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thoughtless trentino

There was nothing to talk about anymore. The only thing to do was go.
Maybe Jack Kerouac’s words are not the first ones when someone would think about me. Normally my logorrhea is widely known and it is rather difficult to imagine myself without talking – yet, there are those moments.

Second day of the road trip has started with getting lost in the forest. Although it has been morning, I felt full of energy and was pretty creative with all the stupid subjects one could talk about. After few hours being surrounded by nature and lack of people, I kind of felt like just walking. Looking around and walking. Each of us needs the time to think and focus on our thoughts or the opposite – turn them off. Second day was partially a reset of my mind. Loads of things have been happening in my life in the proceeding weeks and for a moment I just wanted to switch off.

I was always convinced that to do this I have to be on my own. To put on some music on my phone or lie down at the seaside with a book. Not know anyone. Not see anyone. Not to listen to anyone. Focus on myself seemed always being connected with travelling solo. You might be thinking now, how come this topic occurs while writing about the road trip with my Friend? I was surprised myself, but the nature and most importantly a perfect company allows you, maybe even more, to focus on present future, rather than non existing present perfect.

After the hike in Bolzano, we have headed to the car which was parked just in front of the hotel in the Castel Corba. Since the last think I wanted to do is to make Giulia’s beauty – Fiat 500 – stinky I have taken something shower alike outside the car – being sure no one was around. Of course, I was wrong and nearby there were some teenagers looking at me using milion wipes and putting antiperspirant to my shoes with a bit of a disgust. Oh well… why would I care – Lago di Braies was waiting!
The weather forecast unfortunately was not in our favor. Driving there we were kind of praying to make it before the storm. The traffic on the road was also pretty insane. But this allowed us to admire the views outside our windows. Being a bit tired, we have been just singing along some 90s classics and of course, I was sipping my coca cola. The trip seemed at some point endless and I think that was the moment, when I started turning off mentally. I was still there, but seemed like a different zone.

When we have reached the place – it was stunning! The weather was crap, but this didn’t spoil the view. The color of the lake, the Alps that looked literally unreal and as if taken from Winslow Homer’s painting. Or even prettier, as n the end nothing can beat the nature. I stood there and just got silent. Of course, it didn’t mean I started behaving like an adult on holiday – rather like a kid in the lego factory. I was getting crazy, having funny things in my head and… I didn’t think for a second about anything happening in my life. At all. Neither good nor bad things. Just living the moment. Just the way I like it. Maybe if you see the place yourself, you’d understand what I mean. I am sure you would, but I can only give you a weak preview…

Walking around the lake, having interesting conversations, then less normal ones of course… as it would happen between two friends. We have left the place just in time. Just before huge downpour and storm, so we ran to the car – just before I ate two brioche – in case I was about to lose weight (yes, being very ironic here!).

So we reached our hotel in Trento. In the meantime, we also got to know that there is Alpini event there. Of course I had no idea what it was or who they were, but got excited to be part of it. My Friend has started teaching me some of their traditional songs, so I got into the mood. Ah well… so who are Alpini? They are mountain military corps and they have this festivity every year in a different city – next year Milano! Getting hyper about the event I was only thinking about having a shower and leaving, but then.. we have seen our hotel. It was insane! Beautiful, old villa.
http://villasizzo.it/

The price was surprisingly low and the place stunning. The owner that has welcomed us herself was very friendly, smiling and the service – amazing! After first few words we have exchanged we have been told that the city is completely crowded and crammed and there is no way to eat anything out as everything is booked and Alpini are everywhere! So we were kind of stuck in what to do! No food, no shop, no nothing. Then the owner has told us that actually we will be the only ones in the mansion so… she has prepared us really nice aperitivo with wine and went to her home nearby. Us – after the dinner, glass of wine and coffee – to the city. Obviously I wouldn’t have missed to get some folklore of the place.

You can’t imagine the crowd and mess! People were even having their tents in the areas next to churches! Insane! I loved it though! This is my vibe, mess, people, city life, night and… again people! Smile was all over my face. I don’t know what I was thinking about, but was just trying to grab each moment around. It was very different to those kind of events in Poland, so for me the behavior, the lifestyle and the vibe were new. Some moments very funny, some creepy, but all unforgettable. The highlight of the night – in accordance to the elder generation of Alpini I am 16 years old (or so, don’t remember exactly but definitely was teenage times). How not to love them? Not to mention the first stop – Braulio, typical spirit from the Lombardy area, that is a perfect digestive.

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Walking around the city, or trying to see a little bits of it through the crowd, I really felt like it was a good place for me to be at that moment. Maybe I didn’t get the true atmosphere of Trento, but the local experience was there. And my head was so empty that… when we came back, I sat for a while on the sofa, didn’t even finish wine and went straight to bed. Apparantly I started snoring before I even finished saying Buonanotte. Ah… if this was the case every night! My life would have been so much easier!

Morning, really tasty breakfast with soooo good brioche that I can’t even describe it and off we go to Trento. We felt like exploring the city by day as well. When we saw the Alpini stumbling in the street and being surrounded by the overwhelming smell of hangover, we understood it is time to go towards Tremosine. The breathtaking terrace overlooking Garda Lake. To reach the place is not easy, but safe the location in your google maps, as it is a place not to be missed – Terrazza Del Brivido, Via Europa, Pieve, Tremosine, BS. Just remember again, drink red bull and don’t forget your glasses before getting there… the road is… quite intense.

There we were walking in silence for a while. Because of the experience on the road, the views and the height. If you have looked down, you could have seen how small everything there was. Something unbelievable and also makes you think. Feeling so small in such a big world, which is led by nature. As humans we tend to forget about it, but those moments just remind us how irrelevant in a way we are.

Few photos, coffee and we went to reach another point – Vittoriale degli Italiani. The stunning villa of D’Annunzio (author of Primo Vere or La Terra Vergine – not to lie those were the two of his works that I have actually read). Having vague idea of what was his life like, I didn’t expect to see the garden filled with military sculptures, armor and… the military ship in the middle of it! It was a great experience. But also we were tired and I think this made us even more silent. We were walking our own way and were enjoying the place in our own pace with our own thoughts.

On my first day I have actually asked my Friend what would have been her superpower and then shared my idea. Well mine would be very dangerous. I would like to read people’s thoughts. Why? Because I would like to see their real perspective at life and what they really have in their minds. Not to steal anyone’s ideas but to see their real side. But wouldn’t it be better to hear ourselves better first – to see through yourself and have a reset; free of everyday struggle thoughts.
It really doesn’t matter if you are on your own or with your Friends, because if you really feel it then again… sometimes the only thing to do is just go.

the trip to the unusual

Unusual nowadays this word has definitely no clear meaning. There are so little things we can call this way as in the millennials era we seem to accept, digest and acquire more information or strange situations that our ancestors would not even have thought about. Not to mention to think they could ever happen. I love discovering abandoned places. Some are creepy. Some mesmerizing. Some romantic. And some scare the shit out of you.
There is something mysterious about such place. Why was it abandoned? Which stories do the walls keep from us? How were people living there? They are old. They are deserted. They are empty.
They were closed for a reason.

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Some time ago I have randomly heard about an abandoned mental hospital in Mombello, which is around 40 min by car from my place. It gave me goosebumps. I usually try to go on my own to those creepy places and then after first minute I regret doing that as I have no one to follow and hide myself behind, so I have used some strategy – namely sent a link to the place to a person I was quite convinced would like it. Just a feeling. Few days after the flight tickets were booked and I was getting ready for a trip. Mentally.

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If you look up the place online, you won’t have a lot of information about it. Especially not in English, so it took me a while to find some notes, reviews and suggestions on how to get there and move there. I have asked around and people seemed to be slightly creep out that I would have even asked about it or haven’t even heard about the place (how could they not, no idea!).

Mombello is situated in Limbiate and is a very small village, which – not sure if because it is suggestive due to the aim of the trip – but looks quite weird and scary from the ‘gate’ to the city.

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Imgine this the complex of almost 40,000 sqm filled with hospital beds, electrocardiograms, medical records. All this scattered on the floor and coming even from the 70s. Moreover the whole place is surrounded by 2 m high wall that were hiding in the past some tragic stories. Some experiments and I am sure very sad stories.

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The complex includes few buildings. Surprisingly one of them seem to be used still as the houses of an institute for business appraiser and the Corberi, a halfway house for heavy mentally ills. What is interesting this is the building where Napoleon Bonaparte has spent few months during the war. Next to this, let’s call it main building, you can see abandoned little church/chapel. I really wish it was possible to visit it, but I think we didn’t have balls to cross the do not enter sign. Only in that place though. This villa was built for the noble family Pusterla and called Villa Crivelli Pusterla in 14th century. Over the years changing owners there were more buildings added and changed or renovated until being first abandoned in the late 19th century. Few years after, when the mental hospital in Senavra.

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Initially there were supposed to be maximum 900 patients in that place, however, there were over 3500 of them.. and who knows what was the real number. To add up to the craziness of this place, at the beginning of 20th century, for 10 years, the italian psychiatrist – Ugo Cerletti – worked in Mombello, where he started his studies on experimental epilepsy which later conducted him to the invention of electroshock therapy… Am I the only one having very literal and weird images in my life of people suffering in those dark rooms?

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In 1916 Mussolini has actually received a call from Mombello. Wondering why? Well, Benito Mussolini has been known for having affairs. This time it wasn’t different and he has been with Ida Dalser. When she got pregnant, Mussolini has already left her to get married few months after to another woman. In the meantime, he was trying to convince Ida to abortion, however, she gave a birth to the boy. The same one that died in Mombello 26 years after. Mussolini made sure that Ida was kept in the asylum and did not interrupt his life. She passed away in Venice after being moved there from Trento. As for the son, he was adopted by one of the Duce of Regime’s followers – Giuli Bernardi. He graduated from the naval school in La Spezia and then sailed to China where he has heard about his mum’s (step mother to be more accurate) death. He came back, but he suffered a lot of pain which was mistaken by the mental ilness and was closed in Mombello. Most likely he has been treated there for over 2 years, however, his condition was worsening and inevitably led to his death at the very young age. That was when Mussolini got the information from this creepy place.
Mysteriously the reason of his death remained unknown. His body was buried at the cementary in Limbiate.

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Walking through the hallways of the buildings it is difficult not to have the feeling that you are being observed. The writings on the walls looking at you from each side. Realizing that uring the First World War, the former Psychiatric Hospital of Limbiate assigned two pavilions for veterans traumatized by the war in the trenches, and whose extreme drama was clearly shown by recent studies gives you additional thrill… Here the soldiers were subjected to clinotherapy or rest therapy and a re-energising diet. The empty chairs and plates burnt by the sun, keeping the stories undiscovered. There were not many photographing enthusiasts there, so the complete silence of the place made you think. How much suffering must have taken place in such a, in the end, small complex. Then you discover that there is more to that. While walking in the park you discover the stairs to the tunnels. If you want to discover them better, make sure to bring good boots, helmets and torches. As we were not prepared for that and I would definitely have a heart attack, I can only tell… I saw darkness that felt like cutting my skin in pieces due to the chills that was giving me. Yes, that was the moment when I started hiding, but took a deep breath and chose the direction to the second floor…

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Just few moments after walking up the stairs and realizing how dangerous is the ceiling, we have heard some noises downstairs. Those were some teenagers throwing stuff and running away. You can’t imagine how scared I got that those were fireworks… I mean what kind of parents let their kids playing in Mombello? It took a lot of self-control in order to walk very carefully downstairs and not run and scream. I don’t know if I looked calm – I was trying to, but inside I felt every single, strong heart beat…

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If you move around the complex you will notice stairs in the park, slightly hidden, leading you to another two buildings and the greenhouse. There  we literally didn’t meet anyone. Except for a snake… Not sure what would have been better. (Un)fortunately, we also didn’t find anything weird on the photos taken. No dingy silhouettes, afterglows, strange figures… If we did, I think I would be the next patient of the mental hospital …

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The official reason for closing the place – as mentioned before, during the war there were too many patients and afterwards reaching over 3500 of them, which required opening new branches and moving them all in the 90s of 20th century.
But who knows what was really happening behind the closed walls… Now you can only imagine the history of this place through the suggestive graffiti created by street artists or some vandals, that in the end gave this place the special, undiscovered, feeling.

 


No object is mysterious. The mystery is your eye.

trentino or südtirol part 1: bolzano

Someone has said that Italy is only a geographical expression. After my road trip in Trentino area, I wouldn’t be able to fight those words. Just two weeks after the visit in the South we have decided to discover the North-East of my new homeland.
The preparation for this trip was not very long, but intense. The main aim was to do some hiking and discover places that are quite far from the city hustle and bustle, yet not unknown to tourists. We were expecting a lot of traveleres and people walking around looking for a good shot, however, in the end it appeared that the places were quite empty, hiking paths seemed abandoned and we have managed to enjoy the pure nature. We didn’t complain of course! Maybe it was because of the weather or maybe we were just lucky that long weekend was only in Switzerland, but in any case – it was perfect!

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Our long weekend started on Thursday morning. I have packed on Wednesday late evening as actually last weeks were pretty busy for me. I have been travelling, had a Friend over and was also celebrating my one year in Italy – I still don’t believe it has passed by so quickly! So there we are, my Friend is waiting for me in the car already and I am trying to have my last sip of hot espresso to wake myself up! I got in the car and… boom forgot my sunglasses so a quick sprint upstairs and got them! My morning grumpiness can magically disappear if I have a travel ahead, so I have got in the car again and started talking about anything. Well.. until first 5 minutes passed by and I have realized that I have forgotten ten million things at home like shampoo or packed only sport bra! Yeah, women problems… Where was my head, I have NO IDEA.

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The first destination was Lago di Resia or Reschensee. There we go with the first and main difference for this particular area – everyone speaks German. I would even say they use it as their first language and then italian. Since both of us look more german than italian (for sure myself!) no one ever started with Ciao but Hallo! The problem is that despite speaking German pretty well, their dialect was just too much. I gave up. So I went to Trentino, where they speak two languages I should understand – and in reality I was lost.

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The lake of almost 6km length is well know for the unusual bell tower outstanding from the lake. Many legends have been passed on by locals on the bells ringing from the bottom of the lake since the tower has been dammed while the dam was being constructed in the 50s. We have decided to make a walk around the lake.

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The trip takes around 3 hours and is 15km long. The views are spectacular, however, probably with more sunny weather the color of water would have been more beautiful. From the perspective now I can recommend you renting a bike and making the trip on your two-wheeled vehicle. The place definitely to visit, but don’t plan to spend too much time there – treat it more as a stop on your way, just like we did.

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Around 4 hours later, after nice coffee and lunch, we have been ready to reach Bolzano. I was checking the city before and tried to organize our evening, as I was pretty sure it will be super empty and not interesting. How wrong I was!!! The city is worth to stay over for a weekend. Filled with people of any age having a drink outside bars. The nightlife was fully on! It was just Thursday evening, to be honest I am not used to so many people in Como at such time.

