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    October 16th, 2010EuropasionariaEurope, Web 2.0

    A couple of months ago, I wrote a blogpost saying why I disliked the .eu domain name ad.

    Today, while reading an excellent blogpost by Mathew Lowry, I found out the .eu domain name has a new ad. One that moves. A better one.

    This is what the previous ad looked like:

    Now it goes like this:

    I like it much better.

    Did my blogpost have an impact? We’ll never know…

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    September 26th, 2010EuropasionariaEurope, Girl Power, Web 2.0

    Icelandic volcano ash cloud simulation © Pietro Zanarini/Flickr

    Berlin, April 15, 2010: I’m at the social media conference re:publica 2010 where we are organising a workshop with friends from the Blogging Portal. Little by little, I realize something’s wrong with the airlines. It seems an Icelandic volcano is causing a giant ash cloud, paralysing most European airports. We’re told it could last a few days… I start worrying about not being able to get back home. In this mess, we all try and find as much information as we can. I check Twitter on my BlackBerry. I discover the hashtag #ashtag, and through that, the Eurocontrol Twitter account. From then on, it became my primary source of information as it was the most up-to-date and the most reliable.

    The Eurocontrol Twitter account went from a few hundred followers to a few thousand within a few days. All that thanks to the talent and determination of a lady, Aurélie Valtat, who is now nominated at the SimpliFlying-Airline Business Awards for Social Media Excellence for Airlines, category SimpliFlying Hero of the Year.

    Back then, I was absolutely amazed by the way Eurocontrol handled the situation through Twitter. How Aurélie used Twitter during this crisis should be an example for all institutions trying to get into the social media world. She was informative, responsive, human, funny, genuine… she got it, I thought.

    Aurélie has now become a friend and a member of the EU Girl Geeks. Please vote for her now! Not because she’s my friend but because she deserves to win. Go on this page, scroll down, it’s the last box at the end.

    You can also read Aurélie on her blog Content Bit(e)s, and follow her on Twitter.

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    September 26th, 2010EuropasionariaEuroblogosphere, Europe

    [This post is in Spanish as part of the Day of Multilingual Blogging, an initiative to celebrate the European Day of Languages.]

    European Day of Multilingual Blogging

    Como es el día europeo de los idiomas, en paralelo con amigos blogueros del Blogging Portal, hemos decidido participar en un día de blogging multilingüe. Vamos a escribir en un idioma diferente al que usamos habitualmente en nuestro blog. Por eso, hoy blogueo en castellano.

    Este blog ya es bilingüe. Casi todos los artículos se pueden leer en francés aquí y en inglés allí. Es un principio muy importante para mí. Por una parte, escribo en inglés porqué es el mejor idioma para integrarse en la comunidad de los Euroblogueros. Así también doy una visión francesa de los problemas europeos. Por otra parte, escribo en francés para traducir a mis compatriotas lo que sucede en Europa. En pocas palabras, quiero construir puentes.

    Si escribiera únicamente en inglés, quedaría bloqueada en lo que llamamos la ‘EU bubble’, el pequeño grupo de gente que saben algo de la Unión Europea.

    Si escribiera únicamente en francés, sólo me leerían los franceses.

    Es simple. Cuantos más idiomas hablas, a más personas puedes llegar. Idealmente me gustaría también tener una sección en español en este blog pero ya es demasiado trabajo escribir en dos idiomas… Quizás podría, de vez en cuando, traducir algo en castellano… como los artículos que hablan de España, por ejemplo. Quizás un día… ¡Veremos!

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    September 6th, 2010EuropasionariaBest of the Web, Europe

    I’ve received an unusual newsletter from my favourite train company. Frequent Thalys users must have noticed that their trains have been undergoing a redesign this year. Thalys is now selling its old furniture. And for a good cause! I think this is a fantastic initiative.

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    July 23rd, 2010EuropasionariaEurope, Quote of the week

    In Brussels there are days when you feel the European Union is a magnificent creation, one of the most inspired experiments in mankind’s history. Then there are days when you feel disgusted by the pettiness, the short-sightedness, the incoherence of it all.

    Farewell to Brussels, FT Brussels Blog

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    July 15th, 2010EuropasionariaEurope

    Although I’m a fan and user of the .eu domain name, I can’t help but be bothered by this ad. I’m sure the ones who’ve read me for a while, and know my tendency to advocate for gender equality, will think: “What? There are more women than men in the picture, for once she should be happy?!”

    But my problem with this ad is that it says that adopting a .eu domain name shows that you are European, and then it shows 5 white people. Do you see where I’m getting with this? To me, being European is being in a multicultural open society, hardly something this ad conveys…

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    June 13th, 2010EuropasionariaEurope

    The good thing about being of foreign descent is that when the Football World Cup comes up, you can support more than one team, which means you have more chances to win.

    I’m far from being a football fan. Some of the rules are still an utter mystery to me. But one thing is for sure, when it’s World Cup time and my mind is set up on one team, I turn into a real hooligan.

