Monday, January 26, 2009

Change, again

There are moments when, even without noticing, we take decisions that change our lives and the ones of others around us. Most of the times, at least in what concerns me, these moments come without previous warning and its consequences don't become immediately visible. Later, when I fully realise these moments, it's already too late to do something about them. Very often, when this happen, I wish I have taken a different decision or not taken a decision at all. But, there are also some occasions, rarer, when a certain decision, even though taken impulsively, changes my life in a way that makes me feel good and fulfilled; and when that happens, I can only be grateful and happy for having taken such decision. As I have been writing over the last few months, I am undergoing a period of change. A long and slow period of change, that started when Pedro announced that he would be leaving the YFJ in the beggining of October, and will be concluded when I will leave it myself, at the end of May. Identifying a period of change taking place over eight months isn't easy; but for me it is all very obvious, as I observe all the pieces slowly moving and taking their new positions in this dynamic picture. i can't see how the new picture looks yet, at least not the whole of it; but, in the same way I observed Pedro, Luiza, Bettina and now Mark moving on and getting ready to assume new positions, in the same way I observed Klavdija, Tine and others moving in the opposite direction, in the same way I have been observing people moving farther away and others getting closer to me, I see myself making choices, taking decisions and changing my own position in the picture. And I must admit that, so far, I like what I see: of course, I am not in control of everything, and change always includes some risks; but I am enjoying it, and I am looking forward to embracing the further changes to come! What about you? Can you sleep?

Monday, January 19, 2009


I am sitting at the Ljubljana airport, waiting to board the flight that will bring me back to Brussels, after four exciting and pleasant days in the country that contains love. The reason why I came to Slovenia was the first 2009 YFJ Bureau meeting, which included a very active team-building session. We stayed in a cosy Scouts' house bordering the Bohinj lake with an astonishing view over the white and breathtaking landscape and, in-between huge loads of great food, we invested in getting to know each others' better. For this, we used inside simulation games, and open-air, high-intensity activities like sledging and hiking. The sledging part, done in the dark and using inflatable boats, was mostly fun; the hiking was a more serious and demanding exercise. For me, in particular, it was a test to my bad physical condition, my lack of familiarity with the climate conditions and the equipment, and my vertigo problem... but, with a little help from my friends, I managed. And was therefore able to enjoy completely new emotions, spectacular views and astonishing environments. And now, I can't wait for repeating the experience, over and over again! The rest of the meeting was also very nice and effective, and I am confident that Tine, Christoffer and the rest of the Bureau will do a good job over the next two years. Their openess and eagerness to learn, and the solidarity among the team, will show them the right way. But, at the sime time that some are starting their journey, others are ending theirs: this was Mark's last Bureau meeting, and it is difficult to express with words how much I am going to miss him... My stay in Slovenia concluded with a very nice evening in Ljubljana and with a promise: I will come back!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Snow, flat mates and vodka...

Getting back to work after nice holidays isn't normally very easy. But the truth is that I came back so full of energy and motivation, that it actually felt nice to be back at work. And then, as my colleagues were slowly ending their holidays and resuming their work, it felt even better. And the snow that covered Brussels in white also helped. Anyway, the big news of the week is that now I have a flat mate. It will be for two months only, but it's still a big change. I got so used to live alone and have the flat all for myself, that it will be a challenge; on the other hand, it is nice to have someone around. And Adrian is a nice flat mate. On Saturday we gave a party to introduce him to my Brussels' friends. It was nice; except for the fact that I drank far too much and far too fast, and therefore spent the whole Sunday aching and trying to cope with a well-deserved and quite painful hangover. Some claim that I will never learn; I am still trying to convince myself that I will only grow wiser... In the meantime a new week has started, and my travels will start too. On Thursday morning I will fly to Ljubljana and will stay for some days in Slovenia. I am really looking forward to it!

Sunday, January 04, 2009


After a short stay in Lisbon, spent with good friends who I always miss a lot, I headed northeast and spent the New Year's eve and day in Frankfurt am Main. Yeah, exactly, that Frankfurt after which the airport is named; that same Frankfurt I was never totally sure it actually existed. Well, it does. But I didn't quite figured out why... In spite of the location, I ended up having a great time there; surely not the traditional new year's celebration, but the strange restaurant, the weird circumstances, the special people, those awful Italian songs and the many drinks, ended up being a good combination that, all in all, made it for a great night. And the good company, of course; being in good company is always a decisive factor. The first day of the year was, obviously, a slow one and, the day after, we decided to go on a tour of the region: Hanau, Bad Homburg and Limburg on Friday, and Koenigswinter and Bad Honnef on Saturday. Using the charming yet freezing Dreifelden as a basecamp, exploring the region between the Main and the Rhein rivers was a memorable and trully unforgettable experience. Today, on my ride back to Brussels, I enjoyed the scenic Moesel valley and its vineyards and couldn't help thinking that I have seriously underestimated the beauty and attractiveness of this region so close to Brussels. And, on the other hand, that my touristic trips to Germany have always been fully satisfying experiences: the country is full of interesting places, the roads are great, the hotels and restaurants inexpensive, and the service is great. Should definitely go there more often! But now I am back in Brussels, a new year has started and I tomorrow will be my first working day in 2009. Less than five months to go, and to figure out what the future will be made of. In the meantine, allow me to wish you all a very happy New Year; may 2009 bring love, laughter, joy and prosperity to all of us and the rest of the world.