Visiting the Amerigo Vespucci sailing ship!

One of my passions, a part from writing and fantasy, are ships and pirates!

Sometimes I think that an awful lot of my posts begin with “one of my passions”, and maybe this could be the reason why I find hard job to gather the time to second and nurture them…they’re simply too many.

I know I should concentrate on one at time, but it’s kind of difficult to me.

But that’s me, right? Unless I decide to change completely my brain and way of thinking, I guess I’ll have to figure out a way to do so!

Vespucci 2

So where was I? Oh yeah, Amerigo Vespucci is an 83 meters long sailing ship the marine cadets of Livorno use at the end of every first year of academy. They go on a 3 months training trip and, from what I learned, I can tell you that their training it’s pretty hard, both physically and mentally.

I saw it docked near my new office.

It’s not unusual seeing tall ships docked near there, as I work in the port area. For how big my passion is, however, I never managed to go and visit one. I only went close and watched the outside while rushing for work or home, but the crew wasn’t there.

This time around I found out they were organizing tours of the ship, but the visit times were exactly matching my working shift, lunch break included. It was so sad. The ship was leaving in a couple of days and once again I wouldn’t manage to visit it.

However, one of my colleagues that very day announced that in her partner’s office were organizing a guided tour for the Vespucci. If she wanted she could join with a couple of people more.

Needless to say that I secured a place with her, starting immediately my giggling spell that lasted the whole day! I must have looked like a frigging idiot! Or a lunatic, you pick! The truth was only one: this was a dream becoming true!

I was getting on board! I couldn’t believe it!!!

I know that I might seem a bit nut or weird, but to me, boarding, although for a few minutes, on a sailing ship was one of the best things I’ve ever done.

All my attention was concentrate on the ship and the bits and pieces that built up together form that marvel.

I barely noticed the officials, the cadets and the Capitan unless they were saying something interesting about the ship and its parts.

I asked this official, I actually don’t know the name of, many question about which one were the shrouds, details about the sails and speed in knots and the relation in between the two of them.

I found all these extremely fascinating and interesting.

Also I realized, with a pinch of sadness, that I made a huge mistake.

I don’t know if I told you already, the very first book I wrote was in Italian and it was about pirates – of course! – and ships. During the trip and the explanation on the Vespucci, I understood that some elements, crew number and basic navigation technique and details in my story were completely wrong.

I felt both bad and excited. Bad because, if I had the arrogance of editing and sending to an editor, I might have been mistaken for one cheater author who writes about specific stuff without having enough knowledge about it.

On the other hand, also I felt excited because I could confirm that I can learn more, that there are so many things I don’t know yet. 

It’s something really amazing.

Vespucci 3

Once again I want to thank so much Nicole and her partner for giving me this fantastic opportunity; and you, my dear readers, for reading until the end this post full of nonsense for any other person but me!

I hope, anyway, you will enjoy some of the pictures.

Do you have anything you like so much that makes you lose the control? That you love so much that you cannot regain the said control although you’re struggling hard in the attempt?

Let me know in the comments below!

And of course, in case you know any website where to read and learn all about ships and pirates, please, I beg you, write it here for me!

Vespucci 1

Kudos to a fellow writer!

Click to link the Facebook page of the artist.

You all know, my dear readers, that my biggest dream would be being a published writer.

However, I’m not talking about me in this post!

I want to tell you about a fellow aspiring writer who is trying her best to do something I’m not very good at.

Yes, because, I read, I plot and I try to start writing…but these are just side dishes of the main course: complete what I’ve started. Something I am apparently unable to do.

This other writer instead is very good at it, so she’s just inspiring in her way of living!

Her name is Michela and she’s Italian too. I don’t know her personally as I’ve met her only once for five minutes but we keep in touch online.

A mutual friend introduced each other as, a part from writing, we have something else in common: our passion for Jack Black!

Actually even in that she’s more involved than me! She’s a winner, folks!

The reason why I’m writing this post is to prize her. Despite being very good and talented, I’m not sure she realizes how good and talented she is, so I hope I’ll manage to carve here a reminder for the tougher moments.

