Dreams

[All in the same week]

S1:E1

During my commute I use to listen to the Italian radio: I have been listening to Il Volo del Mattino for many years and it is still part of my way to the office.

It is a mix of good music, unstructured structure, fun, messages from the listeners and calls to the most intriguing message writers.

Recently Fabio, the speaker, focused on dreams and announced his new mission: helping people’s dreams to come true.

Of course he received tons of messages.

The first one he selected was from a guy living in the same city as the radio station is.

The guy who sent the message had a dream: to become a radio speaker.

After the initial handshake and jokes, Fabio told the guy: “Come here and take my place for the last 5 minutes of the program today”.

This is a national radio station, one of the most famous in Italy.

What did the guy reply?

“I cannot, because I have to work”

Ok. I could agree with the guy: job is important. Not only important: it is fundamental; it is crucial.

But here on one side there is 1 hour, maybe 2 hours of a working day. Is it that much?? I don’t think the world is full of envy and bad managers who like to put tough obstacles in their reports’ life. No, I do believe the wide majority of managers is just the opposite. I think his manager would have understood it.

On the other side there is the dream of the life.

I can tell you that I hoped until the end of the program to hear the voice of the guy.

No way.

He didn’t go.

*********

S1:E2

I received a message from one of my best friends.

It was a bad news regarding an old school buddy who has passed away. As often happens in this situations, you end up realising once more that life is short.

Too short.

That it must be fully lived.

No excuses.

In other words, you have to pursue your dreams. Nobody will fight for them; maybe your friends or beloved ones will support you, but only if you are the first one who believes in your dreams.

My friend ended up stating that saying something is different from doing it. So, no dreams coming true.

*********

S1:E3

“Daddy, can you help me sleeping?”

“Sure”

In my family we are 2 “boys” and 2 “girls”: well, one of the 2 girls starts to talk as soon as I open one eye in the morning (I guess I am in a good company here 🙂 ), and the other one cannot stop talking before sleeping.

I was trying to bring into Morpheus arms the second one….

So, between one topic and another one we ended up talking about our dreams and how important it is to fight for them.

After I described one of mine to my daughter, she simply said:

“Do it”

Kids’ logic is quite often simple and right.

In that specific moment, her 2 simple words just threw me on the other side of the call at the radio.

Am I doing everything I can to pursue my dream?

I cannot answer that, probably because I would realise that I could do more….

So…..

….right now….

….I will not open Netflix and watch a new episode of

….no….

…I will work on the next step towards my dream.

Grand Finale

“Would you volunteer at the school dance party?”

“Sure!!!! I would be happy to!!!”

…but it didn’t go just like this…

My wife decided to volunteer: it was great, of course.

But then, she had to shift to new schedules and plans and I inherited the great opportunity.

In other words, I was the official replacement.

It is an important change, because the party could have had a different course if I had spent that evening at home with my son.

So, I volunteered to be one of the 2 DJs: in the dance party, F. and I were the most important helping-parents (maybe it is just how we felt 🙂 )

We spent some time to take 1 by 1 the titles of the songs that boys and girls wanted to add to THE playlist. Two different genres, definitely! Finally, it was in F’s spotify playlist.

Obviously, the night before the big event, at 21.30 my daughter came up with other 10 song titles that could not have missed the floor of the dance party: it took me a while to search for each of them, get a screenshot and send all the screenshots to F., so that he could include them in the playlist.

Being a ParentDJ is a tough job.

It was even clearer when I arrived at school. One of my daughter’s friend, whose name is top secret, approached me and said: “I have to dance 16 minutes with L., 15 with A., 11 with B. and…and…and…. : therefore, I need many slow songs!!!! Are you playing them, aren’t you????”

In my head the only thought was: “this 10 years old little girl, standing in front of me together with my daughter, is just kidding me”. Actually, she was too serious to be kidding me.

“Sure no problem!”

“Oh, thank you so much!!!!! By the way….don’t tell my parents about it!!!!”

I couldn’t stop a smile to show up in my face.

The sound system in the room was great: we just needed to connect the phone and music started to fill in the air. We kept the volume down as the party had not started yet. I had to post a picture of the mixer on facebook: too cool!

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I’m pretty sure I never had a similar sound system in my private parties when I was a kid/teen.

We managed to get lights and a globe too….

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In the meanwhile a bunch of parents were preparing tables for the dinner: the organisation of the volunteering system worked perfectly, thanks G. for that!

The party kicked off officially and volume pumped up.

The first 2-3 songs in the playlist went great: most of the kids were dancing and having fun.

Then, requests for songs started up: “Now we need this song, just this!! Please please!”

It was impossible to resist and the playlist, built with so much sacrifice, was simply abandoned. Forgot. Put in a remote corner.

And of course my young friend with a top secret name went to the DJ station and said: “I need the slow song. Now”

Yes, impossible to resist.

VVVVRRRRRR (phone vibrating). Someone commented on my Facebook post.

