Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I have left my flip-flops. The time for wearing socks at home, and also snickers, has come.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Just to Remind You

that if You do not find new posts here You can always find them there.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Circolo La Saletta, Le Cure, Firenze

In front of the window in the bedroom, there is Circolo La Saletta. I will have to investigate very soon what it is about. Today is Sunday and it is Domenica di Karaoke. I can hear very well from here (sitting at the desk in the bedroom) people singing to all these karaoke classics. Now I can hear a strident You Were Always on My Mind...

There are many of this cultural neighborhood associations all over Italy. Some of them are called ARCI and are of Communist influence. They are specially important here in Tuscany. People go there to meet with other people, play games, watch tv. Many activities and parties are organized too. And there is, of course, food.

La Casa del Popolo di Fiesole is a place we seriously recommend: great food for incredibly low prices (considering the standard Tuscan prices), and the possibility to stay hours just paying for a coffee or a beer. The people are gentle too.

It is a sunny, hot and singing Sunday.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Antiquated Europe

It is six thirty pm in Firenze, Italy. From this point onward, shops, services, markets, supermarkets, and shopping centers start to become closed. In little more than one hour, it will be impossible to buy anything until it is Monday morning. It is already way too late to go and have my hair cut.

In those European countries, like Italy, where everything is closed at seven and nothing is open on Sunday, people argue that shopping centers and big supermarkets are places with no character, they are "capitalist" (what a big sin here in Europe!), they are excrescences of the horrible globalization. Those neo-liberal (which is worse than "terrible") institutions are also responsible for the death of traditional shops. Finally, those countries where supermarkets are allowed to be open as long as they will are the example of the ways in which progress can be bad.

The truth is (=my opinion) much simple: freedom to buy and sell when one wants should not require much ethical defense. Freedom is good, period. It is only dictators (like the one Portugal had when it was, in fact, antiquated decades and decades ago) and the common people from very rich/very proud/very nationalist countries who can ignore their own ridicule when claiming that "freedom is sometimes too much" and they talk about shop schedules.

Freedom to buy and sell at every time one wants is good, it is useful. Having to wait till Monday morning to cut my hair, buy some technology, and, why not, get some groceries is just irritant and stupid.

I wished Italy was a bit more like truly modern countries like Portugal or Estonia. But I guess I will have to wait till Monday morning... of the next century.


I was just spying my flatmate. He put his fingers inside his nose.

I am happy that the conclusion of his act was not to eat anything.

[I adore this thing that from one window, the one in the bedroom, one can see other parts of the house, namely, the veranda].

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sitting Room

Sitting rooms are extremely important in a shared flat. Kitchens are usually not enough as a common area: they tend to be not comfortable enough and, without comfort, communication cannot develop much.

Sitting rooms can have a problem: when they had not been turned into another bedroom, that's because landlords are still living in the flat or there is a higher chance they will in the close future. For that reason, sitting rooms seem always to be too much associated with the owners, they are way more associated to them than the bedrooms landlords rent. This is what creates the problem: because of that subtle association, flat renters may not feel fully at ease at these still very personal sitting rooms, personal for the landlords.

Our sitting room has tv, a big cabinet (most of my bottles are already there), and three couches, one of which is double. Still, I have become surprised that my two flatmates haven't yet spent any time there. No tv for them: tv channels haven't yet been memorized, and the antena is unplugged: apparently nobody has used the tv for ages. Further, those couches seem to have been untouched for ages as well.

I will be glad should the sitting room become a lively place: that will probably be a sign of interpersonal development at home.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

New House

I woke up at 8:15 this morning and prepared myself breakfast. I made coffee with the moka machine. This "machine" clearly had not been used for centuries. I respected all coffee tips: not put too much coffee inside the machine, not press down the coffee, no water above the little hole, and one or two little grains of salt into the water. Finally, mixing it with a spoon before serving.

The result: an horrible coffee! I guess those centuries of idleness passed into the coffee.

It is kind of weird to adapt to the new house. It is big and has many more objects than most students' houses usually have. Light switches seem to be located too low on the walls.

I enjoy very much the terrace: it is perfect for having breakfasts. Also, it offers space to hang clothes to dry.

From my bedroom I can hear and even see regional trains stopping and passing. I believe even the "David Lynch" train passes there. I enjoy very much that not so much far away train sounds. It reminds me of summers and travelling.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Back to Firenze

We're back to Firenze, in a new house. This house is meant to be used by the owner and, thus, the sitting room was not turned into another bedroom. Furniture also has its own identity. Common areas are the entrance hall, which is divided in two parts, the sitting room with four couches, the kitchen (small) and a terrace. Plenty of common areas for hopefully nice personal atmosphere.

Florence has become a city of love and hate. Both. Love because it has become so familiar. Hate because after these years ("all these years") one cannot ignore anymore its very bad things.

Locals are not nice. They do not have time, they do not have patience, they don't care. They have absolutely no respect for customers and for immigrants. To be very clear, I am not saying this is a case of xenophobia or racism. Absolutely not. This is a case of zero tolerance for people who have questions and doubts. Florentines don't have patience to answer a question from someone who doesn't fully understand Italian. They don't have the minimal patience to wait while one decides which pizza one wants.

Furthermore and not only specific to Florence, there is this thing of the "pride in the strong culture". Italians are so proud of their great culture, music, traditions, food and everything that they don't care about anything foreign. This is a case of extreme cultural protectionism. It is impossible to hear any foreign language either in radio or tv. There are possibly almost one hundred different tv channels here, from national to city tvs. And it is impossible to listen to some English. Italians are utterly proud of their "Made in Italy" and, because of that, it is extremely difficult to find anything not-Italian.

Living in a 100% Italian place is tiresome. Not because of Italy itself, but because always the same single nationality is boring. Italians loose too, they loose a lot from their being enclosed on themselves. But they don't know it. And even if they thought about it, they would disagree: Italy is so good that there is no need of foreign music, foreign cinema, foreign languages. Overall, this is a pity.