Today I would like to share with you a story about the past. My past, when I was almost a teenager.
So we are talking about the 90s in Italy, when I attended the “Middle School” (it. scuola media, 10-13 years old). Since my parents were both working in the production and logistic of two multinational companies (Unilever and Artsana), they chose to send me to school in the afternoon by subscribing me to a particular new project.
The name of this project was “The Leonardo Project”. Yes Leonardo as that Leonardo. What was it about? – You may ask yourself.
It was a full day school project. When I was lucky, I was able to be at home at 14:15 and when I was even luckier, I got the chance to stay at school for lunch and come back home at 16:15. Saturday was also a mandatory school day.
Why am I grateful about it even now when I live in Germany and I’m 36?! This question has a simple answer: I learned a lot of things at that time. Since I was good in school, I got the chance to learn Latin and German. I had the opportunity to learn to swim and play real hockey with my school mates. I had the first mobbing experiences because I was too sporty and the other girls too jealous. I had the possibility to learn art and art history. I felt passionate about writing and learned my mother language Italian in its depth. I could take part to a group of theater and even write a screenplay.
Giving your children to school care is always a good decision: you should never regret it or think you are an absent parent. I hope my mother and my father didn’t even think like this for a second.
Today is Thanksgiving Day in the US and I’m grateful about that time, that project, those teachers and my middle school. I’m grateful about my parents who decided a very good thing for my education. I’m grateful about my sister which helped me out in dealing with mobbing with extreme class. I’m grateful about those boys and girls who shared with me that time.
This week I had the possibility to spend three days in Maulburg, a small German city on the boarder with Switzerland and France. I was there on a business trip with the whole Technical Communication community at Endress+Hauser. They were three days full of conferences, reports and workshops that gave us the possibility to prepare ourselves for the next challenges in the technical documentation.
I felt so grateful to attend this event and to have the possibility to see my colleagues and our partners in person. When you start your day with such a breathtaking view, it can only be good.
The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.
It is when you start to focus on the small joys that you notice your life is full of them. In this process it’s important that you learn to accept your life as it is with all the challenges you are facing, seeing them as a possibility to grow.
Putting the light on the beautiful things in your life by naming and celebrating them will give you a sense of inner peace.
Happiness is love and you start to feel happy when you begin to love your life as it is without fighting against yourself. A positive mindset attracts positive things so that you will find yourself celebrating your life in every possible occasion. You will be able, for example, to notice and appreciate a small thing like a beautiful flower in your garden.
Recently I passed by this beautiful fountain which is on a street I often walk. I’ve never noticed it before and I got fascinated by the beauty of its architectural idea.
When we open our eyes to the beauty of the world it changes our perspective.
Everyday take a moment to reflect on what surprised you positively. By naming what makes your life beautiful you can train yourself to see the bright side of life also in difficult periods. If you do it regularly, you will be surprised how easy it gets to notice the beautiful things you encounter during your day.
There is nothing I missed more during the COVID-19 restrictions than hanging out with friends.
Nothing enriches my soul more than an evening with friends, talking about everything, switching topics randomly, laughing and having a good meal together.
Maybe I felt the restrictions during the pandemic so difficult because I live far away from my original family and friends. The friends I have here in Germany are the people I can rely on immediately and not having the possibility to see them neither was really hard for me.
Therefore I especially enjoy weeks like this when I met twice with friends for dinner. I discovered a very nice World-Café in the city near Stuttgart where I work, I prepared for the first time pizza for four people and I even got a bunch of spring flowers.
It’s only when you share moments with others that you really feel that life is always worth living.
“My thoughts turn to something I read once, something the Zen Buddhists believe. They say that an oak tree is brought into creation by two forces at the same time. Obviously, there is the acorn from which it all begins, the seed which holds all the promise and potential, which grows into a tree. Everybody can see that. But only a few can recognize that there is anther force operating here as well – the future tree itself, which wants so badly to exist that it pulls the acorn into being, drawing the seedling forth with longing out of the void, guiding the evolution from nothingness to maturity. In this respect, say the Zens, it is the oak tree that creates the very acorn from which it was born.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia
We are spending the night in the highest tree house of the Reserva Natural and are both very excited about it.
It is late afternoon, about one hour after our arrival.
Dominik: “Let’s make a deal, Angy – OK?!” Me: “Yes!” Dominik: “Tonight, before we go to bed, we don’t look at the floor. Is it clear?!” Me: “OK, I’m in!”
After this brief conversation, we experienced a night walk with our tour guide Richard through the jungle and could appreciate the wild nightlife there. We had a delicious dinner and nice talks with a ‘Gringo’, a young man from the US working in Colombia as a teacher, and a Colombian family, whose 9 year old son was learning Chinese in the school. They were also spending the night in Tanimboca. Then Richard brought us back to the tree house and Dominik and I read a book together. After a while, we were about going to bed…
Me: “I know we had a deal… but I… I just saw something… there…” Dominik: “What? Where?” Me: “Behind you: a giant cockroach!!!”
OK, OK… It was not as big as this one in the picture, but for me almost.
Happy ending: Dominik did something very brave and ‘accompanied’ (read here: kicked kindly) the cockroach out of the door. I kept the promise and didn’t look at the floor anymore. Finally we fell asleep lulled by the natural sounds of the jungle.
As currently none of us can travel, I thought it would be a good idea to share this memory with you. I would always repeat this experience in the tree house in Tanimboca, if I had the chance. I really would, a little bit also because of the cockroach: I’m honest! I’m also very grateful that Ronny of Kolumbien linda Tours helped us to organize our journey in Colombia giving us the possibility to enjoy a fantastic holiday there.
My mother comes originally from a town near Salerno called Cava de’ Tirreni. This city is not directly on the sea but it is not far from the first city on the Amalfi Coast, called Vietri sul Mare. When I was a child I used to spend about one month in summer there and, since I have a lot of relatives there, I always felt at home. I have always been fascinated by the characteristic colors of the buildings on the coast, by the hospitality of the people and by the small ceramic stores that you can find practically everywhere.
This September we had the possibility to spend two weeks in Cava de’ Tirreni and it is incredible how, even if I never really lived there, I feel these places part of me. I feel a sensation of belonging especially when I remain so long on the beach that I can see the sunset.
For me there is nothing more magical than having the possibility to watch the sun going down below the sea level.
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.