La La Land

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I wish to start writing and sharing my ideas and opinions on the things I love the most, among the others music, books, traveling and cinema. I grew up being addicted to these categories of “hobbies”, and I can proudly consider them the most relevant part of my life. Speaking of cinema, I went to see LA LA LAND yesterday night, and my life is not going to be the same ever again.

The land of dreamers

To start, I have to tell you that I’m not going to make anything like a detailed review or a technical report about the movie, I’m not capable. I will avid spoilers, and I will talk to you about the feelings and whether I would suggest the film or not. I think I’ll adopt this technique as my go to one.

La La Land made me cry, I cried very very much. I went to see it with one of my best friends, and even if I think we’re both going through some weirdly sensitive phase in which we cry for no reason at all, the story is so touching you must be heartless not to feel something. We were in an almost empty theatre, and we saw it in original version with subtitle (for which we had to pay extra, something unacceptable in 2017 in Italy, as if watching a movie in its original version was a privilege). Not paying attention to this detail, we sat and started watching. We were both looking forward to it, my sister and her girlfriend ( who are both smart and truly passionate about cinema, so I rely on their opinion without second thoughts) had told us it was amazing, and the reviews were great.

The movie has obtained such a success, that it is predicted to be the winner of most awards at this year’s oscars, having already beaten the competition at the SAG and they have the critics and the audience by their side. Fairly, let me add.

The colors and the settings are wonderful, with a palette that is able to reflect the feelings of the characters and the situation in a perfect way. The places, well the places are pretty much a dream for someone who is not from LA or California like my sad self. I really liked the colors of the sky, and how important they are for the working of the entire scene. The costumes, the hairdos, the cars; I love how the remind you of late 50s America.

Moving to the actors, two perfect human beings are the main characters of this delicate, dreamy and still realistic musical. Emma Stone is bright, funny, and let me say, a blooming spring. She brought to life a character, Mia, that is so easily comparable to her in real life. You can’t distinguish the moment she’s fully Mia and not Emma as well, she’s natural and fierce. Ryan Gosling was tailored for this role, not that he was not for all the other roles he has had throughout his career. He is the proof that handsomeness is ABSOLUTELY nothing without amazing talent in the acting world. He is beautiful, sweet, and a perfect dancer as well.

There is nothing that can help you from recognizing that this musical, yes, a movie where actors sing and dance, is a little masterpiece to which dreamers can feel linked to. Dreamers of every of all kinds, those who still smile when they see a sun ray after a long day of rain, who believe that luck exists, but you have to work hard because it doesn’t come uncalled. Poets, painters, singers, writers, artists, people who believe in love and those who’re still able to be kind and polite in a world that is so rude sometimes.

Harshness and bad times are part of life, but as long as you listen to the music that comes from the inside of each of us, there’s going to be hope.

Believe me, tears of joy and disappointment are going to mix on your chicks. It is not an unbearably sweet and sickening happy-ending film. No, not at all.

 

22/01 market place 

I’m a huge fan of market places, but I’ve not been this all my life long. In the last years I’ve learned that they are hidden gems in every city, and they are an easy way to get in touch with the true culture of a place. My city’s most colorful markets? Fruits and vegetables’ones 🙂 

Fruttivendolo in the heart of Naples

Paris; je viens pour rester

Right now I’m curled under three to four layers of warm clothes, on a comfortable armchair, watching an italian show about traveling. There’s a candle, there’s rain outside. I’m never going to get out of here, I swear.

Place Igor Stravinsky

Since the beginning of the new year, as probably the rest of the world, I have tried to set some not-so-pretentious goals to change the way I do things. I don’t make lists, I don’t make plans because that is the easiest way to end up doing nothing of what we really want to do in our brand new year. Nonetheless, I have tried to lay down and relax, eat better (more, that means more) and I went to Paris 😀 What better way to kick 2017 off?

