Lorenzo & his humble friends

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool

Tag: Mindo

2016: resolutions

Take up cooking again. Talk to strangers, make new friends. Keep reading books; and maybe read some poems too. Distill and trade. Spend time with Camilla and Isabella. Volunteer, much. Start and finish a Gran Fondo. Teach one more university seminar. Write three chapters for my Ph.D. dissertation. Become part of something – NGOs? cycling clubs? freemasonry? Hike with Manuel, Mindo, and Giallu. Learn something new – something practical, possibly. Try to read and practice the spiritual exercises of Ignatius. Drink whiskey with Martin and Niels. Travel outside Europe. Meet the Canadians: Iris, Joe, Jasper. Write Thomas. Avoid weddings – except Nele’s. Be present. Make a plan for life. Visit Aosta.

Palle a canestro

From: Mindaugas
To: Lorenzo
Topic: Eurobasket
Date: 16 settembre

Ciao Lorenz!
Come stai? Sei ancora in Canada?

Ti scrivero un email questi giorni.

Stasera vado a Lille a vedere una partita di campionato Europeo. Lituania gioca contro Italia. Purtroppo devo ammettere che per la prima volta nella storia di pallacanestro questa nazionale Italiana ha più talento della nazionale Lituana. Vedremmo se hanno anche le palle.


Brussels again

After The Hague and Rotterdam, today I have been in Brussels. Tomorrow I am headed to Berlin and after that I might roll down to Prague, before returning to Florence for good.


2015: resolutions

Go ski touring. Keep playing tennis. Start beating Fabio, Giallu, and Martijn at tennis. Write three good chapters for the Ph.D. dissertation. Publish one paper I can be proud of. Teach in high schools. Enjoy Florence with Thomoose. Buy a typewriter and use it to write letters. Spend time with Camilla in London. Bring the Ladybirds to the Coppa Pavone. Keep reading The Economist. Read all of the seven 1000-page classics of the literature books I bough last month -just kidding. But seriously: read at least three of them. Take the Dolomiti del Brenta Tour with Manuel, Mindo, Dani, Giallu and sleep under a sky full of stairs. Visit Prague, Beirut, and Jerusalem. Work and volunteer in Israel. Volunteer abroad with Legambiente, anyway. Run half a marathon in less than 1h45′. Spend my fifth new year’s eve with the Canadians. Keep writing. Also on the blog.

Be afraid, be very afraid

I have been sharing articles about Russian foreign policy with an anonymous friend from Lithuania over the last few weeks. Yesterday my contact, whom we shall refer to as il Biscione Lituano, wrote me a few conclusive lines (he writes in very good Italian). It’s worth thinking about it:

Quello che scrive il Financial Times in parte é vero, pero’ il nazionalismo russo stava riemergendo dal 2000. E’ parte della strategia di Putin (Cecenia, Georgia, Ucraina). Quello che non capite in Europa é che in Est Europa non stiamo vivendo in un mondo della pace perpetua di Kant. E non capite quanto la Russia é una stato fallito e non capite quanto é disposto a fare Putin per mantere controllo. Leggiti bene questo.

I couldn’t find a witty comment in answer to this: the reference to Kant’s Perpetual Peace kind of shut me off. If you have an idea, let me know.

Update, 26/09. Cult of personality, ban on foreign media and movies: plenty of stuff to be wary about from the first session of the Russian Duma back to work after the Summer break.

Can happiness be haggis, neeps, and tatties?

My ride took a bit longer than expected. What was initially supposed to be a short stroll with the bike away from my laptop turned into a two-month journey across four countries and very different feelings. I have, in fact, been thinking a lot about myself, for reasons both professional and personal—but then who hasn’t? It is just that there are people who tend to think about themselves it more than anybody else: generally, it is either those who have a lot of spare time, or those who tend to be egocentric. I am a bit of both.

Matter of fact, I am about to speak about myself and stuff I have done – once again.