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For aperitivo we have chosen Hopfen & Co. It was quite random choice as all of the places we have checked on tripadvisor before were completely full and we couldn’t make a booking in advance as weren’t sure what time we will arrive.
https://www.tripadvisor.it/Restaurant_Review-g187857-d788203-Reviews-Hopfen_Co-Bolzano_Province_of_South_Tyrol_Trentino_Alto_Adige.html

Aperitivo was fine, cocktail was fine. For me, a person with not super sophisticated palate, everything tasted well, however, there was one big but the service. I usually try not to complain and I am very understanding, however, if the waitress asks you to look at the receipt and check if the transaction was done as she is not sure how to read it or is making faces of being annoyed and irritated – god knows why – I get a bit frustrated myself. The only thing I was expecting was at least being polite, but I think it was too much. Anyway, let’s hope she has had only worse day. For a drink head to Franz. Super cool and crowded place. I would recommend it for solo travelers, as I am sure you will meet loads of new people there!
https://www.tripadvisor.it/Restaurant_Review-g187857-d8830665-Reviews-Franzbar-Bolzano_Province_of_South_Tyrol_Trentino_Alto_Adige.html

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Later on we have decided to go for a walk. I completely forgot to mention that our apartment, found on booking.com was right in the city center, in great price and I strongly recommend it for two people!
https://www.booking.com/hotel/it/suite-bolzano.it.html

The room looks even better than on the photos and the owner is a really nice person.

The places in Bolzano that are the must see if you are there only for an evening:
Arcades – gives the medieval feeling to the city. You feel as if you moved back in time.
Via Joseph Streiter – filled with bars and historic buildings
Via Argentieri – with the Casa Troilo and very cute link to the Arcades
Piazza delle Erbe – with the Neptune Fountain and the food market (that turns into a huge bar at night)
Piazza Municipio and the Town Hall
and last but not least Cathedral and the Castle

Once you cover all those places you can head to… have some gelato!
We’ve tried Gelateria Eccetera as it was one of the only few still open at 11 p.m. It was a good choice though – cremino flavor… mmm… I wish I had some ice cream in my fridge now (or better not!).
https://www.tripadvisor.it/Restaurant_Review-g187857-d4913331-Reviews-Gelateria_Eccetera-Bolzano_Province_of_South_Tyrol_Trentino_Alto_Adige.html

It was time to bed, as Friday morning we had some trekking to do. Still in Bolzano.

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As I was going through websites and doing research on the area, I have found a nice trekking path between three castles and a tower nearby. You will see the ruins of Castel d’Appiano, Castel Boymont and Castel Corba.

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The walk is around 5 km and should take no longer than 2.5h. The only problem is that we didn’t learn from the mistakes from the past and we have got lost as we didn’t read the signs properly! In the end our trekking was almost 8km long and lasted over 3 hours. It was very steep (the original path should be pretty easy), pretty scary as there were no sights of live and we have even managed to trespass to somebody’s vineyard and met their two little, but feisty dogs!

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The whole path you can find under this link:
https://www.suedtirolerland.it/en/leisure-activities/mountains-and-hiking/hiking-in-the-south-of-south-tyrol/three-castle-walk/

After the walk – and a bit of pain in my legs! – we have started our trip towards Lago di Braies and Trento. About that Friday soon… and there is still Saturday to tell you about.

 

Considering all the differences that I have noticed between the north and the south or even Lombardy and Trentino, I agree that Italy is only a geographical expression and don’t even try to fight it and find one definition of this colorful variety. Every visitor admires how different and unlike is each city from another and how you can’t compare the places, people and language.
Each has its beauty but also perks, so you have to discover yourself which is your own part of this picturesque peninsula. 

the road trip buddy

Izaak Walton – and English writer of 17th century. I have read his The Compleat Anger while still being a student, but actually just few weeks back I have reached out to him again. To my surprise one of the quotes was as follows As Italians say: good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. I found it a bit funny that I have noticed the quote just now – before the weekend road trip with Giulia.
The quote is also very contradictory for me, however, let me start from the beginning.

Plans for the long weekend, so-called swiss holidays, have been arranged already in February or even earlier. The choice of the place was not easy, as living in Como gives a great array of beautiful places to visit that are easily reachable by car. After quite thorough research we have decided to go to Trentino, so to more eastern part. I said We, cause this time it was not a solo trip, but a trip with already mentioned Giulia. Who is she? Long story short – started from being a colleague, through a sort of mentor in my new path in Italy – finishing with a real friend.

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The trip itself will be a subject for another post as the itinerary we have created and covered within only three days was demanding but the views totally worth the efforts. Maybe we were tired and afterwards decided to devote Sunday to pure relax and chill at home after… holiday! However, I would not change anything in a trip. Well, maybe the weather, but clearly  we haven’t booked it in advance. You can’t have everything though, can you?

Coming back to my main thought though, do you really think that having a road trip – not a flight, not a train, but a road trip in one car – with your friend is always a good and easy idea?
If so, you were lucky by now with your friends and it means you should stick to them for your life! If not, then we are in the same group as I strongly believe that having a road trip buddy is a special gift and in the end it is easier to lose a friend than to create closer bonds. Every person has their particular way of travelling and spending time abroad. When I say different I mean it can be like black and white experience that you would only notice while preparing the trip. Unfortunately, usually we are not able to say if going away with even our best friend is a great idea, until we actually make it. So we take some kind of a risk. Either we have fun or we have awkward moments after the trip.
I want to believe that I have found some kind of balance on how to work things out and make sure that everyone is happy during the trip. The ROAD trip.

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Why Road Trip is so particular? You are spending with a person good few hours (at least!) closed in a car. Usually listening to music or annoying radio broadcast. Either you are a driver and you may get annoyed by your co-pilot or the other way round. There are so many things that could go wrong, but even more that you can make right.

When you decide to travel together, always ask yourself few crucial questions. First one is what is the aim of the trip. Let’s make sure it is clear and everyone wants the same. If you are going to do a trekking, but your Friend in the morning is annoyed and wants to grab a coffee or go to the beach. Clearly there was a miscommunication and you don’t want to have a hot discussion in the morning on how to compromise and who does what and then have some not very pleasant moments of silence in the car. Of course, don’t get me wrong, silent is fine – as long it is the I need my space and time type. Otherwise, one can feel like opening the door and leaving the car with a friend far away.

On the contrary, don’t try to talk all the time. No one is able to listen actively and have a meaningful conversation for 24 hours. If you are in silent it does not mean one of you is upset. This means you feel comfortable with the person and you can simply enjoy the moment.

This leads to the next question do we have to do everything together? There is one answer – NO. We are not chained to each other and we do not have to spend every second of the day together, but there are some limitations if we all stuck with one car. Make clear plans in advance and while still being flexible, try not to mess it up too much.

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You have to be flexible and open for new ideas and ad-hoc things happening during the trip, but please for everyone’s sake, don’t be the always I don’t mind type. Probably this is the most annoying and irritating sentence if repeated by the same person more than 5 times within a trip. Have an opinion. If you say that you have none, it clearly means that you are scared to share what you really think as it is probably against the majority. Have some balls and say it out loud or keep it low and follow the herd. But do mind. On the other side if someone is walking or eating a bit slower, just chill. Probably they think you are too fast. No one is perfect and there are always two point of view.

What is the usual core of all problems? Money. Make sure you make it clear at the start how you split the expenses and if you pay 50/50 or everyone pays for themselves. I have been travelling in the past month with all type of friends and since we have said at the start how everything is gonna function, we have avoided a lot of unnecessary conversations. Another advice though – if someone says they will cover the bill or you don’t have to give them 50 cent change, don’t fight against them. Just buy them espresso next time and give back the favor. You will all feel way better about such situation.

Don’t forget rules about packing. You might want to take half of your wardrobe, but please… if you are travelling in fiat 500 in 4, probably a little backpack is more recommended unless you are happy with holding your stuff for 5 hours on your laps.
One of my nightmares? Once I have traveled with a person that has eaten sardines in the morning. The smell in the car was definitely unforgettable…

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In order not to start your story with infamous words the night was dark and rainy… and lead to some undesired actions, repeat to yourself – you can be as irritating, disorganized, annoying and slow/fast as the other person, so take it easy, communicate everything clearly and chill. While you realize that, you can focus on the trip itself and getting closer with your friends.

This month I have done every single type of travelling with other people. With Friends, people I haven’t known before, some people that are close to me but still we are getting to know each other and other maybe more randomly met travelers that have become the big part of the adventure – short or long term. Having said that, I can tell that from my perspective every trip was different, but everyone respected our space. All rules were clear and we did not argue at all. I was definitely not irritated, but rather very pleasantly surprised that in such mixed groups we have made it to have great time with no misunderstanding or discussions.
Clearly I have found the way to have a road trip with my friends or maybe I just have found the best friends to travel with?

Remember a good friend listens to your adventures, the best friend makes them with you.

one year later

The first year anniversary deserves some reflection. Maybe not too long one, as my mind is full of thoughts that even I struggle to keep up with them. However, there are few that I really want to share.
How many times, I have heard that we are changing every 7 years? Or close to this time? First few years we are close to the family, then we are being sculptured by our mates at first school, then we go through rebellious stage and deny everything what we have learnt, whereas with the next steps we are trying to figure out who we are, what we don’t want in our lives and what we really need.
But… someone has said that time is relative to where you are, what you do and who you are waiting for, so it seems that my 7 years recently are much shorter. Having moved out of home while being 18, then coming back for a short while and leaving to the UK at 23 and then starting the Italian dream at 26 has changed me a lot. First years were about finding what I want to do, then developing towards what I want to achieve and now.. it is just on how to find the balance. Balance between myself, friends, work. What I love, like and avoid.


Place I am now in is full of opportunities. I probably haven’t had it so easy with possibilities to travel, to discover and to explore on my own in my previous locations. Of course my Parents have been travelling with me a lot, however, let’s face it… child sees travels differently. Even if I have seen so many places with them, I want to come back there again. To understand it more. In the end it is all about the perspective, and now I guess I have it more clear. Or I want to believe I have matured and grew some taste since then. Italy is a beautiful place. I have written about the beginning of my la dolce vita few months back and I strongly believe that it has its charm. After a while, you also discover some faults, but no one and nothing is perfect, so it is a matter of adjusting yourself to what’s around and focus on things that make you happy, not annoyed or worried.
It is a great take off location. You can go everywhere in Europe within very short time and the amount of weekend trips I have done since I’m here is uncountable! (actually it is fully countable – exactly 20 of them 🙂 ) Doesn’t matter if you are up for a road trip or a flight – both are very easy and I struggle to choose the more convenient one. Even despite my fear of planes.


Not to mention my new country itself. Italy is filled with culture, beautiful landscapes, history. This is an amazing spot for tourists and travelers. When you come here and realize all that, you are just motivated to grab more and more of it. I became very greedy with this. Like I feel, I can’t never get enough and I want to see it all. Maybe that is the reason why I am just a train/flight tickets maniac.
The other side is that I start feeling that no place is my place. Everywhere I choose to go I feel like I belong there and every time I think about places I used to live or live in now, I don’t feel attachment. I clearly remember stating at the beginning of this blog that I will be leaving on at least 3 continents and I really strive for it. Not now, but one day the next move will come.


Another thing that made me grow are people I have met. It took a while, as in order to create real bonds you need time and trust, but despite having real good friends already in different countries, I have found so many interesting people that make me grow and complement me in a way. Some of them taught me how to be myself. Some how to appreciate the world around. Others how to be comfortable with myself.
I may still be failing in some areas, but without my new friends I probably would have been much further compared to where I am now. New people to travel with. To share experiences or just to laugh our asses off. What I missed in the UK was a distance from work. I really love it, but sometimes you need to clear your head. In Italy, somehow this stopped being an issue. Because in a way we have made it to draw a line between work and personal lives and also I am sharing my space between two cities. My home and my friends’ home. Como and Milano. One for being on my own. One for sharing with the special ones.


I used to be more reluctant to travel with people I didn’t particularly know. Now it has gone through complete change. I have realized how interesting, fun and crazy it is to be with completely new, different and adventurous company! Few months ago, I was mainly targeting places to travel on my own. Now, I am convincing people to come with me and I am trying to pass on my love to travelling on them. It seems to work. In the end I do believe each one of us has a hidden traveler inside. However, I am still meeting people who would say that every city is the same, so there is no point of moving around as much. I cut those acquaintance short. It is not that I don’t respect this opinion, but from my experience I already know we won’t get along. I can be fascinated by a little painting on the wall, elder people sitting in the promenade enjoying their afternoon siesta or a great building in the shape that actually doesn’t resemble anything or resembles too much.
Few months ago, I have heard that since I am in Italy, I am much less grumpy. There is something about it and despite having my don’t come close to me mood in the morning, after few hours I am back to normal! In the end I am a night person, and I deserve my moments! 😉

So words that I would consider as meaningful in the past 12 months – friendship, change, travel. I have found my passion, found people who motivate and grew up to finally move on in the direction I was always aiming, just didn’t have balls to get there.

Usually we do cheers for some major occasions – so my toast goes to my best Friend that can always trust me, the Friend who became a mentor and showed a different view at what’s around, the Friend that just tells not to give a fuck and the Friend that is simply always here and there for me – despite the distance or time.

 

night perspective

I always talk about another perspective. Then of course everyone is asking me what do I actually mean by that? In the end everyone will have different perception as everything can be subjective. So no, I don’t mean our personal views or opinions, but how things around us can seem completely different depending on the factors and also… on our mood and mindset at that moment.

Today I was having my first evening walk in Taormina. I am no going to lie, I was very close of hitting bed for a nap at 5 p.m., as after morning alarm clock at 3 a.m. to get the flight, then bus to get to Catania, walk to leave luggage, very long walk around the city (which was a bit disappointing, but soon I’ll write about it as well), then reach Taormina by train & bus & 20 minutes walk up the stairs. Can be exhausting, right?

But the moment when I have seen the color of the sea, the crowd of people walking through narrow streets, sipping coffee in restaurants or having drinks on the square – that was the moment when the nap idea was simply gone. [currently I am still in a bar trying to write down all the thoughts and ideas for future posts! Somehow my brain still seems to be working.]
So quick shower – I start looking like a human being again and not to make people move away from me – and off we go. Taormina! I was supposed to find a nice place to sit and enjoy the view. Instead I have started with getting lost in all the streets, playing with homeless cats and giving directions to other tourists. Somehow wherever I go, everyone is asking me for some advice. Today, I was asked by an Italian person about the bus. What is funnier though, even if she has heard that I am obviously not a local, she still insisted on me knowing the answer. Why? Because I have had map in my hand, camera and phone, so I must have looked like Info Point! Anyway, never mind, I always take it with a bit of distance and I am very proud of myself if I can actually reply to their questions. This means that I have clearly made my lesson and studies the place – my way.

Coming back to the perspective. The city by day seemed very touristic, which of course is the case, crowded, loud, full of selfies, people with their eyes on their phones instead of following what is around. I was walking and despite I admit this is the most beautiful place I have seen by now, I kind of couldn’t understand its vibe. Like is it just touristy, or maybe it is real historic and cultural place that I have imagined and wanted to explore? I was doubting it all afternoon. But then the sun went down. People kind of calmed down. You have started seeing more elderly people walking around enjoying views, more romantic view of couples heading for aperitivo or dinner.
Surprisingly, for the first time, I felt a bit lonely as the solo-traveler, as I literally haven’t seen a single person in a bar or restaurant. Need to explore it tomorrow more. Not that I mind, but for the first time it felt slightly weird.
While getting lost in the streets at night in Taormina, I have finally recognized that this city has its particular atmosphere. The time seems to have stopped a while back for locals. The buildings, the way they live but also their pace in doing things (oh my… they have pushed the limits of my patience just in few hours!). Just then I realized, it is not them that should adapt to my world, but me to adapt to theirs.