I have been so lucky to visit Paris more than once in my life, and it has a special and irreplaceable place in my heart, since it was the first foreign city I have ever been to. I still remember the feeling I felt when I landed for the first time. Paris is, without any doubt, one of the most beautiful in the world. Its fame is well known by anyone, it’s really hard to meet someone who hasn’t heard of the Eiffel Tower or hasn’t seen at least one of the thousand films that were shot among its narrow and fascinating streets. Finding yourself strolling around this magical place, the city of the blinding lights that is so dear to many artists, singers and actors, is a priceless emotion. Even if living in Europe today means living in the age of low-cost flights, cheap hotels and easy connections among the european cities, each time I go to one of these gems I feel the great power of new and change. Paris might be just 70 euros and 2 hours away from here (Italy), but it is still an amazing surprise.

European cities have a unique appeal to visitors, and I am strongly affectionate to them. I love the idea of traveling to exotic lands,  I actually feel a urge to do it. But the music I hear in my head while walking around the Montmartre streets for example…it can’t be heard in any place.

Montmartre is where I want to start this brief description of “my” Paris. I don’t own any city unfortunately, but they all own my heart, but let’s get into the action. The area of Montmartre is located, as many of you probably know, on a hill. Paris is a city that goes up until it reaches the supreme point of the Sacre-Coeur, from where it’s possible to see one of the best views of the city. In this sense, it reminds me of Naples, which is also a hard challenge for bike lovers, just like Paris. Narrow, cobblestone streets are the typical landmark of my absolutely favorite place in the city. Getting lost here is mandatory, and one of my biggest dreams is to have a house here one day. This time I went beyond the usual sightseeings and stopped into small shops, I went to see the famous “wall of love” (it is covered with I LOVE YOU in all the languages of the world) and of course “climbed” up to the top, to visit the church of the Sacred-heart.

It is pure magic, Montmartre. Hard to tell you the feeling of walking along the streets that were dear to Hemingway and Fitzgerald (yes, the Midnight in Paris sickness is a real thing), admiring the paintings of the street artists and eating in small cafes and bistrot. Can you imagine that Monet and Caillebotte painted THESE boulevards and these squares?
I went to have lunch at the pretty cafe des deux Moulines, does it bring anything to your mind? If it doesn’t, well I have to share with you my film list. It is the cafe where Amélie works in the sweet and beautiful Amélie (as I think they call it in english), a movie about the life of a young Parisian and her amazing and unexpected destiny. Worth watching and re-watching at least twice in life. The cafe anyway is cozy and pretty, and situated right in the heart of Montmartre.


Talking about Paris is not easy, it would take hours and hours or pages and pages of detailed descriptions and hundreds of photos. I think it gives its best during spring, but I love it also when it rains. It turns into something powerfully romantic and melancholic, with the lights of the Eiffel Tower or The Champs Elysées that shine together with raindrops under a thick, grey sky. It has something for every season.

I strongly suggest to take your time to visit the Quartier latin, another area that I deeply adore. To begin exploring here, you can cross the bridge across the Seine right next to Notre-Dame’s cathedral and enjoy the first little cafes and shops around here. Riversides are also adorable in my opinion, full of charme. After crossing this bridge, you HAVE TO stop at Shakespeare&company’s bookstore. There’s also a cafe. It is the bookstore famous writers who lived in Paris used to hang out in, they sold their fist copies and, believe me, the atmosphere is that of early 1940s. Just more crowd and tourist sneaking through the shelves, but hey, that’s part of tourism.

Saint Germain de prés is another neighborhood you should try to find time to visit, walking along its boulevard. Together with its surroundings, it is a good place to start a day of walking around Paris, not forgetting that you can jump on a metro whenever you want and fly to the next destination. There’s so much to do and see, that time always seems too short.

Berlin calling me

“Du bist verrückt mein Kind. Du musst nach Berlin!”  – Franz von Suppé 

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Having the opportunity to travel and to go to new cities or places is always a true, exciting and amazing fortune. I keep on telling to myself this:that whenever I step on a plane, a boat, a train, I am making my life better and I am filling my heart with an infusion of luck and happiness.

With this spirit, I took a plane last Monday to go to B E R L I N. The Hauptstadt of Germany, the city of many contradictions, cool bars, amazing street food and mesmerizing history.

