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Arrivederci Faenza

Dear readers of my posts, I am very sorry but it´s time to say goodbye to my experience in Italy. But this can´t be a sad post because I have been very happy in my dear Faenza.

First of all, I have visited several new places in Italy that perhaps I wouldn´t have visited as a tourist. For example, the BREATHTAKING medieval castle in Ferrara. It really made me feel part of a film. Or the magnificent and splendid Palazzo dei Diamante close to it, where you feel like a fancy person (even if you know you just have 100€ in your bank account). Other city that I have really enjoyed has been Modena, a city that should be known more not just for its vinegar. There I could taste the hot wine for the first time, and also come back to Medieval thanks to the magnificent cathedral, a perfect example of how impressive the Romanesque can be.

But if there are two places that have a special place in my heart, they are Castel Raniero and Brisighella. Both have helped me to deal with my anxiety, to relax, to disconnect of my problems. There I have realized how much important is to be in contact with the nature and the importance of reading a book with a beautiful green view in front of you. Specially Brisighella, where I have know the Italian lifestyle, I felt like at home, I made the love, I prayed, I saw the snow, I laughed… I will come back once and twice and again and again and again because a part of me is still in la Torre dell´Orologio looking to an amazing sunset.

When it comes to talk about this experience, I must talk about my volunteering in PiGreco. I don´t know who has done more, if I have taught to the kids or they have taught more to me. They have been my Italian teachers but also I have learnt Math, Science, History… And the most special thing: they helped me to remember how much important is to educate in a good way, and how simple life can be but how difficult adults make it. They have touched my heart in a deep way and have helped me to become the kind of teacher that I want to be in the future. And here I want to say thank you to Matteo, my favourite Romagnolo guy and one of the best teachers that I have ever known, and who has been a very important support for me. Thank you for all the complicity and the love.

I have learnt a lot of things, like for example how to cook thousands of dishes, how much I like to clean and how relaxing it can be, how to use the washing machine, but also that I am stronger than what I thought, that I still have to improve my maturity and my emotional stability, that I become stupid when I am in love, that I still have to learn to not playing with people´s feelings or, simply, how to speak Italian. Here I had the best teachers ever: my flatmates and my teacher Anna. Tra 7 mesi in Italia sono riuscito a capire quasi tutto in italiano e anche a parlare senza paura anche se so che sbaglio ancora tantissimo, ma la mia idea è continuare a imparare in una academia in Spagna.

And to finish, and here I feel very nostalgic, I must say that the best part of the experience has been the fact of knowing so good people: sisters Emiliani and their sympathy; Angelo, the most Romagnolo ad hoc, who has been like a father and whose food I am going to miss a loooooooot; Danai and her energy, her sense of humour and her powerful wish of making the world a bit better; Ina, who has been our mentor, friend, mother, sister… without her, the project would have been more monotonous, she is the soul of Faenza and she has one of the purest hearts of the world, everything would be better if people tried to be like her; and obviously my beloved volunteers. Guys, you can´t imagine how important you have been, thanks to you I have been unbelievably, anazingly, extraorginarily and extremely happy (of course I used a dictionary, you know I don´t know so many adverbs). Thank you for all your love, your patience when I was a stupid, for teaching me so many things, for every party, every game, every time that we ate together, every time we went to run together, or we talked about architecture, o intentamos descifrar el sentido de la vida, or we hugged on a bed watching Call me by your name. I have learnt that it doesn´t mind from where we come, because all the humans belong to the same world and we are the same inside, we fear the same, we are happy because of the same, and we try to help every person we can. With you I have felt that a better world is possible and the union between all the countries is necessary. I feel very proud of knowing that there are young people (well.. some are not so young…) that fights against injustices. This is not a end, because I really know (and I promise you I don´t say that to everybody) that we will see again (and I don´t mean just this summer in Riccione), this has been the beginning of a very beautiful friendship that, in different ways, will last for ever. And this can´t be a end because you still have to enjoy my final video, don´t worry.

