Sunday, December 10, 2017

Facebook Challenge

One of my Facebook friends (one I actually really call a friend, even in my "real" world) "challenged" me to post pictures of my everyday life in black and white without giving any explanations. Pictures of people weren't allowed either. 7 days of pictures. Showing my life.
It was a pretty cool challenge actually.
Do you wanna know what my last week looked like?

Well, it started off with a picture taken during a walk along the lake (some pictures won't be black and white because they are lovelier in "real" color!)


Then it was me practicing the flute

The next day was about thinking (it was one of these days when the mind takes over)


I spent the next afternoon at the mall


Traffic jam the next day

Getting a feeling that Christmas is around the corner


Lunchtime of the last day of the challenge spent soaking up on the sun (after days of fog and rain!) ... where if not looking at the lake?



Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Being Thankful: Music

Today, I am #beingthankful for the music. Like the ABBA song (remember that one??). Really, I love the rhythm and melody of this song (of all their songs, actually) (one of my first music tapes that I bought with pocket money was an ABBA album haha). I had never realized though how true the words of this song actually are to me (well, not the part about "I have a talent" hahaha):

[...]
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me.

[...]

Thank you for the music! From the bottom of my heart. Thank you for the music I now play myself with my flute. Thank you for the music (of all kinds) that I listen to. What would life be without?? Not as wonderful as with it!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Being Thankful: Friends

I am #beingthankful for my friends. They may not live nearby (some of them actually live far away and we see each other only every other year or so) but they are all in my heart and they helped me become who I am today, that's for sure.
I love them. I love it that they are all so different from each other. It's a gift to me. My life would be so dull and empty without them. Without being able to share funny moments, thoughtful or sad ones. To talk about art, music, food, travel, ideas and the meaning of life. To ask for opinions and views.
What a lucky girl I am!
Some friends I have known since my teens. Others only for a couple of months. Doesn't change the power of our friendship though.
It's time to say it out loud:
I love you all so much.
Thank you for being who you are and making me become who I am today!


Thursday, November 30, 2017

Being Thankful: Yoga Practice

I am #beingthankful for my yoga practice. For my yoga teacher. For my yoga class.

Yoga has been part of my life for some time now (3 or 4 years, can't remember exactly) and it's just this year that I realized how much my yoga practice has actually changed my life.
Not only is my body stronger but my mind is as well. It's a feeling that is difficult to describe. I am stronger, mentally and physically, but at the same time I am softer. And you should see my upper arms :-)



Sunday, November 26, 2017

Being Thankful: Traveling

It's obvious that my first post with the hashtag #beingthankful should be about traveling. It's an important part of my life and I am thankful:
-to travel to places all over the world (alone or with friends),
-to afford to travel in the first place and
-that at some point in my life I found the courage to travel alone.

2017 was a travel intense year. It started in December/January with Lisbon. A wonderful way to say goodbye to 2016 and to welcome 2017.

In March I spent 3 weeks in Costa Rica and Mexico City. One of my highlights of this year! Costa Rica was a destination that felt like balm to my soul. I soaked up on nature, on the silence, on the friendly people. Never to be forgotten!


Mexico City was the pure opposite (with insight I wouldn't visit the two places on the same trip - it was too much of a shock!). I was glad though to spend some days with my friend S. It was wonderful to be able to catch up on our lives!


I started off my summer with spending a few days in Cattolica. I am grateful for the hospitality of my friends, the hotel owners. Cattolica is not about traveling, it's about vacationing!

Traveling to Lake Como had been on my bucket list for a while now and I am thankful to my friend J. to have agreed to travel with me. I enjoyed the hours spent shopping, the boat trip on Lake Como but I'm particularly thankful for the dinners and lunches in nice places. That is something I don't do while traveling alone!

In August, it was time to travel to Greece. I am thankful to my friend who invited me to her Big Fat Greek Wedding. Not only did I get to experience my first (and probably last) Greek Wedding but I am happy that I got to discover very nice new places. Yes, I am talking about Milos, one of the many islands in the Cyclades.
The Cyclades are definitely a new item on my bucket list. Thank you M.!


