Nonna mia


Meeting new people can be exciting, especially when they’re from a different cultural background. When I first met my boyfriend Silvio’s family in Italy I had a few problems with their habits.

Getting nervous

It was summer and we were hitting the road along the Adriatic in my mum’s car. I’d known my boyfriend for a while, but it had taken some time until I got to meet his family. We’d planned to stay at his grandma’s house. All I knew about her at this point was that her name is Lola. After an eleven-hour ride on adventurous Italian roads, we finally arrived at her apartment in a small town located on the east coast of Italy called Chieti. It was late at night and the whole place seemed to be asleep. Suddenly the lights in the dark house came on and a small old woman stepped outside. I was nervous and my stomach was aching: what would she think of me? Would we get along? I didn’t know any Italian, except for ciao or grazie and didn’t know what to say or how to act towards her.

Suffering from Italian hospitality

I was pretty excited. But as soon as we approached her, all my worries were gone. She hugged and kissed us and took us into her apartment, where she’d prepared a lot of food. And when I say a lot, I mean piles of all the dishes you can find on an Italian restaurant’s menu: there were pots and pans full of pasta, vegetables like aubergines, courgettes or artichokes and: meat. Normally I don’t eat meat and I’d simply say that I prefer to eat side dishes only and everything’s fine. In this case, I had to rely on my boyfriend to translate everything for me. But he was no help: he couldn’t convince his grandma that I was fine without meat. She just started heaping our plates with food like pancetta (roast pork) or salsiccia arrosto (fried sausage) and when we’d almost finished our plates, she’d add more and more. She wouldn’t let us go to sleep until all the food was finished. As I didn’t want to offend nonna, I decided to have some meat and put the rest onto my boyfriend’s plate secretly. Problem solved. When we finally went to bed, though, my stomach was aching – not from being nervous about meeting grandma but from being stuffed with meat and tagliatelle.

No Italian? No problem!

But the next day we – nonna and I – were finally able to get to know each other. I was very shy at first and I thought I wouldn’t understand a word. But as I know a little Spanish, I could guess what she was talking about and with the help of online dictionaries we were able to have a little chat. My boyfriend’s grandma used to live in Germany for some years, so we had some things to talk about. But unfortunately, she can’t actually speak German any more. Nevertheless, we had a great time talking about German and Italian traditions and – obviously – food.

In the evening, the rest of the family came around, and I thought I could at least speak English with the Italian cousins. But they didn’t understand a single word, so Italian was the only option. And even though I couldn’t really take part in the conversation, they never made me feel left out, and I had a really good time.

Was it really that bad?

No, of course not! During our stay I met a wonderful heartwarming family, who welcomed me with open arms (and lots of kisses). I really fell in love with the whole family. They showed me that you don’t need to talk much to get along, they taught me a little Italian and gave me an insight to their culture and way of life.

And even though I probably won’t ever get used to their eating habits, I’m already looking forward to seeing them again next summer!

 

Text & Pictures: Ramona Meisner

International Workaholics Day

It couldn’t fit any better, could it?  Exams are coming up, so most of us only seem to turn into real workaholics when studying towards the end of the term. How fitting, then, that today, on 5th July, we can all celebrate International Workaholics Day! Personally, I‘m not sure whether we should celebrate or commiserate…

Worka…what?!

A workaholic is a “person to whom work is extremely or excessively important, esp. one who voluntarily works very long hours; a person addicted to working” (OED).

It can also imply that someone really enjoys the work itself or that they simply feel obliged to do it. That’s quite something, don’t you think? Certainly, we all sometimes somehow feel a certain ‘pressure’ when it comes to work. But a workaholic comes in early, stays in late and sacrifices health and their relationship with their loved ones. Not only once, but very often. I dare say – constantly. Relaxation simply isn’t part of their vocabulary, literally. This may work out for a certain time.

But let’s face it: a healthy work-life balance is vital!

Help! I know a workaholic!

