Friday, March 30, 2007

Thank you :)

Today a great man who invented a great "toy" for kids disappeared (read La Repubblica article). The father of famous sticker-factory "PANINI" died today.

I can hardly count all the happy moments that "Panini" created during my childhood and keeps creating for many kids today.

I remember especially the Little Mermaid sticker album, I think I almost completed it. The interesting thing is that I did it in Peru, where the Panini stickers were not on sale and where there were not auto-collant stickers, but only the ones where the glue was dry on the back on the sticker and you had to get it wet in order to make it stick.

However, my Dad, who lived in Italy at that time, came often to Lima almost like a Santa Claus. One of the things he brought were this two Little Mermaid Sticker Albums, and a whole pack of sticker envelopes (as we could not buy stickers in Lima or exchange them with other kids). So we evenly divided the whole pack in two, half for me and half for my sister. Then we exchanged stickers among us.... but we also had a whole bunch of repeated stickers that we could not exchange with other kids.

My business talent and entrepreneurial skills came up for the first time! (hehe) I realized that there was a gap in the market (well, ok, probably I did not think it in those terms at that time) and I decided to fill it. I took a little orange suitcase I had (it was originally a suitcase for colours, pencils, etc), and I filled it with my stickers (kind of the movie suitcases filled with dollar bills, but filled with Panini Little Mermaid stickers). They were divided into groups, because of course, they had different values. The single stickers with the Little Mermaid or the Prince picture, were worth 250 intis, the single ones with another character were 200, the "half ones" (the ones where the picture is divided in two stickers) were worth only 50 intis, unless there was the little Mermaid or the Prince on them and that make them rise to 100 intis. I think I also had some valued 150 intis, but I can't remember which ones were those.

This business venture proved to be very successful! During the recreation I would go with my suitcase in the school corridors and sit there (almost like a drug dealer), then other kids would come to me and line up to buy my stickers. One day I could also help my mum pay for the car fuel (which I guess was not as expensive as it is today). At the end of the recreation I would close up my little suitcase filled with stickers and intis bills and go back into class.

The business started to be less successful when my sister open up the competition (she had useless repeated stickers as well). Probably I should have proposed to merge to rise prices hehehe but I did not know the rules of the market at that time.

Thanks Panini! (and thanks Dad hehe)

Monday, March 26, 2007

The city witout women


Have you ever heard of Petawawa? The word sounds a little bit like Ottawa, and, as for the National Capital, the name of this city comes from the Algonkin language. Petawawa means something close to "where one hears the noise of the water", and it's in the middle of the Canadian woods and nature.

This is where an internment camp for Italians, Germans (civilians) and other Canadian "enemies" was based during the IIWW. I've learnt about this place chatting with some people from the local Italian community, and had a chance to learn a new chapter of the history of the Italians abroad, but also of Canada and the Second World War. Most of the people were interned there because of their origine and fear, they were not guilty of something, they did not have right to a trial and did not know how long their permanence far from their families would last. What they thought it would be weeks or months, ended up being years.

I'm reading a book about this story ("The city without women/La ville sans femmes/La cittá senza donne" by Duliani). The interesting thing is that the interned people were often people born in Canada but with Italian origin or Canadian-naturalized citizens.

The book is very interesting to read and it makes me think in more than one point to the book written by Primo Levi, "Se questo é un uomo". Even if the reality was very different in this two stories and the internees of the Petawawa camp were treated in a very human way, the comments on human nature are very common in this two authors that nothing knew about each other.

After starting to read this book, I discovered that also in Peru things were not easy during the WW2 for Italian nationals. I don't know the details yet, but my mum told me that following these troubles the Italian school had to change its name from "Scuola Italiana" to Antonio Raimondi and the "Italian Bank" had to change its name to "Banco de Credito".

This issue it's not only history, but also present. It is at the centre of an argument between the Italian Canadian Community and the Minister of Canadian Heritage Bev Oda.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Funny?

Yesterday I went to Purolator (something like DHL) to send an envelope.