My birthday present for myself, i.e. trip to Nice, was a wonderful way to say goodbye to Summer!


Torino, the place where I didn't take any pictures (remember?)was my last trip for 2017. Oh no, wait. Actually, not the last. the second to last. My last trip (I decided on going only a couple of days ago) will be to Italy. To Cagli/PU (where my mother is from). I will leave after Christmas and stay for about a week (haven't decided on how long I am gonna stay but certainly longer than New Year's Eve).

What an amazing 2017! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

I am not much into the whole Christmas festivities / Holidays festivities. I like December however because of the lights on all the houses and trees. The days are short, the nights are dark. I love to let the current year come to an end in a smooth way. It's a special time. In January I usually feel like spring could come along like immediately (hahaha) but right now I appreciate them :-)

I love the idea of Thanksgiving Day though. It's not part of my culture and I do not celebrate it in any way but I love the idea of stopping for a moment and saying thanks to everything that happened this last year. To say thank you to all the people that are part of my life. To be thankful for all I am and what I have. Etc. Etc.
Therefore, I decided to dedicate some posts during this last month of 2017 to give thanks. I feel like it's important for me to think about what exactly I am thankful for and to say it out loud.

For today though, I just want to say: HAPPY THANKSGIVING.



Friday, November 17, 2017

When Money Sets the Pace

I had planned on going on a road trip to either Lago Maggiore or Lake Constance (remember my post?) in November but then .. my bank account happened or rather my computer happened.

Buying a new laptop has been on my list of stuff to buy for quite some time now. I kept putting it off and off because there always was something more important to spend money on (mostly travels, what else?). Then one day I realized that my old laptop was ... old. Like really old. The face of the guy in the shop where I bought my new laptop said it all when I told him that my old one was running on Vista! You should have been there. It was hilarious! At least, I thought it was hilarious. He probably thought that I was pathetic. hahahah
Anyway, the poor thing was so old that I was afraid it would die on me without notice. It was updated. And ssslllooowww (you cannot imagine HOW slow). 10 years for a computer these days is an age to be proud of, isn't it? Definitely time for a new one.

To cut a long story short. I am writing this post on my brand new, sleek, thin and elegant new laptop. New technology is really cool, I have to admit even though postponing my road trip wasn't easy at all!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Wintertime

I don't know where you live  but where I live ... winter has arrived. Well (luckily) not the snow and the ice and the below zero temperatures yet ... but the short days, the cold and the rain. Therefore, it was time for me to put away the furniture on my balcony. To put away my short short-sleeved clothes and my sandals and to welcome back my sweaters, my long-sleeves shirts. And my boots. And the candles! Let's not forget the candles because they, and my pretty winter boots, make my wintertime more bearable!


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Be Gentle With Yourself

Are you familiar with moments when words said to someone are in fact words meant for yourself?
I had such a moment the other day when I replied to a friend: "I don't know the answer to your question. What I know is that, if I were you, I'd start with talking to yourself in a more gentle way."
Oh my, somehow I had just said out loud what had somehow, unconsciously, been bothering me for some time. Something that I want to do consciously now:
Be gentle with myself (accept my way and my pace).
Be gentle with my thoughts (not brush them aside as if they were toxic or something)
Be gentle with what I think of my body.

It's high time to start treating myself (my thoughts, my body, my soul) the way I try to treat the others:
gently, respectfully, lovingly.



Thursday, November 2, 2017

About Music and Feminism

Don't you think that a little update on my alto flute skills is overdue?
Well. What to say? I'm doing fine. It's fun. Music does me good. I am proud of the progresses I've made. I got over some serious "I will never be able to play the flute" kind of moments with more or less grace. Frustrating moments became highlights! I have learnt that my level of frustration is quite low (sigh!) but I am proud to have kept on practicing.