While reading this, you might have a friend or relative in mind, or you might recognise your own workaholic behaviour? In that case, you’ve already made the first step towards a better work-life balance. Remember some of the following advice that may help to be a diligent, hard-working student who can combine work and time for revitalization

  • Give your body and mind enough time to relax. This sets free more energy than you might think at first glance.
  • Set yourself a certain time limit to finish your work effectively, instead of spending too much time working ineffectively.
  • Reward yourself by organising a meeting with a mate that always cheers you up.
  • In case you have got up the wrong side of the bed: stop working for a day. Don’t force it! Try to relax and start all over the next day.
  • Remind yourself of one very essential fact: nobody’s perfect! It’s human nature to set goals you can’t attain sometimes!

Remember, we get up and go to work every day to earn the money or to study for a job in the future in order to enjoy the rest of our lives. Why not start enjoying now? Being hard-working definitely earns respect, but you only live once, right?

Text & Picture: Maximiliane Hill

YES THEORY

Monday morning. 6:30 am. The alarm clock rings. You get up, make yourself a nice hot cup of coffee (because you can’t do anything before that caffeine kicks in), then read the paper, get yourself ready, go to work, come home, have some leftovers from the day before, watch your favorite TV show, check up on social media and go to sleep. Next day, it’s the same procedure. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.

Is this what your life might look like in five to ten years’ time? Or does it already look that way?

The great feeling of knowing what to expect

Routines. We love them. We humans are creatures of habit. Schedules, plans, simply knowing what to expect when we wake up in the morning – WE LOVE IT. And most of us seem to do really well with this kind of structure for their days, weeks or their lives.

Let’s take this scenario and alter it a bit

Monday morning. 6:30 am. The alarm clock rings. You get up, make yourself a nice hot cup of coffee. Then read the paper, get yourself ready, go to the airport, take the
first last-minute flight they offer you and spontaneously go on an adventure to the Bahamas.

YES THEORY

Sounds fun? Scary? Crazy?

We fear what we can’t predict. That’s why most of us so vigorously cling to our comfort zones. But you know what? Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. This is the philosophy four Canadian guys in their mid-twenties live by. They seem to have found the key to living a good and happy life: seeking discomfort. Together they came up with the concept of ’Yes Theory’ in 2015.

Things have changed quiet a lot for these guys, who used to live a rather ordinary life. They decided to step out of their comfort zones whenever they can – causing them to have unbelievable experiences. They moved to LA, went skinny dipping with strangers, sneaked into a Hollywood premiere and hitchhiked to Mexico. And that’s only listing a few of their countless adventures. And their intentions pay off: they’re all living and enjoying life more consciously and transform their anxiety into happiness and excitement. Getting curious? Go check them out at ‘Yes Theory’ on YouTube or on their blog and follow their miraculous journey.

Saying ‘yes’

Are you living a calm life right there at this warm and cozy spot in the middle of your comfort zone? And most importantly: do you feel the need to change something about it? To feel more alive, maybe? Do you miss the feeling of your blood rushing through your veins? Yes? Well, then be inspired by the ‘Yes Theory’ and try to say yes more often (starting with that very first ‘yes’ you maybe just said).

‘What makes you uncomfortable? What are you gonna do about it?’  (quote by one of the members of ‘Yes Theory’)

So after reading this, do you want to change your life for the better? Well, you don’t have to hop on a plane to another continent right away. Let’s start with baby steps out of your comfort zone, but most importantly: start.

Go to the movie you want to see so badly – by yourself, because no one wants to join.

Go jump off that cliff that seems to be way too high for you.

Go ask that boy or girl you’ve had a crush on for so long for a date.

Do what the dark, mean anxiety in your head tells you not to.

Enjoy life more consciously.

Be crazy, loud and spontaneous.

Seek discomfort.

Be happy.

 

Text: Lena Zimmermann
Picture: Fabian Prinz

 

 

Lasciatemi cantare con la chitarra in mano, lasciatemi cantare, sono un italiano vero?

Identità: Il complesso dei dati personali caratteristici e fondamentali che consentono l’individuazione o garantiscono l’autenticità, specialmente dal punto di vista anagrafico o burocratico. Siamo davvero soltanto quello che un libro anagrafico dice di noi?