Night is the time for locals. When tourists are tired after long walk, million of drinks and stuffed with delicious food, the southerners are escaping from their dens to wine and dine. I have noticed the rule that the more south you go, the bigger chance to meet locals and mix with them. It has proven itself today. In the first bar I have entered I have spoken with at least five different people. It was also very funny to see how all waiters and waitresses felt sorry for me to be on my own… They genuinely cared and were talking to me in any spare minute they have had.
Having all those new images in my head, I have completely changed what I thought about this place. Initially distant, touristy and cold, started to feel like my cozy place to be. Maybe with a lot of people, but very open ones and yet, in the evening you are able to discover the real life happening there behind the ‘travelling’ curtains.

Magic 6 of Prague’s flavours

‘Eastern Europe has been really trendy. Prague is the best-preserved city in the region … and the best beer in Europe lands on your table there for 50 cents.’ Rick Steves, American travel writer summed up perfectly Prague. Stunning place. Delicious beer. Budget weekend. However, normally when we think about Prague food is not the first thing that comes up to our mind. So today, I’m gonna prove you that Czech cuisine can be, to your surprise, very interesting and what is more important, satisfy your tastes.

6 things to try in Prague

  1. Guláš – my personal favorite
    Of course – each central european country has their own kind of Goulash. The original one comes from Hungary, however, its czech cusine is definitely the one to remember. Why? First of all, if you are vegetarin skip this part, it contains more meat and less veggies. Secondly, it is less spicy. Thirdly, it includes typical dumplings made of bread, which are dipped in this delicious soup/dish.
    Aren’t you hungry yet?

    Risultati immagini per Guláš
    Where will you find the best one?

    Mincovna – if you like it a bit fancier – http://www.restauracemincovna.cz/
    U Magistra Kelly at Hradcany – get the real Czech feeling there – http://www.umagistrakelly.cz/index-en.html

  2. Knedliky – cause as a polish person, I love anything that could be similar to our dumplings!
    Typically you will find them together with goulash, but.. you can actually have them with marmelade inside! Yummy!
    Risultati immagini per Knedliky
  3. Vepřo-knedlo-zelo – almost impossible to remember the name or to pronounce it for an english speaker, so WRITE IT DOWN!

    bread dumplings + pork + pickled cabbage
    Can you ask for more? Very typical food, which I’d strongly recommend for winter lunch, rather than late dinner! It will fill you up for few hours, so maybe then consider a glass of wine in the cathedral area to relax and enjoy your time!

    Risultati immagini per Vepřo-knedlo-zelo

  4. Kulajda – why would anyone recommend a simple soup?
    Maybe cause in the end it is not a simply soup, but a delicious mix of potatoes, mushrooms and dill. Funny enough, this soup used to be my nightmare when I was a kid, but rumor has it that our tastes are changing while we are growing up – does it mean I got older??… Hah definitely not, just smarter with my food choice!I had a really good one here – http://www.tristoleti.cz/index.php/en/
    But the best one I’ve tried was one winter at the Xmas market. It became my lunch and dinner the same day… I’m getting hungry only by the thought of it.

    Risultati immagini per kulajda

  5. Vegetarians will find the Smažený Sýr as a pure paradise for their pallate. Cheese. Fried Cheese. Deep Fried Cheese. When you think it can’t get better – they have added potato salad or fries. Pure love.

    Risultati immagini per Smažený Sýr

  6. Last but not least – or the best. Yes, I have a lot of ‘the bests’ here – Trdelnik. Again very difficult to pronounce rolled pastry usually topped with sugar, cinnamon or nuts.
    Where will you find the best one – on the street. Do not dare pass it indifferently.

    Risultati immagini per trdelnik
    What do you need to know?
    Prices in Prague are usually very low, so going even to a fancy restaurant means actually very good quality for reasonable price.
    The best period to try the street food is Xmas to discover little markets with mulled beer and typical grilled sausages or above mentioned goulash. Try to go to Wencelas Square where you should be able to try the local dishes throughout the year!
    Try to discover smaller streets filled with locals and ask them for their recommendations! From my experience, Czech are very friendly and usually speak English pretty well.

    Other places to recommend:
    U Bile Kuzelky – http://lokal-ubilekuzelky.ambi.cz/en/?PHPSESSID=84b6102ef752062549f0b7518e1d997b
    U Veverky – http://www.uveverky.com/?utm_source=tripadvisor&utm_medium=referral
    Pivovarsky Klub – http://www.pivovarskyklub.com

    Comment your experience with Czech cuisine and tell me what was your unforgettable experience!

Cracovian Legends

I have just realized that despite me being in love with my country – in a weird way as from the distant – I have never written anything particularly about polish cities. It is a time now, so get ready to discover Kraków following some legends and a big part through my friend’s – Giulia – photos, which are way better than the ones you could find on google (*spoiler alert*). At the end you will also find some recommendations on where to eat and drink 😉

There are a lot of theories on the origin of the name of our second Polish capital city. Some are purely theoretic and pragmatic but one that I like in particular is connected with the legend. In the time of Game of Thrones when I say that it includes the dragon, I should get your attention.
Walking down the Grodzka street, which is one the oldest ones in the city as is the part of the Royal trade route back from at least 13th Century, you will end up facing the huge walls of the Wawel’s Castle. My suggestion is to turn right first and head towards the Wawel’s dragon. Ah yes.. so the legend. Once upon a time… to be more specific in the 1st century, there was a lair on the Wawel’s hill where the dragon that spread the havoc among the citizens as was responsible for attacks on local virgins. No one was brave enough to face him or the strongest and most courageous knights were dying at the Vistula’s bank. Until one day the brave cobbler Dratewka or later Prince Krakus came up with a very smart or… original idea to create a fake sheep filled in with brimstone. Yes, I was asking myself why with brimstone not with dynamite or … poison. Well.. the legend says that it made the dragon so thirsty that has started to drink water from the restless Vistula. He couldn’t stop, so… he burst out and liberated the city from his cruelty. Until today the inscription on the sculpture is as below and the dragon’s cave can be visited during the summer.

KRAKUS, A POLISH PRINCE
RULED AD 730-750.
HERE IS THE CAVE IN WHICH HAVING KILLED THE WILD DRAGON HE SETTLED AT WAWEL, AND FOUNDED THE CITY OF KRAKÓW.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania smok wawelski

Wawel is the perfect place to spend early afternoon. You will find information in each guide that there is a breathtaking view from the terrace at the sunset, but I dare to differ. The view is actually more beautiful when you look from the other side of the Vistula river towards the hill and see the streaks of sun tearing themselves through the previous Royal Families’ residency, chapels…

Podobny obraz

It is interesting to mention that the bell located in the Sigmund’s Tower can be only heard during the most important occasions in Poland and in the world. Unfortunately, also during the reign of the same King the capital city of Poland was moved to Warsaw and Wawel started being neglected or occupied by Prussians leading to worsening it’s condition significantly. One of my favorite parts are actually the Tombs of Royal family or very important figures from Polish history placed under the castle. If you are interested in polish history, I am sure you will find it fascinated to walk through the tombs of people who used to have the unimaginable power over our ancestors. Of course there is a controversy of the more modern graves placed in that area after the plane crash in Smoleńsk few years back, but this should not disperse a tourist.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania wawel

How many pigeons have you seen on the Market Square in Kraków? Hah.. no one is able to count them. As we are very creative people by nature (I hope!) there is another legend linked to that and as locals are used to avoiding those little flying creatures and trying not to walk under them, the tourists can go back in time and think about the legend linked with them which says that pigeons are the knights that have been put under the spell when the Prince of Krakow of that time had no money and asked the fairy for help. She then turned all his army into birds and they have started taking out rocks from the walls of St. Mary’s Church making them fall on the ground and changing into golden coins. The prince was now rich but… with no army to defend the city. The fairy has promised to take the spell back, however, under the condition that he will go to Rome and see the Pope. Unfortunately, Prince forgot quickly about his city and spent all the money on wine and decadent life on the way to Italy and Kraków is.. filled with soldiers closed in the little pigeons’ bodies.

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The most beautiful sight on the square is unarguably the St. Mary’s Church, which maybe from the outside may look more average, but inside… just have a look… (one of Giulia’s photos):

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Also here there is a legend of the Trumpeter that was motivating the soldiers to defend the city, however, has been killed with a single Tatar’s arrow, so the melody has finished. Until today the hejnał is being played only until the moment when it was stopped at the memorable battle.

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The beautiful altar on photos above created by Veit Stoss has also its story. First of all the creation took over 12 years and spending the unimaginable amount of money to finish it. Afterwards he came back to Germany and was imprisoned for… an investment fraud! The altar survived ages of different historic moments until the Nazi soldiers came and stole it. Fortunately, unlike the other pieces of art, it was found in the unaffected condition and brought back to the church.

Have you heard of Wieliczka salt mine? No, well… high time to discover the place! 2.5km of a walk with a guide. Starting with going down the stairs to 63m under the ground and reaching 130m towards the end of the trip.

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Plenty of underground salt lakes, chambers, chapels… the view is something unreal! Also you can lick the wall as it is pure salt due to what all the bacteria is killed (so it is hygienic) and… it is simply fun! 😀

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The legend here says that hungarian Princess Kinga was about to marry our Polish King, so as the part of her dowry she has asked for the lump of salt from the salt mine in Hungary, as it was very pricey in Poland and not only. She went to the salt mine with her Father and threw her engagement ring into the shaft. Upon arrival to Poland she has asked minors to dig a whole in the ground until they reached a rock. To everyone’s disbelief they have discovered there salt! When they split it into halves they have discovered Kinga’s engagement ring. That’s why she has become also the patron of polish miners.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania wieliczka

The same King that has rebuilt the Salt Mine (Kazimierz Wielki) has also created the city which is now the Jewish quarter of Kraków and was named by his name – Kazimierz.

Podobny obraz

One of the tragic ones is connected with the cemetary that we have also visited on the Szeroka street. It may seem weird to have the graveyard in the middle of the main square, however, it is said that it was placed there because at one of the Jewish weddings (just before the sabbath) organized for an orphan that had no dowry, so the whole celebrations were at night to keep it simply cheaper… lasted too long and interrupted the religious celebrations in the temple. Long story short, they have all been punished with… death and the graveyard was initially for all the merrymakers…

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania kazimierz krakow cmentarz

Nowadays the quarter seems to have stopped in time and is filled with Jewish restaurants, typical shops and the roofs of mosques gazing at us inbetween the beautiful tenement houses.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania kazimierz krakow\

Thanks to my Friends I have also got to know that there is a Jewish tradition to put little stones on the grave in order to make sure that the soul does not leave the body deceased. Another, more practical, explanation is to show others that someone has visited the grave recently.

Not to be too long with the legends of Kraków, I would like to finish with recommending few places that we were lucky to visit.

  1. Restaurant U Babci Maliny – https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g274772-d697169-Reviews-U_Babci_Maliny-Krakow_Lesser_Poland_Province_Southern_Poland.html

    Typical polish food. I can tell that was almost as good as my Grandma’s! The only problem is the mix of the old soul of the place and the modern elements imposed in the interior. The beeping number on the wall was ruining the atmosphere…
    I recommend the one on Sławkowska street as it is hidden and you have to pass through the library in order to get inside. Nice little hidden place 😉

    WhatsApp Image 2018-03-17 at 19.50.13

  2. Cafe Żarówka on Floriańska Street – https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g274772-d7277453-Reviews-Zarowka_Cafe-Krakow_Lesser_Poland_Province_Southern_Poland.html
    Super cozy and friendly place with very cute breakfasts and lunches. Additional advantage is extremely friendly dog of the owner and again… being hidden in-between the buildings!

    WhatsApp Image 2018-03-20 at 20.28.41

  3. Zapiekanka on Plac Nowy – https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g274772-d3700898-Reviews-Endzior_Zapiekanki-Krakow_Lesser_Poland_Province_Southern_Poland.html Foreigners call it a Polish pizza – for me it is more like a bruschetta thing. In any case, everyone loves it! Typical polish street food. My personal recommendation – the simpler the better (ham, mushrooms and cheese with ketchup obligatory).WhatsApp Image 2018-03-18 at 12.56.09
  4. Pijalnia Wódki i Piwa – https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g274772-d7991552-Reviews-Pijalnia_Wodki_I_Piwa-Krakow_Lesser_Poland_Province_Southern_Poland.html
    Because you simply can’t leave Kraków/Poland without trying few different flavours of vodka. It would have been as if being in Italy and not trying pasta!

    WhatsApp Image 2018-03-17 at 22.27.23

  5. Bar Mleczny Pod Temidą – https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g274772-d2693216-Reviews-Bar_Mleczny-Krakow_Lesser_Poland_Province_Southern_Poland.html
    Another place you can’t miss is the Milk Bar – the best pierogi, the best dumplings, the best bigos and the best krokiety – after my Grandma’s, my Mum’s and mine 😛 The only issue was very rude staff, but you can handle it for the taste of their food.

    Podobny obraz

I really hope that I have made you want to discover Poland a bit more and in case you need local’s advice, let me know as I have much more tips and ideas for this trip than I could have shared here!

Hope to hear your stories on this city soon!

back to the roots

So today I have come back from yoga and ate sushi. You might think that I really became boring and have nothing to write about, but bear with me for few more minutes. This was some kind of breakthrough in my life, as … I do not do yoga and do not eat sushi. You may ask now why the hell is she writing about it now then and why did she do both in the end? Or at least you are asking yourself this question, as this post is, hopefully, gonna be on people that can change the perception of yourself and motivate you and… my latest trip back home. Quite an unusual mix, but that would be all about my last weekend in Poland.

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Since I have moved abroad I have met a lot of people that travel but not a lot that have actually been to Poland or… would like to go there anytime soon. I am not sure why as there are a lot of beautiful places there, the prices are very cheap and cities easily reachable from anywhere in Europe simply by Ryanair. But there is this stereotype I guess that Poland is cold, cities not as impressive as in Western Europe and people are even colder then the weather. Which is kind of true but… I think younger generation is leading to some major changes! Anyway… It is not a country for hot summer holiday, but it is the place for sightseeing and discovering the unknown.

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Coming back to my main thought. In Italy I have been very positively surprised that my new Friends are actually very interested in my culture and origins. In the end for them my life is a complete tabula-rasa. I might not know their families or friends but still can see the environment they grew up in. They don’t have the same luxury with myself, so in the end I could pretend to be anyone I’d like to. I don’t see the point of doing that, but in the end who knows! 😉 Their interest was very strong and sometimes across a lot of jokes and irony we have been talking about my country and Family. There were some things that they felt to be absurd but also, or at least I hope so, that there are interesting, new or worth to listen/know about. Following that I have proposed to come to Poland few months back to two of my Friends from work, and actually not only at work.

