What Next?


It’s been a seriously long time since I posted on my blog. I’ve been missing it, but as other bloggers will know, once you lose the ‘rhythm’ with blogging, it falls out of your routine and it gets harder and harder to get back to it. Of course, the real reason why I didn’t post was that I was finishing my Master in Laws. Finally, after many sleepless nights writing my thesis, last friday I have graduated and now I have another qualification to add to my CV and – hopefully – a better chance to achieve my career goals.

Unfortunately, I am really not the kind of person capable to sitting back and enjoying my latest achievements. I am already busy and anxious – as well as excited, of course – about my next move. Getting ready to move back to the UK is a pretty daunting task as I need to find a flat and reconnect with my friends in London. It’s hard to leave home after having recreated a cicle of friends, being used to being close to my family and getting reaccustomed to the Italian lifestyle. This time, going to London, will be different as I am surely less idealistic about what I can find over there, but at the same time I feel prepared about what to expect. I suppose I am becoming more realistic. Does this mean I am getting old?! 😉

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever be able to settle anywhere. I think I am made to be constantly on the move. I am too curious (impatient?!) about things around me to settle anywhere and every time I move it is a new  – scary – challenge. Is it so hard to find a place where you find all you wish? I believe that travelling is rather a process of self-discovery. We move to find new answers, only to discover we come back with more questions and doubts. So, right now my question is: what next?

No Need To Be Serious


Even on a short work / study trip to Den Haag (The Hague) – generally associated with serious people, serious places and serious thoughts – you can find abundant occasions to smile.

While I was there, I found many things around the streets especially sculptures, which put a big smile on my face and made me laugh. Just perfect to get into the best positive mood while on my way towards a library or a tribunal!

In a street near Scheveningen, I saw a small house which had red gates oddly decorated with what looked like a ‘Winter Theme’ (yes, in June!): white owls, snowmen and other strange (fake) stuffed animals.

Now…what is t-h-a-t?? If you think this is odd, wait for the next picture. I was walking in the same area and, as I stopped checking my map, I felt eyes staring at me from a close-by window. As I turned to check who it was…this is what I saw:


Creepy, but funny! I think the shop-owner had a very good sense of humour, although I am not sure how well he was able to sell his products through this sales technique. But the best conclusion to my trip was this wise sign hanging in a chocolate shop in Brussels:

Have fun – wherever you are – and keep on smiling! 🙂

What I’ve Learnt from the Moot Court / Mock Trial


Ten days after the Moot Court, I can now sit back and think of what I’ve learnt from this experience.

1. I really enjoy legal advocacy.

I guess I knew it before, but the Moot Court has really made it clear to me that I love the thrill of legal speaking in public despite the amount of stress involved beforehand. The minutes before I had to stand before the judges, my heartbeat was truly amazing me. I felt like there was a horse race going on inside me! I guess this should lead me to conclude that I should not stress so much, however this is not really something I can entirely control. I am sure that with experience, this amount of stress will decrease. Yet, I strongly believe that the stress is partially what enhances the ability to put a lot of effort into legal advocacy and increases the chances of showing the court that you are really into the part.

2. Something unforeseen will always occur.

Despite being only a mock trial, it is nonetheless impossible to foresee exactly everything that will occur. This reflects well what happens in real trials, although surely they involve a way greater amount of unpredictable circumstances. Unforseen circumstances may play in favour or against you, you never know, but the trick is theoretically to always try your best to turn them into something positive for your case.

3. Competition rules.

At the end, legal advocacy whether it is for a real or a mock trial, cannot be simply described as a ‘game’. People turn extremely competitive and they will do just about anything necessary to prove they are better than you. In other words, the trial can turn on personal competition and establishing good relations between various parties would be extremely helpful (when possible). Everyone is – at different degrees – ruled by a desire to compete.

4. You experience the Moot Court through the lenses of your role.

Depending on what role you’re covering in the Moot Court / Mock Trial, you will experience it in a totally different way to your colleagues in different roles. In my case, I was Legal Representative of Victims and this meant being something in between the Prosecution and the Defence. In a way, I was supporting the Prosecution, however my role had a completely different focus. On another day, I acted as witness for another Moot Court and this gave me an entirely different perspective yet again. As a witness (even if not a real one), you feel like you’re under the spotlight while being examined by all parties and by the judges. Moreover, it is hard to realise if your answers to questions are helpful to one side or another (unless, of course, you know the legal case). I would recommend anyone pursuing the career of lawyer to attempt taking on the role of witness during mock trials, because you will really benefit from a useful and insightful experience.

4. The end of the Moot Court is a big relief.

No matter how much I enjoyed the Moot Court experience, I can’t deny that the end of it meant coming back to life! Yet I can’t wait to do it all over again and I am sure there is still a great deal to learn in the profession, which is a never-ending learning process.

Pre-Moot Court Thoughts


So, tomorrow is the Big Day: for those of you who have trained as lawyers or are lawyers, you know perfectly well what a Moot Court is. Two simple words that mean a whole lot to lawyers and lawyers-to-be.

It is that moment that exciting moment upon which you’ve gradually built on your expectations, whether reasonable or unreasonable. It is that day when you will finally put into practice your oral skills and ability to convey your knowledge of the law and your ability to argue before a Court. Pardon me, before “this Honourable Court”!

It is the day when you’re confronted with competitive yet often aggressive or intimidating teams, who each want to shine and prove their abilities. I feel so tense yet I am also so excited. Overall, I am sure it’s going to be really fun. Sometimes I feel like I need a reality check and step back into the world to put into perspective the tensions accumulated from the preparation for the Moot Court. Afterall, it is a competion, meaning it’s only a game.

