Trondheim: farewell Raffa!

31 10 2009

Weekend in Trondheim and by coincidence, this is also the last weekend of Raffaele and Laila up here, in my apartment, before they move tomorrow to a completely new life in Brasil.

Many years Raffaele lived in my place up here. Soon after moving to Trondheim, Raffa spent a night on the sofa here, then he moved in and we have been house-mates until I moved to Oslo in 2004.. and from then before alone next with Laila he too a great care of this important place in Trondheim.

Now I see they have prepared almost all their boxes and stuff for moving and I feel the end of something.. I feel a bit sad.. both for me and the place! I have already contact with a possible good person moving in, but still how Raffa & Laila have been treating the place leaves only special and important memories to me.

As passage rite I bought quite a lot of the furniture they got during these years and they left me as presents more.. and I am quite happy that their “spirit” will remain in this place as well as a more concrete image of their life here.

From Monday, in Brasil, a complete new life will start for them, and in some way I envy them for being able to move quite fast to this new step of their life. I am still struggling between my goals (yes, no more talking about dreams, they are goals now!) and my loyalties. OK, for Raffa has been easier since it is his Norwegian company sending him there, while I am searching a complete new career in the East, since my company has no contacts there. The need to bring the project I started with this work in Stavanger to the proper end (first months in 2010) is rooted in me as the thought that this project is an important part of my professional career. Unfortunately every day in Stavanger is a pain, straight from my heart to my mind. A pain I can heal only moving, only when my dreams will become true. A balance between this pain and my professional loyalties is what I am seeking and struggling for. And still seeing my friend leaving, pushes me forward. A new phase stars for them. Soon a new phase will start for me as well. Not forgetting the past (OK, I want to forget the reason of the pain, and I need distance, since time is not helping), accepting the future.

Good luck Raffa! Good luck Laila!

I hope we will keep contact even if we are going to be half world and more apart.. and I hope they will not forget this place, my place in Trondheim! My place will not forget them!!! 😀

sky in trondheim


Back in business!

27 10 2009

In other words, back in Stavanger..

I landed yesterday night, after this wonderful trip to Taiwan and Shanghai. End of holidays, recovering from the jet lag (always hard for me going to the West, while I adapt very easy when traveling to the East..) and coming straight to work.. early!

But today I am going to have a good afternoon sauna, no practice and washing all my stuff (washed already the two Aikido keiko gi yesterday night!)! In this way I should manage to postpone the sleep until sometime in the evening.. 😀

This morning, on the way to work, I enjoyed the fresh Norwegian air, a beautiful cloudless sky and the colors of the autumn morning.. Once in the past, the feelings given to me by Norwegian sky and colors of nature had been enough to make me chose an uncertain contract in Norway over a certain one in England (summer 1999, Trondheim, PhD. scholarship.. did I regret after interrupt it? Maybe..).. Now I have new thoughts about my future and my time of moving from here. And I know that sky and colors will not keep me long in Stavanger and in Norway.. not anymore..

today's sunset

Le Creme Milano – ice cream paradise

24 10 2009

Best lunch break ever during an Aikido seminar: wonderful Italian ice cream here in Shanghai, few minutes from my hotel…

Hope to have time for a couple of more stops there, Le Creme Milano, in South Shanxi Road, 434…. 😉

Not only a great ice cream, but a very nice environment.. perfect for relaxing after yudansha session at Endo sensei seminar here in Shanghai!

Soon the afternoon session will start..

And there will be more Japanese to Chinese translations! After Finnish, German, Slovakian, Czech and French anew experience!!!

Good feelings on the mats, good energy and lots of sweat.. for me especially (I am wet already after wearing up the hakama!!)

After many many many seminars I have experienced again the feelings being thrown by sensei, and yesterday he surprised me throwing me with high fall from iriminage, for 5-6.. more.. times.. only break fall, no ushiro ukemi 🙂 cool!! But my break fall from iriminage still sucks!

Time to go and sweat a bit more!!!

Nightmare K8485

22 10 2009

(Attention: this post contains obscenities, strong language, lots of swearing and much pain!!! Especially for my brain!!!)

I went for one day trip for a special occasion to Hefei, 合肥, a not so big town (for Chinese standard) located 550 km West of Shanghai. The occasion required formal clothing, so I had prepared myself in the proper way.

I traveled there the night of Tuesday, choosing a soft sleeper cabin and it went very well. I was sharing a 4 people cabin with only another guy, very silent, very sleepy and very NOT snoring!
Also the guy from the train came in to wake me up a good half an hour before my destination (I had anyway set my alarm. you never know!).

I was in Hefei 6am in the morning, so I walked a bit around and I enjoyed seeing the morning exercising of several old people, involving for many Tai Chi Quan movements or different forms of dancing! So cool! So China!!!

The day passed more or less as expected, and then back at the station for the return trip.. the hellish train K8485.

First of all I noticed I was the only foreigner in the whole station.. and then when I got on the train, with my quite nice clothes and very very foreigner face, I have been looked at and made fun of for quite some time.. The train reminded me the long trips to south Italy by train, that I took not so often, but I still clearly remember: people everywhere.. with huge bundles of clothes or bags of luggage. I had reserved a seat but I sat in another place because the woman on my seat did not want to move.. Traveling seat less is the common and cheaper and moving for a foreigner? No way! But the change of seat was lucky: my neighbor ended up being probably the only other person on the train able to speak English!!!

This train is a sort of local and it was a garbage dump! I have actually heard before about Chinese trains, but you don’t believe it before you see it!!! So, people is used to throw everything on the floor, from empty packages to food waste.. to.. spitting! Charming.. So th guy in front of me was eating sugar cane and spitting the waste on the floor: ok, he actually had a plastic bag down there, but let’s say his aim was only a 50-50 true!
But that ok.. respect to a couple of other people continuously spitting on the floor: ok, they “pick up” or “clear up” the spit with the sole of the shoes.. but, yeah, you know, charming!!!