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The decision to go was made actually within seconds. The tickets were cheap, city beautiful and long weekend at work filled. So yes – within next few moments the tickets have been booked and on my face there was this kind of childish smile due to the prospect of being home again after 9 months and the mix of my old world with the new surrounding. In reality, that was also the first time I was bringing people that are very close to me to very personal place of mine, so I also have felt pressure – if they gonna like it? How shall I go about the trip? Is my knowledge enough to interest them?  What was even cooler is that we have actually went also to my hometown and had dinner with my Parents and spent the night in my old room! Small thing but for me meant a world!
Having mentioned the dinner with my Mum and Dad. It was the first great highlight of the whole trip of our trio, which was then even extended to the quintet. But coming back to the dinner… My Mum is a bit extrovert, with crazy thoughts, strong personality and very vocal opinions. She is the one you can steal horses with (as we say in Poland meaning it is a great company for everything!) but also.. you can be scared as she is always straight to the point and doesn’t waste time for pretending to like something or someone. Clearly I can tell that she has loved girls. To the point that while saying goodbye, she has actually forgotten to say goodbye to me. She was so happy to meet girls and have them around that she has actually forgotten that… I am leaving back to Italy as well. Or maybe got used to our goodbyes. In any case, it was super funny situation!! But coming back to the change of habits, I will finally explain why those two stories or elements are very much linked to each other.

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During the dinner both of my Friends were very interested in polish culture, our traditions, language, funny stories… everything and of course you could have tell that it was a real interest. Not type of the… OMG I am here so least I can do is pretend to listen and pay attention. Moreover, I think they may have discovered and remembered even more than I wish them to! Ahh my Parents have sold them few quite good phrases or stories on me… 🙂 You can always count on them in case! Despite, or maybe thanks to, the fact it was something completely new I have seen that they were really getting into details and trying to recognize or compare that world to myself from their world, my stories and eventually, as I believe so, to their own houses. In the end our cultures are different, so it works both way. I was and still am discovering the Italian style!

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The next day we have been walking around Kraków and visited Wieliczka Salt Mine. I have done my best to remember by heart some stories on sights, legends, but I have failed few times, so thank god for my pretty good imagination. I hope they still remember the legend on the Dragon of Wawel! 😀 I was recommending new places, new food and… I have realized that even despite considering myself as very open person, I am probably much more difficult to be motivated to change or to try something new. At least when it comes to my habits. This weekend, both of them have trusted me completely in anything I have recommended or suggested, so well… this is something I should have learnt. They have been convincing me to do so many things and for some I have said YES straight, for some with time and for some I have failed. Of course it is easier to change your mindset for a weekend rather than lifetime, but still… in the end leading the same lifestyle and habits forever must be boring and doesn’t allow us to taste the life in its full colors.

So I have made my notes – things they have been convincing me… yoga, gym, sushi, speak italian.

Game is on girls…

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can’t get enough

Podobny obraz

Living abroad expands your horizons and teaches you thinking outside the box and perceiving differently the world around you. Being more open for things that normally seem ‘not normal’. Because being surrounded by so many cultures, makes you realize that there are no wrong or rights.
Not taking for granted your comfort zone, as you know you’d have to jump out of it very soon and very often. Sharing experiences with completely new people in very random and unknown places. Sounds like a dream. In a way the expats-by-heart are living their dream, because this is the reason why we have ran away from the previous reality – to discover. However, you learn a lot about yourself and surprisingly, you start thinking how normal and average and unfulfilling life you are living…

I have done a bit in my life, 3 BAs, MA, working in two corporations, living in 2 foreign countries, traveled on my own etc. Looking at my age, I have thought that this is kind of an achievement. Also looking back at my Friends in Poland, I see that we are leading completely different lives. Everyone is developing in their areas, but I had this feeling that I left more convenient world, so I felt… proud. Yes, I wouldn’t be modest here. Not 4 years ago. I felt very good and proud that I have made it. You know what I mean, living on your own with few quids in your pocket, handling not very friendly bureaucracy in a foreign country, meeting more foreign Friends than you’ve actually have had in your  homeland or even dating completely new type of guys is THE challenge. Something that as I’ve said – made me proud of what I have done.

Well at least this is what I have thought at the beginning of my journey. Very quickly I have realized that actually finding my new favorite products in a supermarket, getting best offers and paying bills is not such an achievement. You just do things that you have to do. You got no one to do it for you, so you get your ass together and start acting like an adult. When I have moved abroad I was just on the verge of turning 24 years old. For some young for some normal (Yeah… of course not old! 😉 ) for a person to start a new adventure. Being surrounded by internationals always makes you wonder and appreciate what they have done versus your achievements. Let’s not lie to ourselves – everyone is comparing to others at some extend. I do it in a motivating way. Despite only one regret that appeared at some point – not doing Erasmus as a student – I have only realized how lucky I was to meet so ambitious and brave people. Everyone is running in this world. I know that many of you will think that this is crazy and not right… but I love this run. As Heraclitus said – the only constant in the life is change – and this is so real.
Like when I think about it… most of my expat Friends are younger and they have already lived in few countries, studied at different universities, fighting for internships, running from one interview to another. Slightly older Friends share their crazy experiences, what they have done and seen. When they tell me how much I’ve done, I honestly feel stupid and weird cause from my perspective I am far behind.

What are my risks here?
We all think that we can do everything and you have all those possibilities. To live anywhere you want to. Do whatever you feel like. Travel in the most desirable places. You are getting everything that you could dream off. And you realize you want more or… you can do more cause in the end you are not lonely rushing to experience everything in this crazy world.
I also realized how vague the word courage is. How many times I have heard it towards myself? Uncountable. But frankly speaking… I am a proper coward. 25% of all my life choices and changes might be courage but the rest is simply the strong need for something new, no matter how scared I was and how many times, I was swearing to myself that I am stupid to put myself through some sh*t.

So yes, I am proud and at the same time not really, I am not gonna to be modest about the fact that if you have given me now a one way ticket to the unknown – I’m down for it. Anytime.
But what I might be afraid of is always not having experienced something enough and wanting more and more of a change. Wanting to feel, touch and taste everything, cause in the end I am still at the very beginning of the journey. Struggle to settle, get this unfulfilled feeling.
As when you realize how big the world is, how could you shut yourself in the ‘four walls’ of the one city?

 

Five Shades of Liguria

No, I am not a fan of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. Although I read all parts (skipping every other page). I just like knowing what people talk about. Seems the same was with Cinque Terre. Everyone has been there. Everyone loved it. Everyone had some particular experience there. I was meant to go there already since July, but there was always something more interesting. In the end I thought those are small cities mainly for hiking, so it wasn’t put on my priority. Until my Friend, Suku, has mentioned that this was her dream to go and visit the place before leaving back to India. So we went off. Just two days before her flight.

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Looking through the photos on the internet, some recommendations, suggestions what to do and what to see I started falling for this place. It seemed magical. Soon I was about to experience this fully. Saturday morning we have left Milan in really good moods. Despite the weather forecast saying that it’s gonna be cold and rainy we were motivated to explore as much as possible and take most of the trip and last hours before our separation.

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What a surprise we had when we have reached La Spezia (where our hotel was) and started to sweat in our thick jumpers as it was really warm (+16 degrees!). We parked the car. Got lost. Found very nice lady that traveled with us on two buses in order to show us where the train station was. It is important to mention that the hotel was 6 min walking from the train station. Now you can imagine how lost we were before to take 2 buses …

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First city was Riomaggiore. In the sun, we have been joking around, while trying to take the best photos, but of course it took ages to convince me to take a photo of myself – then I gave up and surprisingly was asking for some more shots. (not vodka ones!) This place was definitely the brightest one. It was a great beginning of the trip.

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I haven’t felt the brutally coming Monday yet, so I was very careless. In the end, MONDAY IS NOT REAL! What the fuck is Monday?! Joking around come non ci fosse un domani, laughing my ass off about the most ridiculous things. People around must have thought that I have some issues, but.. I don’t think about others 😉 I even wore my brand new glasses, that I honestly hate. But I did not care.

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After Riomaggiore, there was a time for Manarola. Very picturesque city where we have also eaten in the restaurant carried out by a couple of elder marriage. Home food. Sweet couple. Oh my god… I started feeling sentimental and everyone knows I am not sentimental at all. More like ‘bah..what the fuck?!’ type of a person. But come on… homemade food in grandma style (maybe not mine, but I imagine she could be my Italian grandma 😉 ) can move even such a rational person as I am. So we have started talking about future.

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Our dreams and how to make them reality. Some things made me angry. As if I didn’t want to understand what was happening around. Accepting reality is not my strongest feature. I have heard the word fate few times during that trip and I am still not convinced. I mean the truth is there are weird things happening around myself, but how much is it me wanting something, looking for some sights or simple unnatural powers? Who knows?

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I always try to find my own way to perceive what is happening in order to make it easier. But I could not handle this one. I was just getting pissed off. At the world. For being so big and me so small. And no, I don’t mean smelling armpits on the bus, but not being able to be everywhere, with everyone, all the time. I do my best on whatsapp, but clearly it is not the same 😀

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Corniglia. A lot of effort. So many stairs… Despite almost falling twice, I was laughing all the time and covering getting more and more sad. I don’t know if I hid it well enough, but I did my best. Walking up the hill gives you some time to think. UNFORTUNATELY. This should be forbidden. Like there should be some distractions on the way. But no.. the only one was the sign of the path – which was the exact polish flag – oh.. thanks for making me more homesick. We sat a bit looking at the view from the top. Took a glass of wine. I have made friends with two cats.

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Lost my head due to so many thoughts.. Trying to come up with the best excuse and way to keep all my Friends close! …so while I couldn’t focus both on the cat, thinking what was coming soon and holding a glass of wine, I have dropped wine. Cut myself and spilled it on the floor. Great. Some Italian older gentleman started complaining that I did it because I was focused on the cat. I wasn’t. As a born negotiator, I was trying to come up with the best pack with devil possible. I guess I wasn’t creative enough! A little run down to the station and … Vernazza.

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I think it was my favorite city. For few reasons. But we have spent there the longest time both on Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday I got completely turned off in the city. I barely spoke, actually completely mute. For few reasons I guess. When I am down, I either speak too much and pretend all is good, I am a complete bitch and you better don’t come closer than 1km to me or I don’t speak at all. I felt weird as I was also meeting another Friend met recently for like 3 minutes, so I was supposed to be happy. But I simply lost all the excitement and just got cold. As I would do. Sounds depressing, but this is what I have felt. I was happy inside and super awkward and lost outside. I hope they didn’t mind or… notice!

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Although, people are mainly used to me talking some nonsense, so I guess it was alright when I have started out of nowhere my stream of ‘word’sciousness. This mood led me down to the last city.

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On Sunday, last city. Monterosso. The biggest. Probably with less nice views, but most interesting city. I was very calm there. Kind of accepted than in 7 hours I will be saying goodbye and crying in the car for last 45 minutes to Como. Maybe not 45, but a good 10 – yeah I did! I started joking around again and being more relaxed. In the end I had to use the time wisely. Next time we see each other is most likely no sooner than August or even LATER!!

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Now you will ask why? Why did I went through all of those steps to say goodbye to a person that I have met for only 6 months? Because I get close only to some people. The ones I believe that can change me in a good way and I have changed. I was calmer. More distant and was able to build up my private world in the new place. Of course, I have friends here, but this is the one that is leaving me now. And being the selfish type only child, I believed I own the only right to do so. But well… Sometimes I need to wake up from this selfish side of me. Open my eyes, remember the acceptance feeling of Monterosso and move forward. In the end those are not goodbyes but see you laters. Like soon I am gonna have the reunion in Lisbon, meet for the first time (and we know each other for good few years) my kind of career mentor (I hope you read it and die from laughter!:PPPP) in Amsterdam, show my little world and origins in Kraków and my hometown, discovering new places with my Como Mentor & Friend, getting to know how to party with italians in the south, showing my Mum the beauty of Toscany and hopefully big.. Hello again in India! <3

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and yes… I still believe I am the only one having the right to leave, so don’t try to prove me wrong again. anyone.

‘Trust me!’

I am being spontaneous, crazy and unpredictable, but my Friends despite knowing that will always perceive me as the responsible one. Because I can take care of myself and I guess I am there for them when they need me. Or I want to believe that they think so. In any case, only while travelling with me you can discover the real side of my twisted personality and the special skill of being a magnet to all of the weird/funny/ridiculous situations that could happen to me. While solo travelling it is not easy to describe everything as people will think I exaggerate, but this time I have some witnesses. And despite being in Barcelona in three (soon a post about it), all the crazy stuff happened after those words – ‘Sangu, trust me!’.

Sangu, one of my best Friends living in Milan has made probably not well-thought decision to go to Barcelona and let me organize the trip. Everything was settled. Itinerary, flights, luggage packed… let’s go for the adventure! We have entered the plane and she realized that I am really scared of flying. So taking off – despite a solid glass of wine at the airport – was ‘a bit’ intense. She was laughing but at the same time supported me in my craziness. This is how you recognize a real friend!!

So after a bit bumpy landing with the weird sounds coming from wheels (as if the pilot has used manual lever to open the chassis), we have reached the ground and I could have breathed normally again. Or even better as… Spain… here we are!!!! We rushed to the hotel to meet Lianne, who was travelling from UK and we have met through this blog actually – but this is for another long story! – so we reached the hotel and two of us went out. After 15 min of looking for some pub, we have chosen the one opened the longest as it was already way after 1 a.m. but we had no time to lose and we wanted to taste a bit of Spanish nightlife! So there we are… first ‘Sangu, trust me.’ slips from my mouth. We were trying to come back but no taxi was around and despite me speaking fluently at the bar Spanish – god knows how?! – I was reluctant to call for a cab. So we were walking. With 15% on one phone and much less on the other. I have learnt that I couldn’t trust google maps with my life. That is for sure! 1 hour of walking around and not finding our hotel which was initially 15 minutes away! We passed the same Arch of Liberty 3 times. But we did not give up. I said to trust me… and we found it! Exhausted but laughing to tears. Cause… from the start of course I knew what I was doing (or not!).

After 3 hours of sleep we have left to discover the city. Sagrada Familia and the fulfillment of my dream – Museo di Salvador Dali were the highlights of the day and we have taken the best out of it. Running back to the train station with paella in our hands might not have been the best idea but… worth it! Then the shower and exploring the La Rambla and Gothic part at night.

How many times did I say I fell in love with Spain? Well, here I am again – #INLOVE standing at the edge of the harbor and hoping to live there one day or at least have a summer house somewhere at the seaside.

With those thoughts in my head and being struck by the beauty of Spanish chicos around, while drinking coffee I was woken up by the street guitar player. Yes, he sang ‘Sex bomb’ by Tom Jones for us. Not very good, so we couldn’t stop the burst of laughter! Of course, who laughed first? (Pointing the finger at myself). So I have decided to be nice to this poor guy and gave him few euros asking – please, could you not sing again? Girls thought they will die from laughter, but what is worst he has decided to sing a little part of another weird serenade and then leave. I was literally crying there… couldn’t stop for good few minutes! Anyway.. it was very calm and relaxing evening. Me and Sangu did not know that the next night – leaving one – was supposed to be full of adventures.

