CLIMATE CHANGE

*disclaimer: I am not a scientist*

This article is going to be slightly different than usual. It is about a subject that is very close to my heart and that I had forgotten about for a long period of time. As you can tell form the title I am going to discuss climate change. Since when I was little I have been taught to respect and protect the planet, but in the last 5-6 years I have been so caught up in life that I feel like most of the time I have foregrounded other things and not really contributed to spread awareness nor payed attention to what was happening around the world.

I have just watched the documentary Before The Flood (Fisher Stevens, 2016), of which I am pretty sure you have heard of. In case you haven’t this documentary analyzes climate change and discusses the repercussions that global warming will have in the not so distant future and those symptoms that are already showing. Leonardo DiCaprio is the narrator and is also shown traveling to different regions of the world to see the devastation that global warming has already caused, that WE as humans have caused.
Now, I know that some are going to argue all sorts of things and I want to get this one out of the way: yes, DiCaprio is a heavy smoker and has been seen traveling on a private jet. I am not here to argue whether he was traumatized by Titanic (James Cameron, 1997) and therefore dreams about icebergs at night, but here is the thing: of course his actions affect all of us, since climate change is a result of everyone’s actions put together, and these are definitely two aspects DiCaprio could work on, at the same time though he has done a lot for the environment, both via small and big efforts. I believe he is genuinely trying to contribute and have a positive impact. I am not here to discuss whether this is hypocrisy or lack of coherency from him, and this is simply because I believe that if we want to change things we should all look at the positive example that he and others have set. We should notice and follow the steps he has already taken, rather than focusing on the things he should do better, I’m sure he knows them too. I really appreciate what he has done to bring attention towards this issue and many others. His presence in Before The Flood definitely helps to bring visibility to the subject matter. Moreover I admire his honesty, in the documentary he clearly admits that his footprint is probably bigger than most people’s. Also we should all think of our own flaws before judging others. Having said this, I really hope that he is going to improve his lifestyle even more, but now let’s move on to the core of this topic.

The documentary really brought my attention to the fact that, in order for major changes to happen, individual contribution is more than necessary, it is vital. I kind of already knew this but there are some things I hadn’t taken into consideration. I am a citizen of the so called Western World, therefore I basically am a slave of electricity in a fossil fuel reliant Country. However my lifestyle does not need to change drastically in order to reduce my footprint, which is very important considering that I’m pretty sure most people are scared by the idea of making radical decisions and therefore do not contribute at all. Every small change counts, some actions are more impactful than others, there is no doubt, but as a first approach tiny steps seem like a reasonable way to accomplish goals. One of the examples proposed in the documentary is a dietary shift to a more plant based diet. Don’t get too scared, just follow my train of thoughts. If you are a meat lover the planet can still benefit from your efforts, particularly if you are a fan of beef you might want to switch to chicken. See, you don’t have to abandon meat completely. There are food-related emissions of carbon dioxide, like the methane produced by cows as well as the contribution to tropical deforestation. I am not saying that you have to go vegetarian or vegan, more power to you if you decide to do so. I am still eating fish and occasionally dairy products myself, one thing that I’m considering at the moment is doing a vegan week a month, which if you like you can spread into 7 far-from-each-other days a month.
Another thing that is probably still in my cupboard or in some of my beauty products is palm oil. The consumption and use of palm oil is possible only through extensive deforestation. Furthermore when forests and peatlands are burned they release carbon emissions. Seeing the few orangutans that survived a massive deforestation and fire is heartbreaking. Decisions that we make in our daily life do have an impact. Stop buying products containing palm oil.
Want to give an even greater contribution? Think before you vote. It is true that average people are limited. We are not in the position of making choices for our Country. We simply do not have the power. But we can choose who represents us. There are still people in high positions (you know who I’m referring too, but there are so many more names implicated) that think that climate change is a joke, a hoax, therefore they won’t provide a solution, they won’t promote renewable sources of energy because they do not believe in it and, in most cases, are influenced by big businesses-a lobbying system. Mindful voting is probably the best way to have a positive impact or, in the worst case scenario, to have a negative one.
I don’t think that I know the truth or am the best example to follow by any means. There are so many contradictions in my lifestyle, most of them probably lay in the clothes and make-up I wear, in the way I commute (use public transport, walk and cycle if you can) and in the food I buy, but I am trying to be better at it. And that is where the change is, no matter how many mistakes you’ve made in the past there is still time to make up for them. Hurry up though because we are running out of time and we only have one planet. Unless you want to go colonize Mars and destroy the Universe one planet at a time. I don’t even know if that’s possible, as I said I’m not a scientist.