Let’s face the truth, we all have those nasty spells.

I’ve just finished to read the second volume of her series called “I racconti di Kel”, a high fantasy with a rather original story.

I won’t talk here of the story itself, although I think you would like it. However, it’s still a private thing and I think she prefers this way for now. Besides, this isn’t the point of the whole speech here!

The point is that I admire her, because she’s very strong and determined and very much the person I’d like to become.

I always complain I don’t have much time or I’m tired, but the truth is that I like of determination… I guess.

Michela works in an ice cream store and every morning starts her job at 5. Afterwards she goes back home and usually takes care of her niece and nephew and then she helps in the house. When she’s done with all these, or when has some spare times she writes.

She managed to finish and edit two big volumes doing as such and just for this I think she deserves admiration.

But not only.

Another reason I respect her for is something I had at the very beginning, something I partly lost after all the workshops I’ve made for years: the art of improvising and following the instinct.

Lastly I admire her for the unconditioned love for her characters. Mind, I love mine too and I get attached to my characters as well, but she’s far ahead on this point also.

She wanted to bring them alive and able to see them and touch them, so she asked to other two girls, as talented as she is, to reproduce them in drawing and in 3D.

I’ll insert in this post two pictures, one for each one of them.

I’ll also link their personal space, so feel free to have a look at their work, you just click on the pictures. I think it’s worth your time.

In conclusion, I want to thank Michela for teaching me a great lesson…well, actually more than one!

Also I want to wish her best, because although she thinks she just wrote this story for herself, I firmly believe she could go much further than that!!!

And most of all, please keep writing the third volume as I want to know how the story goes!

Good luck!

The link soon to come! Look further down!

 

EDIT:

Since the artists whose works are in the last picture are more than one, following I’m going to list the names, clicking on the hyperlinks you’ll reach their Facebook Pages:

Elisabetta Piras

Il magico mondo di Ploppi

Il regno di Lot

GretArtist Déco

 

Italian Embassy VS Franny. This time is 0-1!

Google search but absolutely perfect!

One of the most annoying things if you live abroad, is the necessity to use your country services.

I’ve complained already on this pages about the scarce service we receive, but, please, bear with me, I had to do it again.

However, this time I can say the frustration has a little satisfaction added to the mix.

The reason why I needed the Embassy this time was linked to a form I needed to fill for Maya.

I called them at the end of June asking for information. The reply I got was “Go to the website and download the form then sent it to us by post”

“I don’t trust post” I said “Can I do with emails?”

“Oh yes, of course, you can send it over to our PEC address”.

And this is exactly what I did.

I decided to send the documentation to both their addresses since I didn’t trust them either, the normal address sent the email back and the PEC went through.

Also, because I still didn’t trust them, I decided to call the office a few days later to check whether the email was arrived or not.

The very same voice that was so nice two weeks before in giving me all the information, this time was kind of hysterical.

He almost shouted me saying that I shouldn’t have sent it to that address and that I cannot expect them to fill the form so quickly.

That was weird, last year I went to the office, during normal office hours and they did it in a few minutes.

At least he confirmed he received it.

Eventually, since I had to leave a few days later and I really needed the form, I went to the office in my day off and waited in the queue.

As you might have guessed I prepared a copy of the documentation I needed because I didn’t trust them, although they said they received.

When you go to that office you know for sure three things: the time you arrive, that you’ll never know when you’ll get out and that you’ll be pissed by the end of the process. The most of the times you’ll have to argue too!

Public offices in Italy don’t work properly and this one is no exception. We’re not in Italy but once in there you’re trapped in this parallel reality you need in order to accomplish your mission!!!

I reached the office then and I met at the gate one of my team mates, Cri, who was a little bit more positive about the place…but just for the first half an hour!

Everybody is tricked at least once!

Of course you don’t take a number when you arrive and you look around in order to memorize whomever might be before you. But here is the trick: one of the windows is dedicated to passports appointments so you lose a bit the count. Reason is that even those who has the appointment have to wait in the same queue.

