lunedì 16 ottobre 2017

British Food

This is my lunch in the cafeteria at work.
I could't make this up.
(I could throw this up.)
I made it Italian can you tell!?

(I promise sometimes it's better than this. Sometimes.)

domenica 15 ottobre 2017

What I've Learned this Week |Seven|

one. Listening to Spotify I stumbled upon very old song that reminded of my youth.  Hey, I might not remember what I ate at lunch but I still know all the words of this masterpiece.

two. I started a Chinese language course yet again. Speaking of memory, it seems like my brain was on strike and I couldn't even remember how to say "clothes". I spent so much time studying this very hard language that it's such a shame to forget it all now, so back to school it is. 
The University place it's pretty stunning too and I'm glad I have a reason to visit it once a week.

three. I read somewhere a quote from Albert Camus that made me think.
"If there is a sin against life, it lies perhaps less in despairing of it than in hoping for another life, and evading the implacable grandeur of the one we have."
I very much agree with dear old Albert. I really want to concentrate on what I have and enjoy the grandeur of it.
What do you think it's a sin against life?

four. the weather in Manchester it's pretty much always autumn like, but I really noticed the change in the past week or so .
Days are shorter but it's been sunny and cozy and red and yellow everywhere.

five. In my attempt to find a good spiritual master I talked to one of the Italian friend here in Manchester that I thought could help me and was I right. She even knew about a mass celebrated in Italian once a month in one of the central Catholic churches. Too bad is the only weekend in October we're not going to spend in Manchester! to next month...

happy belated weekend everyone! Life is busy and supergood!

giovedì 5 ottobre 2017

What I've Learned This Week | Six | Autumn is here

A recap of my September quests

one. physical.
I wasn't able to do something every single day, but out of 30 days , I:
went to the gym 15 times
walked 10,000 steps 8 times
went for a run 3 times
for a total of 26 days of activity. Not too shabby.
booo. my weakness. I did perfectly just 14 days while I broke some kind of rule 16 days.
For some reason, I can only follow the rules during Lent, when I'm perfectly able to restrict myself.

I finally finished "This is your Life Harriet Chance" , that I loved. I then started and finished "The Four Tendencies"  from one of my favourite non fictional author Gretchen Rubin. I liked it, but being a fan of the author, I was already aware of most of the concepts she explained in the book. still a good read though.

four. home.
I forced myself to contribute to the order in the house. It kinda worked. I set the alarm 10 minutes earlier each morning and I tidied up the living room and the kitchen from the day before; I set the washing machine or I folded laundry. Before going to bed , I swept the floor a little more deeper than I would have, or I make sure that the bathroom is somewhat presentable. I could definitely do better , but it definitely better than before...even though I'm not even sure my husband noticed.

I didn't really buy any new product from any fancy shop, but I did finish the conditioner I opened 6 months ago, but simply using it everyday. I wore a new pair of earrings I received as a gift. I took a little container and put facial lotion in it to keep on the bed side table so I remember to put it on everyday. but make up never really touched my face in any of the 30 days ( I think I haven't wore any since my wedding 11 months ago!)

six. spirit.
I still haven't found anyone I feel comfortable with having to listen every Sunday morning here, and that's probably because I haven't even looked for one!
but I did start reading a website called "she reads truth". I'm not sure about it yet. It's a little too spiritual for me. I have to start looking, knowing that nothing will ever compare to my favourite.

So overall: I had good ideas and a good start I think, by consistency is key , so I have to continue as there is always, always room for improvement.

Autumn is here, I love new seasons and seizing the opportunity for new beginnings.

mercoledì 27 settembre 2017

The Mancunian Sky

the Rainy City
where a hat is only good for fashion 
and a rain coat is a constant piece of clothing 
where an umbrella is a clear sign of utter weakness
can offer wonderful sights 
if we just learn
to look up. 

(I know, I should be a published poet!)
just outside the office

on the way home in Stockport

in front of the Central Library

The Principal 

On the way home

Stuck in traffic

and stuck again.

venerdì 22 settembre 2017

What I've Learned This Week |Five|

One. I spent a long morning at the Apple store and I’ve come to realised that among the various reasons that make me frustrated, the most common is when I don’t understand. It doesn’t really matter what it is I’m not understanding, is the fact that I’m not understanding that makes me impatient, stressed but more importantly rude to others. Patience is key in many cases, patience with myself is key in these particular cases. Sorry Apple Geniuses!

Two. You never stop learning, especially a language.
I love learning new expressions, more so if local....but I'm still trying to figure out the meaning of weird Mancunians saying, so for this week's favourite, two common British sayings new to me: 
That's the way the cookie crumbles! (That's life) 
and my love for crows made my melt when I understood this:
as the crow flies (In a straight line, speaking of distance) 
It's also fascinating how my brain is really not capable, after a while abroad, to keep languages separated. It happened after the year in the States, it happened in China, and it's happening right now. Oh well. Italenglish it is!