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Really?!?!?!?!?!  A   F O G  –  M A C H I N E ?!?!?!?!

The 2 DJs decided that it was a fantastic idea; an idea that would have brought the party to the next level!

We replied that we needed it.

And he came, fast. Super-fast. “I am here”, Messenger blinked. B. was waiting at the school gate.

Outside it was snowing and many entrances and internal doors in the school were closed, for safety reasons. It took me some time to reach the right door. After a few minutes the fog machine was ready: it just needed to warm up.

B. and I started talking and suddenly, looking at the ceiling, B. stopped talking and pointed at the smoke alarm sensor. We looked each other and nodded. We agreed that most likely smoke made of palm oil and water wouldn’t have triggered the alarm.

Fog machine is a nice gadget as it has a remote control: you press a button, it sprays a little cloud of smoke.

1 pressure, 1 little cloud: test successful.

Cake break.

Dancing floor empty. DJs in a good party mood.

Cake break finished.

Kids in the dancing floor again.

More songs requests.

More fun.

Press. Smoke.

Nice.

Press again. Smoke again.

Very nice.

Press press. Smoke smoke.

Really funny.

Press press press. Smoke smoke smo….

“This is a critical situation”

***weeeeee*** ***weeeeee****

“This is a critical situation, everybody….”

Ops.

We did it.

Fire alarm was triggered.

Everybody knew that there was no actual fire, but only a fog machine: even though, a small level of panic started raising.

All lights were on and music was down.

Firemen truck siren broke the silence in the quiet Billund.

Headmaster arrived.

Firemen arrived.

WORRIED PARENTS ARRIVED.

Suddenly the school was full of people…and still some smoke…

Cleaning lady, who probably did a very good training, brought outside all the kids she found.

A big serious fireman entered the building: a selfie shot would have been probably nice right below here….but he was so serious that I couldn’t ask for it…

He said that everybody had to be in the same place.

“Sure, but the alarm was triggered just by a fog mach…”

“It’s the process. Everybody must be in the same place”

“Got it”

Someone reported that half kids were inside and half outside.

Someone else said: “Ok, then everybody outside”.

As it was heavily snowing and, most importantly, there was no fire, I suggested to do the other way around: bring inside those kids who were outside.

Proposal approved.

Finally, alarm was switched off, firemen truck left the school parking lot and kids enjoyed some last cake.

According to rumours, a few kids were disappointed about it….

…but trusted sources declared that for most of them it was really a Grand Finale!!!!

________________________________________

Disclaimer: Don’t Try This At Your Kids’ Party 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

2016 – a journey

When I look back to my last year, this is a good representation of it:

In 12 months, 10 countries over 3 continents.

It has been tough, from the organizational point of view: a kind of puzzle between family tasks and appointments and job schedules and meetings.

But we did it. Big kudos to the family!

I started in February, with the business trip to US.

First stop: Denver, CO.

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When we arrived at the airport, while in line for the passport control, we heard many people yelling: weird, even weirder in a US airport. In a few milliseconds our feeling started to move from the surprised status to the worried one…..yes…this is a tough time to travel….

…but it didn’t move completely as we found out that Denver Broncos, the American football local team, had just won the Super-Bowl.

Everybody in Denver was crazy about it: even the guys at car rental were wearing Broncos merchandise!

In the following days we drove for hours among the factories there;

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The weather uses to change so quickly in Colorado (by the way, 300 sunny days per year!!!), that you go into a factory with a blue sunny sky

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and you go out after 2 hours under a grey snowy sky

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We got also our parking spot

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(just kidding 🙂 )

The last day we went to the Rocky Mountains. I was the driver that day and I could experience the peace of climbing up the mountains in the road full of turns. All around incredible landscapes

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With a night flight we got to Portland.

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I was again on the West Coast, a little bit more South than the city that hosted me for 9 summers.

Summers equals to NO-NBA.

Winter equals to YES-NBA: what a fantastic opportunity then!!!!!

And of course I took it: well in advance organized, we got tickets for the match and the last night we went to the ModaCenter for CHA@POR.

An NBA match is a show that merges with sport at the highest level

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In February it was time to go to Italy.

First stop: Taranto. Getting there took me almost as much time as going to Denver…..

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It was actually strange to go “abroad” in a business trip to my country.

But I managed it 🙂

For the first time since I was in Vestas, I had a meeting in Italian: this was strange as well!

Being in the Southern part of Italy had some advantages…

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Back to Rome

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my room was in a very peculiar hotel:

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Rome was beautiful as always.

Then, a little vacation time in Berlin, Germany: it is also a very nice city

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Full of history and culture…

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…great shows…

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…some technical issues…

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…epic characters…

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…and galactic fights…

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Next business trip was to Spain: I have been here 3 times in 2016.

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I visited our sites in Madrid, Daimiel and Léon.

Sometimes with fantastic colleagues, sometimes alone.

Getting to Madrid is quite easy: only airplane, even if with one intermediate stop.

