International day!

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I had another plan for today’s post. I was going to write a rant about the recent happenings.

However, I’ve had such a nice and positive morning on Thursday, that I decided to focus about a constructive thought, just for a change!

Thursday I got a day off in work and I could participate to the International day, organized by Maya’s school.

It was the first time for me and I hadn’t seen anything like it done in any Italian school I’ve been into. I absolutely loved it!

Representing, of course, Italy, I cooked lasagne and pizza, and I’m happy to say that I’ve taken home two empty trays. Many people made compliments while gobbling them up.

I’m happy, mostly because, despite having to rush through the last few days, preparing a bit every evening after work and dinner, it was definitely worth it.

It was a meeting of cultures, through food, dresses, pictures and music.

The tables displayed were Turkey, Iran, Italy, Philippines, Poland, Brazil, India, Germany, Nigeria, Ireland and Croatia.

I have to tell you that my taste buds have already booked a trip to Nigeria! The food is so amazing that if I’ll ever go there, I’ll have to stop eating at least a week before taking the flight, otherwise I’ll need two seats on the way back!

Apart from my favorite table, I tried as much as I could without exploding and everything was super delicious.

This confirms my theory, according to which it’s always better to try a dish cooked by a native person rather than going into a restaurant.

In a restaurant, it would never be the same or as good as something homemade!

Probably the best part of the whole thing is that children learn about diversity and other cultures. For me, in love with different countries, cultures, literatures, histories and languages, is the perfect reality in which to bring up Maya.

It’s a real pity in Italy we don’t do something alike. Facing and acknowledging different cultures encourage kids to be open minded.

Not surprising that in Italy the majority of people is still closed and adverse to diversity in any shape and shade it comes towards them.

Once again, I have a reason more to say I’m pretty happy to live here.

And speaking of diversity, let me ask some questions!

Where are you reading this blog from?

And what’s your favorite food? What’s your favorite county in the whole world?

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I’m satisfied when I watch action scenes.

 

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Samurai squirrel!

        

In a way connected with my second last post, I’ll publish this.

I’m sorry to bother you, my dear readers, but I’m living a period at the moment where the main feeling is the one of being powerless. Everything seems happening continuously leaving me with no choice.

I need at least to feel I’m in control and powerful and strong in my head! And writing on my blog helps a lot!

I think I am an eclectic type of person. It is very difficult to find something I dislike; actually, you can count the things I don’t like on the fingertips of the two hands.

Besides, with the time passing by, I realized that things I didn’t like before have become very interesting, like the second world war.

In these pages, little by little you’re discovering what I really love and I’m very passionate about.

With this post, you’ll discover something more!

I love martial arts and, as you gathered from my previous blog, I’d love to be stronger and cooler! I used to go to karate lessons during middle high school and, as far as I remember, I’ve never felt better and more self-confident in my life.

Although I haven’t done something like it for ages, I never stopped to be interested in the field and also, I’ve never said no to an action/ martial art film or TV shows.

To be brutally honest, the reason why I’m writing this post is trying to understand, through writing, why I feel so good and satisfied when I watch action scenes.

I think I’ve always been like it. I remember I used to watch Steven Segal’s films in loop when I was younger.

I guess everything was connected to the fact I did karate for three years when I was ten.

It was probably the most peaceful time ever, I felt good, I felt relaxed, understood, in my place, self-confident.

I was an entirely, totally different person or so I remember my old self as this. I wish I can recreate the same effect.

At the moment, as you know, I’m very stressed, and also, I have no spare time. Because of that I wouldn’t be able to look for a gym and start lessons of any martial art at all. Mostly, adding up to all that, you should consider that my back is very weak.

I guess that watching action scenes is a kind of palliative. They recall the sensation and makes me feel relaxed.

So sometimes when I feel a bit sad or restless or even angry I watch a film where the main themes are fights and action.

On this respect, I found out a couple of years ago that Chinese films are perfect for stress release.

They’re so packed with action and so poor of dialogue and, sometimes, of plot, that they’re like a full immersion for an emergency treatment.

How do you vent?

Watching what, exactly, makes you feel better?

Write to me in the comments below!

Thoughts about gratitude.

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Me and Maya! 

 

One of the things I hear more often lately and I come across on social media, is how important gratitude is. Even on health perspective, it seems that being grateful would make you feel physically better.

I have to admit, instead, that since the beginning of last year, I’ve become increasingly pessimist. I wasn’t like it when I was younger, but getting repeatedly hit by the reality and hate of surrounding people, left next to zero room for much more.

However,  in the past couple of months I also realized that being pessimist and keeping to regret everything and to moan and wine about what the hell have I done to deserve such a horrible future, put me in deeper and deeper crap!

Suddenly my brain underwent for an unexpected change in the way of thinking!

