de-cidere

So I started my life as a commuter: the first issue I had to solve was “How can I stay awake for more than one hour in this boring highways?” The first answer I gave to myself was: “Podcasts”.

With a very last minute download after breakfast (always running late in the morning…) I searched for some proper podcasts and saved them to my phone.

Ready with my kit

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I connected the phone to the car audio system and played the first podcast: the speaker talked about his decision making process; what interested me was not his story about it, but the etymology of the word decision… It turns out that it comes from the Latin word de-cidere, which means “to cut off“.

It definitely makes sense: when you make a decision, you cut off the alternative options.

It’s like being at a crossroads and getting left rather than right: you cut off the path to your right. Maybe it would have brought you to the same place through different paths…. maybe not…. most likely and in most cases you’ll never know that.

So I spent the rest of my commute to think about my decisions: there are some that have not influenced my life at all and there are other ones that changed the course of it significantly or that led me to some special moments.

Our decision making process is often based not on the rational part, but on the emotional one: in other words, we make decisions relying on where our creative, emotional and passionate part brings us.

It is exactly what I did in 1999, when I had to choose between a stable and long-term job (at that time it could really be long term…) and a stage that could have brought (but nobody could assure that) to a possible hiring.

Of course I chose the second one.

A few years later, in one of the great saturdays Rome allow you to enjoy, I could have done thousands of different things or joining my roommate, who was hosting a friend who was joining, for the evening, her girlfriend who was hosted by a girl. I chose the second one and that girl became my wife.

In 2006 I had a fantastic job: I was working in the EU and I was travelling around Europe; when one of the biggest IT Company in the world called, I had to choose between the fantastic job or a somehow unkown job, but in the fantastic company. Another important decision to make….and I joined Microsoft, where I worked for 9 years.

Two years later we had our Honey Moon: when you plan your honey moon, in most cases you can take that ball called Earth and choose any place to go celebrating. We chose S. Domingo and a Caribbean Cruise. One of the stop of the cruise was Virgin Island: a beautiful island that lighted up the spark of the project FindANewHomeAbroad.

The planning phase was pretty long: the target of the project changed many times. In 2013 it was completely managed and all the pieces got to the right place. So, in the end of that year and in the begining of the following one a big decision was waiting for us: living the usual life or leaving the usual life and moving to DK, without any job waiting for us there.

We left.

One day in the end of 2013 another decision, that seemed to be one of those hundreds small decisions you make many times a day, was there, waiting for me: my friends wanted me to go and play soccer and my basketball team wanted me to be in the first match of the championship. I went there: I spent then the following months between cast, surgery and physiotherapy, but I met great people, had a lot of time to spend every day with my family and started this blog.

The last important decision I took is really recent: so I finally started working in DK.

The visual decision diagram below shows the essence of de-cidere: yes…I cut off many things.

Do I care about all these red cuts? One day, not so far in the past, my father told me:

“Whichever decision you take, the important thing is that you will have no regret about it”.

I don’t have any…

A Viral Q

I usually glide very quickly over the many social-viral-questions that spread out in the social media.

Usually.

But today…TGIF!!!! So I went out the office earlier than usual, that is much earlier than in my previous job and country.

When I got home the sun was high in a perfect blue sky: everything was there for my run!

I dressed up with my yellow running stuff, negotiate the final price with the lawnmower (a tough, but successful job!!) and then I started to run: the goal was to get as close to the lake Mossøgard as possible, never reached in all my previous attempts…

Let's run!!

I was actually very much motivated as yesterday I got an invitation for this morning: it was written in Danish and unfortunately G. translator didn’t work very well, so I understood it was a kind of office celebration, but I didn’t get the whole meaning. This morning then, at 10 sharp (sharp, any doubt about it?!?! 🙂 ) I went at the meeting point and in front of me there was a typical birthday office-party celebration: all kinds of delicious bread, jam, butter, cheese, thin chocolate stripes, chocolate cakes and other local cakes. Beautiful! Excellent! Goooood! It turned out that butter, cheese and jam can be put together in this order on a piece of bread…. And that you can easily go from chocolate cake to bread and cheese, to bread-butter-chocolate and to bread-butter-cheese again. It’s easy. It’s good. Then, for the Italian guy, having lunch at 11.30 was a Mission Impossible…..

Anyway, all the calories got in the morning were a very good push towards my run. A good motivation, you could say.

