10 things to know if your date/partner/spouse is an interpreter

by an interpreter married to an interpreter (the one in booth n. 4 on your left)

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  1. The toothpaste rule

You’ll need two separate toothpaste tubes… to avoid quarrelling over who gets to keep the toothpaste: the one who leaves or the one who stays?

  1. Netflix/film/tv show night

Be prepared for endless comments about how crappy the subtitles are. And for compromises: at one point we have ended up watching a series in Swedish with Croatian subtitles.

  1. News talk

Accept that the conversation will mainly revolve around the news from the weirdest countries in the world (in our case, covering the whole spectrum of our combined languages: all the Nordic countries, the UK, the US, a good part of South America, Spain, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Croatia, Slovakia and of course Italy, inter alia)

  1. Lists of words everywhere

Don’t throw away that scrap of paper! And no, it doesn’t matter that it is the back of a receipt from the supermarket. We jot down notes on virtually anything, and we need those for our meeting.

  1. Whining

Our job is unpredictable, and tiring, and frustrating. With the notable exception of my husband, we as a bunch kind of like to complain. Don’t try to stop us. At one point we will get tired of all the whining and change subject.

  1. Suitcases

We come and we go. Do not expect us to unpack the moment we get home. After all, we’ll probably be leaving so soon that we don’t even need to unpack half the suitcase.

  1. Outlets

After spending our days like fish in an acquarium, we need outlets. Plenty of interpreters take up meditation, yoga, or pilates. We clearly need something more intense and like to sweat the stress out. Together my husband and I run 150 to 200 kilometres per week. Support your significant other and do not try to talk them out of exercising…

  1. Wandering eye

Although neither of us has it, we have noticed an impressive rate of wandering eyes among interpreters. I believe it is due to the act of listening and speaking at the same time, hence reflecting the split occurring in the brain.

  1. Forgetting things

We need to store an unconceivable amount of information in our brains in a very short amount of time. In order to keep functional, we also need to delete it as soon as possible. But together with all the names of chemicals, Syrian activists, scary diseases, gardening tools, pig breeds, varieties of aromatic plants, and god knows what, we forget birthdays and dates and names too. Be kind.

  1. Tip-top shape

Most of the interpreters I know are super fit. My theory is that we cannot afford to take up too much space in our tiny tiny booths…

In a nutcase: we have some weird traits, but we are also fit, super smart and usually dedicated, as it takes a lot of hard work to become (and stay!) an interpreter. In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen… marry an interpreter.

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#SuckItUp

The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.

SnapseedToday was not an easy day, and we were apart, but on these days one can only do their best and move on. And on those days, it is even more meaningful to have the right person(s) by your side. Thank you to my friend and colleague for getting me through this day and to my husband for supporting me even though he was thousands of miles from me.

Greetings from two very different places. Sometimes you’ve got to take a step back and enjoy the view.

Snapseed

Crazy Friday nights… running in Schaerbeek

This week we set our sight on racing in yet another neighbourhood. Francesco ran the Schaerbeek 10k yesterday night, and guess what? He won! I played the supportive wife – loud cheering included, of course. I was bursting with proud as every time he passed in front of me he was leading: I know he likes to run in front, and it was lovely for him to win after leading the race from the first metre.

Considering the pitch black and the crazy course – which went into a school and the city hall, up the stairs, down the stairs, etc etc – his time was excellent. We stayed for the prize-giving ceremony even though it was soooooo late for us – we are usually in bed by 10 pm ;-P Another crazy Friday night is in the books…

SnapseedAnd this is what happens when he is so fast all you can see is the reflective part of his shoes. From behind!