I don’t know exactly what made me change the way of seeing things or at least is pushing me in the right direction, but I can see this is the right way of doing it and hopefully managing it.

The truth is that our world is full of sadness and injustice. There are far too many violent people to my taste. Women are still treated like dirt in an unbelievable number of countries in this century.

Religion brainwash people and is excuse enough to kill, being violent, use strength when the basic commandment is to love each other. 

Greed has become the new god; people cheat, betray and kill for more money, more fame, for boredom. Are we seriously freaking kidding?

Where is the love, respect, trust, humanity? Are they still alive? It’s because of these thoughts and because of this disgust I feel that that I started to modify the way I’m thinking.

True, there are many people who have more, for whom things are easier. On the other hand, however, there are an infinity more sick, poor, in awful condition, victim of injustice or abuse. Who think to those?

My boiler is gone Ok, no drama, I have an emergency electric system. And luckily I have the money at least to afford heaters and the high bill that will follow.

We feel sick? It’s nothing, I always touch wood for the health but, as far as this time around was concerned I was lucky to afford the doctor and the medicines. 

And that’s it, that is how simple it becomes to concentrate on what you have and not what you’re missing compared to the others.

I’m so grateful I have a job, a roof on my head, a loving partner, a gorgeous daughter, a caring mum, a trustworthy brother, a sweet sister in law and a big dream.

I believe that until I’ll have the strength to dream everything will be sweeter and, to some extent, easier to face.

This is to begin with and, compared to several hundreds of people who struggle to find something to put on the table every day, this is more than enough.

I was given an advice: fill a jar with piece of paper, on each piece of paper write what made you happy that day or week or month. At the end of the year, I’m to open the jar and read what I’ve been happy for and this should change my point of view and perception on my life. It’s unbelievable the number of things we forgot we should be grateful for. I started my jar and I realized that even my attitude is different, because now not only I notice nice things happening to me, but I’ll try to see the nice perspective in order to fill the jar.

My advice is to try.

On some extent, it’s understandable being negative, it’s easier to complain about what we don’t have rather than analyze and be content with what we have already.

It’s not a nice way of behaving but it’s the common way of reacting. We’re used to have what we want and the most of the time we have it. Or at least a big chunk of population has.

We don’t realize that everything we have is a gift and it might be as just easy as losing everything suddenly and find ourselves in the street in a blink.

What do you think about it?

How do you stay positive?

Write to me in the comments below!

Maya’s 5th birthday!

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The second post of the year, will be related to a very important event happened in December: Maya’s birthday!

I mentioned already the following posts will be a bit messed up timeline-wise, but it’s OK I guess!

I cannot believe Maya is 5 already! She’s growing so fast, it’s unbelievable.

The birthday party I’m talking about in this post was organized for the 3rd birthday we celebrated in Ireland, but it was the first one spent with her friends.

In the past couple of years, I organized her parties in Italy. I have there a couple of friends with kids.

Their age is different from Maya’s though and they weren’t available at all the times.

The rest of the guests were just grownups; sure, family and friends but still adults. We used to organize it in a pub owned by a friend of us.

It had been very nice, but I realize only now that it was more for us that we decided to organize them that way, rather than for Maya.

This year, however, since we were stuck in Ireland, I had to organize the birthday party here.

It was a totally different experience, not only from the organization point of view but also from my own experience! It was incredibly fun!

First of all, we found a place for the party. I had to ask information to other mums in school as I didn’t have the slightest idea of where it was best to organize a party. I went to a couple of parties in the past few years, but it never occurred to me to ask information for some reason.

I was advised about a place not very far from our house. We went to have a look on the way back from a holiday we took in county Clare – I still have to tell you about it. I will, I promise – and Maya loved it immediately. It’s a huge place of soft toys, slides and circuits. A great way to release energies!

Found the location, I asked Maya to give me a list of kids she would like to invite. We sent the cards and also prepared the goodie bags, something absolutely new to me. In Italy, we don’t use the goodie bags, but I prefer this way, it’s nicer!

It was great preparing everything with her. Now that she’s older she’s participating with ideas and help and I think that it’s important in these occasions. Most of all being aware of what you’re doing, makes the realization more interesting.

I have to admit that I was a bit anxious; this time not for me but for her. For a long while the replies didn’t arrive, and I was afraid that the kids won’t show up for some reason. Eventually we had 6 guests and Maya was over the moon and me with her! I could breathe again!

The real fun, then, was to see Maya with her friends, the ones she personally picked, to be part of her special day. They were running up and down the play area, discovering the bits and pieces of that huge place! I found deeply amusing and satisfactory watching her to play with children she knows and of her same age.

So, although almost a month later, I renew once again my happy birthday’s wishes, my love, 100 of these days to the loveliest girl in the world!

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!