6 months later I am proud to say that I am able to play short songs. You don't think that it is something worth mentioning? I'm sorry to say: You're wrong!
It's not the fact that I actually play an entire song ... it's that now these songs actually sound like the actual songs (and not just like notes hazardly linked together). I feel like calling myself a musician now. A beginner, indeed, but a musician nevertheless! (See me writing this wearing a happy face!)

Music is also something that connects me to my nephews / to my niece. We talk about music a lot. They show me their favorite songs/videos of the moment (keeps me updated!). We talk about which groove / beat is cool and which not. Sometimes I explain some cultural background to a certain song or the meaning of the song's words to them.
Pretty cool, I must say!
What's not so cool though, is that almost EVERY SINGLE video shows a barely dressed woman. Thankfully they are still of an age where they go all "ick" when seeing a girl (and my niece is too young to understand the notion). Their luck is that their Zia (Italian for aunt) is a feminist and always says stuff like "what is this barely dressed woman making there? Makes no sense!" "Why is it always an almost naked woman and never a man?" etc. etc.
I want them to realize that almost naked women are not a normal occurence. Same goes for four-letter words that often denigrate women. I want them to be conscious of what they see and what they say!

I know, I know. Barely dressed women have been part of videos ever since (or maybe not ever since but for a very long time) but my perception of this fact has changed since I watch videos with my young nephews/niece.
Is this what we want to teach them?
Is this how we want them to perceive women?
Isn't it time to change things? It is! Please, dear producers, dear video makers, think of other ways to entertain us. Be part of the change!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Old and New Travel Destinations

I was grocery shopping yesterday and saw ... Panettone on the shelfs! (For those of you who are not familiar with Panettone: it's a baked good that in Italy is eaten around Christmas time). November is not even there yet and already the shelfs are full of Panettone? Have they gone crazy? Is it possible that the Christmas craziness starts earlier every year? Or is it just me?
Anyway.
Seeing the Panettone made me realize that 2017 is almost over. Where did time go? A busy year (in the good sense). Busy meeting people, going places, taking up new challenges (remember? I play the alto flute now! Will have to tell you more about my progresses), having a fulfilled life in general (with its highs and lows) and (obviously!) I traveled a lot. Lisbon, Costa Rica, Mexico City, Cattolica, Lago di Como, Greece, Nice and Turin

Thinking about my past trips, inevitably, brings me to my next trips. Or ideas of next trips. (Ideas of next trips don't necessarily lead to an actual trip. Sometimes an idea is just an idea :-))
On the spur of the moment I come up with
Vienna (because I have some miles I need to use)
A road trip around Lago Maggiore or/and Lake Constance (because I have never been on a road trip in Europe)
Visiting my family in Italy (because my aunts aren't getting any younger) + day trip to the Conero region (because I have been told that it's wonderful)
Berlin (because I haven't seen my friend who lives there for some time) + a train trip to Stralsund and Rügen (because I have never been to the Baltic Sea).

The big unknown so far is my once-in-a-year-for-three-weeks kind of trip. The US comes to my mind, particularly the Southwest. In June maybe. But that is totally work in progress.
And you know that I love the work in progress part of a trip, well, maybe not as much but very much so, as the actual trip. Therefore:


Friday, October 20, 2017

About Confort Zones and Certainties

We all love our confort zone. Same friends. Same job. Same everyday life. No hassle. No fears.
We also love the certainties of our lives. The certainty of why we do something the way we do it (because we have always done it that way, because our parents thaught us, etc.) or why we never do something (because we can't, because we have never done it and won't start now, etc.).

Although I have never lingered too long in a confort zone or I am known to question my certainties, the last couple of years widened my perception of my way of handling these situations.
Am I lingering in a situation because I love it or because I am lazy or afraid of change?
Am I stating this or that certainty because it mirrors who I am now or who I was 10 years ago?


Let me give you some examples to make a point.
Take my yoga lessons. Some asanas are hard to do for my body. I am not athletic enough, not agile or thin enough, etc. I have learnt to accept the limits of my body. Then sometimes I am doing an asana "my way" while thinking ... Why not give it a try again? Maybe your body has changed in the meantime and you are now able to do the asana like the teacher is showing?
And you know what?
Sometimes my body moves or bends like it never had. If I wouldn't have questioned my certainties, I would never have realized the change!