My stay there was characterized by many different features that made it cool enough, despite the great cold that has hit the city while we were there. First suggestion I would give to anyone planning on visiting Berlin soon, is to avoid months like this if you can barely stand cold and windy days. I say this with a bit of regret, because cities like this ARE to see during winter. The Christmas atmosphere is touchable,  you can feel it everywhere. Markets, stalls that sell every type of winterish treat (from the amazing Glühwein to roasted potatoes, bratwursts and many other things), the ice skating in Alexanderplatz, the lights… I mean, how could it possibly be better? Berlin is not the typical little village of central Europe that looks like popping out of a Grimm’s tale. It has this sweet side that contrasts with the almost harsh and “underground” soul that is its real “self”. In my opinion, it is the best way to enjoy a Christmasy city without exceeding in too many decorations 😀 . Still, if you crave that TOO MUCH every once in a while (we all do, don’t worry), a place that has to be visited is Käthe Wohlfhart on the Kurfürstendamm. The street is itself a main attraction in Berlin, because of the great variety of shops and little malls, and Käthe is one of them. The place is like a 3 floors enchanted reign where a 5mt tall white Christmas tree towers over shelves and shelves of pure joy made into hand-made creations. You can find literally anything that is Christmas related, but the thing I fell in love with where their Nutcrackers. They were beautiful, and also their tree’s decorations, all made in wood, and the cute little nativities.

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We took off at the Zoologischer Garten station (have you ever heard of Christiane F.? the sadly famous station of the book and the street are right these ones, fully renewed and nothing like the ones she wrote about) and we took a long walk, stopping to Urban Outfitters – a really big one and to Ampelmann Cafe, a really cute place also great for souvenirs. It has a shop next to the cafe, great to buy themed gifts. I think they have more than one of these cafes, but I just went to the one on the Kudamm.

A tip that I feel to give to you is to choose where to stay wisely, as it is really important: Berlin is really huge so you want to be sure to be next to a well-connected station, both of the UBAHN or the SBAHN. You see, Berlin has two different lines of transports via train, and getting confused is quite easy. What’s more, it is as if many different towns compose Berlin. Each neighborhood ( I don’t know if it’s the proper way to call them) has its central square, hotels and hostels and attractions. Don’t be afraid of sleeping in “east” Berlin; although the areas may look different, it is now a huge city properly working as a huge mechanism. The differences are just enrichment 🙂 You should be careful at night wherever you are, as in every big metropolitan center.

We slept in a great hostel that is called PLUS Berlin and is situated in Warschauerstrasse, a really strategic place. I would recommend it to anyone, families or group of young people. It is big, the rooms are comfortable and perfectly kept, there’s a pool and a sauna and a common room. People working there are extremely friendly and speak different languages, which I can understand can be great for people who don’t speak German. I do personally know the language, but I noticed how people were pleased hearing them talking to them in great english, spanish or italian.  We found it thanks to a friend, and booked via http://www.hostelworld.com. The prices are great too and you can choose whatever accommodation you want.

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Another advantage is the position: it is just few steps away from the famous East Side Gallery, the Berliner Wall that has been turned into the largest open-air art gallery in the world. You can breath history and the wind of change that still surround this place. Although it was really windy out there, I still got to walk along the entire gallery.

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The photo up here shows The Sonycenter at Potsdamer Platz, one of the main square in Berlin, a crossing point where the main streets of the city meet, the Berlinale is held every year and shops are easy to reach. One thing we found amazingly useful and a life-saver was the pretty Starbucks located inside the Sonycenter. We took a break from rain and walking and stopped for coffee and yes, wifi. Travelers with anxious italian moms will understand what I mean.

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The Brandenburger Tor, the Bundestag and every landmark Berlin is famous for are behind a corner. The tragically worth a visit Monument for the murdered Jews of Europe is really close as well.

Moving on, I think that thousand words are not enough to describe Berlin, as a thousand days are not enough to find out everything about it. I feel like I opened up a chapter that still needs tons of pages to be archived. I have many and many other places to suggest to you, like my favorite, the yard of the Eschschloraque on Rosenthalerstrasse; it is an amazing  little corner, with Graffitis covering its walls, a cinema cafe and an art gallery. Powerful messages everywhere, flowers and colors make it a photographic heaven. It is also an historically important place, but I’ll leave you the hint to find out about it.

