Saturday, January 18, 2014

Christmas-vacation tales

Preface
Although I’m clearly not skilled in foreign languages, I try to do my best. I’m not even perfect in Italian, which is my mother language. I have the feeling that even my English is worsening since I moved to Brussels, but now I’m able to say a couple of sentences also in bad French and Dutch. Thus, I’ll keep writing in English, because this is a way to practice and because I believe the content is more important than the syntax. Well, who cares of a personal blog? Me. That’s enough.

In 2014 I celebrate some important anniversaries:
- 15 yrs from my high school diploma
- 10 yrs from my Ms in Geological Science
- 10 yrs since I moved to live by my own
- 6 years from the publication of my first scientific paper
- 5 yrs from my first overseas flight (to San Francisco)
- 5 years from my PhD

As 10 yrs ago
As usual, I've spent a couple of weeks in my hometown. This year, as previously, I’ve organized a dinner with my university mates. Although some of them couldn’t join us, we were 12, with at least half of us at “home” only for Christmas, after having migrated abroad for a job. Only a few of us still work in Italy, but almost all were able to stay in the field.
This dinner was as entertaining and funny as 10 yrs ago. During the dinner we planned the next meeting, possibly in summer, to celebrate 10 yrs from graduation with a whole weekend together, included a field trip on "our" mountains. Can't wait!

No snow…
My wish was enjoying a white Christmas in the mountains, but... Despite the weather forecast had called heavy snowstorms, in our area we didn’t see a single snowflake! Only rain or thick clouds. Although I like the rain and I love the cold air above 1000 m a.s.l., I couldn’t cope that sad atmosphere longer than a couple of days, so I asked my parents to go back to the foggy and warm plain. Nevertheless, it has snowed in other areas of the Italian Alps, causing an electrical black out that lasted more than four days. That’s Italy. Back to 100 yrs ago in a minute. What a time machine!

… no party
I was used to spend the New Year’s Eve with some friends from the Conservatorium, at my place or at a cellist’s place, having a lot of fun playing music together and baking italian traditional food. Not this year. Perhaps because I’ve lived abroad too long. Also the President, in his New Year's Eve speech has forgotten all the Italians living abroad. Are we still italian?
Anyway, this year I’ve spent the New Year’s Eve at home, watching an old movie, playing cards, sleeping, etc. as an old spinster. Not because I stayed at home, but because there wasn't a partner next to me. This year less noise came from my neighbors, maybe less money to waste and sadder mood, what is called crisis.

Chatting with old friends
Obviously I worked while at home, I played a lot as well, both organ and piano. But this is has been also the time for meeting people I see once a year or that I didn’t see for years. This is like meeting the past and making a comparison with what we have become in the meantime. Am I really different?

The first meeting was a dinner with my former organ teacher. Every meeting with him is a great experience, his knowledge about music is enormous, as well as his humility. Great musicians like him are quite rare. Although I had met him in october in Germany, this dinner gave me the chance to meet also his family and a close friend (and very promising musician, too), who is studying in Vienna. The result was a delicious dinner, for the food, the atmosphere and the culture. The second meeting was with my friend cellist. We played together many times, after only a single rehearsal we were ready for a concert, with an incredible harmony. Nevertheless, we are quite different and when we tried to spend together some days of vacation we almost broke out. We had a nice dinner with other friends, playing and chatting until 2 am. As usual.

The third meeting was with mates, who I didn’t see since the primary school. Actually we met sometimes on the train to Padova during the university years and we keep in touch with Fb. We talked of the current situation of Italy but also of other topics, remembering our old schoolmates. The fourth meeting was with a geology professor, with whom a project is going on. That has been a successful meeting:paper organized, interesting information and hints also for other current projects acquired, news about the recent changes in the recruiting system of italian universities… digested. As Tomasi di Lampedusa said: “Changing things so everything stays the same.” There are no hopes, I could never go back to Italy for my job.

Belgian routine
As soon as I landed, I fell in the usual rush. Hyper-busy with my job but also looking again for a new apartment  This is why this post is to late. Let’s hope that this time I’ll have better luck with the flat. Happy New Year!

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