Getting to Daimiel or Léon is more difficult: you need to drive 2-3 hours

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which has the advantage of discovering beautiful places lost in the middle of Spain

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It’s always nice to be in there 🙂

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France in March:

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It was my first time in Montpellier: it is a nice city in the Southern part of France.

I have been there twice in 2016. During my second visit I found a very nice small restaurant, which was really inspiring for the preparation of Safer Internet session at my kids’ school

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First time to China in May!

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Beijing is a fascinating and huge city.

 

Forbidden City is marvelous

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I also had the opportunity to shake the hand to the last living Emperor

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and taste some special tea, in the Chinese way

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Some colleagues told me that not everybody speaks English there: I can confirm it now…

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It was quite difficult in restaurants: we appreciated the waitresses’ effort in trying to communicate with us, but Google voice translator didn’t work so well and we ended up ordering food for at least 6 people (we were only 2)

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Not being able to communicate verbally was a challenge when our data traffic finished and we were in the middle of the city with no paper map and just the name of the place we wanted to go to: back to the past, a past we are not used to anymore!

But apparently it’s plenty of communication channels in Beijing…

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What we easily found was the food street

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In the end of May situation in Turkey seemed better, so I decided to plan my visit there.

The day before my flight, there was an attack in the middle of the city: I thought that statistically 2 attacks in a row are unlikely and I went there.

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Istanbul is really a fascinating city and crossing the bridge that links the European and Asian parts is even more fascinating

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From  Istanbul I flew directly to Athens, Greece: here I had a very short visit: airport, office and not much more

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Then….vacation time!!!!!!!

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Rome&Sabaudia, Italy: a mix of culture and just relax.

The night visit to Fori Imperiali was amazing

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Relax sessions were amazing as well….

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Like lunches on the sea side

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which I needed to “compensate” with some exercise…

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We also had beautiful sunsets

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and relatives visiting us (it took a while to shoot this picture with all four kids together and almost still!)

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In August it was time to go to the other side of the world, but in the Southern hemisphere

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After “only” 22 hours trip I got to Fortaleza, Brazil: it’s a beautiful place on the east coast of Brazil. Of course our factory is just in the middle of nowhere….

View from the hotel was great, day…

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…and night

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I had some time to experience the beauty of the city

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and eat some tropical fruit

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I could not miss the sunsets too!!!

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I had also some tough experience (Sliding Doors).

From Fortaleza to Sao Paulo, where I spent a very short time, just for my visit to the office (and some picanha)

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In October we decided to go back to Italy for a short vacation.

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Kids said they were missing our scooter runs: how could I neglect it (“real” Italian ice-cream included)???

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Kids, and grown up, played together

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We spent some great time with friends too

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Vacation was split into two parts: after Rome, La Spezia!

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There, we had a family reunion

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and I met my friends

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One last “cheers” before coming back home

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December was the month of my last trip: a long flight again.

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Mexico City is a crazy capital city: I lived in Rome for many years and I experienced its traffic jam, which was second only to the one in Cairo. After my visit to Mexico City, I know which is the winner!

I could not go downtown because it was 20 Km from my hotel and it could have taken 1.5 hours!

But it is also a very nice city

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I had some time to visit one of the most amazing and beautiful place in the world: Teotihuacan

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Are you wondering if it is a big site?

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How could I resist to

SALT

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LEMON

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& TEQUILA

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???

That was obviously great 🙂

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Now 2017 has started and everything is ready:

  • First vacation abroad – booked
  • First business trip – ready to be planned
  • Netflix offline feature – implemented (and preferred TV series downloaded)
  • Bluetooth noise-canceling headphones – charged
  • Kindle – charged
  • Plug converters – in the bag
  • Passport – in the bag

So…let’s take off!!!!!!!!

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The Magic Update

Yesterday I woke up at 6 AM as usual, I dismissed the alarm clock ringing on my phone….and then something strange happened.

I enabled Wi-Fi network and immediately the phone connected to it: no need to struggle with the on/off switch on the Wi-Fi settings…

…the email app worked smoothly…

…I could see all my pictures stored in the cloud quickly: no grey squares nor spinning wheel telling me that the app was refreshing the view….

…I could update the lineup of my fantasy football team easily from the app…

…I had my Ryan-air boarding passes on the Ryan-air app and not in a pdf inside an email inside the mail app…

…my watch synchronized with the phone to show me the sleep status of the night before….

…and it started getting notifications from the phone without my finger closing and opening and closing and opening and closing and opening Garmin app, ending up in closing it again and giving up…

…l’app facebook worked simply as it should, no less no more…

…facebook Messenger didn’t crash just after the launch…

..WHAT HAPPENED?!?!?!?!?!?! A MAGIC WINDOWS UPDATE RUN DURING THE NIGHT??????

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…not exactly….

Ehm….after

10 years

     3 months

           13 days

                  and 20 hours

I woke up in that Think Different world that I had always seen as the Dark Side!

