Those coffees with your friends…

I learned pretty fast that the female is a social folk. I spent a lot of Saturday afternoons as a teenager sitting with my mother at her best friend’s kitchen table listening to their conversations. The first thing that Tina, my mom’s best friend, did when we came in was turning on the Italian coffee maker and preparing us an espresso.

The two women were talking about everything without a specific plot: about their children, their job, what happened in the village, some difficulties and of course also about their husbands.

It was a simple way of meeting, often even unplanned: just two friends talking in front of a cup of coffee. For me instead, it was always very interesting to observe those two women, that meant so much for my growth, discussing and supporting each others.

I think women need more than men the feeling of belonging to a community. That’s why they always tend more to take care of the people in their environment and keep the contact alive.

Furthermore I think meeting a friend for a coffee has also a therapeutic character. It takes you out of your routine, it gives you impressions of somebody else’s life and offers you the possibility to feel useful because your friend might need your advice.

Now that I’m in my 30s I discovered again this tradition and I’m proudly carrying it on: I love meeting friends for a cup of coffee and some sincere talks. OK, we do it now in a slightly more modern way: we meet in a cafe and add to the coffee a slice of cake.

Last Sunday, for example, I discovered thanks to my friend Oleksandra a very nice cafe in the eastern area of Stuttgart: it’s called Taraba. They have a delicious offer of cakes and the coffee tastes like coffee should.

Like my mum and Tina, we talked about everything and it felt good. That’s what every woman should have: a friend ready to drink a cup of coffee and to enjoy spending an afternoon with you.

My double espresso macchiato and cake at Taraba – Stuttgart

Rediscovering the importance of communities

I don’t know exactly what to write in a time like this, I just feel that I have to write something.

As you know I’m Italian from a small town near Milan and I live in Stuttgart, Germany. I was in my hometown from 21 to 23 february and visited my mum and friends as the first person died in Lombardy of coronavirus. That’s why I had to work the following two weeks from home in order to protect the health of my colleagues.

Staying home alone for me is always a challenge but I managed it very good: I even cooked and went for a walk during the lunch break.

I started immediately to follow more closely the Italian and German news. Thank God we live in a connected world so I had the possibility to stay in touch with my friends and family and stay updated about the consequences of the government directives on their immediate lives.

Last Monday I got back to the office and I don’t know exactly how the situation will develop in the next few weeks here in Germany. Baden-Württemberg is closing on Tuesday all schools and kindergartens at least till Easter. A lot of companies are enabling their employees to work from home also to take care of their children.

What I observed in this last period is the solidarity of the people both in person and online.

I was asked by a lot of people here about my family and loved ones in Italy and everybody seemed truly concerned and interested.

I heard on the Italian radio a lot of stories of people that keep going to their workplaces to enable the population to satisfy the basic needs.

I’m following the hashtag #resistereallabbruttimento started by the radio host Claudia de Lillo (@quielasti) on Instagram that offers the possibility to share photos or videos of activities at home in order to fight the discomfort. I have to say that Italians confirm their creativity sharing contents like baking cakes and biscuits, preparing pizza and focaccia, gardening, de-cluttering, doing sport, singing or playing instruments and a lot of games with children.

I also saw in some people the panic rising and this was obvious. I only hope that everyone will understand that fear and anxiety are not constructive feelings and will preserve their inner balance.

This difficult time is a challenge for us but we are facing it together.

I see it as a possibility to grow with my own family and in my neighborhood here in Stuttgart-West. Maybe it is a possibility to focus again on the importance of our communities and of the civic sense that in our capitalistic society got lost.

I already see a lot of solidarity here in Stuttgart-West. I follow online some local shops, restaurants and cafes that are building a community to help each other even if for them this is a period of great uncertainty. They all don’t know how long they will stay open. I see here also a lot of young people offering their help to elderly people as it happened in Italy.

I’m also proud to hear that people who understand Italian are reading a lot of Italian newspapers because they find them more informative. In my country the situation is serious but I think other countries are looking to Italy and taking example of it.

I’m very confident that we will handle this situation and, as I read in an article published by Repubblica, we will appreciate more our daily routine when we will have the possibility to get back to it.

After the rain comes the rainbow.

