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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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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windows-7-ultimate-features-and-review

 w81start-screen

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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!);

lunch

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.