Race recap by Francesco

Here comes my race recap… It was a nice race in the end, interesting, even though I’m glad that Chiara did not take part in it because I would have been sooooo worried otherwise (see “running in the dark” or “run up and down the stairs”). The start was not as messy as I feared it would be, despite the fact that after 300 meters there was a sharp turn to the left, and I decided to take the lead right from the beginning. Thank god I did so: when we got into the park (a couple of km after the start), it was pitch dark, no light whatsoever, and I just followed the red light of the bike right in front of me, trying to understand where to go. The road was also bendy, with a couple of sharp and slippery turns, and it was also quite hilly: I did not know the place and facing it in the dark was not easy, but I got out of it with 10″ on the following group (Chiara was there to cheer me on and keep me updated on the gaps). Then, we entered the neighbourhood and it was nice to run in its wide streets, even though the audience was a little bit silent and there where cars almost everywhere. The police was escorting us, so by honking and flashing their lights, they were able to make them move, but it was not so relaxing for me, since I had to run in all that mess. After a while, we got into the first building, a school: I crossed a gym, a couple of halls, one classroom (I think) and then got out in the street again…after a hill, several turns, another couple of hills and some downhills, it was time to pay a visit to the mayor: we entered the city hall, climbed a couple of flights of stairs and passed through the office of the mayor, who was standing there to give us a “high five”. I was so focused on where to go and avoid losing too much seconds on the others that I totally ignored him…I hope he did not get angry at me for that! Nevertheless, with the stairs and the turns in the offices and corridors, I almost lost the entire gap I had built and therefore I had to push also on the last few km to secure my first place. 

At the finish line, I was happy; it has been the first time after a while that I had the possibility to run a race as I like it (always in front, setting the pace and just trying to keep the others away with a good, steady pace) and it is always nice to win. All in all, I can recommend the race if you are looking for something different and you are not afraid of running in the dark or up and down the stairs: the organisers are really committed to the success of the event and the competition is good, as much as the atmosphere is friendly and easy-going. Schaerbeek is not so runner-friendly as far as the traffic is concerned (with the exception of the parks), so maybe the race can be a good excuse to run in the streets and discover them (and the buildings) in a particular way. Once again, Chiara and I had a nice experience, discovering a new place thanks to the Run in Brussels Challenge and our passion for running.

Here comes the link to an article published by a local newspaper: you can find some pics if you are interested in the event! DHnet article

Smoothie time!

Work hard, play hard. Recover hard?!

I know it doesn’t sound catchy, but it is a universal truth. If you work hard, and on top of that you train hard, and you also want to race hard, you need to recover as well. Foam rolling, stretching, sleeping a lot, icing body parts is all part of a process. Eating healthy plays a huge part in recovery – and it is the best part, if you ask me.

I love to cook and I love how running allows us to have good, tasty food most of the time – and the extra treat when we feel like it. Food can also play a role in reducing inflammation, and as an old lady (I am in my late twenties already! AND a married woman!) I really need to take care of my aching joints. One of the best natural anti-inflammatory foods out there is ginger, so today it’s ginger day!

Apple banana ginger smoothie

Crush 4 ice cubes. Slice 1 apple, two bananas, grate some ginger root (we peeled it) and blend together with a glass of milk.

We ended up with a creamy, refreshing and anti inflammatory smoothie with bubbles! Our blender works magic.
I am also sharing with you a second recipe for a smoothie that we really liked – not least because of its colour 🙂 It looks like a unicorn fell into the blender jug! This one is a bit more rich in proteins, which is never a bad thing. You can also add your whey protein powder to any smoothie if you need to supplement your protein intake. We are not fans of protein powder so we try to make sure we get enough high-quality proteins through our diets. Plenty of lean red meat, chicken, fish, egg whites, Greek yoghurt, nuts and chickpeas (try our hummus!) are our favourites.

Special ABC smoothie (Apple Berries Celery)

Crush 4 ice cubes. Slice 1 apple and 2 celery sticks. Put into the blender jug together with one small cup of frozen berries and blend. Add 100 g of unsweetened Greek yoghurt and 125 g of fresh ricotta cheese. Blend some more.
Let us know how you like our smoothies and share your best recipes with us!

Today we run in… Molenbeek

by Francesco

Chiara was in action today for the 10k Foyer, a race of the Run in Brussels Challenge, a nice initiative that is helping us discovering Brussels while running races all over the city. Great race by Chiara (2nd place) and wonderful atmosphere during the whole race: keep it up Molenbeek, it was great!

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Race recap by Chiara

I loved this race! The atmosphere was great from the very beginning. A group of mums from the neighbourhood gave out our numbers, while all the kids together got ready for their race (400-800-2.5 k for the little ones). Everyone was very relaxed and we got to cheer for the kids as they came in on the final stretch.