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I loved everything there.

I want to end with a last picture from the Gendarmenmarkt, the most pretty Christmas market I have ever seen. I think that if I could have spent an entire day there, strolling, eating cheese-balls and potatoes and listening to the band, I would have. I love this type of sober atmosphere during this period, not excessively festive but still quite dreamy.

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Ps. all my photos were taken with my Iphone, I had my camera with me but it was so chilly that most of the time I didn’t have enough strength to take my gloves off. I think the result wasn’t disappointing at all, or better I hope so. If you want, as always, I have a Instagram account where I posted a lot of pictures and the things that we saw and did. If you want to have advice and tips on where to eat, where to stay, don’t hesitate to ask me 😀

Packing things and thoughts

I don’t have much time to dedicate to this little space I created up here, nor to social medias lately. I had so much to do to prepare some papers to hand to my professor, together with collecting all the documents to participate to the selection for a scholarship (wish me luck!) to go abroad this summer. As you can see, it’s tough being a student, and German isn’t making my life easy too. I study foreign languages since I can remember, I love the process of becoming able to communicate with larger slices od population through a new language and I can’t wait to approach to a new one, but German is making the process really hard. If you want I will write more in detail about my educational path and the way I study the foreign languages I know, and what I find easier and harder about them.

Anyway, I also focused on studying and working out very much knowing that, on November the 28th (in two days), I would have taken my next plane to a new amazing destination that I am literally DYING to see <3. I will not reveal it now, and if you want to find out what it is, be sure to check my Insta @braindependent. I can’t wait to leave.

As  lot of people know, and as lots of Americans are jealous of, we travel quite easily around Europe thanks to low-cost companies such as Ryanair and EasyJest, or Vueling and so on. We get amazing discounts to explore a new city in Europe that sometimes we can enjoy Brussels for less than 100 euros (both ways) or escape to Milan for just an entire day to visit a museum or have a coffee next to the Duomo. After saying this, it’s really hard to go down on such a beautiful luck of us European, but everything has its dark side. To be fully honest, traveling with these companies is made hellish by the thousand restrictions on hand-luggages and things you can take with you onboard. The dimensions of the suitcase you’re now allowed to carry are becoming smaller and smaller; whenever I take one of these flights I promise myself it’s the last time I make the same mistake of carrying my camera in its personal bag, but I keep on taking it with me the same. Because I need it. But they say “It’s another hand bag, you can’t have it. Push it inside your trolley the best way you can”. Am I supposed to squeeze my poor Nikon inside an already tiny and overfilled baggage ? Do you want me to go nuts and claim I have a bomb ? Yes they do. Last time I was in Amsterdam I really lost my mind when the lady at the gate said that our raincoats counted as hand luggages. I was almost bursting into tears when my friends came in help. Thank you friends.

What do I mean by this? That every cloud has its silver lining and viceversa. I’m almost always broke but I need to travel to survive, so I try to find a way to stand the terribile restrictions I talked about above. Now that I am about to take off, I decided to be fully prepared and not make the same stupid mistakes, so to enjoy my trip and the money I saved. To do it, I pack smart. I’m not claiming I’m smart, I try to do my best not to BESTEMMIARE (which is to course in my beautiful language) at the airport 🙂

I have a practical and compact trolley that I got from Samsonite, that has also amazing rotating little wheels so you can pull it or push it, whatever you want! It’s seriously great, I highly suggest it. It has the shape of a safe shell, with rounded corners and a lot of space inside. I roll a couple of basic tees and a pajama on the bottom of it, next to a pair of jeans and over it, all the other necessary stuffs. AVOID EXCESS. You don’t need to take all your makeup or big pairs of hoop earrings, stick to essentials. Don’t forget to top everything with a small and possibly waterproof backpack, that you’ll take out the moment you land and that you’ll need during your stay. I recommend something that has space for a camera (of you use one) wallet and phone, sunglasses and maybe a little city guide.                     Don’t, please don’t leave your chargers home. And, of course, adapt you luggage to the place you’re traveling to and the weather. If it’s a cold place, pack ever smarter. Gloves and scarf have to be with you. Try to bring a really heavy coat, so you don’t need to bring too many sweaters.

