Back from Istanbul (and back to blogging)


After Istanbul, like after all of my travelling, I’ve come back with a better perpective on life and on London. As much as I love this city, it is even more obvious that, in London, there is a coldness and a distance between people.

I am writing this as I am sitting on the Bakerloo line to meet a friend in Little Venice. People do not look at each other, but not just on the tube…everywhere. On the street, at work, in the pub… The main question that comes to mind is ‘why’? …Do people feel that looking at someone else might be perceived as rude or invasive (the most common explanation my London friends have given to me when I expressed my thoughts on this issue)? That would be strange, though, considering it’s such a multi cultural city. Could it be that people feel scared of what they might see if they look up? Or do they simply not feel the need to do so?

If that is so, then how is it possible? Curiosity is intrinsec to human nature, just like interaction with fellow human beings. Some cultures, as it seemed to be the case in Turkey and in Italy (my home country), take it at times to the opposite extreme, and people are often showing their ‘curiosity’ so much to become invasive and irritating.

Surely a balanced compromise must be possible. Interest in other people is not only legitimate but necessary and healthy! It keeps us connected to the world around us and it makes us a part of it. A friend was recently commenting on how she’d never notice a good looking man whilst on her way to work, as her focus is entirely on the day and tasks ahead. She said that to explain why she thinks people in London appear ‘distant’ to me.

There are surely times when I’m oblivious to others if I’m lost in my own thoughts. But I don’t think I am generally capable of involuntarily blanking out people around me. In fact, when I’m thinking about something, I project my thoughts on the people around me and imagine what they would do, what they might think. It sort of helps me to get a perspective on things. I like feeling aware of my surroundings and this includes wondering where the lady sitting next to me, who’s wearing a thick black fur coat, might be going to ..or what the slim blond girl sitting opposite to me might be reading whilst tapping her new Converse shoes.

Yet when I look up at her purposefully, we never meet eyes. Wait! Something funny has just happened: just as I was writing this last comment, I looked up quickly and – yes! – the blond girl was looking at me and smiling! Maybe she thought I was weird, or maybe she thought that it was nice for another person on the tube to notice her existance and show interest in what she was doing.

My purpose was to challenge her sense of curiosity. Surely, when two strangers meet eyes, it means that some healthy curiosity for other people must still be there!

Below is a small selection of photos from Istanbul (a beautiful city). Enjoy & I promise my next blog post won’t be in six months!

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Sultanahmet Parki

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Sultanahmet Parki, view over the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii)

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Monkeys in a cage on a pavement in Gedikpasa Caddesi (Sultanahmet District)

ImageSunset from Topkapi Palace

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Topkapi Palace, inside the Hammam

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The Koran, Book Bazaar (Bazaar District)

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A wall in Yerebatan Kaddesi

O.O.S. (Odd Online Searches)


As I find funnier and funnier terms that every day lead people to find my blog from search engines, I thought I’d share the oddest and most frequent ones, inspired by a recent blog post on Justice in Conflict. I’ve just made up the acronym O.O.S. to refer to people’s Odd Online Searches. These tend to show that we now use search engines like a source of answers to any kinds of questions going through our minds …a sort of modern Bible (although most of the times, we do not find answers that make any sense to us or that help us at all!). I doubt many of us realise that blog  owners are able to trace these search terms (although we don’t know who entered these search terms!) – surely, it was a surprise to me when I first noticed trends in online searches leading people to my blog!

The most frequently searched terms

1. i don’t care what the people may say – this search term features in many forms! It makes me wonder whether people are actually looking for the lyrics of Eliza Doolittle’s song (as in my post featuring those terms) or whether they actually search advice or  thoughts on caring about what people say?! Matter of fact is, that due to the popularity of this online search, this blog post has oddly become the most visited of my entire website!

2. chagall  –  which would have led visitors to view this post on Chagall.

3. bin laden – linking to the post on Bin Laden’s death.

