Home?

Recent past events may point the fact I might be leaving Milan soon then I have thought, heading home to Haifa, Israel, next month.

I have leaved in Milan for 2 years, with 2 years gap between the two. The first year I came to study (as an exchange student) and ended up travelling, experiencing and going out way more then studying, and the second one I came for love. Love had started during the first stay in Milan. It ended a short time after I came to stay again. But the city I wasdn’t ready to leave. I wasn’t ready to face home reality with my tail between my legs. I wanted to show everyone including myself I can stand on my legs and live here independently with or without what got me here.

And for a while I did. Still with the guy, against all odds and his own pessimism, I  found a person in the Jewish community who soon discovered my experience and capability in the very specific area his office was concentrating. He offered me a job, and help handling my legal papers. He didn’t pay much, but has said that as he sees how independently I can work I will raise my celery.

And raise he did (theoretically)!
Seeing I could work well, he gave me to handle a big project by myself, not having much time to even ask him questions, making many decisions by myself.
The project has lasted a few months, and though a pile of logistic problems and time limits, it came out fairly well, considering. Only the pay promised for the project didn’t come. Just as promises of bonuses and benefits were spreaded around the air, excuses were handfully thrown into the room hall.

“I’m supposed to get a lot of money next month, so I’ll pay you then”

A month later:

“This person  (who?) was misleading me, he promised to pass me money by now. But don’t worry, I have many busineses going on.

When can I expect to have been payed?

<<religious roll tactics>> “With the help of the lord, I will be able to pay to you soon”.

Can you promise me I’ll get it?

<<attacking tactics>> “Why are you so stressed? you’re acting like a little kid who wants their sweets right away, have patience, it will all work out!”

Don’t tell me to relax. I’m demanding what you’ve promised me.

“I’m not talking to you in such tones”.

…You get the idea.
Few months into this, and I’m tiring out. I have got enough money to live of, buy some food, go out sometimes. But that’s small money, and I seem to be failing the war.
I stay at work, but refuse to work. I push and whine my boss for the promised bonus, that’s all I’ve got, but nothing seems to work.

So I made up my mind. Today I’m leaving to Bergamo from which I will fly to a small vacation in Finland and Estonia. As I come back I will be taking care of packing my belonging and shipping them home. I’ll buy a ticket, get on the flight, salute my friends and family – and restart my life. Wish me more luck this time.

P.S – Guys! if you’ve got this far reading this why don’t you leave your thoughts here in the comment section? C’mon, it’s fun!

Keren

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Spontaneous walk

I really didn’t mean to spend my precious time doing this. I was supposed to seat home regreting not going to run. but a small walk wandering out from a job interview in the center of Milan verses San Babila turned into a spontaneous 3 hour scopeless wander.
Deliberately passing unfamiliar paths, I saw beautiful streets, pretty people, lovely architecture.  My mood was set by the album in myheadphones who played in full repeate –   Red House Painters’  Old Ramon (recorded in 1997 but only saw daylight in 2001 if I’m not wrong), so no wander why I’m romanticizing my little quality time with Milan in my mind. But this is what I like: give me free time, good music, and throw me somewhere new. I can make the best of it!
Here’s a taste from the album so you get the mood for the photos (hazy wandering is NOT the same without a soundtrack, trust me).

Music: checked. And now for the photos:

Yup, that’s me in a moment of self exposure and a cool yellow background. Right after there, heading south from the duomo area, I run into something that seemed like a university campus. I knew 2 of the city’s universities were pretty much in the city center and that the Università Statale (state university) is basically near the duomo. Well, it defnatily is, I didn’t imagine how close it was. Feeling ashamed of living here for 2 years (not in a row) by now not knowing such an essential part of the city, I began exploring.