U2 songs went vibrating in my ears, one by one.

Almost the entire album had played when I saw the lake, very close: for sure, the closest point I ever reached by running.

It was time to get back: 5km took me there and the same distance was separating me from home…

The bad news was that the path to the lake was “down”, so the “up” part was in front of me.

“Heaven on Earth
We need it now..”

was singing Bono when I turned back: to tell the truth, I couldn’t see much heaven in the uphill waiting for me….

But I did it.

I passed by all the places that 30 mins before I went through in the opposite direction.

The last KMs were not easy: but Amanda Seyfried took over Bono in the right moment and pushed me towards the Last Mile (metaphore and real thing at the same time).

During the last KM, while “You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life” was flowing light and powerful as only this song can be, I thought that it was probably time to answer to one of the viral questions popping up in the social networks:

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

Strange that, despite of the lack of oxygen, my brain could go on thinking to something different than a bed and a big bottle of cold bee…ops…water. But it did. And the answer was:

NOW!!!!

Together with it a list of things I recently did for the first time came up.

  • I moved abroad.
  • I resigned from one of the biggest Company in the world.
  • I drove more than 2000 KM alone, from Rome to Skanderborg, with a car full of stuff: the real migrant…
  • I got a job in one of the biggest Danish companies, where English is the official language, but all around me people, if not in a meeting with me :), speak a language still far away from my comprehension.
  • So, at fireogfyrre år, I started a language classroom.
  • …and today, of course, for the first time I’ve run for 10 KM!

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Proud….and….Mamma Mia how tired I am……………..

A few differences

After one year spent in this Nordic Land and after one month in my new job here, it is time to write down a first list of small (sometimes not so small) things that make daily life different:

  • Getting to the office at 7.30 AM and feeling like on Sunday morning in S. Peter in Rome: the whole world is here!
  • Coffee Break!!! ….and going to the kitchen to press the Kaffe button (Giuseppeeeeee!!! Missing you!!!)….
  • It’s your first day in the new job and your manager welcomes you with a bunch of flowers

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  • Having the first meeting of the day at 8.30: in person, not LiveMeeting from the bed….
  • When a meeting is scheduled to start at xx o’clock, everybody is in the room at xx-2mins and the meeting will really start at 8.30
  • Entering the office and finding baskets full of all kinds of fruit
  • 11.30: lunchtime!!!!
  • Being focused on editing your document and suddenly noticing that everybody is leaving: sure, it is 3.30 PM and it is time to go home!!
  • When a meeting is scheduled to end at yy o’clock, the organizer stops the discussion (whatever it is and whoever is attending the meeting) at yy-5mins, saying: “We have to close in 5 mins and it is time to wrap up”. The meeting will really end at yy o’clock….
  • Need a BBQ? Just dig a hole in the garden, put some wood trunks in it and fire up (a beer can help the process…)

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  • Attending the Danish language classroom for the first lesson and feeling like a baby at the nursery: what the f@#! they are speaking about!!!!!!!!!
  • Having dinner at the restaurant of the hotel and being told “Sorry, but the restaurant is closing: you could go to the bar downstairs and have some beers; just get them from the fridge and write your name and room number in the paper”
  • Attending a meeting where the presenter, in the middle of the presentation, takes off his shoes
  • Being part of the Running Club and meeting every Friday at 8 AM at the Office to run 5 Km: it has been agreed with the company that it will be considered working time…
  • “Daddy?!?! Come on, let’s play soccer!!!”…and just going out to the garden and playing

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  • Wandering in the office after lunch and discovering a room with: tennis table, pinball (very old style!), massage chair, biliardino (table soccer), and much more…
  • Sipping a cocktail together with another family in a pub and letting the kids play outside, much beyond sight distance
  • Need some wood for the BBQ? Just go into the hood with a saw and grab some
  • Importing YOUR car to Denmark and leaving your wife going to the office for the new license plate: funny to discover that she could not register the car to you because you were not there, but she could effortlessly register YOUR car to HER. The full process ends up with a new Danish license plate and you owning no car anymore….

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TO BE CONTINUED…

20.03.2015 – Total Eclipse

[This is the actual post for the 20.03.2015, but due to some policy issues I had to wait to publish it…]

It’s simply a magic day.

In the last twenty-four hours many things happened.

The Daddy day: the first one far away from the two small creatures who transformed me into Daddy.

