Free haircut

Ok, I already mentioned that there are many hairdressers in Bologna (and probably in Italy in general) and as confusing as it may be (where to go, which one is the best, where do they serve you also coffee…), there are certain advantages of this excess.

I went to have a haircut today and it was free. Yes, you read that right, it was absolutely free, I paid nothing. Why? Because there is a promotion in February at this hairdresser’s school in Bologna where you can get a haircut/dye your hair free of charge. Where’s the catch? Well, it’s a school, so the people who actually work on you are students, not professionals.

I know what you think: it’s a risk. They are only learning how to be a hairdresser, they can f*ck up your hair and then you’ll have to shave your head or something. Well, I have short hair that don’t really require much work, so I thought I’ll take that risk. Also, when I went there I noticed that the students have a supervisor who helps them, teaches them and just generally supervises their work at all times. And they can’t do anything without his consent. Of course the downside here is that it all takes ages, cause they are around 10-12 people and the teacher is only one, but at least one can feel fairly safe.

Also, let’s remember that I don’t speak Italian at a level that would allow me to explain everything in detail, so it was twice as tricky with me. But the girl that cut my hair was very cautious and I think in the end she did a good job considering my indecision and a general lack of idea about what I want to do with my hair.

All in all, I had a fairly good haircut absolutely for free, so I can’t complain. And in case you are in Bologna this month and you’d like to cut or dye your hair, check out this Facebook event to get more info on how to take an appointment and reach the place.

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Walk the walk

You know how you only really notice things when you’re walking? Cycling, going by bus or by bus only makes you miss things in the surroundings.

Lately I have been walking much more often than in October or November. Mostly because the weather is not really in our favour, it rains or it’s just cold and let’s be honest: cycling around Bologna in this period is not very comfortable, especially if you have to carry a computer (+/- 4 kg) with you and/or go very far.

It’s weird, cause I cycled almost everyday when I was in Finland. In winter. And it REALLY was a winter there. With at least -15 degrees and 80 cm of snow. And still I cycled each day. But of course, Finland – the wonderful country that it is – was making it easy for me.

Anyways, walking makes you see more things. For example recently I have noticed that around my place there are at least 6 different hairdresser’s. Within 300m reach! It’s really strange how many hair saloons there are in Bologna (or maybe in Italy in general). It is almost impossible to find a flower shop around, but hair saloons are everywhere. They are like churches in Poland: on every corner.

#comebacks

pierogi
Traditional Polish pierogi with sauerkraut&mushroom filling / photo courtesy of AMS

Once again I have been silent for a while (blog-wise), but I have good reasons for it. As the photos from the last post suggest, I’ve been travelling a bit. First I went to an EVS volunteer training in Rimini, then there was Christmas and New Year’s that I spent in Ravenna and after that I went back to Bologna for a couple of days before leaving for Poland for 10 days. Throughout this time I’ve been posting a bit to Facebook which is so much easier to update, since (as can be seen on multiple examples) it doesn’t require much thinking.

So, if you have been there (to this blog’s Facebook page), you might have figured out that I’ve been forced invited to cook some traditional Polish dishes served on a Christmas table. I teamed up with basically the whole family of my girlfriend and together we prepared barszcz czerwony z uszkamipierogi and makówka for Christmas Eve’s dinner. The next day I could enjoy a true Italian Christmas Day’s lunch with such delicacies as cappelletti, lasagne, stracotto and more. All of this was followed by torrone and pan d’oro as dessert.

Long story short, I’ve gained two kilos over the Christmas period. And then I went to Poland where nothing worth sharing happened.

A lot of surprising news were waiting for me after my return. Firstly, we are no longer two volunteers in the project. Due to series of events the other volunteer left and I’m now the only volunteer in the organization. Following this a decision has been made to change my mentor in the project. Now the situation is a bit hectic as we are reorganizing our works.