Eventually one genius came in asking “Who’s the last one?” like the old ladies do at the GP’s in Italy…simple but effective, why didn’t I think of this before?!

Anyway, when my turn arrived I went to the window with the full documentation and the lady said “Oh thanks, we’ll fix an appointment to have it collected!”

No, hold the horses….what?

You see? The satisfaction I was mentioning before was referred to my reaction. The old Franny would have complained a bit and then go away with her chin down hoping against hope to make it on time!

This time no, I pointed my feet on the spot and explained my reason. I told them that last year I had the very same form done on the spot. And, for the records, I sent an email and the called to check the email was arrived. Only after over a week of silence I decided to show up!

They said the procedure had changed and the email couldn’t be found. When I showed the email on the phone they complained the address I sent it to was wrong, even with a tone of mockery like I was a poor idiot who sent to the wrong address. They actually suggested that address to me when I called the very first time!!! Besides, nobody bothered to tell me the procedure was chanced!

I apologize, my dear readers, I don’t read minds yet!

I started to rise the voice until an old lady was called, she explained that the procedure was changed and that I should have followed the passports one.

I said that I would have done it, if I knew it! If they didn’t write it on the website and nobody told me during the informative calls I made, how I was supposed to know it?

The old lady shrinking in her shoulders told me “We write loads of things but people don’t read!”

“You don’t say…I do the same job” I said, although I specified that it’s not exactly rocket science to have the waiting period specified next to each form!

To make the story short, eventually I got my form, although I had to wait an incredibly long time in that hole of an office!

And with this, I think I can say I won!

Damn embassy!

What do you think? Do you live abroad?

If so, do you need your embassy often?

How is it?

Let me know in the comments below, I’m very curious!

Congratulations, bro!

Congrats to Giuseppe too! The other guy in the pic! Same kudos!

 

 Last week I went back to Italy in order to attend my brother’s graduation.

Finally, he got his Master Degree in ophthalmic surgery.

Congrats!

I know that, once again, I haven’t update the blog for a while and that this post won’t be long, but I have to publish at least a few words just to let my readers know how much proud I am of my little brother.

We were born only three and half years apart and, unfortunately, we’ve never been very close.

However, I have to say, with my great delight, that a few years ago we cleared our issues and problems, that alas! sometimes weren’t created by ourselves, and we’re getting closer and closer as the time goes by and as it should be, despite sometimes not much help is given from around us!

Said that, I have to grant him something, which is the reason why I’m so very proud of him: he’s a self-made doctor!

It has been a very long and tough route the one he decided for his future, in a country where usually only those who know people manage to go onward and ahead!

Instead, although he didn’t manage to pass the first year’s test to get into the medicine faculty, he refused any help to be “pushed forward” from everyone who offered it.

He decided from the beginning that the only way he was going to make it, was with his own strength!

He tried again the next year and managed to get in! Big wow and kudos!

Then there was a huge, gigantic, massive quantity of difficult exams to pass before he could access to the first graduation after 6 years.

After this first goal, there was the Master Degree! He picked ophthalmic surgery and finally, on the 15th of July, he gave it a closure.

I’m so happy and proud of him!

Now the world is his to explore and I wish my lil’ bro all the best!

Actually, considering that he started to work immediately the day after his graduation, it seems the world as well has noticed his ability and potential!

A special thanks goes to my sweet sister in law, who’s dedicating her life to make my brother’s easier.

It’s not easy, I guess, to live with a doctor and I think she’s showing incredible sweetness and selflessness. In other words, she’s doing a damn good job! Kudos to her too!

So best of luck to my awesome brother and his sweet partner in crime!

Love you guys!

 

Maya’s Montessori Graduation Day.

Graduation 1Graduation 2

And after a couple of dark posts full of anxiety, let me tell you something funny and for me also moving!

My daughter is four and half and last week graduated from the Montessori school she attended for the last year.

It’s such a happy moment and also confusing.

She’s my fist child.

