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Jan 23, 2014
This may never start.
We could fall apart.
And I'd be your memory.
Lost your sense of fear. 
Feelings insincere.
Can I be your memory?

So get back, back, back to where we lasted.
Just like I imagine.
I could never feel this way.
So get back, back, back to the disaster.
My heart's beating faster.
Holding on to feel the same.

Sugarcult, Memory
(Palm Trees and Power Lines, 2004)


Today someone asked me one of the famous one million dollar questions. And it was a very good question indeed, and yet I was surprised, because in that moment I realized that I have never asked myself something like that, at least consciously. 

And... here we are with the question.
What would you prefer? 
To have some wonderful memories or to imagine something wonderful?

I had to think a little about that and...
I knew that I would go for the memories, every single time. Beyond a shadow of a doubt.

To have some memories means to me that I had experienced something worth it, met someone inspiring, talked about something interesting, felt something deeply, saw something beautiful, kissed someone sexy, read something funny, loved someone with heart and soul, eaten something delicious, danced all night long, heard a great song, cried desperately, laughed loudly, traveled wonderful places, learned something useful, tried something new, lost someone for good, made mistakes etc.

[Life without memories:
Guy Pearce as Leonard 
in Memento by Christopher Nolan (2000)]

Having memories means to me that I have lived. And that I am alive.
To imagine something is also very interesting, and funny, and exciting and sexy and maybe safer than having memories, but I would go for memories anyway.

The person asked me as well if I had some very special memories and even before replying, I remembered immediately at least three-four special moments in my life and suddenly I was completely happy. And I smiled. 
And I understood that I have never asked myself something like that, because the answer lies in how I lived in the past and in how I live now.

Which one would you choose? And why?

Tags: Memory, Imagination, Memento, Sugarcult

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Posted: Jan 23, 2014 2:17pm
Jan 22, 2014

Yoga helps me...
#1. to relax;
#2. to breath deeper and better;
#3. to correct and improve my posture;
#4. to become more flexible;
#5. to stay fit;
#6. to accept and enjoy my body even more;
#7. to be in "here and now" while practicing it;
#8. to focus;
#9. to stretch;
#10. to take care of myself and my health.

[Cat Yoga
Image source: Catsu The Cat]

What about you?

Tags: Yoga, Body, Relax

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Posted: Jan 22, 2014 12:19pm
Jan 14, 2014
Today I was having an interesting discussion with two colleagues of mine, who made a fool of me because I made a comparison between yoga and everyday life...
Well, let's be more precise, so you can judge by yourself.

A colleague of mine was telling us that he didn't like the teaching style of a yoga teacher because the person was used to say "left" while meaning "right" and vice versa. So my colleague got confused and he was not able to do the postures properly. In my opinion this is not a deal breaker while taking a yoga class, since while doing yoga I observe the teacher and do mirroring. 

[Doing mirroring with yoga postures, anyone?
Image source: Fitness Fan Store]

So I don't always pay attention to what the teacher says. I pay attention to what the teacher does. And then I do the same (or at least I try, since I am a very bad yogi, so far). 

While reflecting on this matter, I said that in everyday life it is the same, after all. 
And there is where my colleagues told me that this was a pearl of wisdom that has changed their life.

Well, it did change my life. Completely.

If someone is telling me something but then he/she is doing something different or even just the opposite, I pay attention to what the person is actually doing, not to what the person is saying. If this happens once, no problem. Every person can have an accident, experience a bad day, face some worries and the like. 

But if the situation is going to happen again and again and again... Well, I am not going to trust the person that much, even if I am not going to judge him/her. I am just not going to rely upon them. 
Actions count a thousand words to me. And I am all for being consistent, in everyday life.

What about you? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Tags: Yoga, Everyday life, Being consistent

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Posted: Jan 14, 2014 4:17pm
Dec 11, 2013
To be honest, I have to say immediately that, of course, in comparison with the main characters of Four Weddings and a Funeral, I am just an absolute beginner. And yet, about eight years ago I reached that wedding age, in which one starts to get at least a couple of wedding invitations every year. 
If you are going to reply that you started going to weddings when you were six, please stop. That is not the kind of weddings I am talking about.

I am talking about the weddings of your friends, of your schoolmates, of your ex boyfriends, of your flatmates, of your colleagues... Weddings of people in your age or even way younger than you. 