A rainbow on the Caribbean island of Dominica
A rainbow on the Caribbean island of Dominica

Aurora

It was the 17th December when I met her. We were in Paris on our way to Dominica and felt already lucky that our TGV run normally since the public transport in France was already on strike. It was very chaotic at the station, all the people did not go how to reach their destinations. We were speaking to a customer service employee of the public transport and had a lot of difficulties to understand each other, because I can not speak French and she didn’t speak English. Then Aurora came: a very beautiful young woman from Guadalupe that could speak French. She was also heading to the Orly Airport and she offered immediately to bring us there too. She spoke to the employee and understood what to do in order to reach the airport.
Pretty soon we found out that we were both flying to the Caribbean. Her flight to Pointe-à-Pitre was at 15:30, our to Martinique was at 16:30.
You know the feeling when you meet somebody for the first time and it seems so easy to tell this person everything about your life?! Well for me and for Aurora it was like that. We spoke on the bus about everything, in German you would say “about God and the world”.
She is a French teacher, living near London and she started her journey at 2:30 in Oxford to visit her family in Guadalupe. She lived in France during her childhood and dreamed to move in summer to Panama.
During the chaotic journey – we had to take a bus which was stuck in the traffic and then waited for 40 minutes for an other that did not come and at the end we decided to take a taxi to the airport – Aurora also said something that impressed me.
We were doing all we could to reach the airport. When the bus wasn’t moving at all and we were worried not come on time, she said something like: “Well, we are trying: it must end good”. Then when I said that, without her, we would have been lost she said: “We all have the same goal, the least we could do is to help each other”.
I will never forget Aurora for the fact that she helped us to start our holiday in a good way and for what she told me. The most important thing when you have a goal is to start and try to reach it, when you meet people with the same target do not see them as competitors, work together and help each other.

A woman should have

The following poem hung on a shelf in Ursel’s flat, that was what I can define my first home here in Germany. While living with Ursel and Rui, two fantastic women and great flatmates, I bloomed as a person. I learned a lot of things, laughed and talked a lot at the dinner table and started to enjoy the little things in life for the very first time in my life. Maybe it’s because Rui visited me last weekend that I got a little nostalgic about that time and that’s why I would like to share this poem by Maya Angelou with you:

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …
enough money within her control to move out
and rent a place of her own,
even if she never wants to or needs to…

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …
something perfect to wear if the employer, or date
of her dreams wants to see her in an hour…

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE…
a youth she’s content to leave behind….

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …
a past juicy enough that she’s looking forward to retelling it in her old age….

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …..
a set of screwdrivers, a
cordless drill, and a black lace bra…

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …
one friend who always makes her laugh… and one who lets her cry…

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ….
a good piece of furniture
not previously owned by anyone else in her family…

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …
eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems,
and a recipe for a meal,
that will make her guests feel honored…

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …
a feeling of control over her destiny..

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
how to fall in love without losing herself..

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
how to quit a job, break up
with a lover,
and confront a friend without;
ruining the friendship…

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
when to try harder… and
WHEN TO WALK AWAY…

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
that she can’t change the length of her calves,
the width of her hips,
or the nature of her parents..

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
that her childhood may not
have been perfect..but it’s over…

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD
KNOW…
what she would and wouldn’t do for love or more…

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
how to live alone even if she doesn’t like it…

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW..
whom she can trust, whom she can’t,
and why she shouldn’t take it personally…

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
where to go…
be it to her best friend’s kitchen table…
or a charming inn in the woods…
when her soul needs soothing…

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
what she can and can’t accomplish in a day…
a month…and a year…

Per la serie oggi replico io

Quando ero piccola io, o meglio da quando ho memoria, in estate in Italia succedevano tre cose:

  • Gli alunni delle elementari, medie e superiori erano nello stato definito “vacanze estive”.
  • Durante le suddette vacanze i ragazzi erano impegnati in attività come “il campo estivo”, o se ne stavano belli freschi tra mare e montagna. I loro genitori a giugno e luglio generalmente però lavoravano. I ragazzi semplicemente se ne stavano quindi a casa, o a casa degli amici dei loro genitori. Se erano fortunati, giocavano al chiuso o all’aperto con i loro amichetti a casa o nel cortile di qualcuno di loro che aveva la fortuna di avere la mamma a casa. Questa mamma alleggeriva contemporaneamente il peso e i pensieri dei genitori lavoratori.
  • In ogni caso la costante di ogni estate era che in televisione venivano riproposti classici come ‘La signora in giallo’, ‘Baywatch’, ‘Settimo cielo’ e “Una mamma per amica”.

Ecco che a luglio inoltrato sono io oggi a riproporre alcuni articoli da me scritti e che per me sono un po’ sempre verdi come gli alberi che circondano il nostro ambiente. Se ti senti disorientato e credi di aver perso di vista il tuo equilibrio, non mi resta che augurarti buona lettura, qualunque sia la tua lingua madre.

Articoli in italiano:

Articles in English:

Artikel auf Detusch:

Buona lettura e soprattutto buona estate =)

 

 

 

Thanks, help and sorry

Thanks, help and sorry are three simple words that children are able to learn in their first 6 years of life.