When I get there, the lady kindly asks me where did I want to send my envelope (in order to give me the proper form to fill in). Here's our dialogue (a bit absurd, but real):


lady: where would you like to send the envelope?
me: Switzerland (smiling)
lady: where? (more attentive now)
me: S-W-I-T-Z-E-R-L-A-N-D (I pronounced slowly)
Lady: ah! (OK, it was my accent maybe)
lady:... in Quebec? (OK, it was not my accent)
me: no, (smile) in Europe

Frankly it's not the first time something like this happens to me. And I'm not just talking about the usual Switzerland-Sweden confusion (do you speak Swedish there? where is it exactly?). I'm used to this type of question.

I've witnessed worse things. Once, I talked with a guy who asked me where was I from. So I explained the whole Switzerland-Italy-Peru story. At the end, the guy asked me if Peru and Italy were close from each other. At the beginning I said "yes, sure!"because I thought he was kidding. But then he said specified that he did not know much of geography (really?). So, a bit embarrassed, I said "well... Italy is in Europe and Peru is in South America". The reply was: "oooh, then they are not close!". Seriously, I guess it's one of the few occasions where I was speechless. ...

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Senators vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Have you ever been to an NHL Hockey Match? ....on St. Patrick's Day?

Yesterday Lukas and I had the chance to discover two of the Canadian culture traditions: hockey and St. Patrick's day.
About Hockey:
For many of my friends and family it will be hard to understand how can Canadians be so passionate about hockey... but at the end the game it's not so different from soccer and people here love hockey rather than soccer (which I already could notice during the FIFA World Cup).

However, going to the stadium to see a hockey match in Canada it's so much different from going to watch a soccer match at the stadium. Some of the differences:

  • Fans are mixed. There is not a "team 1" curve and "team 2" curve... and people are much more relaxed. Nevertheless I think this is something related to hockey in Canada rather than to hockey itself. In Switzerland even hockey has an "ultras" section (ultras = organized supporters' groups for sports teams).
  • Entertainment is not just about the game. While in a soccer match it's all about the match... going to a hockey match it's a lot about tv-style entertainment. Music and lights have a big importance (the negative effect is that sometimes, as yesterday, music is so laud that you can hardly listen/feel the supporters cheers) and during every brake something happens: guests are interviewed or fans are called to play a game. Of course is not only about entertainment, the real goal it's to give sponsors a chance to have more visibility in front of the audience. This leads me to my next point:
  • Too many advertisers and sponsors. During the match, as everyone I guess, we were observing the stadium. We could hardly find a spot without advertisement on it... there was just everything from drinks, to vehicles, to consulting firms and even the University of Ottawa (I think an university should be recognized by other factors rather than an expensive banner in a hockey stadium... but that's a personal perspective). In a soccer stadium usually advertisement is limited to the banners around the field and the players t-shirts... I think that's much better. As a soccer fan in a stadium I usually have the feeling that sponsors are there to support/pay for the game. Yesterday I had the feeling that the advertisers where the protagonists of the evening and the hockey team just an excuse to get people to look at the advertisers. Some of the banners look really funny though... I can't believe they did not notice the result of putting these banners next to each other:
  • More kids in the stadium. I guess this is a positive side effect that derives from the fact of not having ultras or people really absorbed by the game. A hockey place it's a really safe place for kids. So during the game cameras will have great shots from babies supporting the hockey team to teen-agers dressed (or undressed as you can see in the picture on the bottom of this post) with the team colours. Kids also love the teams' Mascotte which is there to motivate people. Unfortunately in South America and Europe is not as obvious and safe to take a kid to the stadium.
  • Cheers and songs are always the same. In soccer every team has its specific cheering songs that can go from very short and simple, to very long and hard-to-remember songs. With Lukas we already went to watch a Hockey match in the US (Washington Caps vs. Stanley-Cup-winners Carolina), and we could notice comparing the two events that songs are short (by short I mean...three words) and always the same (Go Sens Go!, Go Caps Go!, Go Leafs Go!)(not very original).

In conclusion, it was a great experience to enjoy the Senators game but we wonder if it would be as interesting to go to the stadium on a more regular basis. For sure it would be super expensive: a beer and a coke = 14 dollars; a parking cost of 10$ (which is not honest given the fact that the Senators Stadium - the Scocia Place - it's in the middle of nowhere, with only fields around and around 25 min. away -through the highway- from Ottawa downtown) and of course the tickets.