A couple of times during the trip a man with a big broom comes around and collect the waste, put in a garbage bag, leaking from the waste liquids (nuclear waste is probably safer!) and carry along the corridor.. main goal: do not get your shoes splashed! Charming, uhm?

My neighbor was nice enough to even translate some of the jokes that an especially insistent traveling worker was making on me, lǎo wài (foreigner), 老外, that cannot speak Chinese.. I could live with that, smile and wishing him hemorrhoids and pain in urination, but I admit that being treated as a fucking foreigner invading other people country and not even speaking the language is.. a teaching lesson.. just after 3 or 4 jokes, the asshole could go and get to fuck himself with a sugar cane..

Thank god he left after only 4 hours of pain.. because, as you can notice from the schedule of the damn train K8485 the trip required more than 8.5 hours..

All the charm you can have on this Chinese train began to be a bit annoying after the 5th hour.. My new friend, my neighbor, left in Suzhou, 苏州, 80 km from Shanghai: 80 km that took 2 f***ing hours!!!! How is that possible, you wonder? Me too, when I saw the train was on time in Suzhou and scheduled for 2 hours after in Shanghai and I had been told that the distance was little!

I tell you how: the bloody train K8485 is for the damned: right after Suzhou station it stopped for more than 1 hour to let all the other speed train pass, speed trains from both directions, with even 15-20 minutes interval between each other!!!! Amazing..charming.. bloody hell!!!

I start losing my mind after 30 minutes.. a fat chick seated back to back with me bouncing on her seat made it impossible to even sleep.. so my mind raced a multi language swearing contest with.. the air around me.. I won.. I think!

Only nice thing, a very cute girl in a nearby seat.. too thin? never too much.. and the body was very cute.. unfortunately not a word in English..

I reached the hotel in Shanghai dead tired, feet in pain and brain damaged.. more than before I mean!!!!

What an experience!! A new one for my lonely trips around the globe 😉

Good to know!!!

20 10 2009

First night out yesterday, in Shanghai, and I went to an area where I had already been: Xin Tian Di, 新天地. Very nice area, but also very foreigner.. In truth, it is difficult for me alone to find more Chinese places, even if I would prefer that..

Because foreigner means tourist, money to spend and idiots to play with.. and I am a big idiot (as I used to be often called sometime ago)!

So, in this pub, called Rendervous I had to take a picture of this notice: I have been there the time of a great white russian (heavy on the russian, less on the white, as it is supposed to be!) and 4 quite good looking girls asked me where I was from, told me I was handsome (!) and liked my cool outfit (!!!!).. all of this not coming in a conversation but usually as the second sentence after “where are you from?” 😀

Then I went to Paulaner, another pub where the escorts were even more clear (god, they were hot!!!) but there were also more normal girls, clearly looking for hooking up.. so it became very confusing.. confusing that when I finally saw someone I liked (escorts not included 😉 ) I ws not sure anymore if those two sweet girls were professional looking for idiots, looking for fun or just teasing.. I was teased!!!! 😀
And before becoming even a bigger idiot I left.. anyway, approach 2 beauties alone… out of my league.. (approach 1 gorgeous girl as any of those is probably out of my league as well.. but I enjoyed the show!!!).

Tonight practice and.. night train experience!
Different kind of night life!

Back in Shanghai

19 10 2009

First Shanghai pics.. even if should spend some time uploading the last pics from Kenting in South Taiwan: a new paradise in my list of special places to visit again..

Today I spent most of the time fixing the ticket for my day visit to Hefei, that has become a combination of a night ticket (soft bed) and a local train back (soft seat)..

Read about the accommodation on Chinese train!!!

Then, I was on the way back to the hotel, thinking how much weight I must have put on in Taiwan, and I’m going to pay for that in sweat and tears from tomorrow evening practice.. so deciding to skip lunch, just a few meters before the entrance of the subway.. what did I see? what destroyed all the hopes to reach the tiny diet-for-a-lunch target? A great kaiten-sushi cheap small restaurant..
In truth, I got time in Stavanger for diet 😉

There is always tomorrow for boring stuff 😛
And i got no chance anyway with the hot angels here, so I can blame my fat belly!!! 😉

Just arrived in Shanghai!

18 10 2009

(and for the first time I try to add a post by email.. because from China I cannot open my blog on WordPress 😦 )

The trip went very smooth and I was at the hotel, Hanting in French Concession, even earlier than my hopes.. Little time to check in, leave the luggage in the room and go to the small shop to get something fresh to drink..

Soon shower time.. just before that some email and MSN contacts to check.. and plan a bit the next days!

I already know I will practice in the local club on Tuesday and Thursday evening, then Friday to Sunday seminar with Endo sensei (only one session on Saturday, but probably the heat will do the work on me anyway!!)

Amazing nice flight with DragonAir: what a service!! Warm meal, in flight entertainment, great service, and on the Shanghai flight even Häagen-Dazs ice cream!!! Definitively a company worth to be tried when traveling inside Asia!

The big question for tonight is going out or not.. soon midnight, shower.. and.. I am not that tired, even if I have a full day plan for tomorrow.. mmhhh… in truth I am still recovering a bit after a GREAT night at the Armory.. got back home, Chris’ home in Tainan I mean, around 5ish, “bit” drunk 😉 got up at 9:30 to finish packing and left at 12:30… a full day today too! That’s a place I will remember for a long time!!! Especially as soon as I’m back in Stavanger..

Shower time and I count on my dad or some other “follower” to leave a comment to prove that the posting by email worked 😉