If you live in the USA go watch Before The Flood at channel.nationalgeographic.com/before-the-flood/videos/before-the-flood3/   obviously this is not the only way you can get informed on climate change, there are so many documentaries and academic essays out there!

I hope you enjoyed this different post and that you will reflect on this topic and take action.
🌍, I  ❤️ you!!!
See ya later! X

SWEDEN PART 2

Our second destination in Sweden was Falun, that we reached by train. By the way we got to sit in the quiet zone, which is awesome if you want to read, sleep or do whatever without being disturbed. It is a pretty small town, with slightly over 36000 inhabitants. This place is where my sister studied for a couple of months on an Erasmus program, at the Dalarna University. Since she was going to spend an extended period of time there we had a room in a student accommodation. It was actually a studio: bedroom, kitchenette and bathroom. It all sounds pretty comfortable so far. Well, we got in the room and…surprise-surprise…no bed!!! What a pleasant discovery! At that point it was too late to go to IKEA (how Swedish is that?😄), which is in a different town, so we arranged our stuff so that we could sleep on the floor. Let me tell you, it was the end of August-start of September, but it gets pretty cold in Sweden at night. I woke up at 4am shivering, so I started doing some squats, lounges etc. to warm myself up but it didn’t quite work. I decided to take a warm shower instead. To be fair the absence of a bed was specified in the contract, my sister didn’t read it carefully enough.

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Camping in great style on the floor

Needless to say that the morning after we ran to the closest IKEA, in Borlänge, where we also got a great buffet brunch for a really low price.

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Drinking an unknown beverage pretending it’s wine

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Becoming friends with the Swedish wildlife

We bought all of the kitchen utensils, a bedding set and a mattress. Spoiler alert: No bed frame for us #studentsonabudgetevenikeaistoomuch.

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A bed and a dining set!!!

Honestly though it was awesome! I didn’t mean to complain since this is not that bad of a situation at all. But these are definitely memories and moments I will remember forever, I guess that’s the silver lining of the story. Let’s talk about things to do in Falun:

-VISIT THE DALARNAS MUSEUM where you can learn more about the culture and heritage of the whole County/Region.

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A cute map

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Yep, you can do this there too! Neo+Madonna

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Pure LOVE❤️

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What you see on the wall are actual scribbles on paper

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Yep, told ya!

-WALK AROUND IN THE GREEN SPACES: Falun has quite a few walking trails in a breathtaking scenery so take advantage of that!

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-MAGASINET: there are always events and exhibitions hosted in this location. We saw a Photo exhibition dedicated to the refugees.

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-LUGNET is a sport complex where people can swim, dance, play tennis, football, practice athletics, ski and ski jump. They often host famous competitions as well.

So this is pretty much what I did in Falun! This is a video that sums up my time in Finland and Sweden. I might edit a longer version but I’m not sure yet. My voice is kind of weird in the video, I don’t know why…😂

I hope you enjoyed this post and video! See ya later! X

BANGS SHOES

*not sponsored, just sharing the love for such an amazing brand*

This summer I have the pleasure of being an ambassador for an awesome company called BANGS Shoes. It was founded by Hannah Davis (https://www.instagram.com/hannahcdavis/)  and its motto is ‘Your adventure helps others find theirs’. In fact BANGS provides the ideal footwear (now they also have hoodies, hats, socks, t-shirts, stickers and patches!!!) for travelers. Since Day 1, BANGS has fascinated explorers from all over the world providing high quality material and also giving back to the community. BANGS mission is no less than to support emerging entrepreneurs, by investing 20% of the company net profits in business ideas.

