Boulevard Of Broken Dreams

17 04 2014

Subtitle: How can two letters, E and X, add so much weight to a word?

I have just discovered how “ex-girlfriend” is a tough word since I have been using it more and more often in the past few weeks. As expected ** broke up with me and I did not fight her decision because I do think it is the best for her.

Age differences but not only stand behind it. And the fact I do care a lot about her, stop me from fighting against her decision. That does not mean I do not care or I do not feel hurt by this new change. She was the right person for a long time, exactly what I wanted.

On the other hand she defined the break up as a habit to quit: probably she had left interest in us long time ago and she had just taken her time to make up her mind and prepare properly for the “aftermath”. Nothing against her! I am ok for her not suffering, probably even being fast ready for another step of her life.. as she said fast enough: 向前走,莫回头 – move forward, don’t turn back! She has always been the one more practical in the couple, and I always wanted to learn more from her.. this is the time!

My mind though is still struggling when I am asked about my trips and my experience in China and I tell stories including my girlfriend… wait, no, my EX-girlfriend! The “problem” is that the main part of my experience in China has been shared with her, and it has been special thanks to her, more complete, more Chinese, as I always wanted.

Even if for someone maybe I failed during that period, returning to Europe after only 3.5 years, I value a lot that time and I miss Asia a lot. But thinking about China is almost impossible without thinking about her. And I do not want to stop thinking about Asia! The dream is not over, even if I have been there and come back to Europe!


It might even be possible in the future we will be friends again. Time will tell. Even if in my personal break up history I haven’t managed to keep much contacts with exes. But maybe with her it will be possible, since the relationship was based on quite a few things in common, as we had understood during long summer walks.

For the time being anyway I certainly do not want to know who is her next important person that will make this European experience as special as she deserves it. I am not so “holy”.. As I know myself, I have to grow stronger, and not looking in her direction any more.. I also have to 向前走,莫回头!!

 I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don’t know where it goes
But It’s home to me and I walk alone

My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me
my shallow hearts the only thing that’s beating
sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
til then i walk alone

Read between the lines
What’s fucked up and everything’s all right
Check my vital signs to know I’m still alive
And I walk alone

Waiting outside

15 04 2014

As a couple of times before I forgot my keys hanging at the door and my landlady, who lives a floor below mine, collected them.

Unfortunately she forgot about me: she said she was going out max half a hour at 7pm so I worked overtime. Got here at 8pm…. And she will come back at 9pm…. I see I’ll be defrost at 10pm, hopefully!!

The weather is fine though (just coldish), I got food and a good book… I’ll freeze not too unhappily…




Summer time

2 04 2014

Four days into summer time and the first two, getting up early in the morning I felt so weird because of the darkness that just few days before had disappeared. But this morning I appreciated how fast the days are agin growing lighter…


With about 45 minutes by bus in the morning seeing the light sky and especially feeling this wonderful warmth makes easier to go to job.

It is a strangely warm year according to all the locals and seeing this spring looking more and more like an early summer helps in enjoying this new life… how long it will be….

Utrecht, Netherlands

9 02 2014

It has been now a little more than three months since I have moved to the Netherlands for my new work here. In this period I also had a one week training trip, with my new colleagues, to Seattle, at the company headquarters. A lot of first times in little… time. I have not been very good at updating lately but still I got no plans to abandon this little personal blog.

Plans is a big word for me though! Lately, the “plans” did not work out exactly as.. planned!!

As for last September I moved back to Europe. I will write more about this in the future, but among the different reasons that people might try to guess the only thing sure is that I did not move back because I did not like China!!! As a matter of fact I still miss extremely much my life style in China and the friends over there (Hong Kong and Taiwan included).

This return to Europe has not been easy. As I have been fast in enjoying and getting use to the life in China I had expected that getting myself re-acquainted to the European life style would have been easy. I was wrong. More than 5 months back and I still do not feel “home” for several aspects. Without going too much in details now, I admit I did not expect the Netherlands to be so expensive. After many years in Norway, basically 80% of my working life there, you get the idea that the rest of Europe is much less expensive than Scandinavia. Then, China of course gave me a completely new dimension about life and costs. I can’t say I was too much used about Chinese life, but, before moving to Utrecht, I had asked my friends in Italy about their typical expenses in terms of house rent and everyday stuff, people living in medium large cities.. but Utrecht turned out to be different, to be as expensive as, in comparison, large Italian cities. It is the first time that the rent of the tiny place where I live takes an extremely high part off my salary, and translating in RMB the rest I make more or less the same amount of money I was making in China!

I expect that when I know better the city I will manage to find the cheaper spots for both shopping and out life. Unfortunately lately I do not have much motivation to go out and explore. I am just interested in getting good at the new job and learn more about the medical industry my work relates to. And see what kind of doors this new experience will open for me.