 Polisemia identitaria   

 In realtà, il concetto di “identità” muta profondamente, a seconda che lo si adoperi all’interno di un discorso matematico, filosofico o sociologico. Quindi, la prima cosa da fare quando se ne parla, è considerare in quale ambito se ne stia parlando, per quali fini, e quindi con quali significati. In ambito matematico l’identità evidenzia per definizione ‘’L’uguaglianza fra due espressioni nelle quali intervengano una o più variabili’’ ma, a prescindere da ciò, sia in ambito filosofico che sociologico, il concetto di identità indica una caratteristica, o un elemento, o un’idea che renda distinguibile un individuo da tutti gli altri. Caratteristiche, elementi e idee che filosoficamente non ammettono sfumature, e indicano una qualità, o un insieme di qualità, che non consentono ambiguità, e tanto meno confusioni.Sociologicamente invece, essi non rimangono fissi, ma evolvono sia rispetto alla crescita dell’individuo, dall’infanzia alla vecchiaia, sia per effetto dei cambiamenti che si verificano a livello sociale, dato che ciascun individuo è inserito in una società e ne viene influenzato. Perciò sarebbe lecito affermare sia che l’identità di un individuo, o di un gruppo, o di una comunità, sono qualcosa di permanente e di non negoziabile, che non ammette alterazioni, in quanto o si è se stessi, o non si è, sia quanti sostengono che, al contrario, l’individuo, i gruppi e le comunità, pur avendo coscienza di sé, modificano lentamente e necessariamente tale coscienza nel corso dei processi storici, sociali, culturali, economici e linguistici.

Uno, nessuno e centomila

 Ma possono la matematica, la filosofia o la sociologia farci capire chi siamo realmente?

Probabilmente no. Sicuramente no, ma di certo la ricerca della propria identità accompagna tutti noi attraverso un cammino lungo e tortuoso, un cammino da seguire per tutta la vita, pieno di domande e quasi mai di risposte certe.

Siamo il paese dove siamo nati? La lingua che parliamo? La cultura a cui apparteniamo? Sono le nostre idee a definire la nostra identità? Oppure siamo uno, nessuno e centomilacome affermava Pirandello? Chi può dirlo? Sono domande che ognuno di noi si è posto almeno una volta nella vita arrivando quasi sempre a pensare che forse Pirandello aveva ragione. Almeno nel mio caso è stato così. Cambiare paese, cambiare città, parlare un’altra lingua per inseguire un sogno infatti mi ha portato molte volte a riflettere su chi io sia realmente, e soprattutto a cercare di capire se avere lasciato la mia patria abbia fatto di me un nessuno, un italiano un po’ meno italiano insomma, perché è lì che sono nato, cresciuto e diventato quel che sono oggi. Beh, di certo questo cambiamento radicale mi ha reso più centomila che nessuno. Perché? Perché la mia identità, come quella di ognuno di noi, non è solo il mio paese, la mia cultura o la mia lingua, quello è solo il punto di partenza. Avere arricchito il mio bagaglio culturale di nuove esperienze, di nuovi punti di vista e di nuove idee non ha fatto altro che incrementare il mio essere, in continua evoluzione, facendomi rimanere sempre e comunque uno, me stesso con le mie radici appresso. Un me stesso con nuove esperienze da raccontare, in più di una lingua ormai, in perenne ritardo e con quell’insaziabile voglia di pizza da colmare. Alla fine sono italiano, no?

Si, essere uno, nessuno e centomila non è poi così male e credo che sia questa la definizione di identità più realistica che si possa dare. Identità è essere tutti diversi, ognuno con le proprie radici, la propria cultura e il proprio bagaglio di esperienze, ognuno uno, ognuno nessuno e ognuno centomilaa seconda della situazione, a seconda di ciò che si decide di essere, perché in fin dei conti siamo a noi a noi decidere chi siamo e come siamo. Nessun libro o vocabolario può spiegare chi siamo. Perché siamo ciò che viviamo e ciò che scegliamo di essere. In quanto a me, lasciatemi cantare con la chitarra in mano, lasciatemi cantare, sono un italiano, un italiano vero. E sento nel profondamente di esserlo ovunque io sia.

Text & picture: Giuseppe Mattia Lombardi

“Love and madness go always together”

The guitar music that reaches out at me as I enter Hörsaal II to watch this term’s production of the Anglistentheater is soothing, somewhat relaxing. It fits the scene I see on stage where two young children (Lea Bess, Tara Vogel; Milla Hünig, Midori Tran) and a nurse (Julia Teuchner) are playing quietly with a toy ship. However, the lapping of rain and low rumbling of thunder in the background announce imminent disaster.