I became a Lead BANGS Ambassador because I wanted to spread the word about a company that encourages people to live their dreams and connects its members as if we were a big family. I ordered a pair of Sahara Sand High Tops to nail the Indiana Jones’ look😜! Since I live in Europe they haven’t arrived yet, but I’m going to write a review once I’ve tested them. For now I can tell you that I love their design! They were actually modeled on Chinese workers and farmers’ boots that Hannah saw while teaching English in China.

You can find out more on their website https://www.bangsshoes.com/pages/story and definitely go check out their instagram https://www.instagram.com/bangsshoes/ which shows how popular BANGS are getting and how creative and nice people in this community are! I can’t wait to go on my next adventure with my new BANGS!

#liveBANGS,

See ya later! x

SWEDEN PART 1

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This post is linked to Finland Part 1 & 2, since I visited both countries during the same holiday. As I said in the previous article my sister and I left Turku on a ship to go to Stockholm. We managed to book our own cabin for a really cheap price. It had two foldable beds, a small restroom with a shower and a vanity. We stayed in there for a while, just to relax. For the rest of the time we explored the ship, I think the whole journey took more than 10 hours, but they literally flew by. The ship offered many services (restaurants, big screens to watch sports, smoking room, arcade machines etc.). The funniest thing about it was observing a drunk woman, who was watching the Olympic Games. She was absolutely hilarious. One thing to remember is that Finland and  Sweden are in different time zones, which we forgot and so we got ready to disembark an hour earlier, typical. The skyline of Stockholm that we saw once we arrived was breathtaking!20160815_191851

We were very close to this vegetarian restaurant we wanted to try. Well they weren’t too happy to see two tourists, let’s put it this way. Anyways below you can find some recommendations on where to sleep, eat and what to see:

GENERATOR HOSTEL: cozy, affordable, clean and with everything you might need. The rooms are actually quite spacious. We were in a mixed room of six.

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The only photo I have from the Generator

CAFè SCHWEIZER: you can even leave a message on the walls of this adorable cafè, we went in to drink a chai latte and, holy guacamole, they had David Rio’s Chai!!! It’s my favorite brand and I had it for the first time when I was in Budapest. It’s delicious! Mango is my favorite flavor.

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David Rio’s Mango Chai and a kanelbullar

SöDERMALM AREA: this area is very artsy, ideal for young hipsters😎 with plenty of second hand shops with the cutest clothes!

TANTOLUNDEN: this is a great park, I love open spaces and being outdoor and this was definitely one of my favorite spots.

GAMLA STAN (the OLD TOWN): there are plenty of museums, shops, restaurants.

The next article will be the last one dedicated to this adventure, it will cover my time in Falun.

See ya later!x

FINLAND PART 2

Where were we? So as I said I was a little bit sick during my first days in Finland, for this reason we decided to go from Helsinki to Turku one day earlier than scheduled. We were supposed to arrive in Turku a few hours before our ship left, instead we got there the day before, after having booked bus tickets and a hotel room online. We got to the bus station in Helsinki 20 minutes before the departure, just to be safe. We started looking for signs that would tell us where to go to get to the bus. It was total chaos. No signs nor big screens with any useful indications. I started asking people and they gave us some directions. Looking back it was supersilly but in that moment it was impossible to find our bus. The clock was running. We had been looking everywhere and we only had less than two minutes left. Luckily my sister saw something and we ran down to the bus, exactly when it was about to leave. Two hours and forty minutes later we arrived in Turku. We found our hotel, the entrance looked more like a secondary door than a normal reception. There was no one inside, just a phone and a keyboard. The reason the hotel was such a great deal was that it had no staff. We weren’t aware of that when we booked it, and it definitely surprised us. Nonetheless our room was spacious, clean and with a big bathroom and a TV. We went out and explored Turku that afternoon and, even though at the beginning I was getting bad vibes from the city for some reason 😅, I then came to the conclusion that I really liked it. I probably prefer it to Helsinki. The morning after we took the train to get to the harbor to jump on our ship to Sweden!!!😊

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Turku

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Walking around

Thanks for reading! See ya later! X

FINLAND PART 1

Last Summer I visited Finland and Sweden. I went with my sister, who studied there for a couple of months. We decided to fly from Venice and since it is quite far from where we live, we got there the night before. We spent the night at ‘Camping Rialto’, slightly out of the city. It is a very nice place with cute bungalows-The Parent Trap-style. From the camping we got to Venice by bus in order to explore the city. Even though it was mid-August I suggest you bring sleeping bags, it gets crazily cold in the bungalows at night! Obviously we didn’t have any…winning at life😎