Belief over misery
I’ve seen the enemy
And I won’t go back
Back to how it was

And I got my heart set on
What happens next
I got my eyes wide
It’s not over yet

We are miracles
And we’re not alone

This is home
Now I’m finally
Where I belong
Where I belong
Yeah, this is home
I’ve been searching
For a place of my own
Now I’ve found it
Maybe this is home
Yeah, this is home

And now
After all my searching
After all my questions
I’m gonna call it home

I got a brand new mindset
I can finally see the sunset
I’m gonna call it home

ESC

Glass half full

I am sorry if you are expecting a post about alcohol regarding the title, it won’t be. I chose this title to do a bit of reflection towards my 6 months here, the half of my volunteering.

First of all I don’t want to be a crybaby about the pandemic and the lockdown, because in the end I am better here than somewhere else and I am lucky to actually have activities and friends I live with.

I came here with some expectations, like learning Italian and eating 4 pizzas in 3 days. But I didn’t expect to find so much more (illustration in the picture). I knew it would be an important experience but I really do think this would be maybe consider as a turning point. I won’t be able to go back through my life without mentioning this one year volunteering in italy. I don’t want to sound like those enthusiastic volunteers, selling the benefit of being happy by helping others and everything, those speeches might get old. But I think it was because I chose it to be. I arrived to this point of my life where future felt meaningless and unfullfilling. I had no idea which would be the direction of my life at this point. I had a politcal science degree in the pocket, so yes I could have acted on it, found a job to manipulate people like politicians sometimes (lol) do. My mother (always giving you good advices right) mentioned to do some kind of concrete things, escaping the theory crap that university can feed you. We heard about this european opportunity, that was it. I did first of all a short term volunteering in Greece last summer for 2 months and there I found this project and got accepted, how amazing?

So yes, suitcases done I was arriving to the pasta land. And as well, I want to be honest here that no it wasn’t a piece of cake all the time. If I go back to the first week of anxiety and depression, I wouldn’t have had the same speech that I have right now. In the end, everything seemed to flow smoothly: discovering the activities, starting them, meeting the other volunteers and the members of the organisation, etc…. It was great, I was filling fulfilled and happy with my decision to come here more and more everyday thanks to the new things I could always discover. But I guess you always reach these points in new adventures where the excitment of the beginnings disappear. Mostly maybe in lockdown or with pandemic restrictions I guess it was easy to fall back to an unsatisfying routine. So yes, my experience was as well mostly in my hands. What did I really want for myself? I had this step back where I realised I was lucky, that I could be stuck in a 15m², a student luxury. Asides from the moralising speech about gratefullness or whatever, it took me strenght to overcome difficulties here. But as it is a limited opportunity, it makes the process easier.

I want to share, without shame, that I consulted a therapist here. It was covered by my insurance, so there was absolutely no reason to stop therapy during this year that was particularly tough on us. And honestly, I was lucky enough to find the therapist that helped me the most in my whole life. So yes, I could have found him in a different country or in a different context, but I found him here and that’s one of the reason as well that this year will be a turning point in my life. I learnt to let go of a lot of things holding me back for so long. But I have to say that the patience my friends had here during my growth process was very important. You don’t meet that often emotionally intelligent people, tolerant people, healthy people, but that makes you appreciate them so much more. I always have been astonished by my luck in finding great people in the times I need them the most. I am not in the first weeks love passion so I can say it impartially that they are great people that were meaningful during this period of my life. They do have their flaws: some can complain about the weather being cold all the time, some can be slow, some can be sleeping too much (oups that is me), but you got the message: people don’t have to be perfect to mean a lot in your life, to be exactly the right person for you at some moment.

~

~

Anyway, I got to this point where I am feeling secure about what I want for my future and that I can do a lot of things as long as I am motivated to do so. I am now developing my skills in pedagogy and dealing with kids. I joined a feminist group (@breakthesilence_ita on insta) that are doing amazing things in order to improve women’s condition sensibilisation around Italy and beyond, and I am so happy to be able to put some energy there. I am developping healthy relationships around me. Let’s just say I am doing amazing and I am so proud to be able to say that.

I don’t want a over positive post about my volunteering but this is only my reflection, I was ready to take a turn in my life and I did. I am very happy about that, I know I couldn’t have done the same one year ago because I wasn’t in the same mentality at all. I guess my only conclusion about all of this self centered post that I think your life always can take a positive turn, it’s only about listening to yourself enough to know when you are ready to make this happen.