What’s the play about?

Ben Power’s version of Euripides’ Greek tragedy Medea shows how boundless love can turn into boundless fury. I don’t want to give away too much, as you should really experience the story yourselves, but here’s a rough outline of the story: Jason (Maximilian Leoson) abandons his two sons and his wife Medea (Lotte Albrecht) to marry Krёusa (Sara Steffes), the daughter of the Corinthian King Kreon (Jack Sigel). Heartbroken and riven by grief, Medea vows revenge on her husband. She wants him to experience the same endless pain she feels after his betrayal. Or as she puts it: she chooses to take back her life. The disaster takes its course.

An absolute must-see

It was the perfect interaction of all relevant factors that made me like this theatre play so much. The casting is spot on, from the bigger roles to the smaller ones, such as the Corinthian women (Kristina Becker, Jasmin Gall, Lucie Marchand), Jason’s attendant (Kathrin Bayer) or the King of Athens, Aegeus (Baris Kirat). I especially loved Lotte’s performance of Medea, perfectly portraying her as a grieving yet strong and independent woman with a sprinkle of madness in her eyes. Not only were the performances amazing; the sound and costumes need to be praised, too. Medea and Jason are both wearing harem pants and look unkempt, which makes it clear that they are two of a kind. They stand out against the Corinthians, all dressed neatly, all the women wearing more modest make-up than Medea. Ominous music and thunderous rumbling are used to prepare the audience for upcoming disasters.

Go and watch it!

I left the play thinking about what I’d just experienced for quite a while. Can a broken heart really make you perform such evil actions? Do love and madness always go together? Is Medea strong or a psychopath? Or is she maybe both? The fact that it’s almost impossible not to think about these things afterwards shows just what a good job the Anglistentheater team has done. With this performance of Medea, they have once again surpassed themselves and exceeded my expectations, as they do every semester. So I highly recommend you watch one of their shows, which take place on Thursday the 07th, Friday 8th, Tuesday 12th and Thursday 14th at 7:45 pm in Hörsaal II here at Uni. Tickets can be ordered online with the order forms or bought at the Taschenbuchladen Krüger located near the Königsplatz.

 

Text: Jessica Jones
Flyer: Andreas Böhm
Photos: K. Satzinger-Viel

 

My personal hell

We all dread that moment at the beginning of term when the lecturer says this magic word that creates a wave of desperation in the room: “presentations”. Yes, we all hate them. Not even all lecturers are convinced of these infamous presentations, as after them the presenters will be the only ones to know about the topic. We all try to be nice and not look too annoyed. But don’t we all feel the same? Or, at least most of us? Rumour has it that there are indeed some people out there who like presentations. Anyway, what’s even more dreadful for most of us is the lecturer telling us: “Work in groups of two or three.” Yay, exactly what I didn’t want to do. Let’s face it – we’re all much too different, some even misanthropic, to be able to really like this kind of work. There are so many types of group members that you wouldn’t want to come across that it seems almost impossible to be lucky for once and find THE partner that really is a joy to work with.

So, what kind of team players will you come across when doing presentations in a group? Let’s have a look at some of them…

The one that never has time

Just after the topics and partners have been assigned, you try to approach each other carefully and swap numbers to keep in touch. It’s clear that you’ve got to meet at least once. Rarely will you be able to do everything just online. It’s possible, but only with very few topics. So, the first hurdle is to find a time when you could meet.

Of course, you all assure each other that you’re flexible enough and will meet anytime there’s no other lecture. You start with Monday – doesn’t work, the sister’s friend’s cousin needs help attending their garden. Okay, how about Tuesday? Nah, doesn’t work, as there’s a shift at work. Sure, what’s with Wednesday? Uh, classes all day. Thursday? Your partner’s grandmother needs help with the cat’s appointment at the vet’s. Friday? Leaving for the whole weekend. Next week? Same procedure ….. “But I’m really flexible. I’m free almost every day.” Uhm, yeah. If you say so.