The morning after we boarded on our flight. We flew with Finnair. The flight was very calm and I think I slept as always. The plane was full of blond people ahahah I know it’s stereotypical…but it’s true! Anyways this was an irrelevant detail. But I have a funny story for y’all: one of the passengers, a woman originally from Finland, used to have an Italian boyfriend. So she is fluent in Italian and she started talking about this guy, while her husband -oblivious to all because he clearly doesn’t speak Italian-was sitting next to her, peacefully reading a magazine. She is also friend with this Italian guy on Facebook, and she was on the plane to get back home after a holiday in Italy. Enough with my innuendos, sorry about this but flight gossip is the best gossip😉

We got to Helsinki and we forgot to get cash at the airport, big mistake. We arrived to our hostel which was more like a shack, worst hostel ever to be honest. This creepy place, Bates Motel-style,  also happened to be far from the city center, so to get there we needed to take the bus. BUS=CASH=we didn’t have any😭. After a long plea to the bus driver we managed to get a free ride. Now, because of the cold I got the night before I was quite sick when we stayed in Helsinki, so I didn’t really film much and I didn’t enjoy myself fully…such a pity! Anyhow here is a list of things to and places to visit in Helsinki:

-SENAATINTORI-SENATE SQUARE where you can admire the beautiful Helsinki Cathedral

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Lulù in front of the Cathedral

-OLD MARKET HALL: I love markets, they are the perfect place to explore the local culture. This one was quite nice, not the best one I’ve visited though.

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They eat bears and elks

-ATENEUM ART MUSEUM where we saw an Alice Neel’s exhibition, there was also an interactive part were you could draw the person who was sitting before you.

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My drawing of Lulù

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Esanjalainen PerheSpanish Family by Alice Neel

-USPENSKI CATHEDRAL: really nice colors, I’ve probably taken the least flattering photo of it…

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Uspenski Cathedral

-PARK: I don’t know the name of this park but we saw the finish line of the Helsinki marathon there. If you don’t like running this park also has a couple of machines to do some exercise.

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Run Forrest, run!

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Lake in the park!

 

-CAFFé DAJA-DEUTSCHE KAFFEEKULTUR: I highly recommend it to have a nice brunch or brekkie, following the German tradition (buffet-all you can eat). It is in fact a German cafe that serves typical German food. The owner-or the man who I believe is the owner-was very friendly. As far as I’ve seen he either speaks English or German, I thought that the fact that he doesn’t speak Finnish but lives in Finland was very interesting. I don’t have any photos since we got there after running crazily in the rain with four heavy suitcases, so we were tired. But you can find pics and more info on Google!

-SIS DELI+CAFE: now, this place was pretty cool. It gets crowded quite easily since it’s really small, so go there as early as possible. We got an amazing brunch, but I have to say that their Chai latte was a failure, at least for me. My sister loved it, so she drank mine to. It was way too spicy. The rest was awesome, once again buffet-all you can eat.

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Porridge, granola, croissants etc.

So peeps this is it for the first half of my time in Finland. Hope you liked this article and stay tuned for the next one!

See ya later! X

 

GIULIA’S AMERICAN DREAM

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I’ve interviewed my best friend Giulia who did an exchange program in America. She stayed there for 10 months during our 4th year of Liceo (High School, no clue what grade corresponds to it😁). In this Q&A Giulia is giving us some pros and cons about the USA as well as some useful tips. She was supported by the same organization I picked to go to Australia: BECASSE.

