Category Archives: Blogging

My blog received the Liebster Award

Marta from “Baby Blues and Rock’n Roll” assigned my blog the Liebster Award! I am particularly thrilled to receive it by Marta who not only lives in the Netherlands like me, but also comes from Italy. – Che bella combinazione!

For those who don’t know how this works, the Liebster award is assigned by other bloggers who like your blog and think it’s worth to be awarded.

The person who nominates you asks you 11 questions. You answer them and then you nominate another 11 bloggers and ask them your own 11 questions and you notify them of the nomination. – And the Award flows on.

And here are Marta’s questions…:

* Sex, Drugs or Rock’N’Roll? Choose one.

Ha, I’d say Rock’N’Roll. – Why? Well, let’s say because my children read my blog… and because my other half and I did Rock’N’Roll before we had kids…

* If you could undo one thing you have done in your past, what would it be?

To be honest, I don’t think there is any real thing I would undo. – Of course, like everyone not all the decisions I took were the right ones but somehow it all turned out to be fine. – It’s more what I would have liked to have done differently: I’ve moved a lot and sometimes didn’t take the time to say goodbye to friends; mainly because I thought that I wouldn’t be gone for long, that I would come back. – This way I ended up leaving “forever” and loosing some of them, alas, forever.

* Piercing or Tattoo, and where?

I would really like to get a nice Tattoo, only that I really don’t like needles…

* What was the best year of your whole life and why?

It’s a tough one. There are many “best years” so far. The year I got married, got my first “real” job, the one I went to live in Florence, the year my son was born, the year we moved to the Netherlands, and the year my girls were born… The last two years, where I finally get the impression to be “on board” again of my professional life. All these years are “the best” for different reasons.

* Fast forward five years: where are you and what are you doing?

I’m  still here, hopefully, with my family, all healthy… and doing what I like. I try not to focus on the future. Too many things happen in very short time and lately I’m pretty much aware that one moment can change everything…

* Hair on men’s chests, yay or nay?

No hair, please… 😉

* If you were to choose one book that you consider your darling, which one would it be?

My at-the-moment-darling-book is Marilyn Gardners’ book Between Worlds. I love her style and at almost every page of her book I felt that she was writing what I tried to express myself (check out her blog!).

* Do you enjoy hiding in wardrobes, especially in the tall part, where the coats hang?

No, not anymore. When playing hide and seek as a child: yes, of course. I even tried to hide putting on the coats on a hanger: quite scary for those who found a “moving” coat in the wardrobe!

* Describe briefly your biggest cooking fuckup.

I love cooking and I am a fantasy cooker, so you won’t find a dish that “goes wrong”. – Still thinking…

* If you could be a movie character and live their life as it is in the movie, which one would it be?

I guess this would be a superhero. It doesn’t matter which one. I just would love to have one super-power for a day or two and then, please, go back to normal because this is only fiction.

* What is the thing you love best about your life as it is?

I really like NOT to know what comes next. I like challenges and I love to live day by day. I enjoy this especially because in the past I wasn’t like that. I’ve spent many years worrying, planning and trying to control what comes next. But recently I find that living day by day is the best for me.

 And these are the 11 question I ask other bloggers:

1) How does a good day look like for you?

2) What is your favourite author and why?

3) Do you have a favourite plant ?

4) Dog or cat? – Why?

5) Seaside or mountain?

6) If you could choose where to live, where would this be and why?

7) Are you a morning or an evening person?

8) Do you like to bake or to cook?

9) Which is your favourite mean of transportation?

10) Mac or PC?

11) If you could start a new blog, what would it be about?


And these are my nominees (in alphabetical order 😉 ):

1) Amanda from Expat Life with a Double Buggy

2) Daniela from Malaikatravel

3) Galina from Raising a Trilingual Child

4) Irina from Good to be mom

5) Isabelle from Aventures d’Expat

6) Jonathan Ervine from Dad’s the way I like it

7) Lana from Smart Tinker

8) Maria from Trilingual Mama

9) Olga from European Mama

10) Rina from Finding Dutchland

11) Stephen Greene from Head of the Heard


Expatsincebirth 2013 in review (from

I’m very thankful for everything that happened in my life in 2013. There were negative and sad things (many, too many good-byes) but also quite a lot of positive ones. Personally, I rather focus on the good ones and prefer living in the moment, without planning too much.