Same goes for the confort zone. I love my friends but getting new ones from time to time? Does me good. Makes me realize how I interchange with people. Same goes for everyday life actions. Taking another road to work? Maybe you'll get there sooner or you'll spot a new bakery or shop!

I want to keep on lingering in my confort zone and I want to have certainties in my life but questioning my actions from time to time peps up my life!
It's worth a try, don't you think? You can always go back to your confort zone or your certainties. They won't go away, that's for sure!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Memories Cannot Be Lost

September was an eventful month. (Remember my post?). October so far doesn't seem to be less eventful. Hurricanes, wild fires, mass shooting and so on. Many people losing their life, thousands losing everything, I mean like EVERYTHING, they own.


We humans love our stuff and when we lose it, well, let's just say it's not easy on anybody. Even I who own less than the average person, love my stuff. Only thinking about losing my books, my music, my antique armchairs, my photo albums (before jpeg!), my clothes, my travel souvenirs, etc. to a fire or to a hurricane ... makes me feel ... lightheaded. Imagine it. Just for a second. Uuuuuh, not an easy thought.
So, these last couple of weeks haven't been easy on a lot of people. My heart goes out to them again and again. I think of how somehow, somewhere, they will have to find the strength to start over. Literally from scratch. A new life. With new stuff, new houses. What courage, what strength they have. I admire them.
A small consolation (if there even is such a thing as consolation when you lost everything) might be that no fire, no water, no wind can take away your memories. These will always be with you. These events made me super aware of that fact even if I am not directly concerned. It does me good though, from time to time, to be reminded of what's important and what not.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Turin, Italy

Summer this year has gone by much faster than other summers. Or so it felt like to me. Maybe because I have been on the road so much and time sure goes by faster when you are traveling! Maybe it's just because I love summer and therefore it always feels like I should get more of it.

Anyway. Going to Nice "stretched" my summer a bit. These 4 days I just spent in Turin had the same effect. Sunny weather, walking around wearing no jacket (at least during the day), having dinner al fresco.

I enjoyed my time. Turin is a beautiful city. Plenty of class. Now that I think of it, everything is actually classy there. The buildings, the cafés, the people. La vraie classe! I loved it. A city where people are friendly without being overwhelmingly loud. Friendly and smiling people. Cars stop to let pedestrians cross the streets (still something that isn't done in every city, unfortunately). Cyclist stopping to let pedestrians cross the streets (something that is not done in ANY city I know). And pedestrians waiting for the traffic light to turn green before crossing (I couldn't believe my eyes!).
As I said. Classy. Friendly.

I wasn't on my own this time. I visited with a friend of mine and we had the best of times. We talked a lot (we hadn't seen each other for quite some time and therefore had a lot to catch up to!), walked around discovering the city, had dinner al fresco and coffee under the arcades. Dolce far niente par excellence.
It was only when I got home that I realized that I hadn't taken ANY pictures. Can you believe it? It's a first for me! But then you can't take pictures of "classy". Neither of Dolce far niente :-) No pictures. Just "feel good vibes".
Luckily, Pinterest helped me out (SMILE) and I want to share one picture (called "Pixel Art") I loved of my favorite site: Mole Antonelliana.




Saturday, September 30, 2017

It Was In The Air

It must have been in the air. First, my yoga teacher. Before we start our weekly yoga practice, for a couple of minutes, she reflects on some topic related to living a yogi life. Last week she talked about the calm and quiet we need in our every day life. She suggested to dedicate 5 minutes of our day to do nothing, to sit there and let the thoughts come and go. Let the energy flow. She felt this was important because it's easy to loose ourselves in our daily doings and in all the millions of thoughts we have every day. 5 minutes to focus on what's important. Ourselves. Our well-being.
This topic not being something I need to put my energy into (I found a good balance between action and dolce far niente), I let the topic go after yoga practice.