Wow. This is so… awesome. I don’t know if it’s the old, classic architecture, the small park with many students, the young atmosphere, the drugging music – but I love it. I would go finishing my degree there any day.
2 minutes from there, still quiet a funky area, is the most definitely ugliest building in Milan which is, in its way, beautiful in it’s iconic way. I’ve only seen it till now from the top of the Duomo, and until no one proves the existence of an uglier building – this one takes the crown!

Moving south verses Porta Romana, posh living districts arise. Large green gardens, plants at the windows, clean streets, well dressed people. If you had the luck of having an appartment here before it became such a central part, you might be one of the non rich citizens who live here. Otherwise, show me your Prada bag!

And that’s the trail I ended up doing.

Tonight, if there’s no rain, there should be a couch surfers picnic in Monte Stella .I hope I can update about it here soon. And in less that 2 weeks, I’ll be off to my oh-so-needed vacation in Finland and Estonia, meeting my two dear friends Kaisa and Maarja, with whom if explored the city of Milan (and also Genova, Torino, Sardinia..) many times. This time they will show me their home countried. Very exiting.

Great weekend y’all!
Keren

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Google out your life! (or: Design Research for Dummies)

Well, personal crisises come and go, mine is here for some time now while I’m still trying to work it out.

My crisis, specificaly discussed in the previous, passworded Comfortable Desparation post is discipline-wide one, covering personal life, lovelife, academic choises and career.

Make no mistake, I do not claim to be special. Just pissing around to everyone, hoping to get answers for many “what the hell should I do” quesions. In the past 10 I haven’t got any.

Like many times, I find myself lost in the internet sea of information, which my never-diagnosed-but-obviously-existent ADD can only pick bits and pieces of,  trying to reach for a solid ground of knowledge about how life work. Have you ever tryed googling “what should I do with my life?” well, been there, done that, found many new age philosophy I couldn’t make myself look at, and one interesting essay about (why not do) multitasking. Enjoy trying!

What I did get from my daily search today, searching for ideas how to enter the professional design world, was this:

To be a better design researcher, hone your ability to observe the world around you. Keep a regular log that you add to at least weekly (daily would be ideal). Document the strange, the curious, the weird, the awesome and the funny. Learn to keep a close eye on the artifacts, signs, designs, behaviors, products and experiences that you encounter in your everyday life.
from Core77.

Which was, of course, inspiring. Being a design-research-disabled who was kept being beaten up at uni about my bad processes and research habbits (but not the final resaults, usually), this article rouse my motivation to prove my ability to show well developed research proccesses that can lead to awsome ideas.

“I can do that! I’m good taking photos of interesting stuff and put it online!”

Well, yes, I can. Let’s see, though, how much time can I hold that habit. Luckily for you, this means I’m going to shut my hypothetical blogger’s mouth and give you some Milan eye candies.

How little does it take to a make a car heart warm!

Prestigious uniform for the minimum weighed employee

The agonizing, hard life of a fashionista.

“You think we can get that beef 300 gram hamburger here?”

Some flowers for the soul.

“Wheeee!”

Hmm. Maybe that’s not the writer’s intentions. Should practice at this.

Then again, one of my favourite musicians, Koz (also known as Mark Kozelek), in known as an artist who doesn’t believe in recording demos, as the repeating nature of it kills his initial excitement from a song. He practically records in immediately and raw, and these would usually be his records versions. Judging by the results, that’s not a bad system. Then again, not every singer/songwriter is Koz…

Can’t promise, but I’ll try to do some put some obvervation posts here. After all, I like Milan and I think it has interesting idea to offer!

A presto,
K

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Protected: Comfortable Desperation (יאוש, אבל לפחות נוח)

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Urban Paradise

Having a long weekend ahead (Friday-Monday due to a festive day at work) is a source of great hopes and promises: where should I go, what should I do, who should I meet, what should I discover…

Great hopes and promises, just like high expectations, has a tendency to fuck-up often, so even though I jad a mouthful of one of my favourite hobbies – aimlessly wandering around town – I did have a rather crappy mood whenever I didn’t (not getting into it, It’ll go).