So yes… Sunday, not to go into details now, I woke up earlier went to a museum and then we met in the city. It was raining a lot but we still have managed to have great time and see a big part of this splendid city. After merenda unfortunately, the two of us had to be coming back to the flat. Last goodbyes and … back home 🙁

Somehow we have made it to reach the airport with no surprises or adventures. Our plane was supposed to depart at 20.50. Now imagine our faces when we realized it was departing at 22.50 as there was delay. We had almost 4 hours ahead! I don’t want to count how many sangrias we could have had in that time on Plaça Reial!

After trusting me in finding the way back from the toilet – I failed again, but at least I have admitted it after 15 minutes of walkig towards the dead end (another #trustme story), we went shopping the grab some food. I have ordered first and then when my Friend was buying her food, from boredom, I have reached out my phone and checked the vueling (airlines) app. What I saw…. our flight was departing at 21.35!!! It was 21.05!!!!!!!! Damn it! Started to sweat in a second. Sangu came back. Saw my face and I was only like… Sangu, we need to leave. Now!

I run to check the board and it was right. I checked the gate number B29 came back to our food and suitcases and… instead of doing anything I grabbed few french fries. Stood still and said.. just trust me. I take my french fries, you take yours and run!

So we run to B29. To our surprise it was empty. I was already partially happy hoping that our plane is gone and we have to stay longer. But.. it still seemed weird. No notice… nothing. So I run to the board. Again. Oops… it was B39!!! How blind one can be! ‘RUN!!!’. So we reached our queue… thank god not as last ones. We have started to talk and also organize how to pick up the car at the airport etc. As I left it for the first time at the cheap but in the middle of nowhere car park. So we needed a transfer. I took out the card and… it was all wet, so while I was taking it out I did a huge hole just in the middle of a bar code… thank god not the number to the place though! So trusting me with the car was not the best idea either…why was it wet? Cause I said that it would be the great idea to keep both umbrellas in one bag – mine – together, so it wouldn’t make everything wet… just my car ticket and PASSPORT that were in the same pocket #welldone.

Ok. We have landed. Finally! Out of the airport. I called this sad van to pick us up and we were waiting with other people. Then we hear ‘Klaudia!’. Yes, that’s us!! Smiling like two little babies (it was midnight!) we ran to the minibus and I said my surname. The guy confirmed, so we packed our stuff and went to sit inside. Just in case, I showed the ticket… the face of driver said it all. Do not trust me. It is not our transfer. So we patiently left the car just to discover few minutes later that the guy was waiting for Claudio, so two guys not two girls…

Anyway, we finally made it to the car park and despite not very good karaoke session which made us realize we can flawlessly sing only two lines from any song, we have reached our homes. With lots of funny storied and this one sentence in our head ‘… trust me’.

So if you ever think about travelling with me, I do recommend to read this post twice. Or more 😉

#trustme

Conquer the heart of Budapest

 

You may think – Why does she put M83 song while talking about Budapest?
I agree might be a bit off topic, but let me show you my side of the city. The angle that I believe everyone should discover and yes, maybe it is not the best way to discover the city at the first attempt. In the end you have to see the beauty of Buda and Pest. To start with Gellert Hill, Parliament Building, Hosok Tere (Heroes Square) or the Margharet Island. However, Budapest has much more to offer for you to feel the place and understand the rhythm of the city.

As an insomniac, I have always been a night person. I love cities by night. My biggest dreams and plans always appear during the night in the places that simply can inspire me. I truly believe that each place has its soul and we can connect with the city same way as we do with the person. We can fall in love and we can create some kind of relationship with it. We will be doing everything to come back, to get in platonic touch with the city and experience all its secrets. To get to know better and understand. Also for a traveler or a tourist – it can mean a one night stand, so let’s try to take the best out of it! So yes my dear Budapest, let’s share our story.

In order to get into the night feeling of the city, I have decided to make a kind of different trip. Not necessarily focusing on the main places in the city, but to discover the place deeper. The first day I spent purely on the main sights, from the second day the real plot has started.

It is worth saying that I have been travelling to Hungary with my Parents since I was 4 years old until 15, so I know the food and culture pretty well, however, my first time with the capital happened just recently in 2017.

 

Children on Duty

First stop was a Children on Duty train. Basically the whole thing is led by kids from 10 till 14 years old. They sell you tickets, operate the train, call in the last passengers and make sure you are behaving well at the station! At first glance it can seem a bit ridiculous, but if you let yourself into the situation you start getting into the Doogie Howser series. You kind of get that weird feeling that maybe we are all working adults being kids inside? Or maybe the world is accelerating too much and we are all getting into adulthood too early? Or maybe we all underestimate the naive children’s world and they actually can do more? I don’t know… Just my thoughts. Second thought I had, while I saw a boy dressed in kind of old-style uniform was… Oliver Twist. Yeah… of course those kids have completely different lives!
Don’t get me wrong. I get that this is volunteering and gives them amazing opportunity to learn responsibility and do something different and fun, but then… shouldn’t they live their kids’ lives? Like if you let yourself in the situation being surrounded by beautiful nature and views, you get those weird thoughts and personally I have had very good feeling but also started to wonder is it the way I would like to have my childhood – from the perspective of time or am I happy with being careless longer!

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>>> http://www.gyermekvasut.hu/english_eng/introduction/

Hospital in The Rock

While getting back from the trip train, it is easy to reach the old nuclear bunker or actually the old hospital set in the previously nuclear bunker. You get the guided trip every hour in English and then you teleport yourself into the times of the war. This is an old hospital, so you get a bit of a chill from that. Then when you see that it has those bunker elements the whole darkness of the place seems just overwhelming! Videos, letters, notes, memories – this all just make you speechless after leaving the place. We are so damn lucky to have normal hospitals! Something to experience, something to see. Of course probably exaggerated (or not?!) for the commercial purposes, but makes you appreciate the modern times in a way.

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There was also a Polish accent there!

Polish radio program (Z kraju i ze świata) – 10th of December 195
Anna Retmaniak radio reporter, the Special Correspondent of the Polish Radio, accompanied the first transport of aid supply sent from Poland. During her trip to Hungary, she visited the Hospital in the Rock.

>>> https://www.sziklakorhaz.eu/en/archive/memories

Libraries

Something amazing about Budapest is that wherever you go, you’ll get stuck in some random place where you discover amazing spot. Walking toward the Gellert Hill I have found a library – Orszagos Szechenyi Koenyvtar (of course I checked it out online how to write it!). Now you will tell me… it is the first national library in Budapest. Everyone knows about it. True. It is in the castle that millions of visitors go and see every year, but I was still happy like a baby to go inside and see the manuscripts, feel old books and admire the silence of the place.

Below you can find some links to famous libraries in the city. I haven’t been there, but looking at their websites they look simply… inspiring.

>>> http://www.fszek.hu/english/our_libraries/central_library/?article_hid=7448

>>> http://seaslib.elte.hu/ – this one looks the coolest! I can’t imagine I have missed it! First of all it is the English and German literature, which I am in love with. Secondly – it looks like a country yard. Must be the experience.

 

Then you head to Gellert Hill and you visit mesmerizing Cave Church, I was lucky and saw a display of the modern art on my way up the hill. Unfortunately, I have lost some photos when my phone broke down, so I can’t share neither photos nor the name of the artist … (Hungarian is not the easiest language!). I wonder – how the hell people has built this church? Like nowadays the buildings created are falling down after few years, because the construction wasn’t the best, probably the investment too low etc. But at least we have the tools. Back in times… only human hands. My mind simply cannot process it.

Another things worth seeing during the day to get ready for the night:

  • Singing Fountains >>> https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g274887-d6936772-Reviews-Music_Fountain-Budapest_Central_Hungary.html
  • Semmelweis Medical Museum >>> http://semmelweismuseum.hu/
  • Hidden Thermal Water Tap close to the Elizabeth Bridge. Great thing – especially at night when you drank slightly… too much! 😉
  • Ronald Reagan statue at the Liberty Square

 

Then you enter into the nightlife

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The thing not to miss in Budapest is the night cruise. The views are breathtaking. Have a glass of wine during the cruise and just free your thoughts in your mind. You think that a lot of cities are lit at night. Normal stuff. But there is something in this city, that makes it stand out. Maybe because the colors are very well-thought. Everything has the same light color which mixed with the old bricks of buildings is mixed into Gold. Maybe because all the monuments seem like big stains in the darkness if you see them from the further distance. Maybe cause.. it is Budapest and I have had the connection with the place, so felt it more. Maybe it was wine… Well who knows?! But it got into me. I wrote a separate post on my Budapest solo travelling and there you can see what an impact city had on me. Quite relevant one 😉 (https://run-klaudia-run.com/2017/08/01/simply-solo-travelling/)

Then you leave the boat and go straight to the Jewish District to experience the real nightlife. Pubs, Jazz music, Beer, food… Some places that I strongly recommend!

  • Ruin Bars in Budapest: Mazel Tov, Kertem (must see!)
  • Kisuzem: I was lucky to hear little part of the life jazz concert
  • Aurora: a bit bohemian place, filled with locals, great experience with not many tourists

 

After seeing and experiencing those things and a bit of wine and good food (below) – walking back at 2 a.m. in the morning back to the airbnb with the view at the Cathedral I guess you can imagine why I have had this song in my head. Mixed with the sound of the Budapest soul. Music and People around. Yes, the culture is very different from the Italian one that is around me. Maybe they ar a bit colder, maybe less extroverts, but this is the signature of each place. Different culture and approach. You can’t have enough of it and the first thing you got in your head after coming back home is… when am I going to be back.

I hope that now you understand why this ‘city is my church, it wraps me in the sparkling twilight’.

Budapest, see you soon.

 

 

Little things to help you to conquer this unsettled heart!

Moving around

Metro and trams are super cheap. Just buy few single tickets at the airport at the kiosk and you will be completely fine. You cannot miss the famous tram no. 2 and the oldest metro line 1 with really cool stops that makes you feel as if you were in another era.

Food

Hungarian Cuisine is very heavy, so if you are travelling in the summer (like I did), you’d struggle with trying all their best dishes, but there are some must eat things, that yes, you will probably need a digestive nap in your hotel afterwards, but you cannot miss them out!

  • Perkelt simply Goulash – be careful can be pretty spicy as for the European standards!Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania perkelt
  • Paprikas – not easy to explain, but imagine mix of peppers, meet and rice. Can’t go wrong! 😉 Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania paprikas
  • Langos – I recommend with garlic sauce and cheese – very typical one. Of course, if you are not planning to kiss anyone for the next two days! Pretty strong flavors!Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania langos
  • Ruszwurm Cake – simply heaven in your mouth >>> http://www.ruszwurm.hu/en/
  • Tokaj Wine (e.g. Aszu) and Palinka – shall I really convince you to try this?

 

 

Travel Buddies

‘You have never seen the snow????’ That was my quite recent reaction when I have heard that one of my Friends have actually never seen/touched or played with snow. Of course after first shock, I have actually realized that it is quite normal if you don’t come from the colder country and maybe I am a weirdo, cause I have never experienced the heat of 50 degrees. So after having shaken from the shock I knew I have to organize a trip in the search of snow. Of course, living in the North of Italy gives a lot of possibilities to see the snow and also there was a long weekend, so the planning was pretty easy. Now, gathering the group, confirming the place and… there we go Innsbruck!

Why Innsbruck? Because there are Alps, a lot of snow and CABLE CARS. All of my Friends know that I am a sucker for cable cars. I simply love them! The view, the ride – I love everything about them. Even if I am super scared of heights, I will still always go for it! Moreover, there is a Svarovski Crystal World exibition just next to Innsbruck, so basically everything that a real woman needs!

I could talk about all of the trips we have made, things we have seen and the advetures we have had, but this you will see on the photos below. What was more important to me was the group we have formed out of the people, I would say from completely different places, at different life stages and actually even living in different countries. There was four of us. Two girls and two guys. It is worth to mention that on of us was coming straight from Austria, so literally, we have had no idea how we are going to get along.

I took kind of responsibility to organize the trip. Like car/accomodation/what to see/prices etc. I have done it in the past and this is the part I am really enjoying. Like if any of you needs a company for a trip or doesn’t know how to organize some things and need some tips – let me know! 😉 Anyway, so organizing everything was fun, but I was also very afraid of what if the rest will not like it or something will go wrong. In the end we are not able to plan everything and there will always be something that will not go well. Surprisingly – this time everything seemed perfect! (At least for me;) )

We have had few funny stories, which just brought us together. This only proves that a group of people that don’t each other well, but is same open minded and ready for adventure will be a great match for a trip. (Actually we are currently planning another trip together with our New Addition – are you ready for crazy adventure?!). We have made a great time and we could have worked together, but at the same time everyone had their own space. I think all of us are big individuals and sometimes a bit of silence is very important. What is normally difficult about travelling with family, friends etc.? Different needs. I guess we all have to make it clear from the start what we want to do as a group and that we are not chained to each other. Meaning that if you want to do something else, we can just split. Not everyone understands it and tries to always stick together even if clearly some things are not their interest and vice versa. I believe that we all cross half of the continent not to do what others want but what is our aim and goal to do or see. Like, come on.. if you don’t like art, why would you spend 2 hours in a gallery with me? Isn’t it better to split and then meet up after 2 hours for a drink and discuss what we have done and share some photos etc.?

What is the ideal person for travel together? Wake up, guys… they don’t exist! In the group we will always have the photographer, the ‘let’s get the party started’ type and the GPS one and so on… They will all have different plans, but… altogether are able to build up a great team. Just please … share what you want rather than blindly stick to the group. You’ve paid for the trip yourself. Really don’t waste your time and money 😉
That’s why I sometimes can find it hard to travel with others as sometimes at the end I can see that it is not what they hoped for. A bit too late though. One can tell – yeah… then solo travelling is the best. And as much as I love this concept, I strongly believe that sharing experiences with others is same cool as long as good communication is involved and the ‘chains’ are broken.

I have my head in the game now for Barcelona. In the end I will find the world of my favourite artist Salvador Dali there. Moving for a while into his mind will be a great adventure and experience.

Things I have learnt in Innsbruck:

  • put on the chains on wheels
  • how to spell passe partout – looong story
  • how i love short trips and that i got some new really great Friends
  • you do 360km in 16 hours during long weekend in Italy

Thank you Innsbruck…

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Another perspective

So yes… I went to Spain. This was my second solo-travel in there. Last one was in 2014, just few weeks before a big change in my life – move to the UK. I guess I can say it now, as I have already revealed it to the HR before, that my first phone ‘interview’ with HR to the company I work for now took place when I was sipping sangria on the beach in Alicante. Maybe this is why I have such a big sentiment to this city?

Anyway, this year I have completely resigned from the Christmas celebrations. First of all, cause I am really not the biggest fan of it for a while now and secondly, I simply needed a kind of a brain cleansing in order to put my sh*t together after quite an intense year. Intense due to personal and work life. So the perfect mix. You can imagine… moving to another country is never a piece of cake!

