Mamma Mia! Italians everywhere!

Murcia is a city famous for its amazing student life and it brings together many international exchange students every year. You can get close to every culture and traditions with no need to travel to that country and especially, you will find so many Italians on your way. Every time I meet someone.. where are they from? Italy. Seems like in few years Spain will be conquered by them!

Coming to Spain was about experiencing the Spanish culture and way of life and it is not that I did not, but parallelly with that I also learned lots of things about Italy. That is why I am dedicating this post to Italy!

There are so many things about Italians that I find very funny, but so unique and original at the same time. And here I am sharing  some of my favorite ones!

The Italian language

When Italians have a normal talk, it sounds like one of those playlist you can find on youtube under the name ”songs for relaxation” and actually in the backgrounds there are always some annoying birds, but you keep listening to it because you like it. It is the same with the Italian language, it might sound annoying, but still it is kind of lovely… right? And that’s when they have a normal talk, but when they argue.. hm, I guess it’s the same, but maybe just in a faster motion!!

Anyways, it is an amazing language(personally, I like it so much) and it always sounds nice, even if they are swearing(and Italians swear way too much)! It is also considered as one of the easiest languages to learn and maybe that is why Italians find it difficult to speak another language. I’m joking. You are good at Spanish, at least =P

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Speaking English with an Italian accent

This is my favorite one! Italians do not pronounce the letter ”h”, so if they say ”I’m hungry” it sounds exactly the same as ”I’m angry” and then you wonder what is this person trying to say and you do not know what to do – to give them food or run before being punched! Also imagine an Italian saying ”my hair is so long”. What? Your air is long?

And, of course, not every Italian speaks like that…. only 95% =D

check this video > Italian in Malta

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Pizza and pasta

They love pizza and pasta, everyone knows that. Pizza without pineapple, pasta with tuna, with pesto, tomato sauce.. but when you are out of tomato sauce, do not put ketchup on your pasta! Just do not do it! It is a sin! Okey, if you want to make them angry(and I mean angry, not hungry =D) then go for it, but that is unacceptable for them! I still do not understand why. For me pasta and ketchup fit perfectly together! FOREVER!

 

 

Italian gestures

Does Italian sign language exist? Because if not, there is no need for it. They have enough gestures to help you communicate around. Even if you are just lazy and you do not want to speak, you can easily move your hand and tell someone to get out!

 

 

Grazie a tutti!

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The one when ”los murcianicos” get crazy

Bando de la huerta, bando de la huerta, bando de la huerta… everyone gets so excited about this day here! It is a spring party when people have fun in honour of Murcia’s fertile region and its agricultural traditions. They make huge parades which last so long(hats off to the people who walk on the parades. I would probably give up) and it is really beautiful actually. They are wearing traditional clothes which are very colorful. The traditional clothes of the men are easier to wear and most of the women prefer that. The clothes of the women are big dresses with many accessories on them, but for this hot weather they are not the most favorite thing someone wants to wear on.

In he background during the parade, there are traditional songs… or sometimes not. I do not know how traditional ”Will you still love me tomorrow?” is, but I must admit that I liked that part! And what is crazier is that they are throwing food to the people who are watching it! Ah, Murcia.

I liked it and I had the chance to not move from my home and watch it from my balcony, but to be honest I would never go outside and stand there for 3-4, though for ”los murcianicos”(i mean murcian people) this is something like a must, because they even pay for the chairs to sit there and watch! Macedonian people would never do that, that’s why I am shocked! We don’t want to give money for things like that or maybe it is because we don’t have them, HAHA! And then they say ”Oh, Spain is in a big financial crisis”. Oh, really? Where?

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Now this was like description of the first, let me call it face of the celebration, but there is another one too!

”We start to drink at 9 am on this day” – said my spanish friend. Every celebration here leads to partying, but this day was like TOO MUCH! It is beautiful when people are wearing those nice clothes and everything is so bright, all the parks full of people having fun, bars open with nice music and honestly, I had so much fun. But then you see the city full of trash and you hear the ambulance sirens going wee woo, wee woo around.. That’s not so nice.