No worries, I have no intentions of spilling psycologic mumble jumble about how I feel. I’m much more interested in finding what can make it go away. An effort that might resemble finding a cure for cancer, if it should contain all mankind in it. I have partial answers, who work for me:

  1. Long, hot, sauna-ish showers that knock my muscles and my skin pores as I come out.
  2. A steady music supply coming from the headphones directly into my bloodstream.
  3. Aimlessly walking in town, usually combined with sec. 2. Wait, did I already say that?

Back to walking around, then. Not so aimlessly, sometimes. Different places call me on different moods. Different music calls me on different moods.

I knew I was to go to my favorite park when I saw the hot, still aired weather from yesterday has improved. I decided to start running, after all, I do want to prepare myself for more events like this.

Running I didn’t do much. That’s just because I had to stop admiring serene moments and taking pictures with my humble, instagr.amless phone camera. Which I present to you:

This is Parco delle Cave. It’s located close to the western edge of Milan, near an old neigborhood which I would like to dedicate a special post about sometimes, called Baggio. Not quiet Milan’s most glorious living quarters, It lies in one of the city’s 8 sections, Zona 7 (I personally live in 6, and will be sent to the center next year to fight for my life…).

On the map, you can see few big parks in this area, including also Parco del Trenno and Bosco in Città (freely translated as City Wood), but with Milan being a short tourist stop  for some city center site seeing, these places are the secret resort for mostly local habitats.

Cava means a quarry in Italian, and Cave (in plural) refer to 4 artificial lakes that were carved during the 20’s in search for building sand and gravel. In the 70’s the area was designated as a city park which was, after extensive redevelopment work, opened ufficially at 2002.

Apart of the lakes the park has vast areas of forest like zones, man-made gardens, fishing spots and private houses and clubs for lucky, happy pensioners.

Stopping running for a slow walk around the “private” declined Cava Aurora, I even saw this beautiful dude:

I discovered this park before I came back to live in Milan, in my studentship year, 2009. We discovered it late, a little before we have left, but I was in this specific point then with my friend Kaisa. So this is for you 🙂

In the end, it did get me better, but not for long. Moody days stay moody. So I had to turn to plan B: Intense intravenus music stream supply…
Yet to follow!
K

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Lost (and found) in Parma

Weekend came again, bringing my wanderlust with it. I knew I was to go to a weekend in Parma, organized by UGEI, an organization for young Jewish living in Italy. Born and raised in a very secular family, I had very ambivalent feelings about going to a religous organization trip.

On one hand (you don’t have to read this part, it’s boring)

  • I don’t practice religion and don’t intend to start doing that. Unlike many Israelies, I don’t feel need to experience Jewish traditions.
  • I do not agree with some of the perceptions of many of  Diaspora Jews. The most important of which is the perception that a Jewish person is not to see a non Jewish one (knowing my history, one would know I don’t act according to that).
  • Considering the first two points, I do feel a little hypocrite going to an event of this kind.

On The Other Hand

  • I respect people and their choices. I have nothing against them.
  • I get to see and walk a new town!
  • Based only on my birthright Judaism, they welcome me anyway, whoever I am. Hoping though…
  • Israelis! These events envolve Israeli students of the towns where they participate. Young, unreligious Israelies who I like to get to know and hung with being mostly around Italians.

“Let’s give it a try”, I thought, suppressing any antagonism from floating onto surface.

I came with two teenage guys who had to get there too, and not very surprisingly, our Italian regional train was late. We arrived in Parma after Shabbath came in and, knowing the organizer is quiet religious there was no one to call. After 2 hours of resultless wandering in a lively Friday eve at Parma (I like this town! I already knew) we found them. Israelies. “Israelis!” I screamed at the Hebrew speaking couple in the middle of the street. They turned out to be part of a group, coming out of the dinner we were supposed to attend. Regadless of how insane I probablly looked, they took us there, to eat some leftover dinner food. Then, a group of the Jewish community of Parma, along with Moshe, the weekend’s organizers, accompanied me to the apartment they assigned me to.