I am happy I could take time to share this with you despite a difficult day, so I could refocus about the positive stuff like chicken nuggets.

Lots of love

La baguette.

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Holy Week in Spain

This Easter I am spending some time in Spain because the situation with Mathilde was horrible and I needed to be far from her some days. It´s a joke, I still love her a lot but I wanted to visit my family.

I would love to explain you how we live Semana Santa (Holy Week) in the south of Spain, because, in my opinion, it´s the most beautiful week of the year. Everyday of the week since the Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday) till the Domingo de Resurrección (Easter Sunday) there are procesiones (processions) where sculptures of Jesus Christ and the Virgen Mary are placed in a structured called tronos (thrones) as we say in my city or “pasos” in another cities. The sculptures of Jesus shows a specific scene of the Passion and Death, so on some of these thrones it´s possible to see more than 13 sculptures (The Last Supper), animals (horses while Jesus is in the cross) or even a real tree (Jesus praying in the orchard). The Virgin appears full of candles, always crying, under a structure called palio (canopy) and with a veeeeery big manto (cloak) full of golden.

Cruz guía

The procession is started by the Cruz Guía (guided cross), a beautiful cross held by a nazareno (Nazarene), also called penintente (penitent) a person completely covered by a special clothes that scared to some people because it remains to the Ku Kux Klan, but I promise you that nazarenos used that clothes a lot of centuries before. Actually, these clothes come from the Inquisition time, because the people who were judged had to wear something similar. Now a days, nazarenos do it because of custom, because they like the Jesus or Virgin of that procession or because they want to pray while they do it. The most of them wear candles.

Mantilla

A very important part of the procession is the band. They play a particular kind of music called “marchas”. Every procession has two or three bands playing at the same time, because they are so long that some bands are necessary. If you want to listen a example of this kind of music, I let you this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4p1mHU-yrw. At some points, some people want to sing to the sculptures and the procession stops while this person sings a kind of song called “saeta”, whose characteristic is the very deep feeling: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jIqzkyjxFI. These processions affect to all the senses, so also the smell is very important. In front of the thrones, there are kids or teenager with a special object with incense, a smell that stays in the mind of every person who comes to see the Semana Santa. To finish, there are some women dressed in black wearing a peineta (comb) called “mantillas” who wears in that way because they are mourning for the death of Jesus.

Teenagers with incense before the thorne

To conclude, I would like to explain you some curiosities about some thrones of Málaga:

– Jesús entrando en Jerusalén: in every city the first procession represents the enter of Jesus to the city of Jerusalen on a donkey.

– Nuestro Padre Jesús orando en el huerto: the sculpture was made in the XVIII century, one of the oldest in the city. The olive tree is real and every year is a donation from a family. The queue to donate the tree is very long and they have to wait several years. Every year is so big and a lot of time there were problems with the heigh of the tree in some streets.

– Nuestra Padre Jesús Cautivo: is the most famous sculpture and thousands of people go besides him because they ask his help and that is the way of saying thank you. Police has to pay attention and control this procession.

The street is full of the people who go after the throne praying to this Jesus

– Nuestro Padre Jesús de la Columna y María de la O: this procession is called “gitanos” (gypsy) because the sculptures´ skin is so brown that they are though as gypsy. Usually some gypsy go with the sculptures singing and dancing.

– María Santísima de las Penas: the blanket of the Virgin is made with flowers and, obviously, every year it has to change.

– María Santísima del Rocío Coronada: She is called “the girlfriend of Málaga” because is the only one who wears a white dress, so it´s like if she wore a wedding gown.

– María Santísima de la Paloma: Paloma means “pidgeon”, it´s one of the heaviest thrones and it´s called Paloma because they put pidgeon´s food over the throne and all the procession is full of pidgeons.

– Nuestro Padre Jesús del Santo Sepulcro: it´s the most respected throne because it represents the body of dead Jesus. It´s like if really you were seeing a funeral and the music that is played is funeral music.

– María Santísima de los Dolores: it´s another sculpture from the XVIII century and it has a very small throne so it goes through small streets and they put of the lights so all the procession is in a dark atmosphere.

I hope you have enjoyed it and if someday you come to Málaga to see this marvelous tradition, don´t forget to call me !!