So.. back in October, I have started to look for the cheap flights from my area. Obviously, there was nothing too interesting for the Xmas period, so… I had to make some crazy plans and… there we go Spain! Flights from Bologna to Madrid and then from Madrid to Bergamo were booked (yes, the trip to Madrid in the end took me 12 hours and back 11 hrs, but it was woooorth it!). So looking through internet and listening to some advice, I have decided to go to Granada and Sevilla. Was planning also to visit Cordoba, but a pretty long night out has made me change my plans slightly…!

There were few things I really loved in Granda and frankly speaking it is difficult for me to find anything that wouldn’t convince me to this city. As I have spent there 3 days, I’d focus on my experiences there.

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The city can seem very normal at the first glance – nice old square, cathedral in the centre, some hills in the background and castle on the hill. Well.. How wrong the first glance can be… Surprisingly maybe for some of you, the best part of the city for me was neither Alhambra nor Albaicin, but Sacromonte. Seems that the careless or you can call it free life of gypsies and hippies got into me. Not that I would like to lead their life, but made me think about the life choices we make and how can you escape from reality being just few hundred metres above the big city.

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To give you more feeling about this place. There are some kind of caves in the hills in front of which you see some armchairs, sofas, chairs and lots of colorful items (honestly, got no idea what half of them were). You think… some garbage that was blown there by the wind. Then you look more carefully. You see something moving there… When you realize that people actually live there, at first you don’t know if you should run or go there and understand their lives. While walking on those paths between the caves, I have rememberred the book I read by Ildefonso Falconses Le Mano de Fatima. I must say this book was not his best and I definitely preferred Le Catedral del Mar, but what stroke me in that book was the mixture of very strong feelings and emotiones with the struggle and fight every day for their own independency, ideaology and beliefs. Honestly, I thought that like every book it was exaggerated or simply life of course does not look like that anymore. Well, I was wrong.

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The history of cuevas has its roots back in 15th Century, where people believed that during the christianisation of the city, Arabs, who were running away, in a rush were hiding gold in the mountains. So people have started digging/creating caves in order to look for gold. As in every legend, I guess there must be some string of truth, but… it doesn’t seem that a lot of people got rich. At least not in our common definition of rich. Cause I really believe they have something, that we don’t. Or maybe I should speak for myself, and say I don’t have it. The feeling of freedom, disconnection, independency from money. Of course, I am not naive.. they do need money, they are dependent on many factors including the government and they rely on tourists in some areas, but… their general mindset is so far from my understanding of the world today. The first day I was a bit scared to come closer, but then I was told that they are safe and actually very friendly for tourists. How embarrased I felt by assuming the worst… So one of them (a guy suuupeeer old) let me have a look inside. You might not believe it, but inside those caves there is electricity and kind of heating. It stinks as hell, but you can also smell the specific smell of weed. 2 minutes in the cave were enough though for me also to understand that this kind of freedom is fascinating but while looking from far away 😉

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The big part of Sacromonte is the art. Not the fancy paintings though, but some street art, graffiti mixed with folklore and flamenco elements. When I was walking there in the Christimas Eve I became also a part of the little flamenco Xmas party with some locals. It was very late, so I didn’t stay as I needed to walk down the hill, but the warm atmosphere and smiling faces were very welcoming and bring my belief in genuine people back and made me feel bad again. Assuming.

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What I have learnt this time in Spain? To look at the world through another perspective. Discover it with another angle and explore with the eyes of others.

Yes – I will be back there. Very soon.

…but what is CS again?

I have never used actively Couchsurfing. Actually I have learnt the CS abbreviation just recently through my friends and created a big disbelief by not using it while being an expat.

I have hosted three girls by now in my place and showed them around, but it was more of a conicidence than being on the app + we set up everything through whatsapp or phone, so actually I didn’t even log in too much.

Why? Because in the place I live there doesn’t seem to be a very big community or active people. So in the end, you switch it off as nothing is happening. For staying at someone’s place – I am still more into having a flat on my own through airbnb and just enjoy my own time the way I want without looking at others. Yes, I am being very the only child type now. In the end – I am one. So yes, I have never used the hangouts part of it. I had actually no idea that there was anyone that uses it! This seems to be as usual as Tinder though, which was very eyes-opening for me! I am sometimes really old-school or ignorant with the social media novelties.

Anyway, on 25th I was a bit bored. Normally I would hang out in some bar with expats or students, but can you imagine those places being full on Xmas? Clearly they were not. So in the heat of the moment – I have opened the hangouts and put online for a drink. Within 5 minutes, there was a group created to go out for a beer. 2 spanish guys, 1 spanish girl and 1…. POLISH girl. I was super happy to have met all of them, but my closest sentiment and my heart beat was faster while I have heard a word in my mother tongue. We have met in a tapas bar for a drink and a talk. Okey.. well it wasn’t easy from the start, as it took us like 30min to find and recognize each other, but we have made it!

I connected immidiately with my compatriot, but also other people were awesome and had great stories to tell. I had the feeling that I have known them since forever. Maybe it was only myself being very excited and they didn’t feel it – in any case, I was very amused! In those moments I always realize how different people are in different ages and nowadays how much they achieve in their lives within a very young age. I love determined people with passion and they all had this X-factor. Listening to their stories, description of places they lived in and the future goals, that I am sure will be achieved soon just made me think how small I was. It motivates me as hell and gives me a kick to move forward which I clearly needed those days, as I was going too much into my beloved not giving a f*ck direction. It’s also good to see that there are people out there that have a bit twisted view at the reality and you are not the only one not being able to sit in one place as sometimes I feel like this freak lost in the moment or a place 😉 Like in the past year, I have changed a lot in my life, but did I actually achieve anything on my personal development part? In kind of discovering my spirit? Not sure. I’ve definitely further developed my general interest in art and music, but I don’t feel like I’ve done much to explore it more or to set any goals or expectations towards myself here. Well, got the plan for 2018. Though I hate planning.

In any case, 5 random people ended up chilling all night together, talking, laughing, drinking, dancing and curing hangover (unfortunately, couchsurfing does not cure this miracolously as well! Though it would have been a great addition…-.-). The next day we have also had a girls night sipping wine and celebrating the new tattoo, which will always remind me about the people I have met and the places I have visited that moment.

Summing up, many of my friends ask me how do I normally meet so many people from different places … I am adding another place to my standard answer – couchsurfing. Hopefully, more popular in my area or the future places I’d like to visit.

 

so anyway … what happens in Granada will stay with me forever thanks to places (-> Another Perspective post) but most importandly to People. hah… in a way – thank you Casey Fenton 😉

 

Let’s see if we ever meet through this app in the future…

my 15 cities of 2017

cause ‘every city is a living body’

#1 Brighton

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#2 Peak District: Matlock & Chatsworth

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#3 Milan

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#4 Lago Di Como: Bellagio, Menaggio, Tremezzo, Cernobbio, Lenno, Lecco, Erba, Varenna

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#5 Torino

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#6 Verona

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#7 Parma

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#8 Bologna

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#9 Lago di Garda: Dezenzano del Garda, Sirmione

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#10 Budapest

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#11 Marbella

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#12 Innsbruck

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#13 Madrid

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#14 Granada

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#15 Sevilla

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How to meet new people?

Imagine – 22nd December. Everyone in a hurry to do groceries, last shopping for Xmas. Some random girl calls you on the doorbell with panic in her eyes. Car keys in the hand. The word ‘help me’ written clearly on the forehead and says … ‘I locked my door to the flat. The keys are inside. The phone is inside. The door shuts itself so can’t open it.’

Is this how you should meet your neighbours? Probably not. But let’s move further… the neighbour and the son were very friendly. Helped a lot but… no locksmith was available due to Xmas. So they called…. firemen. After 1 hour spent in their flat. Fire brigade (literally brigade) comes over. 5 men. They open the door with no problem. The face of the girl – astonished, slowly starting to believe in magic and unnatural power. David Copperfield of Como. Well no. The door wasn’t locked. It was lack of muscle to open the door that had this additional security in order not to open too easily. 5 firemen. Two neighbours. And a blond girl. Of course that girl was ME.

Why do I mention such an embarassing story from less than a week ago now? First of all so you can laugh. Second to answer on how am i meeting so many different people and why do i want to keep in touch.

So I went to Spain…

pyjamas my best friend … ;)

School times. The day of the exam or test. Not very well prepared. Praying for a cold. (Un)fortunately, we didn’t have Uncle Google back then to teach us how to stimulate the fever. Now kids have it easier, though I am not sure if this is a good way. Well, it is not. 20 years after – we are praying not to be sick. I have just experienced (second time in my life) being on sickness leave. So I have now realized how it is to be on off sick abroad and you can treat this post as a survival kit for those hard times.

So what happens. You go to sleep and then wake up in the midle of the night. Eyes wide open, but still blurred sight. What the hell is happening? Ahh yeah.. I can feel it. Pain in the throat, shivers. Hello again my dearest friend fever! Living on your own has pros and cons. In this situation – a great con; at 2 a.m. in the morning you have no one to wake up and with Shrek’s Cat eyes asking for some pills and care. No way! You need to move your ass, turn on the light and dig for this thermometer that you’ve used the last time few years ago and only had it because your Mum was obsessed before moving abroad and have equipped you with the whole pharmacy. You were laughing then, but saying how much you love her in your head now. The nightmare is happening. You are sick. It really doesn’t matter if this is just cold or flu or any other difficult latin word, you still have 6 hours before you can make the first call to your Friends here and try to get to the doctor, who obviously doesn’t speak any language you do.

Survived till morning. Ufff… now things will go smoothly. But actually – what are the procedures of going to the doctor or even calling off sick in the new country? Trust me, I’ve lived in three countries by now and seems like in each of them the policy is completely different! Just to help us all out 😉 The good thing is that one message in the morning and seems that everything got miracolously sorted out. Yes, I am lucky to have amazing people around here and basically I’ve had a delivery to the door with the first supply of paracetamol along with the set appointment at the doctor’s. But yeah… then the doctor. Trying to convince that I can really leave the house while being on antibiotics did not work out well and the elder lady just looked at me with a pity and said.. Vai a letto. ahh.. grazie…

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania quotes about being sick

So in the pharmacy. I went with the piece of paper. Surprisingly the note was readable even for myself, so with the smile at the counter I said: “Buongiorno!” and simply passed the piece of paper. It happens. The pharmacist asks the question.. oh dear… getting red. He repeats. No.. giving up. I didn’t understand a word and he didn’t speak English. By gestures though, I understood that I could have chosen if I wanted tablets or pills. I would say this is more C1 language proficiency and I am not quite there yet! 😉

Anyway, have you thought what to do closed in an empty flat for few days? I had those amazing plans. While being in bed I can read books, study italian, watch some movies. Each attempt has finished with a nap after 10 min. Like really… I didn’t even notice that I was on my own for so many hours. The only problem started when my Friend called me and I needed to speak. I have completely lost my voice, so the first two minutes I just sounded ridicolous. After three days I have probably caught up with all polish movies released since I’ve moved abroad and my phone was dying after few hours of usage as I went through all possible online shopping portals (and haven’t bought a thing btw.) and interrupted my Friends all over the world by texting at the most random times with the most random stories. Obviously for me all of them were really important at that particular moment. I have planned every weekend until the end of the year and also made plans on how I’d like to arrange the flat and which displays to see shortly. I’ve also cooked my mum’s soup that is the best cure for any illness! All this lasted 4 days. Now I have 4 more days ahead and I start wondering, why haven’t I decided to live again in the shared house, that would make things more sociable now, I suppose. Well maybe an idea for the next post – pros and cons of living in a shared house?

Anyway, what’s the conclusion – being sick sucks, no matter where you are! & I simply love not taking off pyjamas all day long! 😉

 

why not?

Why do we like some places? Because of beautiful architecture? Stunning landscapes? Interesting people? Probably the mixture of it all, however, I have noticed that myself I can’t actually explain why I like some places more than other. Usually because I had some really good moments there that I’d like to remember or come back to. Sometimes, because of the stunning places that make me feel peacuful or give me some inspiration on what I would like to be doing. Other times simply because it made me feel good. Why? I have no idea.

 I have decided to share those thoughts, not because I am now going to touch the most obvious and re-written subject of any expat/travel blogger – ‘why did I end up here?’. I am living in Italy for four months now. Already and only. I have noticed that I still feel as if I were a tourist myself. Figuring out my life is possibly getting slower than it should go in some areas, but faster in others. Maybe this is called a balance? Or simply reality.

Realizing that you can’t call any place your current home is a bit difficult. When people ask me where am I from it usually depends on with who I speak. With Polish people – ‘I am from Jaworze.’, with Italians – ‘Polish but I live in Como.’, others – ‘It is complicated.’ followed by laughter. In the end it is probably simpler than I present it, but I just tend to overcomplicate things. However, the observation syndrome is my super-power, so I have noticed few things, that change a person that lives abroad and there’s no coming back. So having said that, maybe I should mention the ‘Heart of Darkness’ that popped up some time ago in one of my posts? What do I mean? Let’s focus on Why theoretically speaking you shouldn’t become an expat?

Have you ever thought that you are fed up with your Family and Friends? They pissed you off and you feel like #idgaf (i don’t give a f*ck – if you missed previous posts). Of course you did. Who didn’t? Being an expat – first weeks, if you are lucky and everything goes smoothly, you enjoy the freedom and independency. Then you realize that a homemade soup is a pretty decent Sunday dinner and definitely tastes better than defrosted pizza with some vegetables of uncertain origin with a dose of flavor mainly composed of E ingredients. Then you have first major problem. WTF. You need your Mum’s advice, Dad’s superhero ability to fix everything and Friends’ skill to take out this crazy and stupid idea from your head. How do you end up? Playing avoidance. Having broken fridge for a week and asking yourself why have you done something. Should you regret it? No. Just enjoy every minute of it. This is your own script of your own life. Let’s 0call it Your Name – A series of  Unfortunate Events.

Weekend in a new place. You go shopping. You go travelling. You go out. You want to share those moments with your best friends, but you can’t. You will have those moments when you will simply feel lonely. No matter how many new people you have met, you would really like to find this one or two people that you can text anytime about a small stupid thing. And no. I don’t mean to get into relationship and create a family – I would say the opposite. To actually find someone completely objective but fully understanding your position, desires and complexity of life choices – yes, even groceries in a new country is like a big maze. But hey – before you meet this person – trust me. You will feel lonely. No matter how often you go out and how much time you spend on the phone texting. In the end it is the real contact here and now that you need in your new home. Let’s play Finding Nemo.

You have met this great and best friend. Then you move to another country or he/she does. You both try to make it work. You text. Less and less. You stop. Well, I hope you didn’t expect that all  of your relationships will last forever. They won’t. As an expat you should really realize that as soon as possible and not feel guilty that some things simply don’t work out. Long distance relationships are maybe even more difficult for friendships than the romantic ones. The second ones – you kind of feel more obliged to take care of them, whereas the first ones, you potentially could put on the second track. (I don’t say you should. You actually should not.) Please don’t make your life the How to lose Friends and alienate People kind of thing, but do text a bit more and show a bit of attention if you care. If you don’t. Just leave it. Be honest with yourself and the other human being.

Short one. Can you have a dog? No. Can you have a cat? No. Unless, you are lucky and you work from home, but then why would you move 1,2k km away? So in the end, you can’t have a pet. Welcome to the Castaway.