But 2013 is the first year that I’ve been blogging, and did an annual report for my blog (as for all the others!) and I think it’s nice to just have a look at it.

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 31,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 11 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

About St Nicholas and his legend

A medieval fresco depicting St Nicholas from t...

A medieval fresco depicting St Nicholas from the Boyana Church, near Sofia, Bulgaria. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sinterklaas or Nikolaus, San Nicola etc. in European countries is based on the legendary figure of St Nicholas. Born in 271 AD to a rich Greek family in Asia Minor in in the city of Patara (Lycia et Pamphylia), he was very religious from an early age. His parents died by an epidemic while Nicholas was still very young and he was raised by his uncle (also named Nicholas), the bishop of Patara. ” He tonsured the young Nicholas as a reader and later ordained him a presbyter (priest). “(wikipedia) Nicholas decided to distribute his wealth to the poor and become a priest. Later he became the Arch Bishop of Myra, a place near the city of Anatolia in Turkey.

He had the reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him and became the model for Santa Claus (celebrated on 24th or 25th December), whose modern name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas. Sinterklaas in turn comes from a series of elisions and corruptions of the transliteration of “Saint Nikolaos”.

The fame of St Nicholas’ good deeds began to spread across the Mediterranean and he became known as a patron saint of children, sailors, merchants, archors, travellers and of the city of Amsterdam. Therefore this figure has a special meaning to the Dutch and to the children.

There are many legends about St Nicholas. One tells how a terrible famine struck the island and a malicious butcher lured three little children to his house, killed them and placed their remains in a barrel to cure, planning to sell them off as ham. Saint Nicholas, visiting the region to care for the hungry, saw through this horrible crime and resurrected the three boys from the barrel by his prayers. In another version (from the 11th Century), the butcher’s victims were three clerks who wished to stay the night. The man murdered them and intended to turn them into meat pies. Saint Nicholas saw through this and brought the men back to life. – These kind of legends seem to have originated some of the well known helpers of St Nicholas in many European countries.

The legends with the most likely historical basis are those with St Nicholas being the helper or being the secret benefactor:

Nicholas heard about a man who had lost all his money. He had three daughters who were old enough to get married but had no dowry.

This family was so poor they had nothing left to eat. The daughters were going to be sold as slaves because they couldn’t live at home any longer. They were very sad. They wouldn’t be able to have families of their own. And they would have to be slaves—no longer able to decide where they would live or what they would do.

The night before the oldest daughter was to be sold, she washed her stockings and put them in front of the fire to dry. Then all of them went to sleep—the father and the three daughters.

In the morning the daughter saw a lump in her stocking. Reaching in, she found a small, heavy bag. It had gold inside! Enough to provide food for the family and money for her dowry. Oh, how happy they were!

The next morning, another bag with gold was found. Imagine! Two of the daughters would now be saved. Such joy!

And the next night, the father planned to stay awake to find out who was helping his daughters. He dozed off, but heard a small “clink” as another bag landed in the room. Quickly he jumped up and ran out the door. Who did he catch ducking around the corner? – Nicholas, the young man who lived with his uncle. “Nicholas, it is you! Thank you for helping us—I hardly know what to say!” Nicholas said, “Please, do not thank me—thank God that your prayers have been answered. Do not tell others about me.”

Nicholas continued helping people. He always tried to help secretly. He didn’t want any attention or thanks. Years passed and he was chosen to be a bishop. Bishops look after their people as shepherds look after their sheep. And that is what Nicholas did. When there wasn’t any food, he found wheat; so no one went hungry. He always helped people in trouble. All his life Nicholas showed people how to love God and care for each other.

Everyone loved Nicholas. After he died, they told stories of the good and kind things Nicholas had done. Sailors took these stories about Nicholas everywhere they went. Some of the stories were about his special care for children—helping and protecting them when danger threatened. And so more and more people learned about good, kind Nicholas. They wanted to be like him. He is an example of how we should live. And that is why he became a saint. (Carol Myers)

Featured posts

Raffael 085

Raffael 085 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is an overview of some of my posts on other blogs:

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Some reviews I wrote for other sites:

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St. Augustine writing, revising, and re-writin...

St. Augustine writing, revising, and re-writing: Sandro Botticelli’s St. Augustine in His Cell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)