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Volunteers interviews

In our volunteer’s lives we have an activity of reflexion granted in our weekly schedule. This comes with various tasks to make us think about our time here. It comes very useful to take a step back and process our experience. This week, we had to pair up and interview each other to know more about the other volunteer’s feelings towards their adventure here.

I wanted to share you some bits on those question/answer because I think it does illustrate well what it’s like to be a volunteer (in a pandemic as well).

Why did you come?

[- “I chose Italy despite other options for a country similar to mine (Spain) and beautiful”]

[- “I always wanted to have an experience here in Italy for a whole year. I didn’t have anything holding me back in my country so it was the perfect time to have an experience to grow as a person”]

[- “At this period of my life Italy seemed to offer more opportunity than elsewhere. I did have a very good vision about its culture like the way people think of food, respect for cultural places, the sense of community and the openness. Besides from the place, it can be useful for my personal life (not career wise) but as to work more with people, and having a year for self improvement”]

How do you feel towards the project?

[-“A bit disapointed about feeling sometimes unproductive or purposeless but I learned how to deal with the circumstances (pandemic)”]

[-“Disapointed by being limited in my activities, things change all the time at the same time as the zones. It’s easy to feel useless. And I feel restricted in my personal life as well with not being able even to do sport”]

[-“I feel like here I can really grow as a person. I am confronting myself to a lot of challenges I never experienced before. The simple fact to live with 3 other girls is teaching me a lot or to be brave enough to teach children when you came with an italian vocabulary of 2 words. But it makes me go out of my comfort zone definitely and I think I will be a different person after this year.”]

[-“I feel good about being here. Although I came here for one project but I dont always find coherence between my different activities that can be a bit all over the place without a proper uniting guideline”]

Tell me about your best moments here and things that you like?

[-“For me it’s really about those moments playing games in a warm environment with even warmer people, when it’s all about laughing and spending moments together. I guess for me the best moments will always be related to moments of safety and good harmony between me and the people in my life”]

[-“I remember that night before Christmas when lots of love were given and everyone was getting along so well. It was amazing.”]

[-“Noticing that, despite I couldn’t see it at first, there is a lot of things to notice in the architecture here that really gives me inspiration. It’s an organically grown medieval city, it’s intriguing and there’s always something new to notice. People use the places naturally.”]

What did you learn about yourself and in general?

[-“I realised I could manage an independant life and do well at it. I can be responsible, notably with the food, the diet and with myself in general. I didn’t expect I could be in such a close and affectionate group.”]

[-“That I should judge people less because I noticed I could have a lot of preconceived ideas about people but I got to meet amazing people here that taught me that I need to be more open and less judgemental.”]

[-“I found out that I could be stubborn sometimes. I as well learn a lot of practical things like cooking, living with other people, being independant, wake up early. And I can figure out now what I like and want or not in my future life.”]

[-“That I can overcome difficult situation, and that I can be very brave. That I am worth being loved and I deserve happiness and that I want to keep doing my best to spread happiness around.”]

I didn’t want to show only the ultra positive vibe of volunteering in a pandemic. We have some difficult times sometimes, and it’s not easy all the time. But in the end, we are all grateful for this experience and everyone would choose to come here again if they could go back to the beginning. I like that we can be honest towards one another, and it’s precious the honesty. I guess what matters is that we stick together and we all try to take the best out of this experience.

PS: those are absolutely not my pictures as I am stuck in Faenza and I can’t travel at all.

This was La Baguette,

(And if anyone of the volunteers goes through this blog I want to add that you guys make my experience incredible by being there, and I am so happy to be able to share the good and the bad moments with all of you.)

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Lockdown but happy part 2

Since the last Monday, we are “Red zone”. Although it seems that there was a nuclear disaster or a zombie invasion, it just means that we are again in lockdown SURPRISE !!!!

The week before, it was a very special week in Italy because “Festival di San Remo” was made. It´s a long ceremony (five days and 124713 hours in total) created in 1951 and used since 1956 to choose the representant of Italy for Eurovision. In 1966 Italy didn´t receive any points so they decided to not send anymore the winner of San Remo to Eurovision, something that changed again in 2011. A lot of famous singers have participated and even won the festival, like Laura Pausini, Eros Ramazzotti, Al Bano y Romina Power, Mia Martini, Marco Mengoni… This year the winner has been Måneskin, a rock band from Rome, and to be honest, my favourite group from this edition. It will be very hard for Spain to win this year Eurovision (HAHAHAHAHA we are the biggest losers).