The one that decides everything

Hi, nice to meet you. I saw you in that lecture last term. You seem to be nice. That’s cool. Let’s get started. What’s your number? I know this topic. I’ve already done the research. How about we meet tomorrow morning at 7 am? Yes? Cool. Okay, I’ll do the Powerpoint. Well, I even started. I can send you the material. Found everything at the library and scanned it. I’ll send it to your mail. What’s your mail address? Oh, and I have a great source. We’re gonna use it. This will be so cool. You’ll see – the lecturer will be impressed. I’m really experienced with this. Oh, and don’t worry about the handout. I’ll do it. I’ve got a template. And I even prepared the outline of our presentation.” And you end up standing there, having done almost nothing for the presentation, not liking how it looks, not knowing what it’s even supposed to be about and trying to mumble a few words while your partner eagerly talks for thirty minutes straight.

The one that is a ghost

Sometimes you don’t get to choose who to work with. It’s a name you’ve come across several times, but you can’t seem to remember the corresponding face. Well, you figure you could just call out the name at the end of class. No answer, just people looking bewildered. Okay, contact the person on Digicampus. After your first message you receive no answer. You send another one the following week (there was another no-show in class) and – again – receive no answer. Your third mail gets you a short answer telling you that the person has been out of town and will gladly work with you. The time comes round and you wait where you wanted to meet. But you’re stood up. Next attempt – it’s just two weeks left until the presentation is due – yet again, another no-show. Now’s the time to get worried. You approach the lecturer and try to explain the situation. Mostly they show sympathy, but in the end you’ll just do the presentation on your own. Your partner’s identity shall forever remain a mystery.

Concept: Tobias Lorenz & Angie Czygann
Text: Angie Czygann
Picture: Niklas Schmidt

eMAG’s Facebook dilemma

So, turns out Facebook might be a shady company. I know. Who’da thunk? While private users have begun to jump ship or at the very least to post memes about Mark Zuckerberg’s peculiar way to drink water, public pages – like eMAG – are having to make a pretty tough decision.

Yet another Facebook scandal

Alright, let’s start with a very brief, by no means, complete summary. Facebook is collecting user data, and this goes quite a bit deeper than what some people like to admit. Call logs, contact lists, even where people live. Pretty useful stuff, one might say. Would come in handy if you were to – oh, I don’t know – create ads to sway people’s opinion on stuff like the 2016 Brexit vote or certain presidential candidates in the US. Well, Cambridge Analytica found a way to collect this data and sold it to customers who in turn used it for… You can do the math. Of course, Mark Zuckerberg distanced himself from these practices in the senate hearing last month, but whether his company will change its data-guzzling ways is more than doubtful.

The convenience of networks

And this is where we all come in, actively this time. The development of Facebook’s user base hasn’t really changed all that much following the latest scandal, but a number of influential personalities have openly encouraged people to delete their account, for example Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and Space X. So there is at least a chance that the already sub-optimal public opinion about Facebook could lead to people leaving. The problem is, where to?

You see, people have been concerned about Facebook for a long time, but we’re all so invested in its ecosystem that moving on from it seems like a huge step. You’d have to find services that can do everything you’ve found in Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram. And ideally, they should have a user base as all-encompassing as these apps, too. Facebook is all about being convenient. Looking for capable alternatives and convincing your family, friends and colleagues to actually use them is anything but that.

Ties that bind

For eMAG the issue is similar, but with a slight twist. For us Facebook’s massive reach means that we can use those existing networks to get word going when we have a promotion event, a new article ready, or our latest issue around the corner. People who are interested share it and all of a sudden 200 people most of our team members have never seen know our release date. That’s just neat! But doesn’t that also mean that we encourage people to stick around on a platform that has done enough shady stuff to deserve being shunned indefinitely?

We’re not pretending that we’re as big as Kanye, but this definitely is a problem that every influencer and page administrator on Facebook needs to be aware of. If you use Facebook for promotion, you bind people to that system and it’s gotten really tough to justify that now.

To leave or not to leave…

So, this is where we’re at. If we quit Facebook, we take the moral high ground. We also throw away most of the promotion work we’ve done since the magazine’s inception. If we stay, we are able to reach a modest, but ever-growing number of readers and can hope to reach people outside the campus on a regular basis.

If you know of any alternatives, please drop us a line, through Facebook, if need be. Every social network has to start with just a handful of users. Maybe you are one of them. We’re definitely open for a service that respects its users.

Text & Picture: Andreas Böhm