The time had come: quite sadly indeed I said goodbye to the companion of many adventures, to that guy I went on advocating and “evangelizing” for so many years.

But that’s the way it is: the last year has been a painful (technology speaking) path towards the annihilation.

So, see you my friend and welcome to you, my new iCompanion!

A dinner

Starter, main course, dessert.
It seems a typical dinner.
But it was one of the most amazing dinner I ever had.

Let’s move the timeline back to June: we got an email, which was actually a
TOP SECRET INVITATION.
It was about a dinner, planned for the 24th of September: quite an early invitation…but a lot of organization was needed….
By accepting it, we would have accepted to attend the so called “Running Dinner”, where we would have met many new people and had a lot of fun.
We accepted, of course, with no hesitation.
We also got a task: preparing dessert for eight people.

The preparation was a long one, at least mentally; practically, we did almost everything last minute….
We looked for recipes, for a good way to prepare the table and the house, for our super babysitter: then, some tests on Friday (I am pretty good in tasting cakes) and the big preparation on Saturday.
Everything was ready: kids with babysitter, allowed to walk around only in half house; cat outside, not allowed at all to walk around (I could see all the glasses in pieces and cat hair all around!!)…

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…just waiting for the SMS.
Yes, the SMS!
We didn’t know where the starter would have taken place.
16.30 sharp, 30 mins before the beginning of the dinner, we got it.
Weather was lovely last Saturday, so we decided to bike.
We reached our destination, rang the bell and two perfect strangers welcomed us in their house.
In a short while, other three couples joined: one house, eight people, a mix of Danish and Internationals, some of whom just met for the first time, hungry and happy to have the starter together. Even happier to come know each other.
Typical Danish starter, good talks, some in English some in Danish (!!!), good wine….just not enough yet for a fluent talk in Danish…
Then the host took the envelopes she received from the organizers and distributed them to the guests, one per couple.
Each couple opened the envelope and got the next destination address: the one for the main course.

Before leaving, we couldn’t miss the opportunity of a group picture:

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The eight of us cheered each other, excited for the next step but also a little bit sad for leaving the good company.
It was funny to see other bikers running in different directions, all looking for their next destination.
It was a puzzle, where every step was built up of eight people, in a newer combination.
On our way we met other two bikes, going in the same direction: a quick glance and we understood we were heading to the same destination.
Again, we rang the bell and two perfect strangers welcomed us in the their house.
A few minutes later the forth couple arrived and everything was ready for the main course.
Great main course, great people. Different interaction, but lovely in the same way as the previous one.
The Italian red wine was really good and also had a nice story behind: we were honored to be the one sipping it.
When you have such a good time, it tends to run very fast and suddenly the new envelopes were distributed: we already knew our next destination.
From one side we were feeling a little bit the pressure of being the hosts for dessert, from the other one we were happy to fully experience this new kind of event.

But before leaving, we shot our picture, of course…

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…we cheered then the new friends and, with the same feeling as before, we cycled back home.
We got home, wondering if our cat had decided just that night to use the cat door that she had never used. Luckily, she didn’t.
Kids were sleeping, babysitter had everything under control, we lighted up the candles and waited for our guests.
For four of them we were the perfect strangers who welcomed them in their house.
Tiramisù, panna cotta and special rice balls were delicious.
One dinner, third steps in three different houses, third combination of people, third different dynamics around the table. One common thing: same fun and same wish to know each other.
Before opening the last envelope, we had time for the special Luca’s cocktail: that’s where we started singing Danish songs! 🙂

The vibe was high, we have had a fantastic time and we were looking forward to our next destination: Refborg hotel, where the party with all the participants was waiting for us.

But before jumping on our bikes…

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At Refborg, we met all our friends, old and new: lights dimmed down, music volume pumped up and the party began!
At some time in the night, we came back: now the bikes seemed to be not as stable and straight as before… but we succeeded with a great performance!
Running dinner is definitely a memorable experience: it is a unique way to merge different people and different cultures in a funny and interesting manner.
I actually don’t know in how many places you can organize such an event and having a so good outcome… I think Billund is the perfect place for that.
Now… I simply can’t wait for the next one…

Sliding Doors

If you look at the ranking of the most dangerous cities in the world, you don’t need to scroll down that much to find Fortaleza, Brazil.

Some colleagues advised me to stay in the area along the sea and to get back to the hotel by 11 PM. “Good advice” I thought when I landed and took a cab to reach my hotel (on the beach, you never know…): the residential buildings I passed by were protected by high fences and electrified wires, a clear hint about the ranking….

But once arrived at the hotel, the view from the room was beautiful.

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It was easy to forget the dangers and enter into the “equatorial mood”: it was Sunday, so it was also beach time, before the upcoming week full of important meetings.

The beach and the warm water were amazing, as amazing were the tropical fruit salad and the cold passion fruit juice got just with the feet in the white sand.

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Due to its latitude, in Fortaleza you can experience a quite fast sunset at 5.30 PM:

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So, around 6.30 PM I was already walking along the sea, in the middle of a big crowd.