Giulia’s instagram: giulia_martini__

Why did you decide to go to America? I’d always wanted to visit the USA for some reason, maybe because of all the movies about high schools and teenage life in America I’d watched (which, by the way, all reflect what is like to be an American student quite perfectly) or it might be because I needed to prove myself that I could live in a different country by myself. Then one day, during my first year of high school, my brother brought it up and that was the moment I ever thought about it as a possibility and no longer a dream.
How long did you stay there for? I stayed there for 10 months, from August 1st till June 13th. At first, my mom was not happy about the whole “10 months away” experience so she talked me into joining the program for 5 months. I came around to it but then, once I was there, I knew I had to prolong my stay. Looking back, I think I made the right decision because the first semester was just for me to adjust, find new friends and get used to my new life there, while the second one is the one I really enjoyed.
Where did you stay and what other places did you visit? I lived in Noblesville, Indiana. It’s quite a small town, just 40 mins north of Indianapolis and it’s just a plain land where the only crop harvested is corn (which they like to cook with literally anything). I visited Chicago, Lake Michigan, Washington DC, Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
How was your host family? Well, I can’t really say I was lucky with my first host family. It was a married couple, both around thirties, and both obsessed with crossfit and gym. Luckily, I was not the only exchange student in the house, I shared this experience with a German girl whom became one of my closest friend and helped me through it all. We switched to a different host family around Christmas time and that’s when we both started living the real American teenage life.
Three tips for future exchange students: First, be sure to dive into this new experience for the right reasons, don’t just join the program because you want to get away from your boring, dull life but most importantly don’t leave because your parents pushed you into it. Then, once you’re there, don’t be shy, talk to people! They all love exchange students and can’t wait to know more about you. Making friends is the key to a great, fulfilling exchange experience so don’t waste your lunch time eating in the bathroom for the first week or so (just like I did), go out there and talk, talk, talk! Last but not least, be positive. This is a once in a lifetime experience, you will NEVER be able to live anything even close to it so try and enjoy every second of it. Don’t compare your former “life” with this new one cause that’s not what this is all about. Try and do as much as you can and don’t miss out on anything.

Three things you miss about America:
I can’t think of just three things I miss about America because I miss the whole thing. I miss the fact that every Friday we would all watch our fellow students/friends play sports against other schools (game day), I miss Christmas with tons of presents, a huge party and a cook out, I miss my host family (the second one of course), I miss my friends there with whom I still keep in contact, I miss the family Thanksgiving dinner, I miss Spring break in Fort Lauderdale, prom and homecoming which were just as awesome as you would think they are. So, I pretty much miss it all.
Three things you missed from home while you were in America: Easy question. Italian food!!! I’m not saying that American food is gross or disgusting, I just think they put too much sauce into any dish, they just can’t eat a steak without sinking it into a sea of mushroom sauce. It tastes delicious but makes you feel sick right after you take the first bite. They all tell you that you will start missing home after your honeymoon stage (which are the first couples of months) but to be completely honest I never really felt homesick because I knew that I only had 10 months there while I could most likely have a lifetime in Italy. But if I had to choose three things I was missing I would go for Italian food, my friends and family and my dog.
Best things you did there: Well, I would say Spring Break because we don’t have anything like it here in Italy and you really can’t even imagine how great it is going to turn out unless you’ve experience it at least once. I and other four friends of mine went to Fort Lauderdale, Florida and stayed in a huge villa with one of my friend’s parents. It was totally unexpected, I didn’t think it was going to be just like in the movies but it actually was. It was not only about parties on the beach, concerts on the beach and getting tanned on the beach, it was also about visiting and experience a different American State. The USA is a huge country and it’s crazy how different things are when you go from the North to the South or even cross just a couple of countries. The food is different, the language has a whole different accent, people have a whole different mentality and rules change. That’s another reason why you need to get out there and make new friends, because without them everything you will ever do won’t be as exciting and fun as if you had someone else along with you.
Some stereotypes and odd things: Well, we all think Americans are fat and I mean after living there for ten months and having tried most of their food I would’ve expected that too, but they’re actually not. At least, teenagers are quite fit and toned mostly because they have to get at least one gym class per semester. The problem is that once they get older, all that unhealthy food comes back to them and they start gaining weight.
They are all crazy patriotic, even crazier than our wildest stereotype. They put the American flag on everything, they say the “Pledge of Allegiance” every morning with their hand on their heart and they scream the American national anthem every chance they get.
I feel bad saying this next thing but most American teenagers are completely clueless about anything that is not American related and that’s mainly because that’s all they study at school. They do have the possibility to choose a European history class but it’s not mandatory so most people just skip it and take a different one.

It’s a wrap! Thank you, see ya later! X