But then on Sunday, I was reminded of her words.
I went hiking with a friend of mine. At some point she started talking about her job, her boss, her problems at work, etc. The words came out slowly in the beginning but the more she talked, the more her words just flowed.
I wasn't shocked. You know, people tell me stuff and this story of hers? Well, I've heard it too many times! What the hell is wrong with certain employers? How come they treat their staff like shit (excuse my French!)? Their stock price may be doing wonderfully well. Their CEO and Co. may earn huge salaries and bonuses. But what about the normal working guy? What happened to treating your employees with respect and decency? Makes me sick!
DEEP BREATH
Anyway. Let's go back to the subject at hand: my friend letting all the frustration out. As her venting was more about saying it all out loud then about my advice, I just let her talk. I just asked one question (not expecting an answer): Is this really the way you wanna live?


The same topic came up a day later. I went out with another friend and another venting session awaited me! (I didn't mind. I feel strong and good these days.) Same story as on Sunday: stress, stress and more stress. Companies with no or bad leadership. Lack of appreciation. She might earn big money but her social life and her health (or her life in general) is going down the drain!
Same question applies: Is this the way you wanna live?

A day later at yoga practice the whole "5 minutes a day to let your thoughts go" came up again. She usually picks a different topic every week, but somehow she felt this topic needed more attention. Somehow, it's in the air!

Unfortunately, the 5 minutes thing isn't of any big help to my friends. I mentioned it to both of them but they weren't ready to hear me. I know that, when you are on the brink of a burn-out (I've been there, so I know!), 5 minutes a day letting your thoughts go isn't as easy at it sounds. You're kind of in the middle of a storm and you can't think clearly. Back when I was in the same situation, my solution was to ... leave. To just quit everything and start anew (a story for another time!).
Burn-out is a serious issue and it takes a lot of strength to get rid of it.

My yoga teacher's advice though is precious but more directed to people who are not there yet (I mean on the brink of a burn-out). Like a preventive care. Reflect on the following words:


5 minutes a day is a good start to learn not to be controlled by your own mind!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Our New Normal?

I rarely write about what's happening in the world on my blog (politics, news in general). Even though there would be a LOT to talk about, to rant about, to be happy about, to disagree with, to agree with, don't you think? I avoid commenting on news because I want this blog to feel like a safe haven (to me and hopefully to you as well). I want to talk about what's in my heart and not to add words to the overflow of news out there.

September's (terrible and heartbreaking) news forced me to change my mind, though, the earthquake of Mexico City being the trigger.
It wasn't because I felt particularly connected to Mexico City (Remember? I didn't even particularly like it there.) No, it was because of something I said while visiting last March. When our guide told us about how the city was sinking 1 centimeter per year (see post here), I remember saying to my friend: Let's hope for them that they'll never have an earthquake.
And it happened! Hey, I am not saying that I got some kind of skill to predict the future. Oh no. I never think or talk about earthquakes when visiting a place neither. I am no "the end of the world is coming" kind of woman. It just that ... an earthquake is terrible for everybody in the first place. But if you live in a city that is sinking? It's even harder (not that one can quantify the effects of disasters - every disaster is terrible for the people affected).
Anyway, my thoughts and my love go out to them.

Speaking of which. A lot of thoughts and love went to a lot of people these last couple of weeks as natural disasters were daily news. No zen-like September for us this year! More earthquakes in Mexico, typhoons in East Asia, wild fires in Montana and in parts of Southern Europe, drought, hurricans in the Carribean and in Florida, flooding in Italy and elsewhere, heavy landslides in the Alps (and I am afraid my list isn't complete).
As I said: a lot of thoughts and love went out to every corner of this world, almost daily if not every hour. I can't stop wondering though if this will be our new normal? Earthquakes, landslides, drought, heavy rain, etc.  I am afraid it will be. Climate change is no longer something that may happen in a distant future. It's happening now.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Mediterranean Sea

As much as I love the sun and the sunny days, I absolutely adore the sea when the weather is bad.
The energy is totally different then. Primal. Strong. Goose bumps worthy.