[The amazing cast of Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) 
by Mike Newell, from left to right: 
Kristin Scott Thomas, Hugh Grant, Simon Callow, 
Andie MacDowell, Charlotte Coleman, John Hannah, James Fleet]

Yes, exactly that kind of weddings. And even if I have never been into weddings and I never actually thought seriously about getting married, each time I can't help to feel the social pressure while being stuck in a sort of nice and yet somehow nightmare-like scenario. 

Getting a wedding invitation. Another one. 
Choosing the dress. Choosing the shoes. Choosing the make up. Doing my best to look great.
Going to the wedding. Being asked when I am going to be next one. From a guest. And another guest. And another one. And finally from the mother of the bride.
Being forced to compete with other women for the throwing of the bouquet. Actually getting the bouquet (it happened more than once already...) and then being asked again when I am going to be the next one, then.

I am surrounded by married friends and acquaintances, married colleagues, married schoolmates. I am even already surrounded by married friends and acquaintances and colleagues and schoolmates with children. Even by married Tandem partners.
But... every time when I start to think that everybody is married and that I am not going to get another invitation... I realized that I just forgot someone. Someone who is going to marry soon, of course.

[Gorgeous Purple dress in rétro style in a shop window 
at the Christmas market in Gendarmenmarkt
(Friedrichstadt, Berlin), December 2013]

Strangely enough, I still love going to weddings. I still love getting the wedding invitations. I still love seeying my loved ones being nervous, excited, fancy dressed, touched and ready to spend the rest of their lives with someone.

But what about me? Well, it is just not my piece of cake.
When I was a teenager and I had already started to dress in Purple, people asked a lot how my wedding dress would be. A white one? Or a Purple one? And I replied that the dress would have to be Purple, of course. To be very gorgeous. To be bigger than life. In rétro style. 
Almost anybody believed me then.

Today in the morning I saw the wonderful dress I am posting here and I smiled.
Thinking about my wedding, that is not going to happen anytime soon, with a dress like that. Enjoying a very special kind of time travel back to my teens.
And looking forward to the next wedding invitation.

Tags: Wedding, Wedding invitation, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Wedding dress

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Posted: Dec 11, 2013 2:16pm
Dec 9, 2013
A good way for learning a foreign language is watching movies in that language, no matter if in original version with or without subtitles. The subtitles offer a lot of different solutions and combinations, for that matter.

Let's use a German movie as an example. What about Good Bye Lenin! or Run Lola Run?

[Good Bye Lenin! (2003) by Wolfgang Becker 
with Daniel Brühl and Katrin Saß]

While watching the movie in German, we would have at least these options to choose from:
#1. German version without subtitles;
#2. German version with subtitles in German;
#3. German version with subtitles for hearing impaired in German (if available);
#4. German version with subtitles in English;
#5. German version with subtitles for hearing impaired in English (if available);
#6. German version with subtitles in your native tongue, if different from English (Italian, in my case);
#7. German version with subtitles for hearing impaired in your native tongue (if available);
#8. German version with subtitles in another foreign language you would love to improve as well (French or Spanish, in my case);
#9. German version with subtitles for hearing impaired in another foreign language you would love to improve (if available).
etc.

You got the point, right?

While watching the movie, paying attention to the story and reading the subtitles at the same time, it will be easier for you to remember certain words or idiomatic expressions, to focus on the pronunciation, to understand in which occasions you should say something like that. Or in which occasions you shouldn't say something like that at any cost. 

It all depends on you and on which aspect of this method could be the most interesting and useful for you.
I like for example to discover new idiomatic expressions and figures of speech while seeing immediately in the movie when and how I should use them.

 [One funny German expression I learned from a movie?
 Holla die Waldfee!,
old-fashioned way for meaning What a surprise!]

You can mix the combinations, you can opt for subtitles in your native tongue or in English if you are a little tired or the movie is a difficult one, you can switch to the subtitles in the movie language or in your second (or third...) foreign language if you are familiar with the subject or if you know the book or the comic or that special book-to-film adaptation.

What about you?
Do you watch movies in another language for improving your language skills? In which combination?

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Tags: Holla die Waldfee, Learning a foreign language, Idiomatic expression, German, How to express surprise, Movies with subtitles

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Posted: Dec 9, 2013 2:14pm
Dec 1, 2013
Nonostante le migliori intenzioni, qualcosa nella vita può andare storto. Possiamo fare o dire qualcosa di sbagliato, essere insensibili o maleducati senza accorgercene, piantare in asso qualcuno nel momento del bisogno. Possiamo ferire gli altri. Possiamo deludere i nostri cari. Possiamo dimostrare ancora una volta, a noi stessi e agli altri, di non essere perfetti, dopo tutto.

