Leaving on a (jet) plane… ✈️

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My last flight for the next couple of weeks is finally over, and I can’t wait to get home. But you can either succumb to the umptieth-early-flight stress, or let yourself be surprised by the sun rising over the mountains covered in snow. Couldn’t help but feel a tiny bit closer to my husband who is the only one who truly managed to show me how to see the beauty in nature.

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Reporting from my couch – recipe of the week

You climb the mountain in an equilibrium between restlessness and exhaustion.

Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

 

Oh, Sunday. I had almost lost hope you would come. I am still waiting for my husband, but he is coming back tonight, so it’s all good.

Today I ran a 15k race in the morning, for which I didn’t have any expectation as I knew it was super hilly and it turned out to be muddy as well, and took it as a tempo run on a hilly course. I ended up in 15th position among all the women and in 7th for my age group. I spent my afternoon studying for my upcoming conferences for the next few days and watching the Chicago marathon at the same time, from my couch, with a steaming hot cup of tea with milk. I will be on the road again on Tuesday, because I have an assignment in Milan, but I will be back on Wednesday. It will be my last mission for a while. Travelling over the last two weeks really took a toll on me, and having this Sunday afternoon to spend at home was a much needed break.

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I went out to shop for groceries and couldn’t find half the stuff that I needed. Although that was frustrating, I ended up making a cake anyway. Here it is.

Ingredients

180 g flour

5 tbs butter

3 eggs

150 g sugar

lemon zest + lemon juice

salt

250 g ricotta cheese

16 g baking powder

a couple handfuls of blueberries

 

Preheat your oven at 180°C. Beat your butter and sugar together vigorously, add eggs and beat some more. Add ricotta cheese and lemon zest + lemon juice (a good squeeze), and beat slowly until well blended. Add flour, salt and baking powder. Mix everything until smooth and creamy. Add in blueberries, transfer to pan and bake for 50 mins to an hour. Let cool and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.

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(… I wasn’t patient enough. The cake hasn’t yet cooled down but I have already had two slices).

P.S. First week over 70 km for me!

#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.

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Throwback Thursday!

SnapseedI am in Strasbourg for the Plenary of the European Parliament. I have been travelling for a while now, and will be doing some more travelling soon. While I am beyond grateful to be here, to be a part of this and to be living the dream in a much better way than I ever pictured for myself, I am also missing two of the most important people in my life: my beautiful, beautiful sisters!

So here is a little #tbt to the second-to-last day before I got married, when my sisters and I took a nice walk in Val di Fiemme to go see the waterfalls just above the place where my husband was born and grew up. It was a precious moment that we shared, just the three of us.

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Work work work… and friendships, and love

SnapseedWhat a week! I worked non-stop from Monday to Saturday. Three different meetings in three days for the EU, and one more three-day meeting on the private market, this time in Montreux, Switzerland. I was not 100% sure I would be able to come out alive, but here I am to tell the tale! More than anything, this post is meant to celebrate friendship.

I was lucky enough to work with a wonderful friend who went to university in Geneva with me and with whom everything became easy, even working for a full day with an early start (7 AM!) after sleeping for no more than 3 hours. Giulia and I even managed to go for a run later that day and explore the beautiful lake-side at sunset. As always, we were two little chatterboxes! We had to catch up on so many things, even though we regularly talk to each other on Skype. We took our run easy enough to make sure we were able to talk non-stop all the way through our 9 kilometres… To be honest, I was happy we only ran around the lake, as it is the only flat part of Montreux (otherwise famous for a trail running festival… But as you might or might not know, uphill running is not my cup of tea).

When we went to university, all our teachers would tell us not many of us would end up working as interpreters. We know the Italian booth is particularly competitive and we were discouraged from the very beginning by everyone around us. And that only makes it so much more special, to get to work together and do our dream job. Getting to work together at a conference was our little victory over those doubters.

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We were joined by four young interpreters for the French and German booths: it was a pleasure to meet three new colleagues and to catch up with another former student of Geneva University. I had forgotten how expensive Switzerland can be, and it was a bit of a shock, but all in all Montreux treated us very well and provided me with some much needed peace with its placid lake surrounded by beautiful mountains.

It is now time to go back to Brussels – but just for little more than 24 hours, as Francesco and I are headed to Strasbourg for the plenary session of the European Parliament on Monday. Will try and catch up on sleep on the train(s) and plane(s)!

Sunday evening ramble

By Chiara

 

After a 6-day week of work between two countries – Belgium and Italy -, two interpreting modes – simultaneous and consecutive – and 5 languages – Italian, English, French, Slovak and plenty of Croatian – and about 60 km of running, I am stranded at the airport in Linate, waiting to go back to Brussels because tomorrow I have to go to work.

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Shit happens, as do delays… and I can’t help being beyond exhausted. But I am with my husband, and we are in this together. We will make it, one way or another. And I am deliberately going to enjoy every minute I can spend with him, especially because Francesco is leaving again tomorrow. Destination: Strasbourg, for the plenary of the Parliament. I won’t be seeing him for five days, as it often happens. Every month, the Parliament holds a plenary session in Strasbourg. When we both have contracts for the Parliament, we both go. Most frequently, Francesco has contracts with the Parliament for Strasbourg and I have contracts with the SCIC in Brussels. So he goes, and I stay. That is the nature of our job, I guess, but I still miss everything of him. Interpreters are required to be nomads. Some leave their spouse behind, some leave their children with a nanny, some have to separate from their dogs, cats, snakes and parrots. I have never been attached to places. I can feel home pretty much anywhere. But I love the people I choose to have in my life fiercely. My mum being an interpreter herself, it was always hard to let her go as a child. That hasn’t changed now that I am married to a wonderful man who also happens to be an incredibly talented interpreter. You might argue that they come back. And they do, but then they leave again. And no, it doesn’t get easier with time.

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There will always be a queue for the best fries in Brussels…

It can be August and Brussels is still empty, but you will always have to wait some minutes in line to get a taste of the best fries in town… Maison Antoine in Place Jourdan is a must if you are visiting the city. Right now they are serving their fries from a van, but soon they’ll open a new place in a brand new building. Enjoy!