Now…read these odd terms / combination of terms entered by people:

– was pack up your troubles in your old kit bag in the film my fair lady? (this makes me seriously laugh: the search terms show that clearly Eliza Doolittle’s name as an artist, inspired by the character played by Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady has confused a great number of people!!! In fact, many people have searched for the song lyrics in combination with the name ‘Audrey Hepburn’!)

– proper english lady (not sure if this visitor was happy with what they found on my blog!)

– coffee shop queue graph ( I surely have no queue graphs relating to coffee shops on my blog! Looks like this visitor was engaged in deep sociological research…)

– torino brothel (… now, just because my hometown is Torino and I spoke about Italy’s demonstrations against Berlusconi’s brothels…it does not mean I am an authority on brothels in Torino. Someone looking for “something to do” while in Torino must have been disappointed in finding my blog!)

– bangunan segitiga (I have NO IDEA what that means, hopefully nothing inappropriate or offensive…and how that relates to my blog…can anyone help??)

– red protective gloves (now this search has to be one of my favourites! Doubt the visitor was expecting to find my Kandinsky-inspired glass painting!)

– metaphysical reaction death of bin laden (someone was into deep thinking …)

– kandinsky tattoo (wow! Someone looked at my glass paintings inspired by Kandinsky to find inspiration for a tattoo!)

– more clouds covering the earth study (is this a new meteorological phenomenon I was not aware of? Surely my post about beautiful clouds from the airplane does not help to prove such theory!)

– i was too busy killing osama bin laden (surely you were not THAT busy if you had time to look it up online! This must be the most curious / odd search of all: wonder if I should report this one?! …It might contribute to trace those responsible for Bin Laden’s death! Or maybe I should keep it top secret…)

My First Guest Post!


Today, my first guest post on another blog has been published!

Unfortunately, I only had the time to write the article in Italian but I will post a translation here as soon as possible, so keep your eyes on this space. The topic is how Italians behave when they’re travelling (“Identikit di un turista italiano”).

Here’s the link:

http://parolesemplici.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/identikit-di-un-turista-italiano/

Enjoy!

UPDATE: English Translation of the article now available at https://littleexplorer.wordpress.com/2012/01/14/identikit-of-an-italian-tourist/

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?

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!

A Year Starting with Fireworks!


Just over a week ago, I posted about A Scary New Resolution… to start running!

It is time for an update and I’m really happy because things are going really well!

I have completed Week 1 of the NHS Couch to 5K programme after three runs in a week. The suprising thing is that I actually found the training relatively easy and felt like I could have done more. But I decided to stick with the plan and increase the amount of running gradually as the programme envisages, to avoid hurting myself (most important things!) or getting disappointed with my fitness level too soon.

I must confess that on the third day of running, I was fed up of listening to the same podcast and decided to skip to the second week’s podcast. After only five minutes, I realised it was something rather stupid: at least for one week I had to keep to the plan! Plus it would not be healthy to skip a training and go on to the next level without being prepared for it, right? So I went back to the first podcast!

The new trainers are good for running, although I’m still getting used to them. I have also received the arm band for my MP3 that I bought online, but I have yet to try it out.

Another great news is that in the last ten days I have lost 2.5 kg! I am making a big effort to eat more carefully and to be more active, but I am still surprised by how much weight I have lost! I’m not going to rejoice until I have lost a bit more and reached a stable weight.

This year has started well also in another respect: I have made a point about relaxing myself and having fun more often! Yesterday I had a 30 minutes-long hot bath and that was really bliss! I will do it more often!

By the way, the blog has almost reached 2000 visits since opening in August 2010!!! Thank you!!! When I started I wrote My First Blog Ever and I remember how excited I was about this new goal…and I have really enjoyed it so far so I hope to improve and expand my blog over time. I leave you with a song that really ignites me!

Katy Perry – Firework

LYRICS

Do you ever feel like a plastic bag,
Drifting through the wind
Wanting to start again?
Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin
Like a house of cards,
One blow from caving in?