I got back directly into the middle of preparations for one of the next parties we’re going to host at il b.u.c.o.: Be Your Style. I have designed a poster for it and got in contact with our co-hosts from Stile Libero football team. It’s going to be a second party I’m responsible for since October (the first one being I Love Touch). After it I should maybe add another area of expertise to my resume: women’s sports party management.

The adventure begins

Due Torri
Due Torri / Bologna

It has been a little bit crazy after my arrival yesterday morning, but now I’m starting to settle in and organize things. To my pleasant surprise, my bus from Poland wasn’t late at all and moreover I had the best place of all on it, cause I was sitting on the higher deck in the very first front row with only the window before me. But don’t think I had awesome views or something. I took a camera with me, yes, but I crossed the border with Czech Republic at 20.30, when it was already dark and the whole journey it was raining. I was at least hoping for nice landscapes closer to Italy, but I had to have some sleep after all and when the sun started to rise around 7.00, there were no mountains around anymore, cause we were in Veneto. And what is even funnier, when we crossed the “border” between Veneto and Emilia-Romagna, the only thing you could see outside of the window was… a very thick fog. In the end: no views for me.

Yesterday was all about trying to realize I’m seriously going to live in this country for 10 months. I mean, 5 months in Finland were crazy, but this is another dimension. Not all people will just speak English to me. Actually, most of them won’t. But since I already understand some things when spoken to me and can express myself in Italian in a very simple way, there shouldn’t be much problem in taking it a step further. Being thrown into a situation where the only option is to adjust yourself and be forced to try as hard as you can may work some miracles.

The next days will still be mostly about working things out with everyone, organizing our plans for the next weeks and introducing us (me and the other volunteer, Laure) to all the activities and events. But, so far so good. I will consider it already a success if I don’t die tragically while riding a bike in the Italian traffic. Just in case, today I signed a document stating that in case of my death (sic!) my parents will share the insurance money 50/50, so if there’s anyone that wanted to have their share here too, you’re late.

Blogging again!

“Here I go again on my own!”

I wish I could sing that for real, though… Not that it’s not true, but because I can’t actually sing so well. Anyways, here I am again in the blogosphere, with another project, Un sentiero alberato. It’s going to be an EVS diary most of the time. I guess, you never know with these things.

EVS — or to make it more clear — European Voluntary Service is yet another poster child of the European Union: designed to provide the so-called European youth a brighter future and better chances for getting a job. I’m not going to describe all the details here, you can find everything you want to know on the official website of Erasmus+. To cut the long story short: you pick a place where you want to work and the organisation you want to work for, you apply, they take you and you have the time of your life. Yeah, I know, a dream come true.

Well, for me it sort of is, or will be, since I haven’t started it yet. My project is going to take place in Bologna, Italy. So: sun, food, and crooked towers. I will work with Associazione Culturale Oltre…, which is my hosting organisation, and Betty & Books, which is the coordinating organisation. Both of those are deeply connected with the cultural life of Bologna, they organize various festivals and cultural events, engage people of the city and promote the folklore of Emilia-Romagna. I am a graphic designer and editor with a couple of years of experience, so I will definitely help them with this stuff, but I’m also ready to take up new challenges and maybe do things I’ve never done before, because this is mostly what EVS should be about: learning and gaining experience.

Now, it’s hard to determine what you’ll be able to read about on this blog. Might be some weird comments about the Italian way of life, things that shocked me, things I love about the country/city/people. Maybe you’ll see some photos, maybe I’ll share a song I heard on the radio. Maybe there will also be some videos with me not being able to find a way in all those claustrophobic Italian streets that for me still look all the same. Maybe I’ll say a couple of things about the people I meet and maybe afterwards they’ll chase me through the mentioned streets. But, in general, I’ll try to keep it simple and entertaining, so that you can read it with your morning coffee or afternoon snack. I hope you won’t get bored.

Just for your information: I have blogged from abroad before, when I was in Finland doing my Erasmus there. You can check it out here if you want.

See you next time!