Fat Bologna – post number two!

Please check out my second post on fat bologna.com here!

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What To Do With Miscellaneous Travel Photos

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have a billion photos after a weekend trip. In addition to 50 awkward yet identical selfies behind a famous landmark, I’ll also have pictures of the landmarks themselves, and trees, flowers, dogs – you name it.
When I moved into my apartment recently, I planned on buying the standard wall painting from Ikea – flowers blowing in the wind, contemporary art that makes no sense, or a wall rug.
Instead, I developed those miscellaneous pictures from my travel collections, and created a travel collage.
Maybe it’s not up to National Geographic’s standards, but it’s a personal memory that creates a story, a sense of nostalgia, and most of all, it generates a way more interesting answer than, “I bought this at a generic furniture store”.

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A Secret Window

Once a week, I turn off my phone, my computer, iPad etc. and I go for a walk. A couple hours of complete disconnection do wonders for your sanity. It’s sad to think that going for a walk, completely alone, just you and your thoughts, is a thing of the past. I do my best thinking in these moments, everything else can wait. Unfortunately, this time I cheated a little bit. I came across a beautiful canal, a “secret” canal in fact, that locals will brag about.
My personal challenge for you is to take a walk, once a week, completely alone. You can stop for a coffee, sit on a park bench, and disconnect from outside worries (maybe even take a quick picture if the opportunity is too beautiful to pass up).

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Bologna: A drink under frescoes

My new favourite bar in Bologna, Italy is Le Stanze. It is a bar located inside a former 16th century church that was later deconsecrated. You can enjoy cocktails, beer, wine, and the famous Italian Aperitivo(6-9pm), that is served with sandwiches, chips, and mini pizzas. The traditional Aperitivo drink is the “spritz” made with carbonated water, dry Italian wine, and either Aperol or Campari. The drinks cost around €3-8 euros. Le Stanze is also a restaurant where you can eat a good meal for €10-30. If you’re not too hungry, grab a cappuccino and stare at the beautiful frescoes surrounding you.

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Italian prose on porticos

In a previous post, I included a photograph of a poem that was painted onto a wall here in Bologna. The city is full of these short poems that can be spotted on signs, stone walls, and street corners. I’ve been collecting and translating them for the past few weeks, but I’ve edited this post to include a few. The poems are still a mystery to me, but they seem to have been placed around the city by the Movement for the Emancipation of Poetry.
The MVP (Movimento Emancipazione Poesia) has stated the following about their work in Bologna, Italy

“To this day, in the vulgar contemporary society, poetry does not hold the role that, for cultural and historical reasons, it is entitled to. This is not because it no longer carries the ability to communicate and elicit emotions, feelings and fantasies, but rather because although poetry continues to be written, it is no longer read, the preference being for cheap empty entertainment over the noble and difficult exercise of spirited thought. […]”

These photos and translations (done by me) will be edition number one of a series of posts I’d like to do. It seems that I’ve still got over 100 poems to discover in this city.

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Translation:
I swear on my own heart
I’ve never wanted it!
Can you hear it beating?
How do we surrender to the certainty of possessing one another?
It’s the fear
We’ll go in search of
other peaks
from which we can
tremble.

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Translation:
We still speak of
Faded memories
Of the days yet to arrive
Of bridges and boundaries
Of sunrises, sunsets
Of us.
It’s a fine line,
Tonight
The end.

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Translation:
We are the same verb,
declined* in different tenses.
Different windows on the same moon
Mismatched eyes crying the same tears

*a process used in Latin grammar [declension]

Finally, my personal favourite

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Translation:
I hate you.
I hate you because you came into my life way too early.
I’m nothing yet. I’m mud between the fingers of destiny.
An insane compass driving me.
I’m afraid.
I’m afraid that what I will be will destroy what we were, removing your eyes that watch me every morning, hanging on the ceiling of my bedroom.

