The most welcome PRESENT. For you…for your friends…for those you love!

Yesterday I finally delivered the big website translation I was working on throughout June and July (my favourite project) and I’m now working on an advertising translation about chocolate. While looking up a term, I came across some fabulous vintage posters of ION one of the best Greek chocolate brands which translates to...definitely going to buy one soon! ION is one of those brands you will not find in Italy.

For more information about ION you can their website. This is the English version.

Enjoy the pics!

So that you are sure you are buying Dutch-processed “ION” cocoa powder

It’s not a coincidence they both agree that ION ALMOND CHOCOLATE is superior. Because everyone agrees it’s the best!

The zenith of action…strong mind….strong nerves…ION chocolates


Dear friends, readers and moms/dads,

Translation is hard work. It requires focus and dedication.

So what do you do if you have a young child you need to look after while translating?

Well, I guess you do find methods eventually all weaved into the way your day unfolds such as sleeping less, setting priorities, being fast, talking to no one, not ironing for a month, learning to shift attention from talking about Mickey Mouse to searching pharmaceutical terms and products and other difficult to define ways.

Which translates to.…trying to think creatively when all you need is to sit down and work.

But if you sometimes feel that you are running out of ways to keep your toddler busy while you translate (edit, write, design and so forth) I have something to share with you.

A newly found game which you can of course play when no work is involved…

It’s actually my 4 year old’s idea but it has proved to bring some interesting results of calm and co-operation.

It goes without saying that – depending on your kid and his/her age – it might be nearly to absolutely impossible to work while playing and to play while working but you never know. You might be able to get some work done. It also goes without saying that you need to be extremely vigilant, know exactly where your kid is and what he/she is doing (try to play this game in a big room with no access to a balcony). This game is perfect when not working on a difficult translation (or other project) which absolutely requires no distractions. This is for those easier projects which can be run smoothly by switching your attention from your laptop to your kid.

This game is also good for your kid’s development AND it helps you understand what are those things that your child absorbs and learns providing you ideas and inspiration for better development.

So what is this game?

- “You will be daddy and I will be mommy. This is our baby”, says my little one showing me one of the dolls.

A pretend play!

All you need to do is …play the part!

Your kid will pretend she is mommy accordingly and you will be pretending to be daddy. If you have a boy he can be daddy. I sometimes get to be the baby but try to avoid that (if you can) because “mommy” might feel absolutely free to avoid doing things that babies are supposed to do i.e. listen to their mom and close that fridge NOW.

Okay, during this game, where you play dad or someone else (you can be a train driver who needs to focus on driving or a princess writing a letter to the prince), your child is – hopefully – a lot less likely to do things babies do i.e. running up and down the house, jumping on the sofa, throwing clothes on the floor trying to get your attention.

The scope of this game is that your toddler will try emulate what adults do. I have seen my kid do some incredible things that really surprised me such as talking to the doll (acting as the “baby”) and tell her not to cry, not to climb on the table, to go to bed, to eat her food…. Wow! All those things the real mom keeps saying all day.

There are downsides to this game of course.

Namely, your little one might not be happy with the idea of you using the computer while playing but trying it out is worth it. You can do what your child says (since two “adults” are interacting  this is a good thing as your kid is watching the right ways to behave) but only for a while. When things are calmer during the game, your kid might be absorbed in the game and you could find slots to open your laptop and work.

That’s it basically.

Please note that you might not get any results at first or the game might prove to be pointless and mentally consuming all together so a good idea is to try play this game while not working and see what happens.

And please don’t take my word for it. Trials and errors are part of the process.

A presto,


thomson memorial park

Nature as a setting for some “me time”, for recharging and connecting with yourself and with people.


Dear friends and readers,

During April, there was a week or two that I had it tough. I had a headache that took a few days to go away and this was after my 4 year old went through chickenpox so part of it was due to not having slept properly for at least a week.

But it wasn’t just that.

What made my headache worse was that I immediately started working on a translation that came in during the end of the period that my kid was home. Taking no time to do something about the headache and having no alternatives, I proceeded with the translation in hand hoping that my headache would go away.

Taking a break from parenting or freelancing (the two go hand in hand) is always a mission impossible, unless it’s for a couple of hours and always during the week while my kid is at school – which isn’t really a break – so I knew deep inside that this was a “normal” situation that I just had to endure.

Chickenpox is part of the process.

Having spoken with other parents, I was happy that my four year old had it now and not later. I heard of moms and dads who went through chickenpox along with their kids and it was a horrible experience for them.

Back to the headache now.

As I went along translating and doing all the other things I needed to do I kept realising that it’s impossible for someone not to be able to take a break. A break from the computer. Because it’s the computer that I blame for that headache. Well, not exactly the computer but you know what I mean. After intense translation work or an intense period of whatever (chickenpox) you need a break from it to help you see clearly.

Thing is I usually never take a break from it (not until when the chickenpox bout as you will see later). And besides translation work, I have other projects going on (let’s call it “writing, rewriting and deleting”). I don’t have a strict daily writing schedule but if an idea pops up (and it just so happens that ideas spring up while translating), I will write it down regardless of headaches, slight aches ..and other minor or major events.

So if I wasn’t translating, I was writing. But besides writing, there’s the temptation of Twitter which I have covered previously in the post How freelancers (and Twitter enthusiasts) can tame the #procrastination beast.

About Twitter. Even if I believe in its power and its magic in finding like-minded spirits that in real life and in your neighbourhood would have been impossible to locate, you need to know how and when to draw the line. That line that reminds you that you are not dedicating enough time to your side projects.

I decided it was time to find that golden line, hold it well, keep it straight and never let go.

After that translation was delivered, I took a long walk in the park with a friend and it was great. I kept my phone in the car. That felt even better.