Sipping coco juice from a fresh coconut, I was enjoying my first time in Brazil: the beach was illuminated by big stadium-like lights and many people were running, having yoga sessions, playing volleyball… in other words enjoying all kinds of sports.

My target was anyway the restaurant that, according to internet and to the receptionists, was one of the best nearby.

The sidewalk was really crowded.

When I was almost at half way, I had two options: continue straight head or steer left.

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I was curious to see the area at my left side.

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I steered left.

A few seconds later, I heard fast steps behind me and suddenly some guys were running in my direction.

They were not interested in me.

Fear was the expression I could read in their faces when they overtook me.

Then the big noise started, like some explosions similar to fireworks. But the sky was still very dark and the explosions were very near, so they couldn’t be fireworks. This thought went through my mind at the speed of light; at the same speed I realized that I was just in the middle of a shooting.

Many explosions meant many bullets. The path was still crowded, but people were now running away in all the directions, bringing and protecting their kids under their arms.

Was I in the trajectory of any bullet?

We will never know…

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Curiosity was not enough to bring me to the left, so I went straight away.

A few seconds later, I just perceived that someone was running in the back left side, where I had decided not to go.

Then the noise started, like some explosions similar to fireworks. But the sky was still very dark and the explosions were quite near, so they couldn’t be fireworks. This thought went through my mind at the speed of light; at the same speed I realized that I had just missed a shooting and that it was still too close to me.

I started running, together with many other people, most of whom were carrying and protecting their kids under their arms.

Once on the other side of the street, enough away from the crime scene and with no more explosions in the air, I stopped: we all were looking in the same direction, thanking our God or Angel or any other Entity present above that multi-ethnic side walk.

It’s difficult to forget the expression in the face of some kids. My daughter sometimes says: “Do you remember when we saw that car up-side-down in Via Boccea?” She didn’t see the whole accident, she only saw the car after the accident, when everything was finished. Well, she was 2 years old at that time and after 8 years she still remembers it (probably through that special magnifier that all kids have): I cannot imagine how her mind could have reacted to this experience.

My reaction was easy: squid rings, fish in coconut milk with fried banana and beer, a lot of beer.

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Cheers…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How a great day looks like

After many days of rain, wind and temperatures that pushed Spring back to some far far away galaxy, finally a lovely sunny day pops up.

It’s Sunday. We have invited friends for lunch. It’s the perfect first time for a lunch outside, in the garden.

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We can really feel the “spirit” of this new life.

Lunch starts at a time which is probably closer to the Italian one rather than to the local one: so friends in the neighborhoods have already finished…that’s probably why 2 G’s friends show up just after the first skål with the IPA beer.

Almost surprised by finding many people around the table still busy with their pasta and glasses gleaming in the sun, they say “Hello G.” and, moving their eyes to all of us, “…hELloo”…

This represents the end of formalities, so the two young friends feel ready to enter the house: “we have to take some weapons and play with them!” is the only thing we can hear while they run to G’s room… Of course G. and his friend at the table cannot wait one more second and run after them. The easy going life is simply unbelievable and fantastic here.

But it’s just the beginning: after (parents’) lunch, kids decide they have to go and join other friends in the neighborhoods, so they run away from the garden and disappear. The four of us at the table, with previous lives spent in big cities on the two opposite corners of the world, look at each others: our eyes trying to convince the others’ wide open eyes that it’s normal, that we are not in Rome or in the Bay anymore, that here everything is safe, that the kids after all are already 7 years old, they are almost teen, quite close to the adult age…..

In some way we succeed 🙂

That’s when a friend of us shows up and brings the 2 ladies out for a walk.

“Where is your dear husband, my friend?”

“He is working hard in the garden!”

Immediately, our sense of husbands’ community lights on: we grab a few beers, double check that E. (almost 10!!!) wants to stay home alone, beautiful in the sun, creating her bracelets, quickly check that our grown-up-but-still-7-years-old-kids are still somewhere around here, jump on our bikes and cycle to rescue …ops ….meet our friend, whose hard work in the garden must have made thirsty for sure.

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Yes, he is quite thirsty…

Skål!!!!!

The Viking beer is great, the fruity one is interesting and very good in the sun, the German one perfect for the occasion…

The sun is still high and warm and we could go on forever, but unfortunately it is time to go back home. Cycling, chatting about little and big things, we get back home.

We have dinner at the Italian time, in a Danish strong sun light:

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The only difficult part of the day is now to convince kids that it’s time to go bed: having sunshine doesn’t mean that it is not sleeping time, but of course it’s a very good excuse to keep running and watching cartoons…

After some time, parents-kids 1-0 and everybody is in the bed.

We fall asleep smiling as this was simply how a great day looks like.

-14

A ringing sound from far away….

It gets closer….

It takes a while before I realize it is my phone alerting me it is time to wake up…

I touch the “shut up” button.

After ten minutes my other morning friend alerts me about the time: the watch starts ringing and now it is time to wake up.

