Yearly archives of “2016

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Passive-Aggressive Office Emails | 6 Ready-To-Use Templates

Planet Earth, Civilized World, 2016.

A scientific study reveals that as our lives get increasingly more frantic, we don’t have time to fully express our emotions.

As a consequence, we miss out on those precious, special moments like sending out Christmas cards, writing love letters or showing our superiority by patronizing each and every one of our co-workers through passive-aggressive office emails addressed to everybody in the company.

If you feel like your colleagues are pushing your buttons but have no time to put together a proper rant, look no further! These six ready-to-use email templates will save you tons of time while still ensuring to voice your frustrations and secret homicidal instincts.

Scenario #1 – Too many milk cartons opened in office fridge

opened-milk
Email Subject
: Milk Farm

Dear co-workers,

I hope you’re doing great.

I’m writing this email ’cause I happened to open the refrigerator looking for milk and found what must have been thirteen hundred cartons opened of the exact same thing.

Whoever is responsible for this, I’m sure they’re doing it for a higher purpose, like running a secret lab experiment for an Agro-Industrial company or developing a bio-chemical weapon to finally extinct the human race.

Whatever the reason is, though, I have to admit that I kinda prefer my milk liquid. I do not enjoy the sound of milk plopping into my coffee in jelly balls bigger than human testicles nor I find it enticing when that first spoonful of cereal in the morning tastes like vomit from two weeks ago.

For all these reasons, I’d be grateful if you could check for existing cartons in the fridge before you open new ones and ideally – but I know it might be asking too much – write the date in which you open one, ’cause beverages taste so much better when they’re not alive.

Have a wonderful day,

Scenario #2 – Colleagues don’t use toilet brush

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100 Days Project in Retrospect

So last year, for (more than) 100 Days in a row, I have invented a German word a day trying to express feelings that felt important, quirky or invisible. This is what I wrote before starting the project while the following are thoughts I’ve collected along the way, which I felt deserved to be explored.

Word For

You know that weird sense of suspension felt when you can’t find the right word for something? That feeling is what defined/haunted my first year in Germany and what – I suspect – defines/haunts the life of anyone who moves to a country without speaking the language.

Just to be clear: It is not terms like “demagogic”, “astonishing” or “pretentious” that you’re temporarily missing. Instead, you have the urge to say “chair” or “bus ticket” or “I’m sorry”, only to find that those words are nowhere in your brain yet.

It is isolating.

When I read about the 100 Days challenge launched by the Great Discontent, an idea hit me right away. What if among all the feelings and concepts I was struggling to express in my expat life,  there were some which never got their entry in the dictionary?

lebensmittelallergiesamkeitIt Felt Like Therapy

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Letter To A Skinny Boy Entering His 30s

Dear skinny boy,

Remember when your mom used to promise you amazing presents if you managed to put on weight while my mother had to desperately hide food from me?

Remember your effortless high school success at gymnastics,  floor exercise, pommel horse, still rings, vault, parallel bars, horizontal bar, marathons while the rest of us got golden plastic medals as a consolation prize for not dying?

you_are_a_winner
Remember when you ran into your university class mate and said “I brought lunch. I’m on a diet” and she said “Oooh, tell me about it” and you said “I need to eat at least 200 grams of pasta a day. I’m trying to gain weight” and she went home, cried in the shower and ate a whole 500 ml Ben&Jerry Banana flavoured ice-cream package? Read More

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How to Fabricate a Fake Boyfriend

You guys, isn’t Netflix’s Stranger Things the most amazing tv series you’ve seen this year? It has EVERYTHING: 80s nostalgia, Matrix-like scenes, children riding their bikes, an amazing soundtrack, breathtaking cinematography and FREAKING WINONA RYDER!

Everything.

I started watching it without having seen the trailer first, partly because lately I’m hating all trailers and party because the presence of my girl Winona seemed more than enough of a reason to give it a chance.

I finished the pilot with a pretty clear idea of what the series was going to be: a pleasant, goonies-like childhood adventure with a hint of tension and a bagillion references to the decade I was born in. It sounded like  uncomplicated fun for all ages and I was up for it!

One episode later, my feelings started to change.

gonnahavenightmares

The situation escalated quickly.

In the haunting solitude of my apartment on a Sunday afternoon, I found out that Stranger Things is actually scary as fuck. While my desperate cry for help was going unheard, I knew I should have pressed pause right there, but that mix of love and fear growing inside of me just wouldn’t let me.