Måneskin winning San Remo 2021

Apart from this, there is absolutely nothing new that I can tell you, so as a person who is doing quarantine alone, I want to give you material that you can use in case you are also tired of thinking about your own existence:

Films:

La grande belleza (2013), Paolo Sorrentino: it´s about the life of a famous writer who enjoys the glamour and luxury of a fancy life but who feel that his life is completely empty. The film is amazing because of its introspection about what is the most important thing in life and because of the beautiful planes of Roma.

El orfanato (2007), Juan Antonio Bayona: this kind of psychological-scary thriller is a masterpiece of the Spanish cinema. It tells the story of a woman who buys the orphanage where she grew and how his son stars to talk with “invisible children” till he disappears. Then she will have to play the game created by the invisible children to discover where is his son.

Music:

Sanación (2020), Maria José Llergo: on one hand it´s the typical Spanish style of Spanish guitar, flamenco and costumbrismo, but on the other hand, she does it with a modern style and connected with all the Mediterranean culture across the centuries.

Fatti sentire (2018), Laura Pausini: I live in Faenza so Laura Pausini must be on this list. I advise the last album but she is so good that you can hear whatever you want from her, she is always a good option.

Series:

Shingeki no Kyojin: Attack on Titan is the best anime of this last years. Humanity lives safe inside of some walls because out there are titans, creatures that eat humans, One day, a strange titan bigger than the other ones destroys the walls and the massacre arrives. It seems a very simple serie but at the end it becomes a philosophical story about revenge, justice, different point of views…

Books:

Siddharta (1922), Herman Hesse: Siddharta is a young Indian who wants to travel to discover who he really is, the secrets of life, to feel the love, the loneliness… So, it´s a very good option for the people who wants to reflect and to think.

Call me by your name (2007), André Aciman: Summer, Italy, 1984, nostalgia, first love, discoveries, classical culture… These words perfectly describe this masterpiece. Elio, a very cultured boy with 17 years old, falls in love with Oliver, a young university teacher who spends the summer in his house invited by Elio´s father. The perfect book to travel to past times, when a summer in Italy was an unforgettable adventure.

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French Recipes

Today, very important blog where I will share typical french dishes with their recipes. However, I don’t want to be a traitor to my country, so in the recipes I will add something totally inaccurate so I can pretend I am not really spreading our gastronomy. (Hoping you can find the impostor)

Le Boeuf Bourguignon

Ingredients (6 people):

  • 700g of beef neck
  • 200g of smoked bacon
  • 50g of butter
  • 2 onions
  • 1 table spoon of Flour
  • 100g of mushrooms
  • 3 glasses of water or brodo
  • 3 carots 
  • 3 gousses d’ail
  • 70cL of Red Wine (so basically a bottle and you drink the last 5cL)
  • 30g of eyes of the fish your choice
  • Pepper
  • 1 spoon of parsil
  • 1 bouquet garni

Preparation:

Cut onions in small pieces and the garlic.
In a big pot, put the beef (cut in cubes) and the bacon to scorch with the butter
Add the onions, mushrooms, carrots and the fish eyes. Put above the flour.
Add the red wine that must cover the meat
Add salt and pepper
Add the garlic and the bouquet garni with the water or the brodo (that you will add slowly while everything is being cooked)
Let sit for 2h30 (time of a shower that destroys the planet)

You can serve them with boiled potatoes. And then you can enjoy spending 3h30 cooking to see your dish being eaten in 30 seconds.

Le Hachis Parmentier

Ingredients for 6 guests (not in dark orange zone obviously):

  • 600 g of ground beef
  • 450 g of mashed potatoes
  • 3 onions
  • 700 g of cherries
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1.5 table spoon of flour
  • 2 pinches of Provence herbs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 45 g of parmesan
  • 45 g of butter
  • 75 g of grated cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

Chop onions and garlic
Cook them in a pan until they are soft
Add the tomatoes chopped in dices, the cherries without their pits, the ground beef, the flour, salt, pepper and the Provence Herbs
When everything is cooked, shut down the fire and add the egg yolk and a bit of parmegiano. Stir well. Preheat your oven at 200°C (thermostat 6-7).
Spread at the bottom of a gratin platter. Prepare the mashed potatoes, spread it over the meat. Spread the grated cheese and brown it in the oven.