    So I felt like showing my support on Twitter by using a Twibbon. I started by adding the French flag to my avatar on Twitter. But looking at the poor result of France against Uruguay in its first game, I thought it would probably be a good idea to support more than one team. So I decided to add the Spanish flag to my avatar, as that’s where my father comes from. But that’s a little nationalistic so I thought I ought to add the flags of the countries I lived in and love i.e. the Netherlands and Belgium. However, as Belgium did not qualify, I put the Dutch flag only. Here’s the result:

    Come and do the same on : http://twibbon.com/worldcup !

    May the best team win! But if we could avoid Italy taking that position this time, it would be cool (very bad 2006 memory)

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    June 6th, 2010EuropasionariaEurope, Generation 2.0 / Generation Y

    Most people in their late twenties experiment what I would call a “mid mid life crisis”. They studied for ever, finally got the first real job that matter, then get bored and feel they need a change. While most people in this situation would react by changing job or having a baby or even starting a new hobby, the kind of people that I am – people that have lived abroad, just think: “I need to move to another country”. As if changing country would solve anything.

    Luggage - CC Cake Walk on Flickr

    A childhood friend of mine, who lived in New York for years and came back to Paris a year ago, recently confessed that she found it nearly impossible to make holes in her walls to hang posters, paintings or pictures. She just cannot do it. I went to her place last weekend. The walls were totally blank, and frames were displayed on the floor, waiting to be hung. It made me realise that although I have lived in the same apartment for 4 years, I still haven’t made any hole in the walls either. Like my friend’s, my walls are blank. Actually, looking back at the 4 places I lived since I left my parents’ place, I realised I never made holes in the walls at any of these places. I never paid much attention to the decoration either. As if all those places where just temporary.

    But when does temporary stop being temporary? Are we, the expat generation, doomed to moving from one country to another until we find our dream land? And if we don’t, will we be frustrated our whole life long, always keeping in the back of our mind that life could be better in another country?

    Always ready to pack and head to another exotic destination, I think that’s how many young expats in Brussels feel. People come and go. Every year, some decide to go back to their home country while some decide to start all over again in another foreign country. And others stay. I remember a former Dutch colleague of mine, a man in his early forties, telling me he had always considered Brussels as a temporary location. Until one day he realised he had been there for 15 years, and that it might mean that Brussels was actually not temporary anymore. Yet I could sense that the fact he had been living in Brussels for 15 years, did not convince him that Brussels had become his permanent residence. As if he couldn’t accept to be tied forever to one location only.

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    June 6th, 2010EuropasionariaEurope, Girl Power

    Looking at people’s reactions to my pseudonym, I have come to realise that unless you are Spanish or French, there is little chance that you understand what it means. So I thought it deserved an explanation.

    First, Europasionaria = Euro+Pasionaria, and not Europa+Sionaria. That should already make things clearer to some of you.

    How did it come up to my mind? I wanted my pseudonym to start by Euro and to reflect what I am. I had thought of it many times, had several ideas, yet couldn’t find something that felt right.

    Then one dark Friday night, it came to me. I am a passionate person, an idealist, a strong woman… I am also of Spanish origin. So the word “pasionaria” came to my mind. Europasionaria was born.

    Alright… but what does “pasionaria” mean?

    Passion Flower - CC Nikonsnapper on Flickr

    Europasionaria: French and Spanish, passionate about politics, passionate about Europe, flower of the European passion… I liked all of these associations of ideas. Besides, I just liked the sound of it. Words with lots of “A”s in them just sound better.

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    May 9th, 2010EuropasionariaEurope

    I’ve often wondered why it was that I was so irresistibly attracted by Europe.

    I’ve always liked learning languages, English in particular – I never got German. When I was a teenager, I remember that whenever there was a foreigner in a group, I would become the designated interpreter, as most often I was the only one able to speak decent English. I liked it. Then I chose not to study languages as I thought that speaking several languages was just something everybody should be able to do. So I chose to study politics, ironically a topic everyone has an opinion on.

    I remember that as a child I wondered what it meant exactly to be French. Did it mean that other people were not French? How was that even possible? And what would it be like to not be French? Yes I was the kind of kid that always asks “why”. That hasn’t changed.

    My grand-father, the sergeant (third one from the left with the kepi hat)

    I remember my school trip to Germany when I was 16. My great grandfather died in World War I. My Spanish grandfather fought in the Civil War and when in France, joined the Résistance. My French grand-father fought during World War II. My parents remember Nazi soldiers coming to their home. So when I arrived in Berlin at the age of 16, I was still quite full of prejudices against the Germans, maybe even more so than most French people. Then something happened. I spent a week having fun with German kids of my age. And I realised something: we might be of a different nationality and a different culture. We might not speak the same language. But in the end, we were not that different. Actually, we were pretty much the same. That’s one of the first times I felt truly European.

    Then I never got rid of the bug. I knew one day I would live in another European country. Since then I have lived in several European countries. Home, Paris, the French feel familiar, and warm at times, but I feel better abroad. I like to be surprised by cultural difference every day I live. I like to go to a party and be able to speak something other than French. That doesn’t often happen at home.

    Where did that irresistible need for otherness come from? Is it because I am myself of foreign origin? Is it because when I was a child I heard my grandfather and my nanny speak Spanish? Is it because right from the start, I knew I was different?

    Wherever it comes from, one thing is for sure: Europe is my passion.

    Happy Europe Day to you all! Follow the “My Europe” blogging carnival on the Blogging Portal.

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