Although we had a plan – to start conservatively and increase my pace with each loop -, it immediately went out of the window. The pack started off on a very fast pace and I didn’t want to be left alone in the wind, so I stuck with them and then hung on for dear life. It payed off though! I got a new PR on the 5 k and still managed to finish strong. I loved the way Francesco cheered for me all the way through the race, always encouraging me and pushing me to really go for it, even when I wasn’t quite so sure I had anything left in me. It turned out he was right most of the time!

But perhaps the best thing was the post-race experience: Francesco got to enjoy a well-deserved beer for the modest price of 1 euro, and I helped myself to a generous portion of a heavenly Turkish delicacy, a sort of a savoury pastry filled with herbs and feta cheese (for the even more modest price of 50 cents/piece… I got myself three). While we were waiting for the prize-giving ceremony we were entertained by a bunch of local kids singing and dancing and by a group of adults playing the drums. Their enthusiasm was contagious!

Thank you Molenbeek for a great race and all the love. We’ll be back!

Recipe of the week: homemade hummus!

SnapseedOne thing that I love about living in an international city is being exposed to all sorts of food. When I was little, the most exotic food we could get was Chinese takeout. I later discovered that each country, if not even each city, had its own “Chinese” food, which doesn’t make it very Chinese. But Brussels really offers a little bit of everything. We have tried Japanese, Tibetan, Thai, Greek, Lebanese, Ethiopian food and there is still a whole world of cuisines waiting for us to be brave enough to give them a shot.

On the other hand, I really like to cook. I like experimenting, which means that our weekly menus are rarely very Italian. In our house there is at least a curry or a noodle dish thrown in every week, and some other dashes of ethnic food scattered here and there.

And we have recently become the proud owners of a blender! So after trying my hand at it I decided I just had to make hummus. Here comes my recipe.

Put 1 tbs tahini (if you have a good blender you can also make your own) and the juice of half a lemon in the jug. Blend for 1 minute. Add 2 tbs of the best olive oil that you can get your hands on. Blend. Add 250 g of canned chickpeas and blend blend blend. You need to be patient here and experiment with your blender. I got quite frustrated as the chickpeas didn’t seem to magically turn themselves into a velvety cream, but after trying different speeds and functions I discovered that the soup function was the best. Add a teaspoon of salt and some water into the jug and keep blending until you like the texture.

It really is that easy! We love to dip carrot and celery sticks into our hummus, but it is excellent on dear old Wasa crackers and/or regular crackers, or rice cakes, and it makes the perfect cream for an incredibly tasty chicken roll. Last but not least, it can be kept in the fridge up to one week. Hope you like it as much as we did!

… Waiting for better times ;-)

DSC_2670Sometimes not training is much harder than any training. Setbacks are part of the journey, and it is normal to feel down when you can’t do what you like. I have a minor knee issue and was only able to do some strength training today because running hurts too badly, but hopefully we can fix that soon. In the meantime, I want to share some reflections with you.

But this is also the time to look back at what we have done together. I had never run until about two years ago, and Francesco only started coaching me about a year and a half ago. Since then, he has taken me to the point where I’ve run a full trail marathon, 2 half marathons and a good handful of shorter races (not necessarily easier though!). We’ve run some races together, some on our own, some for each other, as in the case of a relay race.

I broke the 2 hour barrier in my very first half marathon, which was also my first race ever. On my second half marathon I smashed my PR by more than 10 minutes, finishing strong in 1h45′. We ran our first trail marathon together, on our honeymoon, and won it. I had never run a trail race OR a marathon before, but all I could think was that all the training that we had done had really paid off. Having a coach can make all the difference to your running, really, both in terms of motivation and in terms of the results you can achieve. So I thought I would post a sample week of the training that I do, in case you’re interested. You can also follow us on Strava and contact us for more information.

Here is my past week of training:

MON

20′ warm up + 30′ fartlek (3′ hard 2′ easy)x6 + 5′ easy

TUE

AM 35′ + PM 30′

WED

rest day

THU

AM strength training

PM 15′ warm up + 10×200 @40” (200m jog in between) + 1000m @4’20”

FRI

40′

SAT

20′ warm up + 10′ tempo pace + 5′ easy + 5′ hard + 5′ easy

SUN

8 k race (2nd place for me)