Your kids will love it, if you don’t have kids because you are intelligent enough not to have any if you are not ready for them, eat it yourself.

La Quiche Lorraine

Ingredients (for 5 friends if you have any)

  • 250g of short pastry
  • 250g of bacon
  • 50 g of butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 380 g of nutella
  • 25 cl of cream
  • 25 cl of mil
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven 180°C (thermostat 6).
    Spread the dough in a pie dish
  2. Stab it with a fork as if it was Javier. Sprinkle it with little pieces of butter
  3. Cook the bacon in a pan.
  4. Whip the eggs, the cream, melted nutella and the milk.
  5. Add the bacon
  6. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  7. Put the preparation over the dough
  8. Cook from 45 to 50 minutes.

Can be eaten cold or hot, just eat it already………….. Tip of the chef: add on top spanish boy tears: it spices things up.

La Tarte Tatin

Fun fact: it was originally a stupid mistake from someone who failed their apple pie. And then it became a thing so never be afraid to make mistakes.

Ingredients for 6 light eaters.

  • 100 g of sugar
  • 50 g of butter
  • 1 entire chicken
  • 1 kg of apple (not too sour, not too bitter like Laura when nobody takes care of the heat in the house, not to sweet)
  • 1 short pastry

Preparation :

  1. Prepare the caramel:
    Put the butter in dices in a pot, and pour the sugar over. Let it melt during 5 minutes, no need to stir, it basically does the job itself.
  2. Put the caramel at the bottom of a pie dish.
  3. Add the apples cut in big dices with the chicken you roasted before and then cover it with the pastry dough.
  4. Put in the oven for 25 min at 210°C (thermostat 7).
  5. Serve it to your friends (or to your partner you just cheated on) still a bit warm (tip: with vanilla ice cream it’s even better).

Anyway, I was happy to share this with you guys, a glimpse in my culture, once again.

Don’t hesitate to reach out on instagram (@volunt.hearts) if you tried any of those recipes and if you enjoyed them. I will not, though, be open to any suggestions, I am French and stubborn: thanks.

It was La Baguette, Love you

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“Earth” without art would be just “eh”

Our favourite activity: party

Good morning my people, mi gente, mis panas.

To be honest, every week is harder for me to write these posts. First of all, because I am not such a creative person, and then because the situation now is a bit “pesante”, that means “heavy” but that can be used to say that something or someone it´s so boring that at the end is a load. I don’t want you to transmit negative energy, but we are always sharing our amazing experiences, that are real and I enjoy a lot, but I think that it´s also necessary to tell you the flip side of the coin.

“Pala Felicini” (c.1490) – Francesco Francia

I have known a lot of new friends, I have done a lot of new activities and I have visited some new places. But since some months ago, the routine and the feeling of doing exactly the same everyday has been the main idea on my mind. Right now, I just follow my timetable, and in the free time I have these options: Netflix or going to Casa Europa and do something with the rest of volunteers. And I am starting to feel a bit bored.

On the other hand, and in order to not let you a bit sad, I want to tell you something I did before we became orange zone again. I went to Bologna to visit its Pinacoteca, one of the most important of Italy because it concentrates the most important collection of art from the Emilia-Romagna from the XIII century to the XIX century. There are paintings from very famous artist like Rafael, Artemisia Gentileschi, el Greco, Tiziano, Tintoretto, il Perugino, Giotto, the family Carracci… But I would like to talk to you about three painters:

“Sposalizio mistico di santa Caterina e i santi Antonio da Padova e Fiovannino” (c.1525) – Giuliano Bugiardini

