Love actually

Love actually is everywhere. It is the message of a nice 2003 film.
I’m thinking a lot of this statement these days. It might seem simple and even a bit superficial, but sometimes life makes you think about it and shows you how complicated relationships can be.

I can actually feel love all around me! I have a wonderful family, both at home and here, I have a lovely boyfriend that is far away now but that writes me everyday and keeps good company to me when I am bored in my office, I have very important friends and lots of relations with which I have fun and that I really appreciate and miss in a way or another.

These days I have been thinking a lot about a friend that I haven’t seen in a long time. I saw this film with him, in a period in which we used to date, even if it was a quite complicated relationship, and at that time I didn’t really know what I wanted (I only understood it when I met my present boyfriend). I was worried about this… I mean, I didn’t understand why I was thinking about him so much. I was afraid that being far from my boyfriend I would start having stupid doubts about a relationship that has lasted almost 4 years.
Then I realised that it wasn’t that at all.

It is just that in this period I am making a balance of everything and I start missing people that have been  truly important to me and I want to rebuilt the bridges that used to connect us. In fact in a certain sense I still “love” him, but in a totally different way: he is someone who knows me deeply, with whom I can really laugh and on whom I can always count. But it has nothing to do with what I feel about my boyfriend!

Love is often described as a unique feeling, that you are allowed to feel only towards a person, but this is an advertisement oriented kind of image! Love is so complex and unpredictable… and it is just so beautiful to know that in a world that is often rude and hostile I can find love everywhere!

One more time

I haven’t been blogging for a while… in fact it has been a complicated week, one in which many things kept my mind busy, realising that a wonderful experience will soon end and that I am not ready for that.

Last week I was given my last files to prepare before my internship is over. I am quite happy of finishing it because, even if at the beginning i found it very interesting and I was excited by this semi-professional experience, I now start seeing that it cannot give me anything more, at least not at the stage of an internship where I cannot be given more responsibility and I learn things myself, with few help from my supervisors. I now have to prepare my report and to give my supervisors a paper with a general evaluation of this experience, and I just don’t know where to start from, it is quite difficult to give a balanced account of something that I haven’t digested yet.

Then are the exams… today I had my last English lesson. It is just unbelievable, I feel as I had started yesterday! And next week at this time I will already have been through my speaking test. Few time is left to prepare the written part and I am starting to feel quite worried.

Furthermore is the weather… summer climatically started today in my views, it is just so hot!

I feel that I won’t even have the time to see this month pass and that I might as well leave tomorrow! Even if I have spent a lot of time here already, I feel that I am just not ready to leave! There are still lots of things to do, to see and to live! I will miss everybody around here so badly! Again… 
I don’t know how I could squeeze more juice from all this. I spend lots of time with my family, I try to do things with them, but I still feel that it isn’t enough, and that I am not getting to know them deeper.

Well… I don’t have much more to say, apart from the fact that one more time I would just like to stop the time, to erase the distances and to have all the beloved ones with me in one same place!

A year of political manipulation

Today Gualeguaychú is celebrating a year of interruption of the bridge that connects Gualeguaychú to Fray Bentos. The bridge has been closed by activist that demonstrate against the opening of the Botnia paper mill on the Uruguayan side of the river.

The situation is now becoming more and more ridiculous as the factory has started to operate, and evidence about the low impact of its production is being gathered.
What is worse is that when Botnia was looking for a proper place to settle in, many countries made a bid, including Argentina.
Now the province of Entre Rios is regretting the fact of failing to attract such a huge investment and feels uncomfortable having it just in front of their noses on the other side of the river. Some journals had even pointed out at the fact that the governor of that province at the time of the call for tenders asked for an exorbitant bribe, that the Finns were not willing to pay.
Another thing that Entre Rios probably regrets is that they were trying to create a touristic site on the river and it will now be spoilt by the presence of a huge factory just in front. It would have certainly have hurt less if the factory had been on their side of the river, I suppose…

That political class has now being manipulating the inhabitants of Gualeguaychú (who probably, at least in part, are really convinced of the fact that the factory is dangerous) to create troubles in Uruguay. 
The closure of that bridge has in fact meant a series of economical problems for Uruguay, who lost on important access to commerce routes and  to Punta del Este, where usually Argentinian tourists abound.

Wouldn’t it be time to just accept what has happened and let life calmly resume ?

A busy week of inactivity

In the last 7 days I haven’t really been that busy. At work I am waiting for my boss to assign me a new job and in the meanwhile I am quite free. My “rational” hemisphere tells me I should profit from this free time to prepare my English exam (that is starting on 8th December… jeez…), my History exam and my Internship report, as I have one month left to do it all….

The problem is that my “Enjoy the life and take at least some weeks of rest in 2007” hemisphere is prevailing and trying to suffocate its twin-brother. As a consequence I have almost finished all the possible tests you can take on Facebook, I have read bunches of British newspapers and seen at least a dozen episodes of criminal minds and CSI, trying to persuade myself that it could be useful for my listening and reading skills, while perfectly knowing that I was just waisting my time.

Could anyone just bring me back to reality and motivate me to work?!?!?!
Otherwise I know that I will start 2008 in a very depressed mood, I will probably complete my mutation into a bookworm and hate the world because everybody is enjoying Christmas’s holidays but me!

What do taxy drivers and hooligans have in common?

Seemingly  not much until yesterday… but today we have an answer: stupid free violence.