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Italian Street Art

Bologna is a stunning ancient city (see post) that is also home to the oldest university in the world. Students are attracted from all over the globe to study behind its prestigious walls. The student neighbourhood has adopted a different flair than the rest of the old town, yet equally as beautiful.

Poetry – The “Emancipation of Poetry” society has posted these excerpts on the walls of the city.

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Translation:
I hate you.
I hate you because you came into my life way too early.
I’m nothing yet. I’m mud between the fingers of destiny.
An insane compass driving me.
I’m afraid.
I’m afraid that what I will be will destroy what we were, removing your eyes that watch me every morning, hanging on the ceiling of my bedroom.

Fly away.

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Looking for pizza?

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Long live the rebels!

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Red.

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What Happened When I Stopped Watching T.V

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I’m just like everyone else. After a long day at work, my favorite thing to do on a weeknight was to pass out in front of the television. Most of the time, it didn’t even matter what I was watching, I just needed something to lull me into my zombie-like sleep.

This past summer, I decided to move to a different city here in Italy. After having lived in Milan for several months, I decided that I hated the city. It was too grey, too expensive, the people are always pissed off, and most importantly, it was full of litter with few green spaces (a big deal for a Canadian). So I headed off in search for a new apartment in my new city of residence, Bologna, Italy.
After having found a temporary apartment, I met with the landlord.
“You know there’s no television at the moment, right? We can look into getting one though, if you’d like?”
WHAT?! You mean no re-run marathons of my love-to-hate reality shows?!
“Nope, it’s no problem for me, I don’t want one.

Now don’t get my wrong. I love films and t.v series (Big Bang Theory and How I met Your Mother in particular), but I felt that the 2-3 hours of “couch potato time” per night was taking away from self-improvement and productivity.
So what did I do with the free time I was suddenly given?

1. I started my blog. I forgot how much I loved to write. It would be a waste not to write something down in my situation. I’m living abroad and moving from place to place, yet I didn’t even have a journal! Even if nobody reads what I write, I’ll have something to look back on after my 20s are over.

2. I started taking classes at the gym – I love the gym, but it’s hard to commit to going regularly, especially during the winter months when you want to curl up in front of the television. Since I didn’t have the t.v option, I forced myself to look at the classes offered at my local gym in the evenings. I signed up for body pump, among others, and made this a regular habit before bedtime.

3. I started reading regularly – I’ve loved reading since I was a child. It’s a habit I’ve carried with me throughout high school and university, but it died down a bit once I began working full time. I replaced the t.v stand with a bookshelf, and I choose something to read before I curl up on the couch and fall asleep. Reading makes me feel positive. Each time you read a new book, you open yourself to a new world of imagination, something that’s obviously missing from many television shows.

4. I made things – A travel box (see post), scrapbooks, photo albums, etc. making things makes you feel better, especially when you feel down. It’s really great to see a finished project that you designed yourself. The feeling of fulfillment that used to come from coloring books and crafts as a child has followed me into adulthood.

5. I stayed informed on my own – The news programs we see are biased. If you don’t make an effort to look for a second opinion, you don’t see both sides of the story. The internet has a mass amount of information from different countries with different political and social opinions. It was great to see how Italian television, BBC news, and CNN, all morphed the same news stories for their own benefit.

6. I had a drink with friends – When you’re exhausted on a Monday evening, the last thing you want to do is get dressed and go out. Actually, don’t even need to get dressed, just go out. Having a drink with friends after work was surprisingly therapeutic. Laughing about my current frustrations allowed me to sleep better, and I found myself walking home smiling after catching up with some friends.

The purpose of this post is to remind you that you’re full of ideas and creativity. Routine has a way of draining us of our imagination, but we don’t have to let this happen. Staying informed is easy with the internet, so you won’t be missing out on anything, but discovering a new sense of self that you thought disappeared a long time ago.

Cremona, the city of violins.

A city of just under 70,000 in Lombardy, Italy. Known by lovers of classical music, undiscovered by the rest of us. On a regular afternoon, you won’t see a tourist in sight, those are the best places though, aren’t they?

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