Three. I read a story on the Italian newspaper about a boy that went through troubles and drugs and just wanted to thanks his parents and his church for the love and support he got from them that made him able to exit the hole write a book and was about to get married. There were a lot of negative comments, which I tried not to read as part of my quest to avoid negativity in general, but there was one positive comment that really struck with me. It was quoting the introduction to the book that a priest wrote and it read:

"Ma succede che questo «io», soggetto di pensieri e di azioni, consapevole di sé e responsabile, nel mondo in cui vive, è mosso da desideri e bloccato da paure, acquista abitudini, sente più facile il lasciarsi andare che il prendersi a carico; può accadere, e accade spesso, che s’illuda di essere libero mentre sta solo seguendo la linea di minore resistenza e di minore fatica nella vita."

“But it happens, that the “I”, main character of thoughts and actions, aware of himself and responsible for himself, in this world we live in, it’s moved by desires and paralyzed by fears, get into habits and thinks it’s easier to go with the flow then to make a decision.
It can happen, and in fact if often happens, that he think of himself as free, whilst he, instead, is just choosing the life with less barriers and less trouble”

Apart from the philosophy of the” I” as a separate character, so hard to understand for me (ask my philosophy professor! Ah!)  the comment resonated so much with me as I’m trying, constantly, to don’t let things just happen to me, buy consciously decide for myself. I strongly believe that, in the end, happiness is clear to us when we choose the bigger life.

Four. Because Excel is the source of all my power at work, ie the majority of my time spent awake, I often think about the inventor.
How many times must he have thought “If ifs and buts were candy and nuts…”?
The information technology language really amaze me daily.
( if you have no idea what I’m talking about, you’re a lucky ignorant worker)

Happy weekend everyone! Life is good!

giovedì 21 settembre 2017

o mundo e bue cenas

On August 25th we rushly left our offices and drove to the airport where a direct flight to Lisbon, Portugal was waiting for us.
A whole month doesn't seem like a long time to spend put, but the beginning of Autumn started really early here in the Midlands! 
We took advantage of the "end of the Summer" day off ( I really like how optimistic britishz are: summer? ok.) and decided to go somewhere warmer.


And warmer it was. The blu sky that only a close ocean can bring really restored my heart.


Lisbon is on a hill, and this is one of the lifts to one of the Miradouro. The Elevador de Santa Justa was designed by Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard that against popular belief has nothing to do with Eiffel.



Walking downtown, you'll find yourself going up and down stairs and hills

The famous trams, symbol of the capital city.


A Brasileira, that we found by chance, but really couldn't pass the opportunity of drinking a proper coffee in. Famous poet Fernando Pessoa still sits there on bronze statue form. It's consider now one of the architectural heritage of the country.


Placa do Comercio, right in front of the ocean and what used to be one of the biggest port of the world.


A winery window

Very colourful decorations of outside walls of every building.

The famous Lisbon Cathedral, with typical electric tram lines

A very good example of southern European culture and the advantage of the sun and the wind: constant presence of hanged clothes from balconies.

The view from the Castello de San Jorge: a red roofs view.

Lisbon is a young town and random art can be found everywhere. "Just because it's not in a museum it doesn't mean it's not art"

We found a young couple laughing at this sign in the car and I couldn't keep my self from asking.
a good translation I think would be "the world is a big deal!" 
Bue translates as a lot, and apparantly it's a fun use of the word as in fact is African: the Retornadores , ie colonialist that came back to Portugal in the 70s , brought it to common use.

So much good food! I must have been really busy eating it becasue I have only this picture to prove it!

White walls. White walls everywhere.



An entrance to a restaurant

Decorations from the August festivities where still left hanging.

Lisbon was hit by a huge earthquake in 1755, 60,000 people died, that was 30% of the population! and half of the city was completely destroyed. El Convento do Carmo , now a open museum, remains the symbol of that disaster . (It was infact ruined again by another earthquake in 1969 and donated to the order of architects so that they could keep it)



One of the many bakerys in town, we could hardly resist all the times we went by one.

One of the streets on El Bairro Alto, the young nightly neighbourhood


The view od the Parliament from the typical narrow streets



The trams by day and night the continuously go up and down from Placa Rossio to barrio Alto, where we had dinner every night.



El Barrio Alto



Rua cor de Rose, heart of the night life, where we had drinks after dinner

On the last day we visited the Belem, on the west side of town. We walked there instead of taking the bus, because, of course, why missing the opportunity to go through this? and we chose well!
Alcantara is the old docks block, now all renewed with walking paths, cycle lanes, and this view of the ocean.



We reached Belem, and boy did we notice this: the MAAT, Museo Arte Architectura Archeologia.
We didn't go inside: the view right smack against the blue ocean and sky was utterly fulfilling.

The view from the Padrão dos Descobrimentos 


In the afternoon we visited the Expo block, which the council was able to keep alive and well, with restaurants, shops and walking paths.hours from which, due to a very profound spousal talk, I only have this picture.

It was such a good trip over all, just few hours away from where we are now and so different in every aspect. No wonder this is the place where many of my former and current compatriots want to spend their retirement! It's a definitive "Obrigado! I'll see you again!"