My weekend’s home – a beautiful apartment shared by 5 girls and myself. Seemed like it’s usually inhabited by someone steady. It’s a home, full of daylife objects that wouldn’t accept for in any hotel room.

The place were I stayed was called Bed and Breakfast, although there is no breakfast. it’s a beautiful apartment in the city’s historical center, in a “borgo” – an Italian word I havn’t heard before for an alley, which makes the heading of the names of many of the town’s center’s tiny picturesque lanes.

The city itself is small. So small and flat it’s perfect for walking around, though Parmigiani, the locals (named after the cheese that’s named after the region… not) usually transfer by bicycle. I did no specific sightseeing this time. Just went wherever I felt like, to get some atmosphere.

The social part was a surprising one for me. I was afraid of too much religious content I wouldn’t be able to attach to. I still have an image of the “missioner religious” trying to draw you into being one of them. Non of the above has been a part of the program. In fact, I was told I don’t have to show up to lessons if I wouldn’t like to. I’ve found a large warm group of very diverse people. Italian Jews, religious or not, who talk about anything. The community heads, who were welcoming, friendly and talkative. And a very small group of Israeli students who live in Parma and seems utterly unified. Wish we were like this in Milan.

Oh, and a looot of alcohol!

Thanks you Moshe, Amit and everyone who helped setting up the events. I’ve had a small tatse and want more. Alla prossima!

K.

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Crazy Night Walkers


For some years now, I’m a member of the well known hosting/travelling site Couchsurfing. I discovered it the first time I lived in Italy (student exchange) and have been hosted and part of CS meeting many times.  After 2 years of no CS activity in my too-small-to-host apartment in Tel Aviv, I came back to Milan, and with that my cravings for new experiences.

So last week, I finally got back to CS activity.

30 Kilometers, 8 hours, 2 days too-sore-to-walk legs.

Nightwalking from the city of Como to the town of Lecco, between two branches of Lake Como, in northern Italy.

The event was created by Federico, whom, while signing up to the event, I didn’t know. Fede (he said I can call him so!) had the imagination to organize a nightwalk – an event so particular it attracted at least 20 people from northern Italy to sign to the event on the CS site.

20 has become 8, as it usually happen with crazy CS events. I think it’s a dignified number. So here we are – the fantastic 8:

Nice to meet you, I’m Keren. The shortest (and not Italian) one 🙂

We met in a resturant in Como, awaiting people to arrive. Symbolically at 00:00 we hit the road.

Some of us were well trained and seemed to get it going pretty easily. Some of us were simply young and full of powers even if sleepwalking. Some of us didn’t realize how rusty they were after 2 years of lazy Tel Avivian life (ahm ahm).

Shortly after begining, we realized the walk wouldn’t pass as quick as we’d thought/hoped. We had to walk in a decent rate and made only a few pauses if we wanted to make it to our destination in a resonable hour.

4am-ish: middle trip break in Erba.

Surprisingly, walking in roads of small towns and between them, we hardly needed to use any torches. The streets were well lighten. The photos were taken by Federico without flash.

At some point I started breaking. I really didn’t think I was capable of finishing 30 kms with my sore legs. Luckily, there were 7 people I had never met before, that were so kind and nice they helped me with my small crisis. Right into dawn.

Finally, we made it. At 8am, we were in Lecco.

This is us. Federico at the left, Julia, Marzia, Lorenzo, Stefano, Roberto Alessandro – 7 people each of whom I enjoyed hunging with. and myself. Thank you so much guys – it’s been a pleasure! talking to and hunging with. I would like it if we could all get together again.

Thanks to the awsome Mr. Federico Spinelli for all his beautiful photos and for allowing me to use them 🙂

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