Friday, November 27, 2015

Lightness

I've cut my hair. A lot of hair. At least 10 - 15 cm. I am wearing them at chin level now.
It feels good. (It looks good too hihihi)

And people around me wonder: do you feel ready for some change? Yes, because cutting hair is usually a sign for a change in ones life.

No, for once it's not about change.
It's about lightness.
I needed to feel "light" again (and with my mass of hair, it's not an easy task!).
I craved lightness.
I have no idea why honestly. It suddenly became imperative that I let go of my hair.

And here I am. I got lightness and stylishness with my new bob :-)



Feeling Grateful These Days...


Sunday, November 22, 2015

My World - My Travels: Hamburg, Germany

Today is the first "real" winter day of this year. It's cold outside. Really cold. And in the morning, the neighbor's roof was white with snow.
That made me think of my trip to Hamburg, in December 2012. Oh my, it was cold there as well. Really cold. I remember walking the city with my friend and stopping at every café in order to get warmed up. I loved the city and I promised myself to visit again ... during warmer weather :-) Walking along the rivers, doing a harbor tour by boat NOT freezing to death (or what felt like death) must be wonderful. I have to put Hamburg on my bucket list for 2016.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Grown Up


I spent my last weekend with my 6 year old nephew. A cute little boy and he was so happy to have found the courage to spend the night with his aunt that ... I can't describe the happiness in his eyes. I say "courage" because it took him quite the courage to spend the night away from home without his brother and his sister. He, being the middle child of 3, isn't used to being without his siblings and therefore spending the night at my house wasn't easy for him. But he made it! What a boy!

Well, before I go on and on about how happy he was during the hours spent with me (you know, at 6 little things make you happy - and shouldn't that teach us something??), I want to share one question he asked me while sitting in the bus that brought us to the zoo:

Zia (Italian for aunt), what do you wanna be when you grow up?

For a second there I thought he was joking ... asking ME, the notorious "I have no idea what I wanna do kind of girl", just this question? But then, at 6, you don't make jokes about growing up. Growing up is totally important and no joking material (and his face was accordingly serious while asking me this question).
I mumbled some words to distract him but then quickly asked the very same question in return. THAT was what he wanted to talk about. And on and on he went, telling me all he could be when he'll be grown up.
What a boy!

And as it really takes courage to grow up and become who you are (see above quote), I'd say that the boy did his first step last weekend. He spend the night away from home, all alone!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Adolescence

I've spent my Saturday shopping with my 14-year-old  goddaughter. OMG. I had forgotten how exhausting it was to be an adolescent. So much going on in their heads, their hearts and their bodies.

One of my goddaugher's main topics these days is ... that she is 14 and hasn't menstruated yet.
THIS IS A REALLY BIG ISSUE. Like REALLY BIG.
Obviously, when I replied that ... OMG, sweetie, this is no big deal. On the contrary. One year without your menstruation is a year without your menstruation. Every month without one is a lucky one!!
She looked at me funny, saying nothing but her eyes said: what are you talking about????? I don't care what you say. I want them and right now!! I can't be a grown girl without my menstruation!! And, here it comes, I can't be the ONLY one of my class NOT having menstruated!! I simply can't!
Well, what to say? Life can be shitty at 14!

Then the boys. Oh my. The boys. Her BFF has a boyfriend and my goddaughter not. Which per se is a disaster. A BIG disaster.
The even bigger disaster though is that she kind of lost her BFF to a boy as the girl is now spending all her time with the new guy in her life (some things never change!!) and no longer with her.
Again, what to say?

Luckily for me, I discovered, she didn't really want me to respond. It was just that she needed to say it out loud. She wanted to talk about things ... like what kind of career she looks forward to start (and it can't be soon enough even though her ideas are quite confused yet!!).
Or about how stupid and so uncool her teachers are (all except one - lucky him!!).
And please don't get her started on her older sister.
And some girls from school? Stupid cows.
And, last but not least, the conversation turned to ... what to wear. What not to wear. When to wear what. Who wears what. Who has what kind of hair styling. etc. etc.