Francesco Francia, a painter who was born in Bologna about the 1450. His style is very soft, very delicate, and although it´s a bit old-fashioned, the size of the canvas will surprise you. Another big discovery was “Mystical betrothal of Santa Caterina and Saint Antonio di Padova and baby John the Baptist” by Giuliano Bugiardini. I can´t say how much time I spent looking at this painting, everything is perfect on it: the composition, how they act between them, how he can create a realistic background with perspective, the faces, the realism… Without any doubt, one not famous masterpiece. And the BEST work of the museum, and I don´t accept another opinion, is the “Massacre of the innocents” by Guido Reni. It shows the moment when, in the Bible, King Herod orders to kill all the babies because he was said that the real king had just been born. If you pay attention, you will see that the centre of the scene is a knife, and from there every line guides you to the different character, in which you can see all the desperation, pain and agony. Also, the colours are very well chosen, and, on the top, we can see little angels who give “palms of martyrdoms” to these poor babies, who were really martyrs.

“Strage degli inocenti” (1611) – Guido Reni

To finnish (JAJAJAJAJA) I would like to say that we have celebrated something very special. It´s not very common to live six hundred years, and we could see how Laura was very happy to live that experience surrounded by us and eating sweets. We gave her a notebook because she has to get used to use paper instead of parchment. Tanti auguri Laura !

Laura very happy knowing that is the second oldest person in the world after Queen Elizabeth II

Mathilde, sorry my dear, but you won´t last till your 600 years old if you don´t stop smoking and drinking, bad witch.

Yours, Javier LoSpagnolo.

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Team Building Lesson

Unfortunately for you, in life you will have to work in team, with other people (ew, I know). As it can be very difficult to bear the weight of other human beings and their reflexion about our own flaws and what makes this society so dysfunctional, I will try to share some tips about how to survive and create a team spirit.

For this guide, I will introduce 4 complex psychological concepts. Don’t hesitate to ask me any question if you can’t understand everything.

SHARING

Sharing, I mean it might seem obvious because you are sometimes forced to share your life with others (consensually hopefully). But what I want to say is you really have to manipulate others into liking you. It’s really easier to achieve this if you fill their mouth with a meal you took time to cook for them. As in France, it’s rude to talk with a full mouth, you can’t receive any annoying comments if others have their mouth full.

I think we all got this concept. Everybody here took the time to cook something for others, from their country. And honestly when someone is taking time to make you discover something, you cannot do anything else but love them a bit more, right?

Crêpes Party

Spanish Paella

Okay, you have to know, I am the worst to take aesthetic pictures, so sometimes I don’t try. Our amazing Györgyi did us amazing goulash, it was very great as well.

Sometimes remember it’s the gesture that counts, not the result (saying the girl who almost threw everything away).
me

MOMENTS ALONE

It is major to recharge your social battery sometimes. I know that, for my case, 48h with people and then I am this grumpy troll in the corner. (See the picture)

this is my mental breakdown moment

It’s okay to need some times alone. It can be crying in your bed, it can be watching the Office tv show for the 7th time, whatever relaxes you to face humanity later.

Something that can be useful: go see a therapist. Sometimes they can help you get your life together, but mostly it’s an excuse to spend one hour away from your crowded environment and vent to someone.

NO BOARD GAMES

rules of the Virus game that created arguments.

I have no idea if you (that is reading me) comes from a numerous family or not but if that is the case, you already know what I am talking about.

We all love Gonzalo but he brought this board games into our lives and things changed forever. The tension in the house was palpable. So, don’t hesitate to try this game named “Virus” if you wish to break whatever you build with the other. Because, damn, get your organs infected because someone got luckier than you is really, really hard to handle.

We have a chess tornament coming up soon, and I don’t plan to stay friend with people who will humiliate me.

PATIENCE

l’abus d’alcool est dangereux pour la santé, à consommer avec modération.

Something that we don’t appreciate with Laura in Italy is that in supermarkets there is no way you can buy some. I mean what about human basic needs? So what? We just buy alcohol instead?

My only objective is to have as much patience as Javier has devotion for his pizza in the oven.

Indeed, one of the most difficult ability to master is Patience.

I don’t know who read here Javier’s blogpost (maybe someone care) but he posted this very nice/ cute pictures of us. Let me show you the backstage.

Anyway, at some point I GUESS, it’s worth it if you manage to bond with other people……

This was La Baguette, bisous

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History lesson: Ferrara

We can´t hide how much happy we are since we are yellow zone and we can visit other cities.