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                     What’s next? Burning a fish. This is Murcia and it is crazy!

 

 

Trip to Almería

Before visiting Almería I did not know that so many movie scenes were shot there. I just knew about one of my favorite spanish tv series, but did you know about Game of Thrones, Doctor who and many more? That´s cool indeed. What is even cooler is the statue of John Lennon in the historical part of the city. He was there during the filming of How I Won the War in the 1966. At that time he was 26 years old and he was staying in a villa with a garden which was making him feel nostalgic about his childhood years when he was living near to a place called Strawberry field garden. This nostalgy inspired him and that is how The Beatles’ song ”Strawberry fields forever” was born.

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I am not John Lennon, so I did not stay in a villa, but I also had a blast while staying with local people. I used the famous(or not so) website called couchsurfing (i have more info about it here). I really like it because in this way you can get into the culture deeply and which is more important – you can meet so many awesome people. I went to Almería with a friend and until the last day we could not find a host, but finally a nice man accepted our request and we stayed at his house for 2 nights. He made us feel comfortable in his house and we were lucky because he knew so much information about the city, which of course I couldn´t not memorize it all, but still it was great to have a free tour guide. We were also lucky about being welcomed with a home made hummus he prepared. Oh, it was so yummi and we are big fans of hummus! After this perfect welcome, I knew we met a great person! He is working as tutor in maths, chemistry and physics and even though he was quite busy, he made time for us, showed us around, we had some nice talks, tapas and beers(of course). Tapas in Almería are better than Murcia(just saying). I say better because they are cheaper, bigger and tastier! That is one advantage of Almeria, plus it also has the sea. I am not a big fan of it, but it was amazing drinking beer and having that perfect view. DSC08315Now a very short touristic part… When you are about to go to Almeria and you ask uncle google about what to visit there, the first thing that pops up is Alcazaba. That is the so famous fortress in Almeria which was build by the Arabs. It is pretty nice and it has a nice view on the city and the sea. As I said above, Almeria is a favorite city to many filmmakers, so in some movies like Indiana Jones and the last crusade, Conan the Barbarian and The Sindone, you can see scenes shot in this fortress.

Going out in Macedonia vs. Spain

After a Saturday party I got inspired to write about how different is going out in my country(Macedonia) and Spain! Yey!

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Spanish people really love to be outside, eat outside and have some beers during the all day. How does a typical spanish ‘going out’ look like? Well, people go out really late, something like 22pm or at least for me it is late. In Macedonia we like going out earlier. Anyways, what they do first is going for tapas which means snacks/appetizer or as we call it meze(мезе). They make tapas with everything that comes in their mind. I always wonder how some food goes with another one, but honestly, it is tasty!

With the tapas you always(almost) order a beer. Yes, they really love beer! What is weird for me is that in the tapas bars they do not have music and people talk really loud! I mean they are not talking, but they are screaming.. Weird, I know. After having some tapas and beers, it is time for the real party. You go in a pub/bar, drink, then drink.. drink, drink… and you do  onlythat of course… and clubs here open at 4am. Yes.. so people go out until 8am or even more. That’s it. Spanish lifestyle.

While in Macedonia > people love rakija(ракија) & shopska salata(шопска салата). Rakija is a very strong alcohol which is not tasty at all, but we drink it, because… well, why not. We were told that it is healthy, so we love overdosing ourselves with it. It is made from the distillation of fermented fruit(usually plums).

Shopska salata is a salad of tomatoes, cucumber and white cheese which we like eating while drinking rakija. And they always go together. It is a rule! Another thing that we love is kebapi which is a grilled dish made of pork. Ah, I want it now!