That walk was like an antidote to everything that happened to me during the chickenpox period and afterwards. It was a revelation. I actually went to walk three times with my friend along with other people who joined us. Walking in the park with others is priceless. It’s also a time to connect with people offline and not just to connect with yourself.

That’s why the experience was something to write about.

Which translates to… taking a break from translating in order to write.

To write about headaches of course and about how crucial it is to take a break from it all, to let yourself experience something completely different, to embrace a state of mind that is pure, that is light, that nurtures you physically, that gives you food for thought.

Thought that removes those 140 character boundaries of tweets from our life.

That wasn’t a normal headache. It was a warning. An opportunity to finally do something different.

Walk in the park or go on the swing with your kids (I do it often – oops, did I hear a squeak?).

If you don’t have time to drive to parks you would love to go to or different locations do something different in the place you go to on a daily basis.

The baby park has tremendous possibilities. I get to talk with moms, read Dostoyevsky (a few paragraphs each time will suffice) and take notes.

The name of the game is less online and more offline, less tweeting and more working. I’m sure there are many of you out there that feel the same way. Share your thoughts.—

Thank you for reading…

A presto,


A facial expression like this could take you places.


I was just thinking about how gestures can sometimes immaculately reveal and reflect how you feel.

I don’t know why I get to override translation work to think about stuff like this but you know…one word leads to another and I remember things.

So, I said to myself: Is there someone more PERFECTLY capable of expressing emotion of any kind than Robert De Niro? Well, you tell me. I think I could write a long post based on this facial expression but my translation awaits for me.

A presto,



One of the reasons I love Greece: The peripteron (περίπτερο)!


In a few days, I will be on a plane to Greece where I will continue to work throughout July and August. I’m super excited of going and here’s why.

1. To start with, I won’t be eating pizza and pasta everyday. Just joking. I don’t eat pizza or pasta everyday but one of the good things about food in Greece is that you can find cheap and good food anytime you want it if you don’t have time to cook. Good for you and for your children too and especially for freelancers. Even if I believe that people should cook their own food (especially if they have kids) unless they lead a really busy life, I’m exuberant for the fact that for at least during these two Summer months, I will be having OPTIONS when it comes to food. Gyros, souvlaki, ready home-made food, pizza and more. Needless to mention that in Greece, pizza is almost as popular as Greek fast food whereas in Italy – should you require to find Greek fast food – you would need to travel many kilometres to find a place that sells Gyros. But, there’s always the Kebab alternative!

2. The PERIPTERON!! The peripteron is a glorious invention. It’s open all day and night and it has everything. Croissants, milk, books, baby toys. Something that you will not find in Italy. The kiosk version in Italy here sells only newspapers, magazines and toys. No food and no drinks! I will tell you a joke. I remember a friend of mine, who – funny thing – has been living in Italy for ages. One evening, we were in the car together in Milan and she stopped the car scouring a kiosk to locate…the fridge to buy a bottle of water! Her daughter brought her to her senses by saying “mom, you are not in Greece…”. If you live in Italy and want milk at 10pm, you would need to take your car and go to a mall. Provided they don’t close by 9pm. Which translates to…doing your shopping by 7.30pm. Italy has a kind of routine that entraps you time-wise. Not a positive thing for freelancers! However, the situation is changing because lots of “bars” in Italy are now being managed by the Chinese which keep the place open until late. In Italy, a “bar” is a place where you can sit and drink coffee and have a snack during the day and they sometimes sell cigarettes and other useful things.

3. Hearing the Greek language. A major thing for my child who doesn’t get the opportunity to listen to Greek outside the house AND especially with other kids. While in Greece, I will not have to switch into Italian the way I do here when we are interacting with Italian speakers. However, I will be using Italian ..when I want to say something that “stays between us”! :)

4. Talking to the people. It’s nice to be able to converse with people in your native tongue once in a while. I find that the conversation flows more naturally and that there’s more spontaneity. Even if I have been living in Italy for many years and I have adapted here like a chameleon, I don’t consider myself exactly integrated into the Italian lifestyle and mentality. It’s like I have two social versions of me, two projected selves, “switching” from one culture to the other completely harmlessly (trust me, there are many differences between Italy and Greece which are not easily spotted by an untrained eye).

5. The Greek sky, sea and sun. Oh yeah. It’s different. Well, I guess if you live in Sardinia, in Italy you witness a natural beauty which is almost identical to the one in Greece but Sardinia is not Italy. Greece, however, is like that all over the place with some minor variations of course. There’s no harsh difference between the North and South of Greece like in Italy. There are many Italies. Milan is another planet compared to Sicily. Trento has nothing to do with Calabria. But go to Thessaloniki and Athens or Nafplio and Nafpaktos and Chios and the Peloponnese and you will see that these places share a “common” sky, sea and sun.

6. All those things I will bring back provided they fit into the luggage – namely Glyko karydaki, masticha chewing gum,  dried oregano – and the things I will enjoy while there. I will open a parenthesis here. There are many Greek (and other foreign) brands I can’t find in Italy. However, in Greece, Italian brands have entered the market and they are very popular and highly esteemed. But there’s more. The Greeks tend to “hellenise” some products of Italian origin in a way that they become part of the Greek culture. They become Greek losing their Italian identity and function. I will give you the best example for this. Coffee. Greeks have created some interesting varieties of cold coffee (based on the tradition of the Greek frappé) and they have given those coffee types ….Italian-like names i.e. “freddocino“. Freddocino is a Greek invention. Click here to find out more about it. If you try order it in Italy, they won’t know what you are talking about. Italians usually drink hot espresso or cappuccino all year long. There’s of course caffè shakerato but it’s not as widely used as frappé).

That’s all!

a presto
(or shall I say απρέστο;)



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