It seems yesterday she was born and, puff, she’s already four and half and ready for the Junior Infant she’ll start in September. To be honest with you, I am still trying to figure out how to be a mum.

Part of me is in awe, but part of me is trying to pin my feet on the ground and to slow down this rush. “Hold on, hold on! This is going so much fast!”

It seems that as soon as I manage to grasp a detail, immediately after I have a new challenge in front of me.

I’m so happy I managed to take the day off and attend to the play and graduation.

There must be something very wrong with my hormones still, because I had a knot in my throat since I entered the crèche. We were accommodated in the room the kids usually use for their lessons that was prepared to function as small theatre.

There were three houses made of cardboard and on the background a forest made of the same material. On the shelf on the right hand-side of the room the graduation hats and folder were sitting.

Everything was so exciting.

Then the kids were brought in and started with their play.

Maya was the white wolf in the “The three little pigs” and I have to say she’s not shy at all, screaming all her lines.

It was so nice to watch her and attend to this event, I feel moved even now, writing about it. Yeah, there must be something wrong with me!

After “The three little pigs” and “Goldilocks and the three bears” plays the kids wore their graduation T-shirt and hats and were put in line for the pictures.

The nice and proud sensation it gave me!

After the graduation we went home and I prepared, under request, a huge plate of lasagne! Best way to celebrate my little one!

Thanks for reading, and for bearing with me!

I know that sometimes this “celebrating my kids because I’m very proud of them” may sound annoying, but I have to do it this time.

Mostly this was also a novelty as I don’t remember we had something like this in Italy, at least when I attended the Montessori.

So what do you think? Where do you connect from? How does it work there?

Write in the comments below!

Graduation 3 Graduation 4

Out of the comfort zone – Bronchoscopy!

day before

I’ve been doing some medical checks lately and, as I mentioned in my previous post, I had to do a bronchoscopy on last Monday.

Since this is a very big jump out of my comfort zone, I’ll tell you about it.

At the same time the expat topic can be brought to attention as well, so I guess it’s double interesting!

Since I’ve never drunk, smoked or used any drugs at all I’ve always had a body and health of a happy 90 years old lady for some reason!

Because of that I had to be checked a couple of times with this test too. With this one included I’ve done it three times.

Before I go on I want to give you an overview of the first two experiences, just to let you understand the reason why it’s important to me write down my latest occurrence.

The very first bronchoscopy I had done was in Pisa, in Italy. It was an absolutely barbaric process. No sedation was given to me, just a local anesthesia in the attempt to numb the throat, and off they went. They put me down on a stretch and, since my nose it was too small, so they said, they decided to put the camera down the throat into the bronchi.   

Useless to say that I was petrified with terror, I had my vocal chords touched and I couldn’t talk for a couple of days and worse of all, I had nightmares for one year solid.

Everybody would understand if I felt a bit panicking the next time I had to had this test done awake.

The doctor promised me I could have it done with total anesthesia as I didn’t see any other way of doing it.

When I was about to go in they decided to give me some Valium in order to calm me down, but it was useless. Once outside the room for bronchoscopy I started to sob so violently that my doctor was called. Apparently they tried to sedate me with two doses of sedation but it was so without effect that they had to call the anesthetist and knock me down completely.

You can imagine, then, what would be my reaction when they told me that I had to do a bronchoscopy a few days ago. A test I hate in a country that it’s not my origin one. Mostly how would I express anything medically related in another language?

My adrenaline went up to the sky and my fear along with it.

I’ve never tried any test so invasive here and, after changing the dentist, I thought that I was done with bravery in medical field in a place where I don’t know anybody and where my brother, who’s doctor, is very far away.

When they prospected the idea of doing it I told immediately to the doctor my previous experiences and I told her that, unless I was put to sleep, was impossible to perform this test.

She told me that it might not be necessary and that, in case, we would talk about it.

All good with that, but she called me on a Friday afternoon telling me that I should show up in endoscopy Monday morning.