Where do we go to eat all those things then? We have bars of course, but they are just for a coffee or some beers. We go in a place called kafana which I do not know how to translate in english. Hm. Actually it is not only in Macedonia, but also in other Balkan countries as Bulgaria and Serbia. But yeah, it is a restaurant but it is not a normal restaurant, you know, there is live music which is traditional one and then you go there to drink, eat and have fun with your friends. When people get drunk they dance and it is okey if you want to dance on the chair or on the table. It is totally fine. That is how we do it and gosh I feel so nostalgic now. So yes, before going to clubs, we go to kafana and then around 1am the clubs are open, so who survived the kafana and the rakija can continue the party until the morning and who didn’t… well, they also continue it somehow!

I am not sure if I prefer Macedonian lifestyle or spanish one, but I am sure that I want to go home right now!

Why EVS is (not) good

EVS or European Voluntary Service is an erasmus+ programme which allows you to go abroad and volunteer and it is all for free, literally. They buy you the flight tickets(or you buy it and then they reimburse you the money), accommodation and you get pocket and food money. You are not going to become rich with this money, but it is enough for living in that country. You can do it once in your life and it cannot be more than 12 months. There are short terms and long terms and it is better to do the short term first e.g for 2 months and then the long term for 10 more months in another country(or the same). If you do the long term first, the chances to be able to do a short term are really low. I know some people did it, but it is hard and 95% impossible.

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EVS is good, because going abroad alone and being around new people and new culture can help you become more open-minded about different people, more independent and you will gain great experience. It will also help you learn new things about yourself and your abilities. Usually on those projects, volunteers are left to make initiatives and do personal projects, so you can be as creative as you want to/can be and share your ideas.

I do not regret going on EVS, because it is amazing, but it also has its bad sides. For some people it is hard to accept the new culture and get used to it, if it is so different than theirs. It could be also so hard if you cannot speak the local language and the people in that country do not speak English. Also your project might not be the same as you expected it to be and you might not enjoy it. I know some volunteers left their projects earlier and that is fine. If you leave the project on time, I mean in the first or second month, then you can look for another one, but if it is in the middle of it, then you have no chances to go on another one. Also sometimes you can be lonely and you might miss your friends and family. You will always have people with whom you can hang out and do stuff, but for some people who are not very sociable and have trust issues it can be really hard to find people with with whom they can talk about everything and nothing.

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Anyways, if you want to have a new life experience and make lifelong friends, just go for it and apply for a project. You need to find a sending organization and a project. This website https://europa.eu has lots of projects! If you are selected, you will have a skype interview and if they accept you, they will send you all the documents needed for your travel. It can be so complicated for non-europeans, because of visa stuff, but don’t give up. I had lots of problems with it, but I did it, so you can do it too 😉

Spain & I

Do you know that cozy feeling of a Sunday morning, rain outside, you, tea, bed and your favorite movie? Well, I do and it is just a-m-a-z-i-n-g! I love the rain and even though they say it never rains in Murcia, it really does! Probably not as much as in the north of Spain, but this is enough. It can be really hot here sometimes, we skipped winter this year and I cannot imagine how the summer is going to be. I don’t want it to come, first of all because of the weather and then, because I will be leaving then.

I am in the half of my project now which makes me sad, because those months passed so fast and I know that soon it will finish… Sometimes I am happy that I am going home where I will see my people, but I know that I will miss this. I will miss my current life, I will miss Spain, the fiesta(party), siesta(nap) and all this weirdness. It is really crazy how they love partying and napping at the same time. I consider them lazy(sorry not sorry), but also very active, because they really do lots of things. February was carnival month for example and they had carnivals all around. They had this cool costumes which makes you wonder ‘’how did they get this idea!?’’ or ‘’how did they have time to prepare all of those parades!?’’. Well, I also wonder how they do it, because it is a hard work! But they really love it, so I guess there is the thing. We also had a carnival at my working place, I mean in the town with other NGOs and everyone was just so enthusiastic about it. That is what is done during day time – parades, but in the night it is crazy. People are gathered together on the street while drinking and dancing. You can hear different kind of music which all mixed together make nothing, but still you will love it, because why not! Crazy Spaniards. I guess the main thing that I learned until now is to live life to the fullest!