Esattamente in simili frangenti entrano in gioco le scuse. Scuse porte di persona, per telefono, via e-mail, addirittura con un sms o su Facebook et similia. Scuse laconiche che si limitano a un "Mi dispiace" o addirittura a un telegrafico "Sorry", per chi ama gli anglismi. Scuse-fiume buttate giù di getto in e-mail lunghe cinque pagine. Scuse espresse di persona, davanti a un caffé o a un pasto consumato insieme. O ancora scuse pubbliche, se non si è offeso una persona ma un'istituzione, un gruppo, un'associazione, una minoranza... E via discorrendo.

Ma ha senso chiedere scusa? O chiedere scusa è in qualche modo passé?

[Come chiedere e come non chiedere scusa:
Harry ti presento Sally... (When Harry Met Sally..., 1989) 
di Rob Reiner]

Ha senso chiedere scusa se le scuse sono sentite. Ha senso chiedere scusa se si è sinceramente dispiaciuti e si desidera chiarire la situazione. Ha senso chiedere scusa se non lo si fa giusto per educazione, tanto per dire, per puro amore del quieto vivere.

Altrimenti non sono scuse, ma solo un modo per salvare la faccia con se stessi, ma non certo con gli altri. Chi crede che l'altro non possa capire se le scuse appena ricevute sono sincere o meno, di solito si sbaglia di grosso. Se non si è sinceri, meglio tacere del tutto.

Tag: Chiedere scusa, Quando chiedere scusa

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Posted: Dec 1, 2013 2:26pm
Nov 24, 2013
While learning or improving your language skills in a foreign language, it is important to read a lot in that language. In this way your passive vocabulary will become bigger and you will learn useful expressions used by native speakers.

While doing it, it is a good idea to read books, magazines, articles on the Internet etc. about topics that you like and are important and appealing to you. So I read for example tattoo magazines, in English and in German, and today I stumbled upon a difficult and yet interesting question for tattooed people:

How many hours have you been tattooed so far?

My first reaction was...
Oh well. Gosh. So let me check. I guess... I would say about... No, maybe...
You got the picture. I had no idea. Not the the slightest idea.

I got my first tattoo almost twenty years ago, when being tattooed was not so common for a girl in my age, and since then I collected a lot of questions about tattoos. But in the end they are almost always the same and people usually ask me how many tattoos I have, which one was the most painful one, which one is my favourite one.

So far anybody asked about how many hours I spent while being tattooed. And yet it makes sense and it is actually a very good question, because having a lot of small tattoos and having for example both sleeves and the full back tattooed are very different stories, in my opinion, so knowing how many hours people spent in a tattoo parlour so far is way more explanatory than how many tattoos people have.

[Canadian body artist and model Zombie Boy (born Rico Genest) 
with Lady Gaga as a zombie lady
So Zombie Boy, how many hours have you been tattooed so far?!]

What about you?
How many hours have you been tattooed so far?
Did anybody ask you this question before?

Tags: Tattoos, Questions about tattoos, Learning a foreign language

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Posted: Nov 24, 2013 2:14pm
Oct 16, 2013
Blog Action Day 2013 is all about Human Rights. 

What does "Human Rights" actually mean?
Every human being on Earth has 30 basic kind of rights, listed in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, created in 1948 by the United Nations in order to promote "universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms". 
At least on paper. 


The reality is very often far away from what proclamed in the Universal Declaration and a big percentage of human population can't enjoy these rights at all. 
The right to life, the right to freedom, the right to a fair treatment while in a court, the right to privacy, the right to a nationality, the right to freedom of thought, the right to freedom of speech, the right to social security, the right to education are among the basic rights that should be self-evident for everybody.

That's understood, right?

Happy Blog Action Day 2013.

Tags: The Butler, Django Unchained, The Paperboy, Human Rights, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Blog Action Day, Blogging

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Posted: Oct 16, 2013 4:15pm
Oct 6, 2013
About six months ago I started to practice Bikram Yoga.

Berlin is a very yoga-friendly city and yoga studios are everywhere. Bikram Yoga studios are, however, way more rare than other kind of yoga studios, because not every studio has the right equipment for Bikram Yoga classes.
We are talking about a kind of Hatha Yoga that people practice in a room heated to 40°C with a humidity of 40%.