I watched the whole thing like I was in a trance and once the final end credits rolled out I realized that A) the room was now completely dark and B) I had to go to bed soon.

Alone. Read More

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6 Freaky Things About Berlin Startups

Unless “mystery shopper” and “cat sitter”  really count as grownup jobs, it is fair to admit that I never had a job before moving to Germany. I had a family, though, and that family was led by two proud members of your average Italian working class. They took pride in enduring through their working hours for me and my sister, embraced the suffering of it and its discouraging lack of prospects. As I witnessed my parents’ lives, I grew up preparing psychologically for the depressing start of my career, kind of like a criminal prepares for jail time.

After five years in Berlin and more than one tech company on my resume, I can say that working here has been mildly weird, consistently fun and nothing like I was expecting. These are six things that struck me about German tech startups.

1) Quirky Team Names

One thing I’ve learned from the German startup scene, is that descriptive names are so very passé. If you’re hired as an accountant in a tech company, for example, the chances you’ll end up working in the “finance team” are extremely slim. Your team will instead be referred to with the name of an animal/a famous scientist/a made-up native American tribe.   You will attend serious meetings meant to address the concerning performance of the angora rabbits, to contemplate the possibility of new hires among the raccoons or to find a new leader for the alpacas. My scientific guess is that by the year 2025 all the animal names will be taken and startups will have to start exploring uncharted territories, naming their teams after things like sexually transmitted diseases, stripper nicknames, pokemons and toppings you can find on frozen yogurt.

Read the rest of this post on The Local

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5 Date Ideas For ABC’s The Bachelorette

I don’t know how this happened, but my boyfriend and I watched three episodes of ABC’s dating show The Bachelorette.

The current season is about single lady JoJo Fletcher looking for her soul mate among a group of men who secretly aim at becoming  underwear models and being booked for wild club nights in Pocatello, Idaho.

the bachelorette

In order to know the contestants better, JoJo gets to interact with them through two kinds of social occasions: the cocktail party and the date. The cocktail party is an evening event where everybody gets to dress nicely and be as slutty and inappropriate as humanly possible thanks to roofies dropped in everyone’s glass by the producers of the show (if this isn’t true, I am blaming Marti Noxon). The date, on the other hand, shows sober contestants in your typical first date activities, such as role playing fire fighters out for a 911 call or flying to San Francisco on a private jet.

Now. I know that tv calls for entertainment, but my girl JoJo is admittedly trying to find A HUSBAND and I don’t think she’s being given conclusive information on these boys. Because honestly, I would marry the monster of Milwaukee right now if our first date involved a private jet.

For this reason, I’ve compiled a list of 5 exciting date ideas that will provide JoJo and future bachelorettes with everything they need to know in order to recognize THE ONE. You’re welcome ABC.

1) 12 Hour Shopping Spree (Endurance Comp.)

Bring your beau on a twelve hour shopping spree to find mascara, a pair of socks and a winter  jacket for your dog. Try to explain to him the complex ecosystem of animal clothing brands and ask his opinion on which shade of black better suits your eyes. Read More

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How to Move in 7 Steps – The Tragically Funny Guide

moving guide
I was 8 years old when my mother barged in with shocking news.

“We’re moving!”

The only person I knew who had moved was former elementary school classmate Anna. She vanished without saying goodbye on a Summer morning as if she was in some witness  protection shit, giving me my first taste of irreparable separation anxiety and none of the Little Mermaid stickers she owed me.

As I hesitantly asked “Where?”, I got ready to leave everything behind and started picturing my new life in Burkina Faso, learning French like a pro and getting fat from Fufu.

“We’ll be at number 10”.

Two months later, we relocated from number 4 to number 10 on the same suburban street, which is where I ultimately spent my childhood, teenage years and beginning of adulthood, relentlessly chained to my nest like the most stereotypical Italian.

Then Berlin happened. In hindsight it was a huge step, but at the time I thought it would be a six month chapter of my life and it did not feel like I was properly MOVING here.

“So what makes you knowledgeable enough to write this post” – you say?
I’ll tell you what. Within Berlin, I have lived E V E R Y W H E R E.

berlin_moves

Reason being rental contracts that couldn’t be renewed, low tolerance towards my flatmates (and vice versa), first attempts at independence or even love, the bottom line is that these six years turned me into a moving machine.