Do you ever feel already buried deep?
Six feet under screams but no one seems to hear a thing
Do you know that there’s still a chance for you
‘Cause there’s a spark in you

You just gotta ignite, the light, and let it shine
Just own the night like the fourth of July

‘Cause baby you’re a firework
Come on, show ’em what you’re worth
Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh”
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby, you’re a firework
Come on, let your colors burst
Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh”
You’re gonna leave ’em falling down-own-own

You don’t have to feel like a waste of space
You’re original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow

Maybe your reason why all the doors are closed
So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road
Like a lightning bolt, your heart will blow
And when it’s time, you’ll know

You just gotta ignite, the light, and let it shine
Just own the night like the 4th of July

‘Cause baby you’re a firework
Come on, show ’em what you’re worth
Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh”
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby, you’re a firework
Come on, let your colors burst
Make ’em go “Oh, Oh, Oh”
You’re gonna leave ’em falling down-own-own

Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon
It’s always been inside of you, you, you
And now it’s time to let it through-ough-ough

‘Cause baby you’re a firework
Come on, show ’em what you’re worth
Make ’em go “Oh, Oh, Oh”
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby, you’re a firework
Come on, let your colors burst
Make ’em go “Oh, Oh, Oh”
You’re gonna leave ’em falling down-own-own

Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon
Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon

A Scary New Resolution


(Picture from NHS Couch to 5K webpage)

Today I will be writing about a very unusual topic of discussion for me: fitness.

Why unusual? First, because I don’t find it particularly interesting and, secondly, because I am not a great fan of sport. I’d much rather spend my time discussing, reading and thinking about current affairs, travelling or philosophy just to mention some example. I simply do not enjoy sports. I guess I could say I’m rather lazy!

In addition, I don’t want to turn into yet another one of those bloggers following the ‘crowd’ of fitness-obsessed bloggers. I really don’t intend to turn running into my main life aim nor do I intend to make myself feel bad for comparing my perhaps ridiculously easy goal with other people’s.  I am not interested in running marathons or competing, this is all just about myself and my own wellbeing.

So, why am I now blogging about fitness? For quite a while I have been wanting to lose some weight and become a bit fitter. I’m not aiming to radically change my lifestyle as my focus in life is not fitness. I really am not overweight at all, however I am aware of being unfit and of how much better I would feel with a couple of kg less.

I want to be more active. I don’t care exactly how this will happen, but my starting point is to write about this on my blog – just so that my resolution doesn’t die off by tomorrow! I will try to keep some sort of diary to make myself accountable of my weekly physical activity. For today, I have discovered a UK NHS plan for running up to 5 Kilometers (3.1 Miles) after 9 weeks. This is the web page: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/c25k/Pages/get-running-with-couch-to-5k.aspx. I have listened to parts of the NHS podcasts and decided I liked them, so I have downloaded them to my computer. They sound reasonable and progressive. I like the idea of having a sort of ‘personal trainer’ who guides you during your workout without having the hassle or the expense of a ‘real’ one.

My next step will be to sort out my shoes and MP3 player (I might buy an i Pod), and next week I’m planning to start this program. I am a bit (actually, very!) scared of giving up even before starting (I know myself well) and finding all possible excuses to avoid running – as I know how embarrassed I feel! I also know this will be a massive effort considering how busy my weeks are while working and studying both full time. But I also know this is a reasonable goal and that I would feel very proud of myself if I were able to achieve it!

Now it’s time to go to the gym for a workout before starting the program next week!

2010 Blogging in review


The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2010. That’s about 4 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 28 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 33 posts. There were 126 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 79mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was November 6th with 127 views. The most popular post that day was About.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, blog.rebeccabuckman.com, braskajenneaphotography.wordpress.com, WordPress Dashboard, and nishantmehrotra.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for i don’t care what the people may say, i don’t care what the people may say about me, little explorer blog, i dont care what the people may say, and i dont care what the people may say about me.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

About August 2010
12 comments

2

The Green Children December 2010
1 comment

3

“I don’t care what the people may say about me” October 2010
2 comments

4

Quotations August 2010
5 comments

5

Top 10 Best and Worst Sounding English Words December 2010
4 comments and 3 Likes on WordPress.com