During tomorrow’s Moot Court, I’ll be a Legal Representative of Victims in an International Criminal Court Trial on war crimes (allegedly) committed in Afghanistan. I’m really excited about my role because it allows to present to the Judges a different perspective on the case to that offered by the Prosecution and Defence. It focuses on people and on their importance. It serves as a reminder to everyone that, ultimately, no matter how much the law is discussed in the Courtroom, the case still relates to real life: real people, real injuries and real suffering. On Friday, instead, I will be acting as a witness for the Defence during a different trial on similar facts (for another Moot Court team).

Looking forward to writing about this week’s experience after it’s all over and I will be able to breathe a sigh of relief ! 🙂

Reactions to Bin Laden’s death on Yom Ha Shoah


Today is Yom HaShoah (יום השואה) the Holocaust Remembrance Day, or, as many prefer to call it, the Shoah Remembrance Day (to see why you should call it Shoah and not Holocaust, read here). In Israel, sirens sound for two minutes all over the country and everyone ceases their activities no matter what they are doing, where and why in order to pay tribute to the memory of the 6 million Jews and 5 million other victims killed during the Shoah.

Here are some pictures of Yad Vashem Museum in Jerusalem, which I took in August 2010. The pictures are all in black and white, because photographs cannot convey the emotions experienced during the visit to Yad Vashem: the total absence of colours is an attempt to crystallize this moment of mourning and recollection.

The triangle is the shape of the building hosting Yad Vashem. This picture shows the part visible externally, while the rest of the building continues below ground level. The triangle represents half of the Star of David (Maghen David) as a sign of mourning for the death of millions of Jews. While 6 million of Jews died during the Shoah, the names of only 3 millions of them have been identified to date and are listed inside Yad Vashem.

Below, some pictures of people’s reactions after visiting Yad Vashem. A feeling that, from my own experience, I can describe as a painful feeling of suffocation both caused by the thoughts about the number of victims and the atrocities they suffered, and, at the same time, the terribly dry heat that seems to be like a physical way to remind us about the weight and importance of that place.

On this year’s Yom Ha Shoah, the killing of Osama Bin Laden has been announced by the U.S. President Obama. Some part of the world (the U.S. in particular) is rejoicing, while others (to mention one example, Hamas) are mourning his death.

I believe both reactions to be wrong and non-sensical. No one should ever celebrate anyone’s death, even when it is the enemy’s death (whatever “enemy” might mean, I will not discuss this issue here): it would mean putting oneself on the same play-field as the “enemy” one is claiming to have fought.

At the same time, rejoicing of Bin Laden’s death seems to be both naive and counter-provocative: does anyone seriously believe this to be the end of the international threat of terrorism? I wish it were, but I very strongly doubt so. Rejoicing of his death could even bear serious consequences to security which should be carefully weighed out by people standing in the streets…and here I come to comment the second and opposite reaction to Bin Laden’s death: mourning.

Isn’t it ironic that, on Yom Ha Shoah, Hamas and Iran are mourning Bin Laden’s death declaring he was the only “Arab holy warrior” and condemning “Zionist terror”? This is only to prove that we must continue being aware of the dangers to international security and we mustn’t put our guards down now believing “everything is over”.

Perhaps, one should consider more seriously some of the more moderate views coming from Egypt, where Issam al-Aryan of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood responded to Bin Laden’s death by stating that “it’s time the world understood that there is no connection between violence and Islam” and now calling on the U.S. to withdraw from Afghanistan and Iraq.

As for myself, I am still slightly bewildered by the news of Bin Laden’s death and I don’t really feel like this event equips me with any additional information allowing me to comment on the world’s future of war or peace. Maybe this is because, in fact, absolutely nothing will change after Bin Laden’s death.

How do you feel about the news of Bin Laden’s death?

Do you think this news has overshadowed the importance of Yom Ha Shoah?

Hidden Giants


As I flew to Madrid for a short holiday, I couldn’t resist taking some pictures of the stunning views outside the airplane. The clouds were beautifully shaped, creating the most interesting shadows over the earth’s surface…just as described in my poem ‘Clouds’.

The fields in Spain created such strange patterns and combination of colours that some of them appeared to me like strange creatures, like hidden giants only visible from the skies.

More posts to come about Madrid…stay tuned!!!

What Happened to Running?


Photograph I took at the Botanic Gardens in Copenhagen.

I never felt I had to explain my personal life on my blog, however I posted some time ago about my scary new year resolution of starting to run. Well, turns out the plan didn’t last for too long. I blogged about my progress only once.

Then what happened??
I reached Week 3 of the Couch to 5K Programme. It was really rewarding, I liked it! I also went running a few times at the small park near my home, for the first time and it was amazing! I made a point of continuing regularly.
I must admit, I was not enjoying the music of the NHS Programme. What I did to solve this is that I listened to the core training session once a week (instead of three times) and then I would listen to my own music trying to follow the same pattern of pauses, breaks, duration, speed. Much better, for me!

Anyway…the truth is, for once, I didn’t give up due to laziness. At first, I had no time because I started a full-time Master which feels like it’s taking up 24 hours a day 7 days a week. It is really draining me. I find myself in lectures all day long, and then studying until late at night very often. I guess because of tiredness or season change or low immune defences …I don’t really know, I just entered into a spiral of flu, cold, and now a bad ear infection with high fever: not the best condition to run! Now, as I am almost over a long month of being unwell, I am hoping to get back to being healthy again by the end of the week and I’m really looking forward to resuming my running programme which was making me feel so fit and happy!

Happy Spring to everyone! Here some trees are absolutely gorgeous! 🙂

I know a few of my readers have started the Couch to 5K Programme after having read my posts on running.

How is it going? What do you think of it? Please comment below: I’d love to hear all about it!