden, a short guide

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let this weekend start!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Want to know about more funny things?

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

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

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

Have a nice evening, see you soon!