About St. Patrick's Day!
As you can see in the picture both Lukas and I and many other people in the stadium (including the Senators Mascotte) were wearing green! This is because it was St. Patrick's day, the Irish patron day. The interesting thing is that most of the people do not really know what St. Patrick is about.... which is not only about dressing in green colours and drinking green beer. To discover more about it click here.

The Swiss Plus:
The Senators Goal-keeper is Martin Gerber, a Swiss Player :D (that you can see in the back of the picture with the kids and the Senators Mascotte). He did a great job yesterday and we were very proud of him (especially because there is a whole debate here about Gerber's skills compared to the other goal-keeper -Emily- skills). Go Gerby Go!

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

AIESEC interns going live on TV

Well not exactly live... bur recorded! (but we only did it once, without repeating anything...does it count as a live show?) :)
If you want to watch the show you can do it on Sunday March 25th at 5pm on Rogers Channel 22.
Rita and Karolina will tell you about their AIESEC experience in Canada, how did they join AIESEC on the first place, they will share their culture and their thoughts... interviewed by... guess who? :)
The show will be in English!!! So buy some pop-corn and enjoy :)

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Free Mastrogiacomo

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

1 year in Canada!!!

One year in Canada... I can't believe it went so fast! So many things happened and at the same time it feels like I arrived yesterday to Ottawa (well, after many many hours spent in Frankfurt and a pit stop in Toronto).

It's funny to realize how perception changes... and how so many things that were new 1 year ago...are so normal now.

For those who speak italian, here it goes the first email I sent to my family and friends after my arrival to Ottawa... It was March the 8th 2006.

By the way... last year I did not experience the real cold because I arrived just in March (almost spring)...well as I was observing in the past post..this year winter has decided to stay with us a bit longer: today the termical sensation is -38 degrees C. I'm now studying to become an ice-cube!


Ciao a tutti! :)

Ecco che finalmente trovo un pò di tempo per scrivervi.
Sono le 7h12del mattino (1h12pm in Europa) e ho un pochino di tempo prima di iniziare a prepararmi per andare a lavorare :)

Sono arrivata ad Ottawa l'altro ieri, lunedì, verso l'una delpomeriggio. L'arrivo è stato molto interessante... sembrava di arrivare al Polo Nord, dato che a parte la pista dove atterraval'aerio, attorno era tutto ghiaccio (e poi fanno una crisi per un pòdi neve a Frankfurt???). Vabbè, no comment!
Bè, quando sono arrivata, mentre scendevo la prima rampa di scale mobili verso il rullo delle valigie... non me l'aspettavo ma c'erano già le persone del comitato di AIESEC ad aspettarmi... sembra che per i voli interni non ci sia tutto quel processo di sicurezza come per i voli internazionali. Erano lì ad aspettarmi più o meno in dieci, con palloncini e la maglietta del comitato di AIESEC Carleton (è il nomedella loro università) che mi hanno regalato.

L'anneddoto carino è che è sempre utile avere più di un passaporto! E fare la faccia di cane bastonato.... vi spiego! Al momento di partireda Toronto, quando mi sono avvicinata al check-in... non trovavo più il mio passaporto svizzero!!! DISPERAZIONE! (che non ho dato a vedere), ho pensato che l'avevo sicuramente lasciato da Lukas. Poi miè venuto in mente che nel borsellino dei soldi c'era sicuramente il passaporto italiano che mi ci aveva messo papà just in case.

Quindi consapevole dell'illegalità della cosa (mica ho un timbro che dice che sono entrata in Canada sul passaporto italiano) l'ho fatto vedere comunque alla hostess di terra... che me l'ha accettato senza nessun problema :D (sempre utile avere un passaporto in più... mi sembrava digiocare a carte e giocarmi il Jolly) (mentre se avessi avuto quelloperuviano, viste le circostanze sarebbe stato piuttosto un due dipicche) :D.

Comunque dopo mentre entravo nella parte interna dell'aeroporto, ho guardato meglio e in fondo al mio zaino c'era ilpassaporto Svizzero :D . Comunque nessuno mi ha più chiesto documenti.