Far away also from who decided to spend her life with me and to whom I today say: “yes, now it is really the beginning of our new life”!

Yes, the new life: because yesterday evening I took one of the toughest decision in my life; I am sure, really sure, that it is the right one. But it was tough, believe me.

And then, this morning, the magic of a total eclipse: I am right here, in the Gianicolo, the eclipse is reaching its max and the sun seems smiling. It is a beautiful smile! …that is trying to make me smile notwithstanding a thin layer of a kind of sadness.

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When a chapter of your life closes there is always a cocktail of happiness and sadness.

I am super-super happy for several reasons, starting from the fact that I will not have to answer my kids question anymore: “Daddy, why you have to go to Rome again?”

I am sad anyway for a few reasons: I will miss the friends I’ve found in all these years, the friendly atmosphere in the office, outside the office (thank you all for the great lunch today!!), the joyful laughs we switched on in each other….

As someone said “life is a puzzle” (ah, it was me 🙂 ): I believe in it even more today and these twenty-four hours are the small piece we were still missing, that was hidden in a small corner. Now it is in my hands, I can fit it into my puzzle and start looking for the next one.

It will be easier now.

In the meanwhile, I turned 44, but in all this magic it is just the usual rabbit jumping out the hat…

C U

“We are going to release one of the best OS ever….and you are going to sell it in this role”

They sold me my new job in this way: to be honest, in those days I had Windows XP on my PC and my thought was “it’s working well” (aaaarghhhhhhh!!!!).

At that time I had also a great job that I loved so much, but Microsoft was the best company everybody wanted to work for, if in the IT market: and I was among them.

I accepted.

Since the first day I installed the Beta version of Windows (yes….it was Vista….the real best OS ever…. 🙂 ).

Since the first day I understood that selling it would have been tough.

But I did it and it was a key learning experience….

Since then, my devices have been enjoying, struggling with, winning, sometimes losing, co-living with all the kind of Alphas and Betas.

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They have been Nine years of constant learning, studying, selling, facing new challenges.

It has been also a period of great friendship, of networking with colleagues around the world, of the biggest steaks (ok…sessions as well…) in Seattle, of the funniest characters at Neighbours, of crazy meetings with customers.

These Nine years changed my expectations about my job and my life: the flame of getting a new experience abroad started to burn up here.

The first unforgettable experience of a speech in front of a large audience was here as well.

And then came the others, in different countries and contexts, but as exciting and unforgettable as the first one.

Now it’s time to move on.

I accept.

The next chapter has just started and I look forward to meeting the most of you around the small world of IT, which has no geographical boundaries.

I am sure we will have new exciting stories to exchange…

20.03.2015

44 is a happy number*, as its associated sequence is:

happynumb

It ends up with 1 and today has been a unique day.
I did many things: I got my kids and my loved one phone call in the early morning; I met the butcher, whose car was just parked behind mine and I was not able to go away; I met new people, who were involved in social works and I borrowed them a piece of glass to make the disabled people, they were supporting, see the eclipse; I kept in touch with a smiling sun;

 eclipse

I had a beautiful lunch with fantastic friends (thank you all guys!);

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I wrote the post for today, that is not this one, but could be published only later on (stay tuned, you will get the reason then); I met myself, in a sunny special Villa Pamphili; I told people that we would have met again, for sure…and I got some future fuzzy appointments; I bought Italian food for the Italian family in the Nordic country; I wrapped up my stuff for the trip of tomorrow; I had a wonderful dinner with my parents in law (thank you for the cake!); I saw a bottle of Champagne turning empty in very short time (strictly related to the strange phenomenon of a birthday cake disappearing in front of me);

cake

I thought a lot about my future; I have been told twice that at 44 I am still young (it is a little bit scaring that someone needs to underline it, isn’t it?!?!?!).
I also heard my smartphone notifications throughout the whole day: they were you and your birthday’s wishes.

Thank you all for having contributed to make my 44 an even happier number!!!

 

 

 

 

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happy_number

A Little White Adventure

The road sign is pretty clear there:

 CurvaPericolosa

And my wife was clear as well: “a few days ago the road was frozen and the car skidded in that turn” she said.

That’s why I was driving very slow and very carefully: it had been snowing a lot during the night and everything was white outside the house that morning.

E. was sick at home, so we were just the two “men” of the family. We dressed up in line with the cold wind coming from outside and we got in the car.