Don’t forget a pair of headphones, and a book. Try not to choose to start Anna Karenina right before leaving, just a tip. And don’t forget the most important thing:

C U R I O S I T Y 

 

 

 

My hipster Napoli

Napoli can be hipster, and I’m going to prove it to you all 😀 There’s no doubt that, today, the word hipster and the people who get to be related to the term are difficult to describe. It is not a “phenomenon” or a defined class of people. I think that being hipster is not about belonging to a certain group, it’s just behaving in a certain way: half the world could be defined as a little keen on HIPSTERNESS .

img_9633In this era trends get to be stigmatized as bad: everyone loves Instagram, so there’s a contrasting movement raising against the social media. Hipsters are a wealthy slice of society who just display a type of being so to be cool and so on…? People criticizing pop out from nowhere. I don’t think I like labels either, and I don’t find myself belonging to any category. I’m quite outside every kind of group to be hones, and I spend a lot of time by myself. Even when I was in school I was one of those “on the edge” of every category.

Nonetheless, I think that the label Hipster can have some perks. I don’t really know, as I said before, what is really hipster and what not. I decided to take the name and use it to describe a way of acting, living and the set of places and activities linked to it. The ability to find the cutest cafes in a city, the little old bookshops and the passion for libraries. Maybe vintage clothing and old-fashioned watches can be a plus, and the ability to take 1000 pictures of a cup of coffee or a wallflower. Is that being hipster? If it is, I can’t see anything that bad in it. If it’s not, well I don’t really care.

I decided to take you around my city and to give you some advices on how to discover Naples; without acting like usual tourists (ending up catching wrong attentions and perhaps laughs)  and acting a bit more like cool types hitting alternative bars and hidden stores. Because Napoli is not just sole, mare e tarantella, but a lot more. 

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Typical bookshops and libraries are, in my opinion, one of the best thing in Naples. I can spend up to 3 hours just browning through the thousand of manuscripts, documents and books you can find for example at Colonnese Libri&altro. It’s near to the Music Conservatorio of San Pietro a Majella, and this adds just more pathos. Piano music and lyrical singing come out of the windows of this magical place ( how I wish I had studied music!) . Everything inside here smells like history and dusty tradition.

There are many other bookshops like Colonnese, and you can find them all around the historic center. Via San Sebastiano, Piazza Bellini, Via Costantinopoli and San Biagio ai Librai are the true pulsing heart of this traditional business of neapolitan people. Here you can also find a lot about music and manual arts (such as instruments, clay, painting tools and theory books) because the Conservatorio and the Accademia di Belle Arti ( the academy of fine arts) are located in this area.

If you like this atmosphere and you are a fan of coffee and cafes, you should take a break and have a drink somewhere around here. You’ll never eat a pizza like the one they make in Naples, and neither you’ll have a better coffee. I try to seat at a different one every time, but since I’m a student and my university’s building is just next to Piazza San Domenico, I usually stay there. Caffè letterario or Scaturchio (famous for its pastries, for babas and sfogliatelle above all) are usual target of my wandering. Around Piazza Bellini, Spazio Nea and Caffè letterario IntraMoenia are a must. The atmosphere is quite, the place is beautiful and you can have time for yourself while staring at the little square. A university library is just above Spazio Nea, so you could spend your study breaks there.

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Drinking and eating are a good way to spend your days and nights, no matter whether you consider yourself a hipster, an emo or a metalhead. I already posted something about good places to have a drink in Naples, and aperitivo at dawn hour is a great way to greet the sun. I never really had to choose one particular place to drink, or a cafe or a restaurant/pizzeria and pick it as my favorite. I’m not going to do it now. Once again, the city center is packed up with places to go to spend time with family or friends, and if you walk a bit further from the university area you can find the beautiful Piazza del Plebiscito, where other famous cafes ( like the caffè del Professore ) and other things to see are at your fingertip.

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This is Libreria Berisio, another amazing spot I love! Beneath the arch of Portable, bookshop during the day, exceptional event’s location at night. I love the idea of drinking, listening to music all surrounded by books .