On the other hand, being back let me meeting again lots of Aikido friends and Aikido instructors I really missed when in China. As people that know me can imagine, Aikido was of course among the reasons that favourite a return to Europe. Here in Utrecht I have joined a club where I feel my Aikido fits the best (after trying for another one first). The style (of both clubs where I have been trying actually) is the one defined by Ikeda Masatomi sensei, 池田昌富, an extremely structured Aikido with a lot of variations of techniques. I cannot say it is anywhere close to any of my teachers’ styles, but in the club I joined now there is more work on the contact and not an obsessive attack by uke resulting in a struggle where tori had basically no way out except.. kicking his/her partner in the nuts! And the people here has at least tried to meet other teachers in their Aikido life, outside from their own style. It is so easy to say to have an open mind, much more difficult to have it!

At least, when at best, now I can have again 3 session of practice in the weekdays and a better feeling of fitting in a “foreign” style. And then travel somewhere in the weekend ;-) A good Aikido friend told me about Yasuno sensei‘s words:

…in any case never give up your practice; in case you should not enjoy the keiko because you can’t train techniques as you like, nobody will never prevent you to train your ukemi like you want

Now it is Sunday, one of those few I am spending in Utrecht (no Aikido and no trip to Germany to visit 潘蕾) and finding the time to see a little around, check out some shops (open on Sundays is good, because they usually close before I get back from work!), have a walk in the centre and some time to tidy my place, before a few weekends of travelling!

So, a delayed happy new year and good luck to all of us for 2014!

Resolutions, predictions and 2013 wrap up will come later! With more words from my little world! :-)


a cloudy afternoon

Best wishes for 2014!

31 12 2013

Stepping in the new year, have a look to the past.. different forms, different ways, different memories, some good, some bad…

Some amazing:

2014 is the year of the horse for the Chinese calendar.. and for this I leave you with some more recent video..

At this time I will be in amsterdam with a few friends and thinking how happy I will be when also the old friends will have time to visit me in this new step of my life.. long or short it will be!

Hugs & wishes for a great 2014!!

Officially in the Netherlands!

10 11 2013

Even if I haven’t officially started to work here, now after a little more than one week I have done all the formal registrations steps as a foreigner moving to the Netherlands. I still lack a couple of documents for the Italian AIRE (Italians living abroad registration) but the most is done.

After getting at once a place to live and therefore being able to register a permanent address at the town hall and for the social security number, I also got something called EU-sticker that I guessed to be related to the taxation, especially when I saw this below, a few meters from the building entrance :) :


But it is actually from IND: the Immigration and Naturalisation Service an it’s a registration for EU citizens living in the Netherlands.

The official stuff was followed by opening a bank account and the more vital task of visiting IKEA. Two trips there, where I got a little bit of everything:



The second trip carrying the clothes drier and a carpet beside a full IKEA bag and filled backpack happened under the typical evening rain. It included some swearing!!

After these days then Sunday I will be off to Seattle, USA, together with other 3 newly hired people for one week of super intense training! That’s gonna be tough!

Internet cafe? Impossible!

1 11 2013

After 2 days I can consider lucky at my arrival in the Netherlands, finding in less than 48 hours an acceptable accommodation in a nice area at an almost reasonable price, for this expensive city, today all went back to normality! Everything that could go wrong did it until late evening..

Today after signing the house contact I was supposed to pay deposit and first rent but this became an odyssey!

A language misunderstanding fooled me first let me thinking I could perform a straightforward post office payment for that. But what the landlady meant in Dutch was a bank giro payment, possible of course only when one got a Dutch bank. Could it be that easy? Impossible.

So since I got no laptop I had already searched in Italy where to find Internet cafe in Utrecht. I got 3 addresses and one was suggested by a future colleague:

• the latter one was in a large building in the center long time closed for renovation;

• the first of my google addresses was a large and probably famous coffee and cultural meeting place that also advertised to be a hotspot… For society or Internet I don’t know, but it wasn’t an Internet cafe!!

• the second of my addresses was indeed an Internet cafe… Of some sort!! I was the only western person inside in what could have been a Turkish meeting place with 5 old computer without Java, a thick cloud of smoke, one broken flipper dating back to the ’80s, a sort of juke box, 10-15 old wooden tables, a little bar and a separate room where I could not see clearly inside but I think they were playing cards. The only modern thing inside was a cigarette distributor. I could not open my bank (better probably) but I got a very good Turkish coffee!!


• the last google address brought me to some sort of building where different cultural groups had offices and I have no idea about the connection with the words “Internet cafe”.

All of this done walking because it is just easier than biking when you have to stop to check the map every 5 minutes and here the bike traffic is far more active than the car one!

Trusting google maps? Again impossible.

Desperate (no payment no apartment keys, more nights in expensive hotel) I begged the guy working in the hotel to use his laptop. He said ok and finally I managed to get the payment through… but of course the bank date for the transfer is Monday!!!

I miss China (and Japan) so much: Europe should learn how an Internet cafe should look like and should offer!!!

China third world?? Impossible! Europe, you’re still far in something!!

FUNNY THING OF THE DAY – While I was finishing up with the pc in the hotel reception I heard a couple of Italians asking the hotel guy where they could find a coffee shop of Dutch type, since it was their first visit to the Netherlands ;)


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