The main street was enough clear, but the small road crossing the very countryside was much whiter. Fully covered by snow, I would say…

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So we turned into it and I drove very slowly. I was waiting for that turn.

Suddenly, in the middle of the snowy wind it appeared. My speed was really slow: I turned the steering wheel to the left and in just one second everything happened: the car skidded and we found ourselves leaning off the road, closer to the frozen vegetable field than to the center of the road.

I told G. to keep calm, that everything was right and I tried to accelerate: the car leaned even more.

I got off the car to see how dangerous was it and to check a possible way out.

We were at the limit of the leaning capabilities of our car: I tried then to fill up the holes close to the forward wheels and got on the car again. I pushed the accelerator to move the car a little bit forward, but it leaned more and more.

In the meanwhile I was trying to convey a peaceful calm to G. I succeeded as he was really good, just asking why I was getting off and on the car many times.

If the car could not go forward maybe it could go backward, I thought: I shifted into reverse, quickly and rapidly pushed the gas pedal and it worked a little bit. After that, the car stuck again in the muddy snow.

I did several attempts, but they were not successful.

In the meanwhile I was thinking about the way to communicate the school that G. could not go to school that morning as his newbie-Italian-father-in-his-first-Danish-winter was not able to properly drive in a small country road……

Maybe the ego, maybe the creativity in those frozen moments, I decided to make the last attempt: to allow the rear wheels to grip more the muddy ground, I got the anti-frozen fluid usually thought for the car window: I sprayed it on the wheels and even more on the ground behind them. With that, and leaving on the ground a quite amount of clutch, the car moved back to the center of the road!!!

I couldn’t stop a yell coming from the most inner part of myself: with many high fives with G. we got to school in time.

The teachers are still wondering why that morning G. and I had two huge dreaming smiles in our faces…

Intensity

Every year, as Christmas approaches, social networks and people mouths get full of messages like “I look forward to the end of the holidays” and “I am fed up with all these last minute buying of the gifts” and so forth.

In 2013 we were living in Italy and we spent our Christmas Holidays in Denmark.

It could seem an escape, in line with all the messages against this period of the year.

It was actually a preparation. As an additional demonstration of it, now we are living in Denmark and we have just spent our Christmas Holidays in Italy 🙂

It’s only six months we are living abroad (I am still in a hybrid situation indeed…), but we fully experienced the expat-life-of-the-expat-who-comes-back-for-his-holidays.

I understood that this experience could be tough, sometimes frustrating, busy, tiring, exhausting. However, I do believe we just got the best of it.

When living in Rome, we were overwhelmed by all the things we had to do in the ordinary life; and everything was even more difficult due the hectic life in Rome.

Don’t get me wrong: I love Rome. I decided to move to Rome fifteen years ago and I still think it’s a great and beautiful city. Nevertheless, after all these years spent in the city that in the past was able to expand to almost all the known lands, I think it’s great and beautiful… when lived as a tourist.

That’s what we, and mainly our kids, did during these holidays.

But there is something more.

When coming back from abroad, your parents and closer relatives can’t wait to spend time with you – and you can’t wait to spend time with them: everything else has a lower priority.

So, it happens that you spend so good and intense moments with them: probably the best ever.

There are no other things to do than staying together: playing, celebrating, drinking Champagne, eating good food, cooking together, singing, planning future visits and vacations or just talking and relaxing.

Well, we did most of these things also in the past, so what is the difference?

We concentrated all of them in a few days, with our minds just focused on them.

With a huge Intensity.

I tried to sift through my memories to find any other time spent in this way and I didn’t find any.

They have been special.

One of the best Christmas Time.

One of the best New Year’s Day.

Then the day we had to leave came: it was not easy to explain kids that we would have met all of our parents, relatives and friends very soon. Not easy at all.

But the positivity of the moments spent together really pushed my minds into a positive direction.

Yes, my 2015 started well.

Living more intense moments entered in the List of my New Year’s Resolutions.

Six lines

They were just six lines.

When I started it was different.

Today it is more “readable”: it’s simpler, it’s more visual.

The difference is something like having to build some stuff and getting two types of instructions: a full text page without any picture and a step-by-step guide full of pictures.