My opinion is, that bike is the best way to move around any city. I love when I go to places where young people, instead of owning a car, own a bike. It is not just healthier and cheaper, but it gives you the possibility to explore more and better. I don’t know why, but Naples is unfortunately not-so-bike friendly. It’s difficult to move around because of the intense traffic, and people move in cars because public transport are terrible. They work really bad, and I could never imagine having a bike because I don’t )sadly) live in the city center. I live a bit outside of it, still in a beautiful little corner, but the center has something magic I love so much. If you come here and you find your hostel or airbnb in the historic heart of Napoli, I highly recommend trying to rent a bike. The Lungomare is a beautiful and traffic-free piece of heaven, with the Castel dell’Ovo just in the middle of sea , surrounded by little boats, rocks and more. The restaurants and places to eat here are cute, but expensive and a bit chic. I don’t know about you, but I tend to avoid expensive places 😛 .

To close this panoramic on “how to be a hipster in Naples” I realized that, if this means being hipster, I’m happy to be one. Everybody should do this kind of things when exploring a city 😀 .

One last thing I think should be on the “official alternative guide to Naples and its surroundings” (that I hope I will write, sooner or later) is the public markets net that the city provides. I remember that I used to hate markets when I was  a child, I was scared of the crowd and the weird people you could meet there. Now, I can’t have enough of them. My favorite place in London was Shoreditch and its Spitafield market, my only love <3. I want to write something about the treasures that can be found, well hidden, in the markets of Naples. But I need to plan this carefully, so give me sometime. Hipsters love markets, don’t they? (just kidding, everyone loves markets) .

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Sunday afternoons 

What does it take to make the decisive step to change our lives ? If it is true that we were born with the possibility to fall, is it really true that we have the strength to rise too? 

Sunday afternoon, it is raining outside. I should be studying, filling modules and sending important emails. Instead of all these things, my Sunday looks like a cozy bad and soft blankets, hot coffee and a tv program about travels and culture. Now they’re showing Morocco. Gosh, how I wish I could be there now !! I wish I could be traveling around, meeting people I have never met before, having my skin kissed by hot sun rays and my feet wet by crystal clear waters.  But I’m in my house, planning things I’m not sure I’m going to do and scheduling my life. Is it really what I want to do? 

This situation I find myself in right now makes me wonder and ask different questions, but one single question stands out the most: what does it really freakin take to get what we really want? How do we take that scary step towards the unknown that is probably the key to happiness. I don’t have the answer, of course I don’t. But I’m on my way to find it, and being a positive mind, conscious and set on my goal is probably the basis from which to start building the building of our present and future happiness. 

 What do I actually do  to make my life clearer? How do I keep focused? I have some pieces of advices I wish you will find useful on your Sunday afternoon. Hoping you’re already at a good point, and that you’re at the point where your lazy sundays are taken as a reward, and not a punishment. 

  1. Set your goals clearly. If you move around without knowing what you really want and look for, you’ll run the risk of making multiple and painful mistakes and take wrong turns. 
  2. That leads to give yourself time and space. You’re not your best friend or your sister, nor the lucky girl your stalk on Instagram that seems to be living your dream in your place. Take a deep breath and focus. 
  3. Write down everything that goes through your mind. That’s a treasure you should not waste at all. You’ll never know what your little brain is capable of if you let everything slip away. 
  4. Read. Everything. Books, magazines, newspapers, feuilleton, essays… Don’t set limits to your knowledge, and reading is a way to discover. And only discovering all possibilities you can find yours. 
  5. Listen to what others say to you, don’t take their words for foolish, they might be precious sources of ideas. 
  6. Use socials consciously, don’t make an abuse of them but be critic and smart. Take all information and the inspiration you can and they’ll turn into a great mean of growth. 
  7. Walk around your city, fuel up, take pictures and save memos. If your dream is to become an explorer and a traveler don’t forget that the place you live in keeps thousands of secret beauties you can spend time discovering as well as all the others. 
  8. Find what you want to do and learn how to do it. In a world where they tell us that education is useless and money are the only value we need to believe in, it’s vital to have in mind that the hours we spend learning and growing are not wasted. We don’t have to listen to them. Being a conscious and capable citizen, aware of what goes around the world is not lame. It’s important for our goal, and for life in general.