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So yes, this is some of us – we were superheroes! The kids are really amazing! I just love going there and I hope that they learned a lot of me the same as I did from them. I am so happy that after so many problems with finding a project and coming here, I came to the very right place. I was afraid that I am not going to love it, but now I can just say that I am afraid that I love it too much that I do not want to leave it. Maybe it is not about Spain, but about the people I met here. Because places are just places. They are beautiful, but what makes them even more beautiful are the people you get to know there.

How I ended up in Spain

I grew up in a country called Macedonia which is situated among Serbia, Albania, Bulgaria and Greece. I spent 19 years of my life there, in a small village surrounded with nice nature, mountains and refreshing weather. I had a nice childhood and crazy high school years, but it was all amazing. At that time in Macedonia everyone was really obsessed with South American soap operas (especially the grandmas) and this was like a main subject among everyone. I have to admit I used to watch them(all) as well and now you are like ‘’Why is she talking about this’’, but wait my point is that after all those South American soap operas where siblings marry each other and ‘’yo soy tu madre’’ endings, a nice tv series appeared and this time from Spain!

‘’Come on. It started!’’ – my grandma used to say when the tv series was about to start. Every day after school I used to meet with her, so we both can watch the tv series together. It was our favorite one. I am talking about the famous ‘’Los Serrano’’. If you don’t know it, you should check it out. I really love them! It is a really lovely tv series about one Spanish family living in Madrid. And why am I mentioning them? Because my love for Spain was born with them! I was around 14 years old and after watching this tv series I became more interested about this country, culture and way of life.

I visited Spain for the very first time when I turned 18 years old. I went to Galicia and it was WOOW! Amazing nature, great people, so cozy… especially Santiago de Compostela and the cathedral. Something that everyone should see! After this trip I wanted to go back of course, but it was this high school last year period when confusions start, you don’t know what to do etc. Well, what I did was moving to my neighborhood country – Bulgaria where I spent almost 4 years. I really enjoyed it because this moving abroad on my own gave me so many new opportunities and experiences. I met new people, grew up, learned new things, improved my language skills and also this is where I first tried volunteering! I just saw some post on the internet about volunteers needed on an international charity bazaar and I was like ‘’Oookey, this sounds interesting!’’. I applied and the other day they called me. I was not sure if I wanted to go, but I did. It was really great. So many international people, international food, dances… amazing! The people who were volunteering with me were around my age(at that time I was 20) and they were talking about Erasmus+. I did not know so many things about it, but they explained me about some youth exchanges, training courses where you can learn things and meet different people! And of course I went for it!

My first exchange was in Turkey and after that I went on another one and another one … to make it short – when you go on Erasmus+ once, after that you cannot stop it! Trust me! And it was not enough for me to go only for one week on Erasmus+, so I decided to try short-term EVS for 2 months in Turkey! Of course I had the time of my life there, made friends for life and I really wanted to continue my long-term EVS there too, but then I thought again about Spain, spanish language, my wish to move there and how it all started, so I left Turkey and started to look for a project in Spain. No one was selecting me… I was very disappointed seeing mails like: ‘’Sorry we are looking for European volunteers’’, ‘’Sorry we already have a volunteer’’ and when I finally found a project all the odds were against me not to go. Because of circumstances I couldn’t go on the EVS in Spain where I finally were selected…  I ended up staying at home with my flight ticket, visa and luggage ready. I didn’t know what to do really, but I said I should try one more time, to send one more application(it was more than 20 actually) and finally I received a nice feedback: ‘’We would like to have an interview with you’’. Amazing and where? In Murcia! Sun! Too much… but okey, it is a nice project, so why not? So obviously the interview went well and here I am now – where people are always late and are never enough of fiesta, siesta and summer!