A couple of hours after my arrival in Nice, it started raining, no, actually, it started pouring down. I have rarely seen so much rain in such a short period of time! The city emptied out and when the rain stopped I went on a long walk on Promenade des Anglais, soaking up the energy after the storm







Thursday, September 14, 2017

Nice (Côte d'Azur)

I spent my days in Nice walking around town ... practicing being in the moment :-)
The old town (vielle ville) mostly, but also along the Promenade des Anglais.
I fell in love. As in instantly fell in love.
What I didn't know was that Nice was actually part of Italy until 1860 (Garibaldi was born here!). In  fact the city feels Italian (and not only because the pizza was yummy). Their slang sounded Italian. The architecture of Place Masséna reminded me of Turin (which is BTW going to be my next destination!).



I obviously went up the Colline du Château ... for the view!


Marché aux fleurs (touristy but not too much). I loved it!


Don't the colors of the houses remind you of Italy?
This is definitely a place I want to go back to. Definitely!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Nice (Côte d'Azur) or How to Prolong my Summer

Where I live (Central Europe) this year's summer said goodbye rather abruptly. One day we had sunshine and nice temperatures. The following day autumn said hi with a rather harsh temperature drop and heavy rain. It broke my heart, as it does every end of summer! I wasn't ready for autumn yet, at all, so what to do?
Why not prolonging my summer for a couple of days, I thought? A kind of gift-wrapped couple of days (as September is my birthday month)??
Yes, why not?
Nice (on the Côte d'Azur) pretty quickly became my destination of choice.
And it was a wonderful choice. The weather was nice and warm (well, besides the rain on the first day which luckily lasted only a couple of hours! That's when I took this picture.). Les Nicois were a friendly bunch of people. The buildings were beautiful. I soaked up the culture, the sea, the beach, the sun. And I even went on a guided tour to the countryside of the Côte d'Azur.
Really. It was the best gift ever :-)

that's why the Côte d'Azur is called the Côte d'Azur!
 More picture to follow!

Perfect Moment: Adieu Summer

Beach Nice

Friday, September 1, 2017

Where To Draw A Line (when it comes to taking pictures)

My friend's wedding in Crete was magical. The couple in love and radiant. The location wonderful, on top of a hill surrounded by the Meditteranean Macchia with an amazing view of the sea. It was classy and I had the best of times celebrating their love.
So far so good.
Then something tickled my brain at the very beginning of the evening, during the ceremony. I ignored it until later on in the evening, while we were all dancing to Greek music (yes! I danced to Greek music hahaha), when it tickled again.
Something was bothering me but what exactly? And then it hit me. I was bothered by the three photographers and the one guy who was filming the whole thing because they kept bumping into everybody to get the right shot or the right angle. They obviously were just doing their jobs and nothing is wrong with that. Somehow though, at least for me, their moving around took a bit of the magic away. They had done the same during the ceremony when they placed themselves in front of the couple exchanging their vows in order to take the best of pictures (hello? magic?). Same goes for the invitees who were taking pictures all the time (how was life before Instagram? Can someone remember??)
It felt, at least to me, that taking pictures or making a video was more important than living the actual moment (like crying when the couple said yes to each other or dancing to Greek music).

Don't get me wrong. I understand that a couple who is getting married wants to have pictures of their day. And I get that invitees want pictures to remember that particular day. I did so too. Nothing wrong with that at all.
But where do we draw a line?
Some people might feel that there is no line to draw.
I, however, believe there is one. Certainly the effort to "take pictures in order to put it on Instagram" or "in order to not forget this wonderful moment" is understandable and right. I read somewhere that We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone. I do so totally agree.
 
The line to draw is when taking pictures prevents us from living and enjoying a moment. Some moments in life are to be simply lived and felt. Not only that. No picture can bring back joy that you haven't felt because you were busy taking pictures. You know what I mean? Good moments, happy moments where you were so busy FEELING that you totally forgot about taking a picture. No picture needed for such moments. They are engraved in your heart forever!