If you are questioning this affirmation maybe you should think more about the importance of education. Education is a process that not only happens in the school but it’s also very related with habits and parenthood.

I asked lately the following question to myself: Do I use these three words at least once in a day?

I was not sure about the answer and yes, that’s why I’m writing this article.

I think these three words are also very important at work. People tend not to use them often, and I admit that I sometimes also don’t. I think such a behaviour leads to being not so good in your job and therefore to a worse performance.

Well, according to my opinion, if we want to change it, we all have the three following options:

1. Read the fucking manual (RFTM): self care books. It may sound esoteric but this will lead you to a positive development.

2. Cultivate an hobby and develop a passion, so that you will know your limits and will learn to let go when you can’t control a thing.

3. Automatically you will search for help and feel sorry. It’s ok to show you vulnerability: believe me you’ll be surprised by how many friends’ll come to support you.

I recently watch the following TED video, it might inspire you too?

Thank you for sharing this quote with me, Gretchen!

This last week wasn’t easy for me and I hope you had a better one.

One of the greatest moments I had these days was reading the Moment of Happiness e-mails of Gretchen Rubin. If you rememeber, I already wrote about this newsletter a few months ago.

The following sentence has become my new motto: that’s why I didn’t sort the e-mail in my personal mailbox into another folder. Now I decided to share it with you.

I’m always grateful to receive Gretchen’s favorite quotes and to have the possibility to read the texts she writes. I find women like her a positive inspiration. Feel free not to agree with me but let me write it anyway 🙂

Have a great weekend, do something you like and stay with the people you love!

Andy Warhol quoted by Gretchen Rubin
‘Moment of Happiness — The Happiness Project’ is a free newsletter created by the American writer Gretchen Rubin I decided to subscribe to. Copyright Gretchen Rubin

Moment of Happiness by Gretchen Rubin

Do you know the Moment of Happiness of Gretchen Rubin?! But you already know I like her a lot, admire her as a female author and role but I don’t want to repeat myself in this post (or maybe just a little bit). My goal is to introduce you to this experiment.
The Moment of Happiness is a daily Newsletter that you can subscribe and receive via e-mail. It’s not long and it does not contain advertisement (or maybe just a little bit). The content of the e-mail is mostly a sentence, or better a quote, that Gretchen picks and sends to you.
I subscribed moved by my curiosity and also because I always like to take note of sentences I read and liked. So I was curious to see what kind of quotes Gretchen chooses to share. These e-mails give me, in days like today, faith and hope not only Moments of Happiness. Below you can read today’s Moment of Happiness by Gretchen Rubin.
I hope it reaches you well.
Gretchen_Rubin_Moment_of_Happiness

Walking with Thich Nhat Hanh – The art of Mindful Living

For my 30th birthday Ursel sent me the book Touching Peace of the Zen Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh who created the Community Plum Village.

During the whole 2016 my mind was busy thinking about the meaning of the word Mindfulness. That Ursel gave me this book it was just a sign which indicated the importance of the concept of Mindfulness in my life. Recently I heard that the books you receive are never a coincidence and I think it is very true.

Reading Touching Peace was for me a great experience which made me feel a lot of good vibes. One of my favourite quotes of Hanh refers to the Christian values I grew up with: “To live in the present moment is a miracle. The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green Earth in the present moment, to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now“.

Now I practice Mindfulness in my daily life. Indeed once a day I meditate with the App Calm (about which I will write a review in the next few weeks), I pray, I try to do something kind for an other person and appreciate to have something good in the fridge and to live in an multicultural and opened country like Germany.

To introduce you to the philosophy of the Zen Master Hanh, I share the trailer of a brand new film about him and his community, Walk with me.

You can find more details about this film and the Community of Plum Village on: http://walkwithmefilm.com/

Alternative breakfast

This morning I went to the market at Bismarckplatz in Stuttgart West. Normally our goal when we go there is to buy grocery but also stuff for breakfast like bread, croissants, eggs, salami or ham and cheese. 

Well this saturday I’m alone at home and I had all the good intentions to prepare a very good breakfast. Dominik always think that I’m not good in carrying the grocery home (he thinks I always damage the products because I don’t pay attention to them while walking) and also that I’ve bad preparing breakfast skills (here beacause I’m not organized and I always stay in the middle of the kitchen without doing anything). 

I now think he has good reasons. When I came home and I was packing out the stuff I bought, I realised that something was missing. The bread: how could I forgot the bread?! I love German bread and the saturday breakfast is not the same without it!

So here a picture of my alternative breakfast, without bread!


Have a good weekend!