Also known as Hot Yoga, Bikram Yoga is practiced in classes that run for 90 minutes and consist of 26 postures (called "Asanas") and 2 breathing exercises. Tools of the trade are only a yoga mat, a beach towel and a water bottle with at least 500ml beverage, since it´s normal to sweat a lot.

[My yoga mat is Purple, of course!]

The name originates from the founder of the system, Bikram Choudhury, and while writing this post I have discovered that Bikram Yoga is very "in", as it has been practiced by Hollywood stars, famous singers, burlesque beauties and David Beckham in the last couple of years.

I am not very good at it, so far, but this is not a big deal at all. While practicing yoga one has to stay focused on the Asanas, to live in the moment, to not compare himself or herself with other people. So it is not so important that I am not a very talented yogi yet and that other people are better than me, since I have to focus on my own experience, on my own body, on my improvements. 

Invested time, regular exercise and constant repetition of the postures makes the master, so I am on my way to become a better yogi, class after class. No pressure, no stress, no dissatisfaction. As they say: the journey is the reward, the path is the goal, the way is the aim. And so on.

After some experiments, I have found out that Sunday morning is the perfect time of the week for me to practice yoga.
So today in the morning I was in a new yoga studio, about to start a new class, and I noticed a blond, skinny girl with a pink tank top and sunglasses. Sunglasses in the bathroom of the yoga studio?! At the beginning I found that a little bit strange, but then I realised that she was visually impaired.

In the class I was practicing not far away from her and even if I focused on my Asanas, I looked at her often, with great admiration for her courage and determination.

I was happy to have her in the class and more than once I found myself thinking about how often we are used to complain about problems and barriers, even if our barriers are - most of the time - not real.
Her barrier - not being able to see, not being able to look at the teacher's postures - is real, and yet she has the courage of being the better version of herself, to run a normal life, to do what she wants.
To be the only visually impaired person in a room full of people who can see her, while she can't see them.

A Bikram Yoga class is very rewarding, but also exhausting and goal number one is always staying in the room for the whole 90 minutes, even if one is not able to complete all Asanas. The girl stayed in the room the whole time. She was quiet, motivated and she did every posture, without help. 

Seeing her being the better version of herself gave me strength.
I hope to see her next Sunday. I am going to be there.

Tags: Bikram Yoga, Hot Yoga, Courage, Being visually impaired

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Posted: Oct 6, 2013 2:14pm
Sep 29, 2013
Wherever I go, some people tend to think that they already know me, as soon as they discover that I'm Italian.
They think to know what I think.
They believe to understand what I like or what I am going to do.
They make jokes about Italians, and maybe they consider it funny.

It doesn't matter that they don't know me.
It doesn't matter that they usually know very little about Italy and Italians.
It doesn't matter that I don't like what a lot of Italians are supposed to like.

Those people have some cliché about Italians in mind and since I am Italian, hey!, I should be like that. Or I should find funny if someone that I got to know five minutes before starts to make fun of Italy. Maybe it is an ice-breaker for them, insulting other people and make fun of them.

They don't see me.
They see just the clichés about Italians.
A living cliché, in my case.

In the past I was very angry and annoyed. Every single time.
Now? Now I smile. And I nod. And I go away as soon as I can wihout drama.

[A beautiful Italian movie that goes beyond clichés:
Pane e tulipani (Bread & Tulips, 2000) by Silvio Soldini
starring Licia Maglietta and Bruno Ganz]

Discussing and arguing and fighting about it with superficial people is just not worth my time anymore. I am not going to make them change their mind and I don't want to either. People can accept and be respectful towards diversity only if they want it. 

But... if you don't want to be rude while doing the same with someone else (maybe at the next party...), remember three fundamentals of diversity management:
#1. Each person is different, special and unique. Do you know someone else who is exactly like you?
#2. Each person is not only part of a community, but also an individual with individual needs and thoughts. Do you agree with each aspect of your culture and tradition or do you have ideas on your own as well?
#3. Each person deserves respect and attention, no matter how different from you the person could be - or just appears to be. Are you sure that you don't have anything in common with the person?

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Tags: Clichés about Italians, Bread & Tulips, Diversity Management

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Posted: Sep 29, 2013 4:13am

 

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Azzurra C.
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Aug
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Jan
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Jan
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Feb
26
by Mary T.
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