Outside it is still dark, even if everything seems glowing: it is all white there.

Today is my wfh day: I am going to Work From Home.

I greet S. then: she is already in the brygger, ready to get out.

The weather app says it is -14: it is usually reliable, but I can’t believe it. S. starts the car to warm it up and comes back. “it’s -14!!!” She says! The app is right. Again.

As usual, waking up kids is hard: I set up the table for the breakfast and I push the 2 sleeping creatures to get  in contact with the real world. After a few attempts I succeed.

My parents in law are here: they help me preparing the kids for the school day.

When we are almost there, I get out to warm up my car: it is the small one. The remote control opens it, I get in, insert the key, turn it on, and…..a strange tired noise of a frozen engine comes from the front of the car. It is normal, I think. It is -14. But it can do it. I try again. And again. And again. Inside the car is also -14. It’s a f…freezing cold. Dressed like a skiing man, I spend 10 minutes there: I turn and turn and turn the key, but with no success.

Time is running. Kids need to go to school. I try to text to one friend asking her to pick us up: no answer.

There are only 2 options: walk or cycle.

It is too late to walk.

Let’s cycle then.

Maybe the ice outside has frozen some neurons, but I am even happy to do that. Kids too. Well…almost…

So, let’s take out the bikes. Get dressed with gloves, helmets and hat over the helmets.

Ready?

Go.

Everything is white and the sky is turning blue: a dark blue as only here can be. The shortest night of the year already passed by and we are now in that time of the year when every days is getting longer.

E. is comfortable in biking in the snow, as she always is in all situation: her adaptability and flexibility are unbelievable. G. is younger and he fights a little bit to get it right, but he does it, notwithstanding 2 fallings down. I feel like a coach trying to get the best from his fellows: in the second slope I can hear him repeating what I just told him “I can do that, I can do that”. Great guy. He succeeds.

We get to school frozen: mainly our hands are like blocks of ice.

I leave them at school, a little bit late, but happy about the challenge we have been able to win.

Now I have only to come back home.

My hands are still frozen.

I spend some time in the hall of the school waiting for the blood to start flowing again in my fingers (with some pain, actually…).

A few teachers enter the school while I am here and greet me: I can read the question mark in their face “why is he not cycling back??” Bike in Denmark is a transportation mean, that is used regardless weather conditions: in other words, weather conditions don’t affect daily life, so you can experience more outdoor life here than in other places where weather is more friendly. Waiting too long to get blood flowing again probably is not a usual thing here…

The way back seems to be easier: probably it is only -12!

I get home and I am ready to start working.

Happy for the beautiful experience in the snow.

One step further into the Danish world.

When Darth Vader missed the Red Circle

 

A few weeks ago….

“G., my sweety, could you please borrow me your Darth Vader minifigure with the fantastic red lightsaber? I know you already borrowed me Master Yoda, but I would like to show both of them in a very important conference. Before replying, I have to tell you that I need it until the 14th of November, so you could not touch it and the whole LEGO model for any reason before that date”

After some long seconds of doubtful thought, in a very serious voice my kid said “Yes, dad, you can take it out from the Start Destroyer”

“My dear: it is important that you understand that Darth must stay untouched in my model. Is it really ok for you?”

“Yes!”

“Thank you so much, dear!!”

2015.11.10…

Since a few months I knew that I had to be in Rome on the 14th of November, at the latest.

I decided to get there on the 12th: I booked my flight reasonably in advance, Billund to Rome, through Paris.

2 days to the departure day: I did one rehearse with the model. Every single brick and minifigure was there, precisely representing their metaphor in the future scenarios I built up using the LEGO SERIOUS PLAY methodology.

2015.11.12…

One of the most hectic days of this year.

Car maintenance, technician at home to change the heating system, work at home with live meeting presentation, wrapping up of the baggage and….of course…..my flight to Rome!

From the very early morning it was clear that it would not have been an easy day….

After having walked the kids at school, I went to my LEGO model to dismantle it and put all the pieces in the bag: I picked up the minifigures, one by one and….. HE was not there anymore!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yoda was pointing his lightsaber to the air…no black dressed enemy in front of him.

S. and I started to look for him everywhere: but finding a so small thing in the whole house was a mission impossible. He could be anywhere. Even in one of the boxes still there after the move.

And we didn’t find him.

Luckily, we found another black imperial enemy that could be used as a replacement: different, much different, but the time was running fast and I needed to proceed with a lot of other stuff.

I got to the airport almost just in time: it was only 2:15 PM, but I was tired as it were 11 PM.

From that moment on I had to think only about getting to the airplane and following the itinerary to Rome: anything else.

Simple.

I thought.

As drinking a glass of beer……oh…by the way…why not getting one then? There was also the Christmas beer!

“A glass of Christmas beer, thanks”

“Small or big?”

“Small thanks”

“The big one costs only 5Kr more than the small one”

It seemed a good deal!