Exhausting. Fascinating.


At the end of our day all I wanted to tell her was:

Girl. Hang on. Don't worry. It's gonna get better, so much better.

Obviously, I hold my tongue.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Mass Tourism ... continued

For those of you who speak German - interesting article on mass tourism!

http://www.nzz.ch/feuilleton/die-disneylandisierung-unserer-staedte-1.18643661

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

My World - My Travels: Oaxaca, Mexico


I loved the murales in Oaxaca! I remember spending hours just walking the city discovering murales that I hadn't seen yet. These murales (above) are the modern way of representing the Mexican's cult of the death..

... and below they way the Mayas did it...



Friday, November 6, 2015

Mass Tourism

The sheer mass of tourists seen during my trip to Malta has been a shock to me. It actually shouldn't have been one as it certainly wasn't my first experience of mass tourism. I have been to Florence. To Venice. I have visited Angkor Wat in Cambodia (and those of you who have been there recently know what I am talking about!!). Malta though got to me more than all the other places. It's maybe because I had visited 20 years ago, when mass tourism didn't yet exist. Or maybe I have changed, become more conscious of what's going on around me. I don't know.
The last couple of months though I read several articles on tourism. The bad side of tourism, if I can call it this way. This one published in the NY Times for instance:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/12/world/europe/selfie-vacation-damage-majorca-paris-ibiza-rome.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0

What an article! It made me sad and mad. At the same time I was shocked.
What have we become? Is this the kind of tourist we wanna be? Really???
It can't possibly be the way forward.
I am no tourist like it's described in the article. I try to respect the locals and the treasures I visit (art, sites etc.). I don't leave trash behind. Try not to shower often (as an example) in a country that does have water issues. I use one set of towels the whole time I am in a hotel - same goes for the bed linen. I try to buy local souvenirs, eat local food. I try to move around by taking buses and trains and do a lot of walking.
I treat the locals the way I want to be treated by the tourists that visit my country.
Obviously I am not perfect. It's a work in progress. It's a process of becoming more and more conscious of my doings!
I think though that this whole mass tourism thing will become more and more important. Towns, countries will want changes - will impose changes (mentioned in the article). And the tourists themselves will have to adapt. Will have to become more conscious of their acts. Of their behavior.
I believe that's important if we want future generations to be able to visit places all around the globe!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Sunday, November 1, 2015

My World - My Travels: Portofino, Liguria, Italia


Whenever I think back to my three days spent in Portofino (Liguria), the word that crosses my mind is: soothing. The place literally soothed my heart and my mind.
I needed to be soothed because just the day before I left for this short trip my sister-in-law and my parents had a huge fight. Well, it wasn't a fight in the real sense of the word. My sister-in-law lost ... her mind and her tongue for a minute there and just yelled all her frustration and piled up anger about something that my parents did or did not do (and I later found out that most of it wasn't even related to my parents - they were just handy to yell at!). It was heavy. I know my parents, I know that they are far from being perfect - but being yelled at from another person was hard to watch. It hurt my heart. I didn't say anything right at that moment (because of my nephews and because it wasn't my fight) but later on I discussed/made my thoughts clear to my sister-in-law and helped my parents understand why she acted the way she did.
My heart and my mind were heavy when I left for Liguria by train. I had wanted to cancel the whole thing but then, no, I thought it would do me good.
And it did.
This place was wonderful for my soul. It was raining two days out of three. I didn't mind. I walked and walked and walked. From Santa Maria Ligure (where my hotel was) to Portofino and back. I went to Cinque Terre by train and walked some more. I absorbed the wonderful scenery and my heart and soul healed.

PS: My sister-in-law apologized to my parents and to me as well. It took awhile for us to forget her break-out (words can hurt a lot) but as in my family we aren't resentful... And my sister-in-law has changed as well since then. She's worked on her behaviour and now thinks before she speaks :-)