You feel like moving abroad is like running away from your problems. Is it really? Is the whole moving part worth it? Probably not, but you realize it too late. Then you do the same mistake? Simply speaking – you got addicted to being on the move. Always being in trouble of settling yourself but also having this amazing feeling of the blank page. Now, admit it. How often could you do that? Neverending story.

Does it sound scary? Did I put you off from moving abroad or made you think like why the hell she said recently she was actually happy? I am happy. I am very happy, because if you read those paragraphs again and think about actually how much you are learning from all of those obstacles, you realize that living abroad is something everyone should at least try. To get to know yourself. To get to know your real friends. To get to know new people. To get to know new places and appreciate your previous homes. In the end it is all worth a hassle and despite having your ass kicked, you will actually get much more benefits from the situation. Above all you will learn how not to be lonely when you’re alone.

 

the Bologna Code

Yes, I finally fell in love. Those butterflies in my stomach. I can’t fall asleep as the reality seems better than the dream. I am dreaming about new plans. I am trying new things and discovering new interests.

You already know me, so I bet you realize it. I fell in love with another city.

Bologna – a great chapter that has just started three weeks ago. Unexpectedly. Very spontaneously bought train tickets and went away. With no significant plan. Just to walk around. Read a book. Chill. Maybe meet some people. Did I expect that the city will have such a great impact on myself? Not at all.

Let’s start from the beginning. As any bigger city in Italy, Bologna has its unique adjectives that sum up her soul. Why do I assume it’s a Lady? Because despite all very specific and sometimes even dark corners of the city, I can feel the feminine side of it. So Bologna is just a proper Lady for me 😉 So what are the adjectives for her? ‘La rossa, La dotta, La Grassa’. In other words, eductated, red and fat. It describes the place to the point. The city is full of very wise people, that even within 3 mintue conversation have something interesting to say that will leave you hanging with a thought till the end of the day. They also love having a drink and a dinner under beautiful cloth halls with red roof tiles (which are actually the big advantage of the city, as both times I have been there it rained). Funny thing is that in regards to the cuisine, I have discovered that actually spaghetti bolognese does not exist. I mean not in a worldwide known form, so with pasta spaghetti and ragu al bolognese sauce. Simply because this type of pasta is too thin and destroys under the heavy sauce. Now we know why it is simply impossible to be eaten and for us to remain without stains!

Following my interest in everything that is less usual, I have made my own investigation, almost like the one from the da Vinci code, and followed the well-known secrets (nice oxymoron, isn’t it?!) of Bologna. You’d be surprised how many of them appear in this, yes I will say it, slightly communist city.

First one is connected with my first weekend there and is about the Il Portico di San Luca. The longest portico in the world. It leads us straight to the sanctuary on the top of the hill. Unfortunately, the view from it is slightly disappointing, but on the way you can see an old stadium and just a big of panorama at the city. Anyway, what is so mysterious about this place? The number. The diabolic number 666. It reflects the number of all arcades that belong to this portico. It is a bit strange that in the end it leads to such a religious place. Or maybe it is just me? Bologna definitely is the city that breaks rules and she doesn’t care about what is perceived as normal.

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Let’s see another proof of that. Fontana del Nettuno. At first sight very normal. Actually, I haven’t noticed anything abnormal, but the second time I have visited the city, I have noticed it from another angle. The thumb. The thumb that is, just saying it very politely, the extension of the male’s attribute. Of course the first thing I did was to google it! Was it only me having this connotaion?! Thank god no. There are more of us.

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Actually it was done on purpose. The sculpture didn’t get the permission to make the penis as long as he believed it should be, so.. he has decided to place the thumb in the strategic area. It worked. Obviously! To add up to this. It is placed in the square straight to the window of window that used to be a building of nun’s. Apparantly, they have been so gutted about the view that they have covered the window completely. Is it true? We can’t be sure. But definitely sounds provocative. Like the whole city.

Another quite rebellious story is connected with the affair. How could it be different?! Portico Corte Isolani. It supposedly has 3 arrows stuck in it. I haven’t seen them. I was standing and staring and have seen nothing. In any case, they are supposed to be there after the big scene made after the husband got to know his wife was cheating on him! He has paid three archers to kill the lover, however, the wife has shown her breast during the execution to distract the men. They all missed it and the beau remained alive.

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Panis vita, canabis protectio, vinum laetitia. That smell of the city. It reminded me the smell of Amsterdam, Berlin and UK. The smell of marihuana. Maybe this fresco is not meant to mean what it means today, but it adds this freedom feeling to the city. In the past cannabis meant simply the fibre or canvas. Let me believe in this independent meaning though.

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Can you hear those whispers? I have heard a lot of italian swear words while standing on the other side of Palazzo di Podesta! The walls of this place are created in a way to enable the listener on the other side to hear what the other person is saying while standing on the opposite. It is said it was created like that on purpose. To allow leprotic people to confess. I don’t know if this is the truth, but I would definitely love to try this one out with one of my friends or… to ‘mishear’ some crazy story of another person. Admit it… you would love to hear something like that as well! Everyone loves other people’s secrets!

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I admit it. I took all of the photos from the internet this time. Mainly because I got so caught up in the moment of the city that I spent most of the time witouht my camera and the phone almost dead, as I kept on forgetting to recharge it. I met amazing people, that I really hope to keep in touch with.

Now, can you guess why do I love this city that much? What are the main adjectives that come to your mind that me and Lady Bologna have in common? Or maybe which ones I aim to achieve and build up my life on that this mysterious city insipired me with?

To make it easier for you, I will share some of the feelings that this city is giving to me. First of all, it is inspiring. You see the art everywhere. In every corner. In people. In the walls. Modern art shaken with medieval memories. It gives a kick to the creativity, but also makes me feel calm. Just sitting on some square and reading. I feel outside my zone. Because it is far enough for me to disattach from my current home, but close enough to go there every other weekend to create my own space. What I have always looking for in my life was this place that will allow me to build up a separate world, where I can fully focus on my personal plans and to look for inspirations and motivations to proceed with my adventure. It used to be Spain for a while. Then come back to Poland.

This Lady is rebbelious and is not scared to go her own way. I don’t know if I am there yet, but surely I want to be this independent person that overcomes the fears and some established rules. Yes, this is slightly liberal lifestyle – somehow a getaway from the normality. This Lady helps me to have smile on my face and feeling better in my own skin. It is open minded and proves that the normality simply does not exist.

So yes, I fell in love again.

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Middle place

How does it feel to be in your ‘middle’ place? Since I moved out it was already four and a half months. Not much. I agree. However, it seems like forever. I will say it again – thanks to the great surrounding, my hard work to organize life pretty quickly and my luck. Since this is my third country to live in, I was wondering how would it be to be back in my ‘second’ home (?). The time has come…

I am back at the Heathrow & the familar smell of dumpness hit my nostrils again. 

It felt weird. Weirdly good and just weird. Inside I felt some kind of calmness. I was in the place well known to me. Something that was my world for over two years. Culture. People. Nature. City. Rush. The language used around was familiar. I even heard some polish people talking. I felt closer to my Friends. Saw few familiar brands. Typical English pubs. British people in shorts in 10° C. Girls full of makeup. Any age range sitting in the pub laughing with their mates. The same grey sky that almost never changes. A bit of a light wind and a chill on your face. 

It didn’t feel like home though. Felt like something inbetween. Inbetween Poland and Italy. Like a short passage I did in order to find my place. Something that is needed but doesn’t seem like a real thing. 

After getting to the hotel and realizing – I am back home tomorrow! – I was back to normal. Good to see some familiar faces from the past but feels even better to be back in present – Italy.

Now sitting on the plane, I am realizing one very typical thing for expats…

It is not due to the time, you start calling a place your Home. You either feel it from the start or you just move forward.

I’m a legal alien…

To all my fellow expats – I bet you have had a feeling, when you have felt weird. Akward. Not comfortable. Alienated. Well – good news! This is completely normal. Sometimes every person wants to simply hide in their own four corners and become invisible to the world. Why does it happen to the foreigners more often? Probably because what is the most difficult is to melt with others. To get to know, understand and acquire the new culture. You may say ‘What does she know, she has been travelling only within Europe?’. Trust me, crossing the boarder makes a difference everywhere.
As we are people full of energy who need to explore what’s new and unknown, I can also confirm that even if we have those moments (or at least myself), we still make ourselves to move our ass and go forward. Thanks to that, I have actually discovered what is the best about being a ‘stranger’ and how to use this to my advantage.
It’s a new day, It’s a new world
You have one and only (or sometimes few of them 😉 !) chance to have a fresh start and change what you didn’t like about yourself or maybe were not motivated enough to work on in the past. I have noticed that I seem to be interested in much different things than only few months back (and shortly you will get to know what that is). I am discovering new things and try not to go into too mainstream places, but want to explore what is hidden and usually slightly different. Have I ever considered myself as the art lover? No. Do I enjoy going to the modern art exibitions now? Yes. Why? Because it is new for me. Exactly as I am new for others here. This means a perfect time to work on my flaws and try to be the person I have always wanted to be rather than a #grumpycat. I am not talking about the change of personality, but small things. In my case… people can feel free while talking to me in the morning now. I will not freeze anyone with my sight 😉
2. I am not the only one…
Sometimes feeling like… OMG! People must think I am crazy! At least I thought so. Changing places so often. Travelling even when I am dead tired. Meeting new people and going out with them. Loving long train trips and getting lost in every place. Surprise! There are more people like that. In my case, I have actually realized that others can be much more spontaneous, much more courageous and have so much interesting life experience I would like to learn from them! I have found people who have the same sense of humor, the same need of adventure and the same need for craziness in their life! The fact that you are also the only one that cannot settle is also quite comforting.
3. I got these fresh eyes ….
While for locals everything seems simple and boring, for me there is nothing homogeneous. I see everything almost with child’s eyes. Small things can make me really excited. On the other hand, big things can make no difference, as potentially I have already seen it somewhere else. Those are the little moments that make the biggest impact and make me the happiest! Wow.. just realized another positive… I see much more things that are worth being noticed and admired! Though… I must say it now. Every time I see somewhere a thing from Poland, I will go mental and make sure that everyone around sees that and is aware how proud I am at that second.
4. We can help you, We’re gonna help you
This is amazing! Obviously being blond, blue eyes, short girl is an advantage and definitely brings more empathy. But now imagine adding to that being a foreigner and not knowing the local language, habits and area. Checkmate! Even if you don’t need help, you will always find 5 people on your way that will help you despite. There is something amazing about the fact how much in some cultures, people feel responsible for expats and how badly they want to help. I appreciate it and cannot be more happy, greatful for that. Although, there are moments when I’d like to say.. ‘Hey! I am not 5 years old. I can handle it.’ This is only due to my pride though… 😉 (maybe I should look at point 1 and try to get rid of it).
5. These are things I don’t understand
How many ridicolous misunderstandings have I have since I moved out of Poland? A LOT! My favourite is curva. My face is more or less like that everytime I hear it –>>>
Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania oops cat
curva – a turn in italian. In Polish – just google it! 😉
But my motto would be.. Do you want to see the world in a different way?’. Trust me there is nothing more inspiring than being in a new place and once you try moving around, you will always have this need to go beyond your own capabilities. In the end impossible doesn’t exist. There are less and less things that scare me and more and more things I’d like to experience, because opening for the ‘newness’ is what I am craving in my life.
Coming up next ->> The Heart of Darkness?
A presto!

klaet you have had a feeling, when you have felt weird. Akward. Not comfortable. Alienated. Well – good news! This is completely normal. Sometimes every person wants to simply hide in their own four corners and become invisible to the world. Why does it happen to the foreigners more often? Probably because what is the most difficult is to melt with others. To get to know, understand and acquire the new culture. You may say ‘What does she know, she has been travelling only within Europe?’. Trust me, crossing the boarder makes a difference everywhere.

As we are people full of energy who need to explore what’s new and unknown, I can also confirm that even if we have those moments (or at least myself), we still make ourselves to move our ass and go forward. Thanks to that, I have actually discovered what is the best about being a ‘stranger’ and how to use this to my advantage.

  1. It’s a new day, It’s a new world

You have one and only (or sometimes few of them 😉 !) chance to have a fresh start and change what you didn’t like about yourself or maybe were not motivated enough to work on in the past. I have noticed that I seem to be interested in much different things than only few months back (and shortly you will get to know what that is). I am discovering new things and try not to go into too mainstream places, but want to explore what is hidden and usually slightly different. Have I ever considered myself as the art lover? No. Do I enjoy going to the modern art exibitions now? Yes. Why? Because it is new for me. Exactly as I am new for others here. This means a perfect time to work on my flaws and try to be the person I have always wanted to be rather than a #grumpycat. I am not talking about the change of personality, but small things. In my case… people can feel free while talking to me in the morning now. I will not freeze anyone with my sight 😉

2. I am not the only one…

Sometimes feeling like… OMG! People must think I am crazy! At least I thought so. Changing places so often. Travelling even when I am dead tired. Meeting new people and going out with them. Loving long train trips and getting lost in every place. Surprise! There are more people like that. In my case, I have actually realized that others can be much more spontaneous, much more courageous and have so much interesting life experience I would like to learn from them! I have found people who have the same sense of humor, the same need of adventure and the same need for craziness in their life! The fact that you are also the only one that cannot settle is also quite comforting.

3. I got these fresh eyes ….

While for locals everything seems simple and boring, for me there is nothing homogeneous. I see everything almost with child’s eyes. Small things can make me really excited. On the other hand, big things can make no difference, as potentially I have already seen it somewhere else. Those are the little moments that make the biggest impact and make me the happiest! Wow.. just realized another positive… I see much more things that are worth being noticed and admired! Though… I must say it now. Every time I see somewhere a thing from Poland, I will go mental and make sure that everyone around sees that and is aware how proud I am at that second.

4. We can help you, We’re gonna help you

This is amazing! Obviously being blond, blue eyes, short girl is an advantage and definitely brings more empathy. But now imagine adding to that being a foreigner and not knowing the local language, habits and area. Checkmate! Even if you don’t need help, you will always find 5 people on your way that will help you despite. There is something amazing about the fact how much in some cultures, people feel responsible for expats and how badly they want to help. I appreciate it and cannot be more happy, greatful for that. Although, there are moments when I’d like to say.. ‘Hey! I am not 5 years old. I can handle it.’ This is only due to my pride though… 😉 (maybe I should look at point 1 and try to get rid of it).

5. What do you mean?!

How many ridicolous misunderstandings have I have since I moved out of Poland? A LOT! My favourite is curva. My face is more or less like that everytime I hear it –>>>

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania oops cat

curva – a turn in italian. In Polish – just google it! 😉

But my motto would be.. Do you want to see the world in a different way?’. Trust me there is nothing more inspiring than being in a new place and once you try moving around, you will always have this need to go beyond your own capabilities. In the end impossible doesn’t exist. There are less and less things that scare me and more and more things I’d like to experience, because opening for the ‘newness’ is what I am craving in my life.

Coming up next ->> The Heart of Darkness?