Six lines, one line per each string of the guitar and the number on it indicating the fret you have to push

NotesEasy

instead of five lines and four spaces with those little mysterious balls called notes

NotesDiffic

Much easier…

This is the way E. and G. study music. They started a few weeks ago: when we asked them which instrument they wanted to play, both answered without any doubt “Guitar!”. Have my electric and my acoustic guitars, which travelled from La Spezia to Rome and then from Rome to Skanderborg, played a pivotal role in this decision? Maybe…. 🙂

So the lessons began and E. and G. started practicing at home with my guitar: it was so big for them that they were not able to hold it in the right way. They found a workaround and they played it horizontally……like a piano….

At that point, we decided it was time to buy two guitars with the right size for them.

Everything changed.

We practiced together, one in front of the other, like a mirror: it was easier to show them the right position of the fingers, the left thumb vertically placed behind the neck, the other fingers very widely open in order to cover the first four frets, ready to push the strings and play a note or a chord.

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In this way I started to play the guitar again: the flame of the musician hidden inside me (a very small flame indeed…) got a sparkle and switched on again.

But it was not enough: the songs my kids were studying were a kind of unknown music to me…. So I needed something that could blow more oxygen on the flame.

It arrived.

Social networks.

I have to admit that since some months the radio had been playing a song that really was touching some emotional neurons in my brain…or, in a more romantic vision of the life, some deep part of my belly. But I was not able to finalise the connection between that song and the emotion that arouse from it.

Then, one day, in my new guitar era, one of our friend posted a song she sang in the chorus:

The title, a quick search and…. here we go! The fog disappeared and the melody was immediately associated to the movie which it had been the soundtrack of.

It was Donnie Darko*: I watched it again and the dark atmosphere still conveyed me some kind of special feelings

If it is due to the parallel universes or to the story itself or to something else….I have never known. But what I know now is that…

…from that moment I started to search the web for the notes of this song and to get satisfaction again in learning how to play it (more songs followed)

…from that moment almost every night E. and G. ask for the guitar to fall asleep: no more fairy tales, just notes from the guitar

…from that moment, the bed time is more magic.

 

*:(if you haven’t watched it yet, THIS VIDEO IS THE ENDING SCENE….)

A call

The phone rang when I was driving.

It was not the usual ring, but it was different: it was a Skype call.

My eyes quickly moved to the phone and when I read the caller name I almost stopped breathing.

But let’s step back for a while….precisely 32 years.

When it comes to my childhood memories, I’m not that kind of guy who can tell you all the names of his school mates from the nursery to the university or all the details about that day at the park.

No, definitely I am not.

But, among a few other things, I can remember the desk in my parents’ room; and, most of all, the big PC that was on it. It was the 1982, laptops were pretty far from the mind of everyone and tablets even farther. It was the Commodore PET; it was the era of the old way of the interaction between the technology and the humans: big black keys and a deep CRT monitor with its green blinking stuff inside. I clearly remember all the excitement that as an 11 years old kid I had in front of that alien. I spent several hours trying to learn as much as possible about the way it worked (thanks Daddy!!) and playing at that game with the acrobats jumping from one part to the other, surviving thanks to the fingers speed on left and right cursors (my cousin, do you remember it??).

Acrobat

Of course, at that time the world was disconnected.

Now we are living in a big house and E. and G. have a desk each. They were supposed to be for the homeworks: they actually are doing their homeworks everywhere in the house, except in their desks.

Things are running fast in the international school and my 2 kids needed a PC.

Ok…it’s not just only a matter of school needs… and kids follow what adults do: so, they understood that electronic devices could be used to study, to work, to play, to search and find stuff, to develop creativity.

I reinstalled and configured then two of my tablets; I associated each tablet to each of E. and G. accounts: they could logon, see their picture in the account icon and enjoy the new technology.

I placed then the 2 PCs on their desks.

I can tell you that what I saw in their eyes, when standing in front of their PC, was just that kind of excitement I clearly remember in myself 32 years ago. You could also feel the passion when E. teaches G. how to insert pictures in a document copying them from an internet browser (!!!).

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They were immediately aware of the fact that they were connected.

They understood the power of that. Well, probably they didn’t get it fully and that’s why they need a kind of control.

But surely, they had very clear in their minds that they can use it to overcome some difficulties they are experiencing. First of all, the distance we are forced to in these days.

So, what I saw in my phone a few days ago was this:

 

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When your 5 years old son autonomously decides to call you on Skype… it really takes a while to get it.

Another barrier is broken down now.

Kids, have a wonderful journey in the new digital era.