For me (the ever over analyzing me SMILE) this wedding was not only a magic moment spent celebrating the love of two people I respect and love but it was also a reminder not to always look for the next picture to take. A reminder to not forget to live every moment of your life at its fullest!

Goodbye Summer!

Goodbye Summer! I will miss you.


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Lake Geneva / Lavaux

I went on a day trip to Lake Geneva last week. I wanted a change of pace because I knew I'd be working full time for the next couple of weeks!
I had actually forgotten how beautiful this part of Switzerland is. Well, I lived in Lausanne for almost 5 years but back then my attention was directed to clubbing and shopping and being young and not to hiking and sightseeing :-)

Luckily, it's never too late to go sightseeing and there I went, by train, to St-Saphorin (Lavaux region, UNESCO world heritage) where I started my walk (hike would be too big a word haha).
I spent a wonderful day walking along the vines, soaking up the sun and the energy of this wonderful region.







Thursday, August 24, 2017

Conscious Writing and Speaking

I have been thinking about racism a lot these last couple of days. Not only because of what happened in Charlottesville, USA but also thanks to the many discussions I had with this friend of mine and her boyfriend (remember? The couple I went sightseeing with in Crete?). My friend's late father was from Ghana. Her mother is Swiss. So, she unfortunately knows about racism first hand.
Even though I am the daughter of Italian emigrants, I have never been a victim of racism. Nevertheless, I have been attentive to the issue of racism ever since I can remember thinking. In recent years, in countless discussions with friends and family (especially the part who lives in Italy), I started pointing out that when using the word "stranger" or "alien" they were talking about me and my parents as well.
Their answer? No! It's not the same!
My answer? Of course it's the same. Just because me and my parents and my brother are not strangers for you, we are in front of the law. We are part of the percentage of "alien citizen" they like to talk about on TV.
They meant no harm, I am sure of that. I just want to make sure that they never forget where I come from. Conscious speaking ... see below :-)
I, for instance, never forget where I come from.
But then, you wonder, I write posts like the one about my stop-over in Santorini?
Remember me complaining about the hordes of Chinese? Is it racist to say that?
No, I don't think so because the focus of my words was on my dislike of hordes/crowds and not on the Chinese people. It could have been hordes of whoever and you would have heard me complaining too. Hordes annoy me. Chinese people do not.
Should I have been more precise in my post? Yes, I should have and I realize that now. I promise to be more accurate in future posts!

Language is important. We all know about the power of words and even though free speech is our right, a right that many before us have fought for, don't we ever forget that (in other parts of the world, even in 2017, you get killed for what you say!), we should use our words carefully.
I'd say the best way is ... conscious writing and speaking.
Yes, I like that. Conscious writing and speaking. All part of conscious living :-)

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Remembering Greece: Crete (and Chania in Particular)

Heraklion was chaotic and hot :-) Like Athens on a smaller scale. The Archeological Museum though was definitely worth my staying there for one night/one day. In the evening, I took the bus to Chania which was pretty cool because I got to see the countryside and the coast (it's a 3 hour drive!).

Chania was were the wedding took place. Such a cute little town. I loved it! I will tell you more about the wedding and there was also the horse riding we did, with a friend of mine and her boyfriend. It turned out to be quite the adventure and it deserves a full post! So, more to follow!

August in Crete wasn't the ideal month to do sightseeing. It was way to hot. One day, with said friend of mine and her boyfriend, we rented a car and drove around. We spent a good part of our day in a restaurant on the sea, eating Meze and talking :-) Which was pretty cool but not much about sightseeing! But then it's not always about sightseeing and I will have to visit Crete another time (not during summer time, that's for sure!) because there are quite some sites I'd love to see.
This time though I stuck to Chania's old town and the Venetian harbor. What a wonderful place! It felt a bit (just a tiny little bit) like being in Venice. The narrow streets were ideal for getting lost and you know how I love to get lost! Up and down, left and right I went, in an out the cute little shops!

Chania seen from afar

Chania's lighthouse




the old town

again



the port