A picture full of diamonds

The first place where we have gone has been Ferrara. It´s know as the first modern city of Europe according to urbanism, because in the XV century the architect Biagio Rossetti was asked to create new streets and new buildings in order to transform the medieval (and what´s the same, chaotic) city. This restructuration is called “La Addizione Erculea” because was ordered by Hercules I di Este, and the most interesting part is the “Quadrivio degli Angeli”. It´s a place where three modern palaces were build and for sure the most impressive is the “Palazzo dei Diamanti” (Diamonds Palace), called like that because of the padding with diamonds appearance, where, by the way, we made a funny video all together.

We went with the volunteers of Forlì

Undoubtedly, perhaps the most amazing monument is the “Castello Estense”, a castle built through the centuries but with a medieval soul that made us fly our imagination. It was easy to think in a fairy tale or a historical film while looking at the moat full of water around the castle or the wooden drawbridge. The real history is that the building was the residence of the Este family. Since medieval times, every city of Italy had a very important family who ruled the territory, like Medici in Florence or Manfredi in Faenza. And the Family Este is the one who made of Ferrara the great city it is.

Shops + Cathedral

Another beautiful monument is the Cathedral San Giorgio Martire, a church built in different styles: the external part is a mix between Romanesque and Gothic while the interior was reformatted into Baroque aesthetic. Unfortunately we couldn´t enter, and a big part of the façade was being restored, but anyway we could enjoy the imposing belltower and, something that caught my attention, there a shops merged into one side of the Cathedral, a new thing for me.

Gon open your eyes, please

For the rest of the day, nothing that you can´t imagine: Mathilde sleeping in the train, Györgyi taking amazing pictures, Gonzalo eating, Maria flirting, me entering to every church and Laura looking like a Nordic blond superstar who is in Italy filming a movie (yes, I envy her because she is taller and blonder). We eat an amazing lunch in a restaurant where we could practise our knowledges in Italian with the waitress (some enjoyed it, and some not) and we walked a loooooot of kilometres, but it was good for our beautiful bodies full of pizza and wine. To sum up, Ferrara is not a very famous city but I would recommend it to everyone who wants to know the real and unknow Italy, full of history, art, food and good people.

See you soon, my people, my fans.

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My love language

As we are all very unique human being I want this week to talk to you about my very own love language: that is to say how I express my love and what raise my love for the others. Why? Because this week gathered a lot of illustration of those and I do have to write a blog post about something.

First of all, I want to talk about how humor matters to me to build a loving relationship around sarcasm and bad jokes. With the other volunteers we played a game I really like: Psych! The point of the game is: everyone is playing on their phone together and you all have to answer question like “If Maria and Javier created a band tomorrow, what would be the name of it”. Then everybody has to find the inspiration to be the funniest so their answer can be selected and win points.

One of the question was “What does Mathilde take too much time thinking about”. Laura answered “taking a nap while napping”. Seeing that she got to know me better really warmed my heart.

I think it leads us to the fact that I love so much when people notice the small things about me and care enough to know me better. For example, during lunch break I sometimes hear “Where is Mathilde?” from my room. And Györgyi knows always what to answer: “she is napping”.

And obviously, I am going to mention the part that takes food in my love language.

It was a tuesday night, I was home, and I received a text from Javier “Mathilde can I bring you pizza and we spend the night together”. And honestly I couldn’t love him more than at this very moment. It was such a cute date night. It made me so happy and full of love

Then we had the Moussaka time. Maria is trying to learn new things and notably how to cook. As she wanted to cook for us a traditional Greek dish, I offered my help to realise the recipe. It was my way to show her that I care about her and that I can be there when she needs me. A bit dramatic for just a Moussaka right? But that’s how I communicate.

Then, I got to have two handsome spanish men to cook for us a SPLENDID, or should I say MAGNIFICENT Paella. It was so amazing. I mean SO AMAZING. And it’s always makes me full of love to see people dedicate time to make others happy.

if anyone tries to take those people away from me.
me before and after I met my new friends

As a conclusion, I can say that this experience is bringing me so much. I truly feel grateful for all those things, besides the working part that I love, that makes my everyday life absolutely incredible and is making me grow as a person. It’s such a rich experience. Thanks for all the love guys.

It was Mathilde, la baguette.