“The big one, then”

I just had to get on the airplane and relax: what a better way to let the fatigue of the day slide away than a big beer with the home made sandwiches?

Beer

Boarding time.

I sat on my seat.

Finally relaxed.

With the noise canceling headphones filtering the low frequency sound typical of the airplane engines and pushing into my ears the relaxing Ed Sheeran songs, I fell asleep.

After some time I woke up: no vibration, no clouds out of the windows….yes we were still in the airport.

The end of my speech was still not as I wanted it to be, so I took my Surface and I started drawing on a whiteboard all the thoughts that were on my minds. It worked and after a quite long time I got it: you know when it is the right one, you can feel it.

I was happy and satisfied: I had “only” to write down the right words, but the flow of the story was the one I wanted. The stop in Paris would have been 2 hours: the right time slot for the task.

Through the headphone I started hearing the pilot announcing something: I quickly took off my headphones just in time to hear the words a traveler would never want to

SORRY FOR THE INCONVINIENCE, BUT THE FLIGHT IS CANCELED.

“#@!£ç£!!#!”, I thought (and maybe I said…).

I went then to the ticket office of Billund Airport, where all the people in the flight were in line now to try to get a new flight.

While in line, a guy came out from the office, announcing that AirFrance was working on transferring each passenger to another flight: “of course,” he said, “tomorrow is already fully booked, so most likely you will have a flight on Saturday” …the 14th !!!!!

Panic arising.

Saturday morning in Rome: technical check.

Breathe deeply.

Saturday afternoon in Rome: the 3rd speaker.

More deeply.

Friday evening: dinner with all the organizers and speakers.

Panic trying to take over.

Breathe more deeply.

More…Luca you can do better, come on….

Close your eyes, empty your mind and breathe.

Ok.

I am focused again: clearly present in the now. Let’s open the tablet and look for alternative flights. From Billund, no way. Copenhagen? Yes! Tomorrow morning. That’s good, not perfect, but a good workaround. It is early in the morning, so I should go to Copenhagen….now. The best way is the train. But the train leaves from Vejle. I need to go to Vejle then. Where will I sleep in Copenhagen? I need a hotel as well, possibly at the airport.

The guy comes out again: “Airfrance is working on redirecting all the passengers to Paris to a flight tomorrow morning: everybody will get an email from airfrance. Here, we will only arrange the hotel for tonight.”

Ok, it’s a mess, a huge mess but let’s try to apply the principle of the step by step: one step at the time.

Step #1: my number in the line is the next one to be served, so I wait here.

It’s my turn: I try to convince the guy that he has to book a hotel room in Copenhagen. But it is impossible. I ask info about my redirection to the flight tomorrow morning: AirFrance is still working on it. When will it be defined? Later, no one knows when exactly.

I don’t trust this system.

I decide to go to Copenaghen.

Step #2: I need to go to Vejle. Let’s check through the DSB website the timetable: there is one bus in 6 mins. I can do that. But I don’t have the ticket: do I get it on the bus or I have to buy it in advance? I knew the answer, but in the mess of the moment I cannot recall it. I ask to the girl at the bar: she is facing the coffee machine and she is preparing a coffee for a customer; it requires an amount of time during which you could get 10 coffees in Italy……. Finally, I get my answer: directly on the bus.

I take my backpack and my trolley and I run to the bus.

Got up.

“A ticket please”

“60Kr”

….as usual I have not money with me….here you can pay everything with credit card or mobile phone.

“Do you accept credit card?”

“No, sorry”

“MobilPay?”

“No, sorry”

“#@!£ç£!!#!”, I think…again.

It comes to my mind that I have some euros.

“Euros?”

“Mmmm….yes….we can do it, but I have no change for that”

“Ok, no problem”

I give the nice driver 10€ and I also get back 10Kr change.

In the hectic moment, I am not able to calculate whether it is right or not, but I trust him.

Step #3: train.

From the bus, using the smartphone as hotspot I connect the tablet and I find a train: ticket bought.

I arrive at Vejle station: now it’s time for the….

step #4: with a more stable wireless connection I look for all the possible flights to Rome, for tomorrow morning.

RyanAir seems to be the best one, from the timetable perspective. Why everybody can find flights at 9€ and now I am paying as much as the AirFrance ticket?

It is not the right time to make financial calculation: I need it, I must buy it. It is my only hope to be the 3rd speaker on Saturday.

Flight bought.

Step 5#: I am very tired, so tired that I don’t remember the time I was that tired. The image of myself sleeping in the airport, like the backpacker I was some (…ok…….quite many) years ago, made me feel even more tired.

It seems that the only hotel IN the airport is the Hilton: I try anyway to call other hotels close to it, but or the prices are high anyway or their location is not so close to the airport. How could you call a hotel “aaaaa airport hotel” and be some KMs away from it?!?!?!!?!

I decide it is time to get some food, to be able to focus again.

Mmm…it is not just food: it is the worst hotdog ever eaten!

A blueberry muffin can change the bad moment.