I already wrote about the hassle of finding a room in Berlin and it’s now time to put together everything I’ve learned from my 6.022×1023 relocations within the city.

Estimated reading time: 45 years.

For a better, shorter version, take a look at the city-specific checklists that my friends at Teleport are putting together. Read More

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A Video Game Made Me Gay and other Gamer Stories

Is it weird to constantly, obsessively wonder about what makes us, us?

Why are some people atheist and other stainless-ly faithful? Stoners or clean? Why do some people go to bed early and others only feel like they exist in the quiet of the night? And how can anyone seriously like pickles?

I guess if we could pinpoint the reason for everything we are, the universe would be as simple and comprehensible as that one Sudoku I was once able to solve, found inside Winx Magazine at a middle school slumber party. Three years ago.

But it’s not that simple. We – humans – have to accept that we’ll never have an answer and I – Fede – have to resign to not knowing why I dislike the color red, why Joanna Newsom’s voice makes me tick and why I’m writing this blog post at this very moment.

I will never know the exact reason behind any of these things. Except for one.

FLASHBACK – SUMMER OF 2015, LUNCHTIME – THE OFFICE

ANNE
I just want the weekend to come. It’s going to be me, a bottle of wine and GTA.

CO-WORKER 1
Yeah!

CO-WORKER 2
Great plan!

CO-WORKER3
GTA is the best!

ME
What exactly is GTA?

I am NOT familiar with video games. Not at all. I have played some when my sister, in the nineteenth century, brought home an Amiga and then quickly lost interest once I figured playing video games required patience, reflexes and the ability not to have a mental breakdown every time you lose.

ANNE
You seriously don’t know Grand Theft Auto? The most popular game of, like, ever?

ME
I don’t….

ANNE
….

ME
….but I know other games. Better games, in fact. Like, like……RAINBOW ISLANDS!

ANNE
What’s that?

ME
Oh, that’s amazing! It’s about a chubby kid, whose mission is to visit a bunch of islands and kill the enemies who stand on his way.

ANNE
What kind?

ME
Uh?

ANNE
What kind of enemies? Is it aliens? Werewolves? Genetically modified soldiers?

ME
It’s bugs. Like worms, bees and occasionally butterflies.

ANNE
So you’re saying that this guy goes around throwing grenades and firing guns against regular insects just because he’s scared of them?

ME
No, you dummy! He does NOT fire weapons! He kills them with rainbows which emanate from his body! This way he can collect diamonds, necklaces and design vases!

rainbow_island

Rainbows.

Insects.

Design vases.

Fifteen years spent interrogating myself on the nature of my nature and on a lazy, sticky, summer afternoon all the pieces precipitate into place. Rainbow Islands made me a homosexual. Read More

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I have a new Berlin project. It is called Mikroskop.

Months ago I was in Switzerland with my boyfriend. We couldn’t afford anything so we mostly walked around the city with our guide book and took naps in our Ibis-budget hotel room.  Right after one of those naps an idea hit me:

– “I feel like Lonely Planet is telling us everything and nothing about this place”

– “What do you mean?”

– “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could experience a city  not only through historical macro-events but also through the microscopic, personal stories of its inhabitants?”

Back in Berlin I kept thinking about it. Unlike any sane person, when I have an idea I can get awfully obsessed and drag the people around me down a spiral of insanity. In this case, the designated victim was my friend Simone, who happens to be a web-designer and seemed like the perfect guy to push into my new project.

Nine months later, Mikroskop was born.

mikroskop homepage

Mikroskop is a website that provides curious Berliners and tourists with a human, intimate connection to Berlin by recording personal stories and organizing them in a map.

It is also a huge challenge, because 1) it involves a kind of storytelling and technical abilities that I’m not mastering (yet) and will have to learn over time 2) it takes my comedic security blanket and sets it on fire, pushing me to find the heart of each story in a whole different way 3) it focuses on and exposes people who are not me, which makes everything scarier and more delicate.

On the other hand, it’s refreshing to have a creative project that pushes me to talk to people instead of being alone with some cookies in front of a laptop, which is what writing in general is about.

This project is my love letter to Berlin and to the tiny magic happening every second of every day in each of its corners. If you’re reading this you might be part of that magic and I would be extremely glad to hear your story. Just hunt me down on social media or write me an email!