I was in the street walking for errands. I stopped on the spot, petrified for the fright and unable to move a pace forward. I called my partner who told me he would get a day off in order to go with me as moral support.

I spent the following two days in panic and I couldn’t sleep the night before, I had the constant feeling I was about to vomit. The stomach was so much tight.

My partner was very good and once again stayed by my side.

So off we went in the morning, we brought Maya at the crèche. I had my hug from one of her sweetest teachers, E., who read my previous post and knew I was absolutely anxious.

Then we reached the hospital.

I asked at the main reception where endoscopy was and once there, I took a number for the check-in. My partner was desperately trying to make me feel better but he was past the point of any ability of distracting me. I couldn’t even say my name properly to the receptionist.

Then they called my name.

Terror!

We both rose from the chairs and I have still no clue how I brought myself to the door where the nurse was waiting for me.

She had a very gentle face and very dark eyes, she kept repeating that everything was going to be OK and a part of me wanted badly to believe her.

She took my details and said the doctor would be with me shortly. I thought I’d see again the one I spoke with a few days before, during the visit.

Instead I met another respiratory clinic doctor, Anne Marie if I remember well her name. She’s very tall and thin with one of the sweetest faces I’ve ever seen.

By then, however, I resumed my rocking on the chair and barely speaking. I told her once more the story behind my fear. She said we could wait a week more or we could try and wait for the other tests to be done. I was almost crying and kept telling her “My brother said it’s useful” or “But my brother told me it’s the more reliable test we can do”

So after she assured me we won’t do it unless I was completely unconscious, I agreed to have the line inserted in my arm and be brought in.

On the way to the second room I gave my partner, who had to wait outside, a kiss and then headed for the surgery room.

They put some anesthetic in my throat, the oxygen support in my nose and the pressure monitor to my arm and finger.

Then the doctor started to give me the sedation.

“So, your brother, what does he do?”

“He’s an ophthalmic surgeon” I said and I started to feel a bit drowsy already.

“Oh nice!” she said “He’s an eye guy!”

day

When I opened my eyes again I was in another room dedicated to those who ask for the sedation and have to shake it off a bit before being discharged.

The test was done!

I couldn’t believe it!

Now, I have no clue whether in Italy didn’t use the sedation and pretended they did or here the medicine is stronger. What I know is that it worked.

First thing I wanted to do was to thank the doctor but she was gone.

When I was reasonably awake they let me in another room where they gave me breakfast.

Then I was discharged.

To be honest with you, this is the nicest experience of the test so far.

I hope against hope that it will be the last time I have to do it, but I’m not that sure.

I have this chronic writer thing…I just wish that one day I’ll be published as well.

Thanks a lot for bearing the reading until now.

How about you?

Do you have any phobia? Do you know how to deal with it?

Have you ever done a test like this in a different country? How did it go?

Would you do it in case you needed?

Let me know in the comments below.

day after

Be a ninja!

I could have been a normal human being, living a normal boring and/or relaxed life, or, considering the amount of things I have to do, a juggler.

Since I’m not good in being neither of them, I decided I’d be a ninja.

Ninjas are great, and also they have that exotic flavor added to being cool.

I know I’m not cool and I don’t like juggling, but I love ninja!

I know you are wondering what I’m talking about!

It’s understandable, only who knows me better can follow me in my thoughts and random rant.

This, my dear readers, is a mad rant or a rant voiced by my madness.

I’m very tired and I’m a tad sad as well, as I’m not able to do all the things I’d love to do…. everything as usual, right?

All these lines just to say the following: I’ve been trying to prepare a blog post for days, but I’d need a bit more time, so I decided to introduce you to my ninja family of three: ninja-ma, ninja-da and ninja-jr.

I realized I have to laugh about things, otherwise my brain will suffer more than is doing now, hence the idea. Also I love doodling, I’m not by all means an illustrator, and sometimes I try to convey in my doodle my feelings.

I don’t think they’re well drawn but I think they’re understandable.

I’m saying all this because I might share with you some more of my doodles in the future!

For now, here is my ninja family!

image