It succeeds.

It’s time to get the train.

My search for the hotel doesn’t succeed, until S. decided to do it herself and books the only hotel in the airport…

During the trip, I write down the ending of the speech, following what I did on the airplane a few hours ago: it seems to be something I did many days ago….

Collaboration through WhatsApp works great and S. and I are able to finalize it: that’s what I really wanted!

Now it is ok.

I get to the hotel at midnight.

hilton

The only thing I want to do is to sleep.

The bed is comfortable and I fall asleep immediately. Money well spent.

2015.11.13….

I get to Rome perfectly in time.

After the Odyssey I ran through yesterday, nothing can interfere with my program anymore. Not even the heating system not working in the house, hot water included. Nothing.

The dinner is great: being all there, speakers and organizers, sharing experiences and ideas (worth spreading) creates a really huge community atmosphere.

dinner

I convince young speakers to address me with the “Tu” word and not the “LEI” one.

One of the sponsor becomes one of my best friend “You actually seems Danish or at least Nordic: you also have…with this dimmed light I cannot tell exactly…. But I am pretty sure you have also a kind of blond hair” “You are my best friend tonight!!!!!”

I listen to amazing stories, from superheroes to architecture to film and commercial making.

I impact the talk of one of the speaker, who decides to switch from Italian to English (you did a great job, my friend!)

2015.11.14….

The morning run is more than necessary to finally get into the right relaxed mindset.

run

I take my LEGO model and decide to transport it in the trolley: is should preserve it during the commute to the Auditorium.

I couldn’t be more wrong:

BrokenLEGO

But the trend is positive now and I don’t give up.

LEGO

Tests and sound check go straightforward: the team and the organization are perfect!

It’s time: people is getting here.

The big room is full.

The presenters announce the beginning of the TEDxYouth.

I am the third speaker and, after two years, I am here again: after two years I am two speakers away from jumping into the famous red circle.

Two speakers away is a particular moment in a conference like this: when the speaker on the stage will finish, he will come to the backstage and you will get his microphone.

When the technician sets the microphone on you, you know that you are 18 mins away from your speech, at the latest.

In the last few minutes my mind has gone many times through all the single words of the beginning of the speech and now it is time to stop thinking. Just concentrate.

Two years ago it was a little bit different…

No more time to think.

M., one of the organizer, calls me.

Now I am behind the curtain that separates the stage from the backstage.

The technician tells me: “One minute”

Concentrate.

The applause.

A last deep breath.

I go.

The other speaker gives me the presentation clicker while we cross on the stage.

As agreed with the director, as soon as I reach the red circle, my presentation starts: black screen and the heart beating sound get louder and faster. A white flash. Then the voices from the Moon landing mission fill the room.

The voices end. The big screen shows the date. Silence fills the room.

date

It’s my turn.

Nothing can’t stop me now. Not even a small technical issue with the monitor: technology is the topic of my talk and I know that demo effects can happen.

I am on the red circle and I don’t care of it.

My voice now fills the room: I feel at home.

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Let’s start (again)

While every kid in Italy is or is going to be on vacation, here in Denmark kids had the last weekend before the start of a new school year.

Sunday, at dinner

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E. “Daddy, I don’t want to change school, I am bored

Even if I could read in her smart eyes where she wanted to bring me to, I replied:

Honey, people get bored when they always do the same things, while you are changing your school

That’s why Daddy, I always change school!

Honey, have you seen what a beautiful dinner outside we have today?!

For E. & G. it was a real NEW start: new city, new home, new school, new teachers, new environment, new school-friends, new rules, new stuff… in other words #TheNewEverything.

We got many emails and documents from the school about the first day: what we needed to bring, the timetable and many other practical info.

So, Monday morning the wake up alarm rang at 6:30: after the summer holidays waking up the kids was a kind of Mission Impossible; the good Danish cakes are usually forbidden for breakfast, but on Monday they were exceptionally allowed to guarantee a big energy in the first day; these cakes represented a good reason for kids to wake up.

And after all the preparation phases typical of a working/studying day we were ready to go.

For the first time in the Bruschis history, we got to school not by car, not by bus, not walking….but by bike!

A really nice experience! A little bit thrilling as G. just learned it…but everything in Billund seems to be designed for kids and bikes. There must be a reason why it is The Capital of Children….

In a few minutes we arrived at school, we parked our bikes (we also locked them, as everything is safe here….. but bikes could have some tendency to disappear…) and we approached the gate.

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There, the headmaster, an energetic, kind and smiling lady, was shaking the hands and welcoming each-single-person entering the school, parents and kids: we felt immediately the friendly, relaxed and professional atmosphere.

We walked E. and G. to their classrooms to leave the bags and then we went to the hall, where the headmaster held a welcome speech

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and the music teachers played the new year song of the school

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Full of energy kids started their first day

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and parents were invited to the canteen for a coffee and, of course, for socializing.

While biking back home, I felt energized and ready to use a creative approach to my working day…

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