Dopo il mio arrivo all'aeroporto, mi hanno portato a casa dove hovisto camera mia. Non è enorme e c'ha una finestrella piccola piccola... più adatta ad un bagno che ad una stanza... ma l'appartamento è carino ed è piazzato in modo centralissimo. Quindi vedrò se poi magari si troverà di meglio o meno...

La mia coinquilinafino adesso non l'ho vista tanto (all'epoca non sapevo che era una squilibrata con problemi di alchool...ora ho cambiato casa :) ...e coinquilina) . C'era pure lei all'aeroporto, ma poi se n'è andata perchè ha molto da studiare in questi giorni. L'unica cosa che ho visto è che si alimenta a base di surgelati e non so perchè ha dei pesci interi surgelati in frizer... (ecco dovevo capire che era squilibrata dai pesci nel frizer) dato che in casamancano addirittura le pentole! (non le pentole... ma una pentola..bè, in effetti ce n'è una, ma sta in frigo con dentro dei pezzi dipollo e dell'acqua sporca...bleach...).

Poi mi hanno portato in giro per Ottawa e a mangiare la sera un "poutine"... che in pratica sono patatine fritte con formaggio in mezzo (che fonde) e una specie di salsa marrone sopra (ero molto diplomatica all'epoca... il poutine proprio non mi piace...meglio ketchup).
Parlando di frizer, ieri descrivevo la sensazione termica qui ad Ottawa, almeno la mattina (mi hanno detto che erano -16 gradi). Esperimento da fare a casa: 1. Andate in cucina; 2. dirigetevi versoil frigorifero; 3. aprite il Frizer (mi raccomando il frizer e non il frigorifero... troppo caldo); 4. Mettete la testa dentro il frigorifero; 5. Restate così per un pò. Ecco, ora potete dire diessere stati ad Ottawa :D (Anche se mi hanno detto che il vero freddo è già passato e che quest'anno non ha fatto troppo freddo) (avevano ragione...cosa sono meno 17 gradi paragonati con meno 38???) .

Ora mi restano due minuti perchè devo vestirmi per andare a lavorare...Ma in breve: la giornata lavorativa è andata molto bene. I mieicolleghi-capi (sono 3 persone) sono molto simpatici e mi hanno accoltobene. L'edificio dove stiamo è centrale, ma sul piano dove stiamo stanno facendo dei lavori e siamo l'unico ufficio aperto su quelpiano (e siamo ancora l'unico ufficio, il resto del piano lo usiamo come discarica o parcheggio per le biciclette). La cosa buona è che ci sono posti per bere il caffè tuttoattorno all'edificio.Ieri dopo una mattinata di spiegazioni varie, un mio capo mi ha offerto unc affè da Tim Hurton/Horton (Tim Hortons)..boh... che sarebbe lo Starbucks (catena dicaffè americana) ma in versione canadese. Anche se la catena appartiene a Wendy's che è un'altra specie di Mac Donalds americano.Vabbè...

Poi a pranzo mi hanno portato a mangiare fuori... anche se hanno precisato che non si va a mangiare lì tutti i giorni ma solo inoccasioni speciali (non sia che mi abitui a che mi offrano il pranzo) hehe. Io ho preso un'insalata di formaggio di capra... ma in tutto ilpiatto c'era solo un pezzettino di formaggio di capra :S. Vabbè...comunque era buono :)

Il pomeriggio è passato abbastanza in fretta. Anche perchè un'altro capo dell'ufficio mi ha portata a vedere un cliente che parlavain un seminario del Organizzazione delle America dove parlavano sull'e-government nel continente Americano. La sera sono andata ad uno shopping centre (ce ne sono due in totale a Ottawa... con gli stessi neozi tra l'altro) a fare un giro... poi casa...poi insalata pomodoro e feta (dato che non c'erano pentole perfare nè pasta nè riso) e poi un po' di internet.. ma poco...perchè mi sono addormentata subito. Ecco tutto!Spero non essermi dilungata troppo :)Bacioni!
Chiara
PS: per coloro che aspettano la continuazione delle avventure aFrankfurt... prometto di rispondere presto! :)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Sniff sniff... comparisons

Yesterday in...

Zurich, Switzerland


Valencia, Spain

Rome, Italy
and...
Ottawa, Canada
yes... snowing :S