Yesterday an Italian Lazio supporter was killed by a policeman “by accident”. The narration of this episode is actually not very clear, but the chief of the local police and different members of the government apologised for what had happened and an investigation was started immediately to shed some light on this tragic episode. As it usually happens in cases like this one, stupidity was stronger than the sense of justice. Riots exploded in Rome, 40 policemen were injured, several police cars were burnt, a police station devastated and several other public belongings vandalised: only 4 people were arrested.

Today a demonstration in Buenos Aires took a similar angle. Taxi and bus drivers demonstrated against a new law that introduces a new kind of driving licence, like those existing in countries such as Spain, Italy or France. This kind of license has a “points system”: when someone commits an infraction to the traffic code, he/she loses some points on his/her driving licence. The graver the infraction, the more points are taken off the driving licence, and when there are no more points left, the license is suspended. Taxi and bus drivers spend their day on the streets, driving, so they request to be exempted form this system!
This demonstration too soon turned into a riot and a policeman was severely injured. The amount of violence in these images is just inconceivable if we compare it with what is at stake.

I mean: what is happening? Why are people starting to revolt against the authorities that are meant to protect us without good reasons? Why is violence becoming an option in democratic countries?
I can understand the use of violence when there is an authoritarian regime, when you are fighting to obtain freedom. But we cannot allow people using it just because they don’t agree with the decisions taken by an elected parliament, or worse, just because they don’t trust what is said by public authorities a priori: investigations are beinng led in Italy: why don’t we give them a chance?

Post-Erasmus syndrome: there is more to it

Surfing on the net I found this article. It seemed to me particularly interesting to analyze this fact, as I actually spent 2 years studying abroad and since I came back home I have been feeling quite blue.

Articles on the Erasmus experience have mushroomed lately, as the European exchange programme is now 20 years old.

Actually my own experience was quite different from the one described as the typical Erasmus holiday year, as I went to France on a bi-national degree programme that is extremely demanding and requires lots of work. I cannot say that I didn’t experience crazy parties and Tiramisu, Tortilla and Quiche lorraine’ evenings, but it was not all.

The article also cited the French film l’Auberge Espagnole (Euro Pudding), but I think that it doesn’t appropriately highlight some kind of truth that is enclosed in this movie.
What really matters is not the Dolce Vita: when you find yourself with other youngsters from all over Europe, inserted in a completely new system and far away from home and your everyday life, you actually create a second family for yourself. You evolve together with your new friends, you experience new things, you study with them, you learn from different cultures and you end up discovering something about yourself. People at university are experiencing moments of great evolutions, and those years are critical to determine who they will really become. As the film concludes: “I’m not the guy in this picture anymore.. now I am part of him, part of her…”.

As I was saying before, going back home was a difficult moment for me. But not only because I didn’t feel special and life was boring. I have friends that are very important to me at home and that I find truly interesting. What is different is the fact that I didn’t share with them as much as I could share with other friends during my experience abroad. They are just not part of my famille-amis(as we call ourselves).
I am also sure that the degree of freedom that one can experience during the Erasmus period counts a lot in creating an overall atmosphere that is adequate to share experiences and grow up together, talk about the matters that really matter in life, etc… Creating this kind of environment is more difficult at home, especially in countries like Italy, where most students live with their parents (moving on our own is just too expensive): you can’t share everything with your friends in this context and as a consequence you get to know each other less. A significant example of this could be the reaction of my friends when I announced them that I had obtained the internship I wanted in the country where I was born: my famille-amisfriend started crying, hugged me and were really happy about that because they understood how important it was to me; my home-friends just told me:”ok, but it is not such a great deal, I would have been happier if you had told me you were pregnant”.

I do totally agree with the fact that telling the others what you experiences is almost impossible as nobody seems to understand you: either they are not interested, or they think that you are despising your domestic environment (family, friends, etc…).
I just cannot describe how I felt while I was showing some videos to my parents and I felt that they were just staring at me while I couldn’t help laughing… the worse thing is that it looked like they were worried about my mental health!

What else to say… I miss you guys!!! I think about you everyday!!! See you soon!!!

Why don’t you try marijuana???

Some weeks ago, I participated to ExpoEduca 2007, an exposition about educational opportunities in Uruguay.

At noon I left the exposition to have lunch at the Mall that is in the surroundings. As soon as I left the building a young lady handed me a green leaflet.

This leaflet gave instructions on how to smoke marijuana, how to prepare a joint, how to choose it, etc… I just couldn’t figure out why someone from a health organization was distributing this kind of information to teens. It was just some days later, while listening to the radio, that I discovered why this was happening.

In Uruguay an other kind of drug, that causes much greater damage, is having a great diffusion. It is called pasta base, and it is not very well known in Europe at least. It is a smokable, cheap, and highly addictive street drug. It is made out of chemical leftovers of cocaine processed with kerosene and sulfuric acid. It is usually smoked in pipes and, due to his chemical composition, it is actually extremely toxic and addictive.

The consumption of this drug has dramatically increased in the River Plate after the economic crisis of 2001 and 2002. A dose of pasta base costs in fact only 2$, and some very imaginative ways of selling it are being created (some days ago a woman and her daughter were arrested for selling it inside tortafritas!).

The main problem is that it is extremely dangerous: for 5 minutes of daily euphoria, consumers are risking to suffer from brain death within 6 months!

Under these conditions I can understand that the health ministry is trying to limit damage to society and especially to young people (as the majority of people that are in extreme poverty conditions are under the age of 30). But why don’t they allow legalising the consumption of marijuana if they really want it to become a genuine alternative? This week the debate has been opened again, but it doesn’t look as if it was really going to change something. Let’s wait and see.