Sunday, December 9, 2018

The Perfect Quote

You know that I am no fan of the Christmas shopping frenzy. Nevertheless, Christmas or not, I needed candles and a picture frame. Therefore I found myself in a department store, walking around the third floor, not finding the candles, when suddenly I realized ... how much stuff there actually is in a department store. Have you ever REALLY like REALLY noticed how much stuff they sell? And, please, don't let me start on the stuff they sell in the supermarkets. Do we really need to choose from that many brands of yoghurt???
It's certainly not the first time I write about this but in that particular moment? It hit me hard. I felt overwhelmed. Our stores are FULL of STUFF and when I think that our so-called "elites" suggest that we need to consume even more in order to increase the growth of our countries?
Consume more? How is that even possible?

I finally found my candles (more than 50 different colors and shapes - I counted, already having this post in mind) and went home thinking of some words written by one of my favorite writers, the late Tiziano Terzani. I re-read his book "Lettere contro la guerra" (Letters Against the War) written just a few weeks after 9/11.
(Unfortunately) not much has changed since … SIGH

[...]Anni di sfrenato materialismo hanno ridotto e marginalizzato il ruole della morale nella vita della gente, facendo di valori come il danaro, il successo e il tornaconto personale il solo metro di giudizio. Senza tempo per fermarsi a riflettere, preso sempre più nell'ingranaggio di una vita altamente competitiva che lascia sempre meno spazio al privato, l'uomo del benessere e dei consumi ha come perso la sua capacità di commuoversi e di indignarsi.
E tutto concentrato su di sé, non ha occhi né cuore per quel che gli succede attorno. [...] 

English translation (MY English translation, therefore all mistakes are mine!):

[...]Years of uninhibited materialism have diminished and marginalized the role of ethics in people's lives. Values like money, success and personal benefits became the only standard of judgement. Without the time to pause and to reflect and, at the same time, being caught up in a more and more competitive life that leaves increasingly less space for privacy, humans of welfare and of consumism have lost the ability to feel moved or outraged by anything. Everything is centered on them. They have no eyes and no heart for anything that happens around them. [...]

Friday, December 7, 2018

December Wish

Ladies and Gents ... 2018 is almost over, can you believe it? It was a strange year. Some moments felt ... endless. Others just went by so quickly (never the right ones though SIGH)
For December is wish for peace. I know. I know. I should have thought of something fancier. Peace and Christmas kind of go together (at least on paper). But I didn't feel like thinking of something fancy. Peace is what I wish for (for you and me and our world).
I mean peace as in "not fighting" as well as in "quiet, silence, calm".

I love December (never as much as I love summer, obviously haha). I love it when all the house owner in my neighborhood get out their Christmas decoration and when our municipality puts lights on a big fir that is fortunately visible from my windows! Makes me feel happy just looking at all the lights. Makes me feel joyful.
Happy December to you and your loved ones. Full of peace and joy :-)

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Andalusia Road Trip: Sevilla (some more photos)

I think that the tiles (azulejos) are worth a separate post because they are simply too beautiful to be put with some other pictures :-) What exquisite (here's the word again haha) craftsmanship!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Andalusia Road Trip: First Stop Sevilla

I've been back a couple of days and I am starting to go through all the pictures I've taken during my one week road trip through Andalusia.
What a trip!
I know what I say about every trip I go on: it was magic. It was wonderful. Unforgettable. You name the adjective and I've probably used it (hahahaha).

Andalusia was certainly all that but with an unexpected twist though. I didn't expect myself to love the moorish/arabic architecture as much as I did. I LOVED IT!!
But let's start at the beginning.
I arrived in Sevilla in the late afternoon and before it got dark I was able to take some picture of the cathedral (I couldn't visit as it was already closed … you know, winter time opening hours!).

I had arrived in the south :-)
The next day it rained but I didn't mind as I knew I would spent quite some time inside … in the cathedral and the Real Alcázar (King's palace … back then and still today. When the actual king is visiting Sevilla than it's here he's staying).
I decided to start with the Real Alcázar because I assumed that the crowd would be huge (it was!).
I picked up my audio guide and … it was love at first sight (SIGH).
Exquisite comes to mind. Mind-blowing.
I spent more than 3 hours walking the Palacios and the Patios and I got cramps in my necks from all the looking up.
What do you think?

I spent another couple of hours in the cathedral where I couldn't take any pictures (it was way too dark). It's one of the biggest gothic churches (second after the St Peter's Basilica, my audio guide informed me). Crazy what they built back then!

Once I was back in my hotel room, I started to realize that maybe this trip would be different from the others I've taken so far. I realized that I would probably be able to explore another kind of culture, one I didn't know yet, the Moorish/Arabic culture/architecture.
I was right.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Christmas Shopping Frenzy Has Begun

A couple of days before leaving for my Andalusia road trip (I will soon share some photos and my impressions! Let me just say that it was amazing!), I had to buy a new suitcase (I buried my old one after 15 years of loyal services hahaha). While shopping for a bag I realized that ... we were back to the "every year the same story" Christmas shopping frenzy.
I don't know why, year after year, we seem to get more and more ... how should I put it? ... obsessed? And, year after year, it feels like the shopping frenzy starts earlier (I'm probably wrong on that one! But so it feels to me.).

Well, I bought my suitcase and was happy to not be part of the "Christmas shopping in November frenzy crowd" because, you know, I actually like Christmas. Just not the whole shopping experience...

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The (Unexpected) Audience

I was practicing the flute on Sunday … yes, I'm still playing the flute! I went through a period of "I want to throw this thing out of my window" but I somehow found the courage and the joy to continue. You should hear me these days … I am doing really well and with so much gusto … who would have thought? I am surely glad that I kept on practicing even though I (very strongly) felt like calling it quits.
Where was I? Right. Me practicing this Sunday. Suddenly I noticed a movement on my balcony. I had an audience. A dove (not the grey ones you see all around the city but the white/grey ones … I think the correct word is turtle dove). A cute little thing that has been my neighbor since spring. I woke to her "gru gru" sounds for the last couple of months (I love it!) and today she seemed to enjoy my playing. She turned her little head and looked at me with her little black eyes (through the windows).
My first audience … I felt honored!

Friday, November 9, 2018

November Wish

What to wish for November? The word "sturdy" came to mind.
This is how I feel and how I wish for you to feel. Sturdy.
Your feet on the ground, your head in the air.
Strong and confident and resilient.
Because November can be tough on people. The days are shorter, the weather harsher and some already think of (and fear) the Christmas frenzy that lies ahead.
Keep calm and love life.
2018 is almost over and, although I already had an inspiring idea for my 2019, let's, for the time being, not talk about the future. Let's just make the best of the 7 remaining weeks of 2018.