First I have ridden my bike. Quite remarkably, I rode with my dad the whole way between Trento and Tuscany. Although we did not make it to Florence because of sheer lack of time, it was a good ride. We had lot of water, huge meals, and approximately 400 km down the way. My dad is still stronger than I am when it comes to long-distance ride, which is not surprising as he does not waste too much energy thinking about himself.

Bike Ride
I have also written. My articles have been published on Unimondo: some of them in Italian (Università, il dilemma dei finanziamenti privati; Mondiali in Brasile, l’importante è partecipare;Regno Unito: una lunga serie di sfortunati eventi; Mondiali in Brasile: dove è la festa?), some others in English (How Eurosceptic is the new European Parliament?; A new deal between the EU and Turkey on immigration rules). But I have gone international too: Iris, Jasper and all the other Orange fella will be proud as my articles have been translated in Dutch (Voor het eerst vuurwerk in Europees Parlement; EU en Turkije sluiten nieuwe overeenkomst over immigratieafspraken).

I have been to the Balkans. First I went to Serbia for a volunteering program. After last year’s experience in Slovakia this year I landed in a town only 33km away from Belgrande. Lying between the rivers Sava and Kolubara, Obrenovac has been badly hit by the floods of the last Spring. I spent two weeks working with a group of international volunteers in the houses that had been damaged by the water and the mud. I then traveled south to Sarajevo, for an immersive three-day in one of Europe’s most inspiring places on the occasion of its international Film Festival. Much more should be said about this experience, but I won’t – not here, anyway.

I have hiked, keeping up with the good tradition started with Manuel and Mindo. This year, after the 2012 and 2013 editions, we managed to put together the whole crew, adding Dani and Giallu, and sleeping in a comfortable refugee, Dolomiti del Brenta. In spite of what Jonas thought before we left, we never got lost, as the pictures of us looking desperately hopeless in the fog can confirm.

Finally, I have read some books. While I am still trying to nail down War and Peace, I have been disappointed by Canada entertained by New Europe, and intrigued by the Consolations of the Forest. The latter is probably one of the richest, deepest, and most honest books I have ever read. Those of you who are into nature, philosophy, and vodka should probably go for it.

And that’s about it. I am in Edinburgh now and will be here for a month experiencing the joy of the local cuisine, the excitement of the upcoming referendum, and the company of some old and new friends. I am planning to make a better use of the blog than the recent past. But if the days keep being as beautiful as today it won’t be easy to keep up.

Questa foto non l’ho fatta con il mio telefonino. Non l’ho fatta oggi. Non l’ho fatta io. Ma rende l’idea.

So here we are

I am sitting in the airport in Pisa and waiting for my flight to Brussels. I realize only now that I am in the exact same place as I was six months ago when I flew here from Brussels for my interview.

I am grateful, and I mean it truly, for being as happy, or even happier than I was back then. I have the rare fortune to do exacty what I like to do. But even more than that, I feel blessed for having met so many incredibile people along the way. In Belgium, Slovakia, and then here in Florence I got to know some extraordinary persons. Some are now among my dearest friends; others will soon be. I couldn’t ask anything more than this. The sun sets down and once again I take off.

Tea for the Tillerman

In less than four months of flat sharing, Mindo converted me to the art of having tea together at least twice every day.

Screen shot 2013-07-17 at 3.48.08 PM

Now that I am back in Italy and Mindo moved to a new flat in Porte de Hal I started digging a bit into Tuareg culture. Not much, really, but enough to find out that you should never just drink a tea: it is so much better to have a tea. There are three conditions to have a tea: time, fire, friends. Additionally, it is important to drink always three cups: the first bitter as life, the second sweet as love, the third suave as death. But, as I wrote at the beginning of the post, we were drinking just two cups a day. Also, we did not have a fire and we barely had time. It was still good.



Ana andata via. Sto faccendo le valigie. Nostro B n B chiuso.