A presto!

kla

straight to La Dolce Vita

So far from home – Too high to know – Are you really there – Or is it just they told me so

Sometimes I ask myself a question – how the heck I made it all the way to Italy? It can’t be only hard work, but it is definitely not purely luck. Was it always easy? Hell no! My way to Dolce Vita had a bit of turbulences, some pebbly roads and spiky nets to went through. I was a bit off those days – not because of bad mood or something in particular happened in my life, but after 4 months in a new place, I have realized that I have again reached the point where I have to settle. Stop being a tourist, but to make this place my home and to organize my life. Probably you have already realized that this is not the easiest thing for me, but actually for the first time this seems right for me (believe it or not I have changed houses 12 times in the last 8 years). Constant Traveller’s Mood is good, but.. to some extent. Then I need to also have my own place. My own ‘palazzo’.

Why is it different this time? Probably thanks to the people I have met. I was always lucky and had great Friends and colleagues around, however, for the first time I can literally feel the motivation and constant having my ass kicked in order to move forward. What is the best about it is that they do it naturally. Possibly they don’t know what a great impact they have on my life now. Well… if they read this post, they will finally realize. Maybe I should be less Polish here and simply share what I think more openly? This is another story.

Few weeks back, one of my friends here asked me what has changed in my life after the move. Surprisingly, that was one of the most difficult questions. Because at that stage, I thought that probably only the place around me, the job, the culture has been different. How wrong I was? Completely wrong. As extremely stubborn person, I would have never thought how I could have changed in 4 months. All thanks to the #ladolcevita.

First of all, I have started to listen to others. I always liked having those two or three people I look up to and to follow them, but now it seems stronger and I strive for it. It is not because I have suddenly stopped being confident or lost my energy. It is because I really feel that they care and they put themselves in my situation. When seeing me down, they will always cheer me up – usually by saying something super ridicolous in Polish or provide me with some ‘literal’ meanings of some ‘unliteral’ words. In any case – both is working. What has also changed is that for the first time, I am not trying to influence what is happening around me or people’s action. I am surprised myself how I am accepting the reality and I don’t fight it. Seems I am weaker? I think smarter.

Still remaining a spontaneous soul, I have recently went out to Milan to meet other expats living in Italy. I made the decisions within 5 minutes to meet completely unknown to me people and basically I didn’t know anything about them. My friends of course were a bit worried, but they know me. I am crazy but within limits (or not?). The first feeling I had when I met them was – great sense of humor! Extremely ironic and with no boundaries. This is what I like! During the conversation, I have also realized how creative they are, and also how similar experiences we have. Seems they have had the similar feeling with me as they have invited me to join their Team of the Cool Kids Club in Milan and now I am organizing the coolest group of expats in Milano along with them. Gives a kick. Gives motivation. Gives energy. The coolest thing about is that they really treat it seriously and I am learning so much from them, but at the same time I really feel like we get along well and this has a very good basis for a long-term friendship. What brought us closer is what took us further from our Friends from our countries – the will to discover and the need to move around. Getting to know new people. Organizing events. Creating social media. That will take my nights in the next months and I can’t wait for that!

I would have lied if I have said that I don’t strive still for new experiences, places, people. I am travelling a lot around and I am still not scared to go somewhere on my own. This allows me to discover my new world. I love it trip by trip more. Again thanks to marvellous views, cities but… above all… people. Recently I have gone for a trip to Bologna. Booked a hostel for a change. To meet new people and check out how hostels have changed since last time I went to one (few years back on my road trip to Benelux). First moments – a bit dissapointing. One extremely boring guy that didn’t even say Hi back and another one who didn’t even notice me in the common area. Yaaay! I rushed out immidiately. The last thing I wanted to do is to try to make any contact with such friendly people. So I went out. Surprisingly I haven’t met much people this time, but I also didn’t try myself to make any contact. After the disappointment in the first hour, I thought that I can’t be bothered.

Bologna is beautiful. The atmosphere, old buildings, history and… students. I think I am still a student inside. Definitely didn’t grow up yet and I am not even closer. When people ask me how old I am, I simply tend to be surprised myself, that I am over 22! 😀 After 25km of walking I went back to the hostel in the late evening. Hoping not to meet those two intersting guys and have my peace in bed to fall asleep. I opened the door and saw 3 girls from Germany. First sentence – exchange of names. Second – inviting me for a night out with them. YES! I was extremely tired, but put my grip together, shower, super elegant outfit (vans shoes and t-shirt) and yes, I am ready for a night out! When I met them in the city, it appeared that they have already met italian group of students, which didn’t surprise me as in Italy it would have been unusual not to meet anyone. This time though, I had a really good feeling about them from the first sight. A bit of craziness mixed with seriousness and ‘not giving a f*ck’ (my personal favourite!) approach. 10 minutes with them and I already found a common ground. And again irony was in the air! Really open and easy going, therefore, we have finished the night actually in the morning, going through the most random topics that were surprisingly sophisticated considering the time and.. % (americano! 😉 ) I must admit, I have learnt quite a few things from them. and have noticed the interest of experiencing new things. Same feeling I have day by day, but maybe in different areas. What I have noticed though is that… they almost did not use their phones while showing us around. How badly I am addicted to the social media? Especially now while having the new project open? EXTREMELY. The girls I met in the hostel were also really fun and they remind myself from the Uni. Full of energy, brave and open for new experience. Ahh wait… this hasn’t changed at all, but I am happy to see that there are more crazy girls around as I know how happy and achieved they will feel in few years time!

So what is my plan for the next months? Settle? Yes. In my own weird way, namely:

  • every weekend new city or new place in the city
  • stay active
  • … not sleep.

Hope to see you all in the Cool Kids Club! ->>> https://sites.google.com/view/ckcmilan/home or find us on FB!

A presto!

Kla

‘don’t blink’

…and I don’t listen to Salvador Dali. I blink.

My holiday is officially gone. Not that I can complain as this year, I have been travelling quite a bit and have managed  to visit a lot of new places and I am still planning some weekend gateways in Italy, but … as always, holiday is always too short. Anyone is brave enough to say I am wrong? Well, please share your days off with me. I perfectly know what to do with them.

This year, as I have just moved to another country, I have invited my best Friends and we have decided to do some explorling around the area I am currently settling in. I was kind of responsible for organizing the trip – our schedule, hotels, being a driver etc. Was I perfect? No… I failed a lot of times. Have changed the plan uncountable amount of times and got lost at least once every time we were going somewhere. In the end though, I think we had a great time. Personally, I have forgotten about all the stress linked with the move, new challenges and have simply disconnected from my everyday life. Just enjoying having my Friends around. We don’t see too often, so I just had to take the most out of those days.

There we go… I picked my Friend Ewa from the airport last Thursday and unfortunately, the weather completely messed up with our plans from the very start. I wrote in the past, I don’t like having plan. In this case, I did have it and.. had to change it. Instead of a nice walk at the Lake, we had delayed plane due to storms, huge lightning, heavy rain and bedtime at 2 a.m. We woke up… another storm  coming. Nervous checking of the weather forecast was not very promising. Crazy idea in one second. Let’s try Torino! Weather forecast seemed fine. Ok. Let’s go. Only 2 hours of drive, so we can easily make it a one-day trip. Almost the whole way the clouds were heavy and dark. First 30minutes in the city was kind of a nightmare, that led us to the nervous laughter and a feeling of giving up! But we didn’t! After looking for few supermarkets, getting lost in the not very beautiful and safe looking park.. we have made it to a beautiful square, had really late lunch and… the sun came out! Our day has started… Our trip has started. Since then everything must have gone right. Next day we picked up Asia and Happy T(h)ree Friends were together again!

Torino by night

I don’t want to bore anyone with all the trips we took, sights we have seen and all the mishaps that ended up in a great adventures. What I want to write about today is my feeling from the first exploring of the place which will be my home for at least next few years. What is exciting, what is scary, what I have learned by now and what is still in the learning phase. Because any expat knows that first few months are only the surviving moments and only after that you can start actually learning the new world around you. Frankly speaking, despite being few years in the UK, I still don’t feel like I have been completely adapted to that world. But this is for another story.

Ewa, myself and Asia

Italy – country of love, food, landscapes, family… Seems like a paradise and I must admit it is very close to that. I have experienced only positive energy while being here and even small problems that occur with the whole bureaucratic world do not change this feeling. What I have experienced those days is that no matter where you go and which way you take, there is always something to look at. No.. sorry, to stare at. The beauty of the country is just not to be described. I have already seen a lot of places in Europe, but never so much beauty crammed in one place. We were walking many kilometers a day. Doing some trips by car. Taking train, cable cars. Walking up the hill. None of this was boring and none of this waste of time or… our energy, which trust me was very limited in the heat we have experienced. Every day while coming back home, I was just stunned and couldn’t believe that this is my new place to live and where to go next. My Friends shared the same feeling and experience with me. They were happy for me, probably calmed down, as they remembered my first quite difficult months when I first moved abroad. Both them and myself have discovered that I am simply another person. With a smile on my face. 24h/7days/week.

We have met some people. In the B&B we have rented, on the street, in a restaurant. Each of them with their story. Each of them with different experience and each of them made an impact on me. Even if we only spoke for few minutes, I felt I have taken out something from them. First person that really impressed me was an elderly Lady that had the B&B in Verona (really beautiful city btw though Casa di Giulietta was the biggest disappointment of the trip). She was running this place for few years already. It seemed that she has given her whole heart to this house and guests. Every morning getting up to personally prepare the breakfast, have a chat with each guest. She has decorated the place in a very stylish way that described her passions and personality. She is a person very interested in life and very caring. As all Italians I have met by now. There is a stereotype saying about Italian hospitality and by now I have experienced it in the best possible way. Even on the street, we  had some people stopping us, helping with the way. Once we had a situation when at very late night, me and my Friend were a bit lost, but decided to take some photos. At that stage some strange to us Italian guys came over and started talking. In Poland what you do at midnight… Run. Here, they showed us a way, told us a bit about the history of the place. Nothing intrusive. Probably trying to flirt, which is kind of understandable in the country of love, but nothing uncomfortable. Really funny. 15 minutes of chat and every goes their way. They proved me how easy it is to start talking to people on the street here. This is not that common in any other country I have visited (well, maybe in Spain as well).

The next day, completely devastated after the day in Gardaland (which scared me to death!) and sightseeing all morning in Verona, we have finally made it to Desenzano del Garda. I forgot to mention that from the previous day Ewa has already left for another holiday trip, so it was me and Asia continuing the italian journey.

Me and Asia in Desanzano del Garda

I almost screamed when I finally saw BEACH! After a week of sightseeing in a full sun, it was a great relief and relaxing time. What I loved there was that dogs are allowed on the beach. Not very common approach, but in Italy it is natural that you bring the dog to the store, restaurant, beach. This is what I love about this country as well. They love pets/animals. Obviously, in my head people that love animals are the best kind of people! 😉 The same day we have also met a Band from South America. I must admit that the only way I remembered their name (my Spanish lessons back in a day were not as advanced as I could have thought back then) was thanks to very explicit story on its origin and it actually made me laugh a lot. I will try to look it up and maybe share some links in the future. I’d love to share their energy! In any case, I have thought I was so brave to leave from Poland while not knowing anyone in the UK. Wait a minute.. was I? I had a contract in my hand, help from HR, some relocation package. They have left to another continent, dropping their probably more or less settled lives to come to Europe. Kind of other side of the globe. The only plan is to follow dreams and to show their talent, which I must admit stroke to me. Everyone has different reasons for leaving, but you need to have the courage to follow your dream and they definitely had it. Short moment but made me think. I said I was jealous of that. Some adrenaline in veins, not knowing what’s the next day, instability, lack of settlement. Yes, I am jealous. Not brave enough to do that though. Possibly also not talented in anything enough that would allow me to make any kind of money to survive…

Verona by night

Ok, but what scares me in Italy. One thing, that was not that obvious for me probably in the UK as I was surrounded by other expats, so I felt that such life was normal. But what I seem to be missing is some kind of link to the past. I have felt it with my Friends now. Having spent my whole High School with Asia and having her now here was a great time. Because we understand each other without a word. I know what she wants by only a look I get from her and the other way round. I am not saying I won’t be able to make such close friends in Italy, but in the end we have grew up together and experienced a lot of teenage ‘problems’ and overcame some challenges, which simply made us closer. I miss it. This is why I really wish they will come here as having them close would be so much easier for me to share every moment.

In Menaggio at Lago di Como

Still to learn.. Italian people have time. Time for everything. I don’t. I mean, I have the same time as people here, but I am not used to … use it. In Poland we have learnt to be stressed about everything. Every little thing, but in the end what is the reason of that? To shorten our lives? In this stress, we tend to lose the focus on good things. On happy moments. I really hope to be able to learn this and give up my previous habits. I also want to be that happy with no self-created executioner hanging above my head waiting for me to make a small mistake. Just relax and take things easier than in the past. Not less serious, but with less nervous approach and headache.

Monte Brè

Probably my longest post, so if you have made it till the end, I hope you will also share your experiences on the foreign place you have lived in or visited that made an impact on you. I am really interested if you have similar thoughts on the world surrounding us.

Keep in touch,

kla

simply solo-travelling

Sometimes being on your own brings the best ideas to you. Very often you start seeing things you haven’t noticed before or maybe you even avoided seeing. Of course, there will be times that you will simply get bored, but in the end if you get bored with yourself, then maybe there is something wrong that needs to be fixed? 😉

Time to check if we like ourselves! 😉

I love people and I love being around them. I like listening to new stories, but also sharing my experiences or thoughts. What I also love though is my own peace. Being on my own and from time to time just dissapear in my own world. Going somewhere and just being with myself. So once in a while I just make a solo trip. Some time ago I have booked tickets to Budapest and Bratislava (in the end I only ended up in the first capital as it was so beautiful I really did not want to leave!). I have asked my friends if they want to join, but no one actually could, so I said – this is the time again! Some of them told me that I am crazy to travel on my own, I will get bored, won’t do anything in the evening, no nightlife etc. etc. How wrong they were! In the end, it wasn’t also my first solo trip, so I knew how to get ready.

So off I go. Tickets in my hand (OK, in my phone), passport, backpack and lots of positive vibes of excitment! I am ready! Until I realized I have forgotten half of cosmetics and a charger for a camera. So in the end I had almost no make up look and a lot of hope for my camera’s battery (thank god fully charged)! I need to work on my packing abilities. It is still crawling, despite numerous moves in my life …

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But ok.. I am in Budapest!!! The weather was amazing. View from my hotel – breathtaking, although I did not spend much time there. I took the shower after quite long trip and went to explore. Not only the city, but the culture, the atmosphere and the people. Because this is something that always brings most of my attention. The variety of culture, habits and looks. Where the fashion mixes with cultural elements and different stages of life, there I find a lot of magic. The exploring made my nights sleepless and mornings very early. Coming back at 1 a.m. leaving at 9 a.m. with full smile and no mark of tiredness!

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Parliament in Budapest captured from the cruise trip on Danube River with legenda.hu – beautiful views and great audio guide

What I have noticed this time was significantly increased number of people exploring the city on their own. With the map, phone and a backpack. Just moving in front of them in their own pace and simply taking a break from the ‘normal’ life. I started wondering why solo-travelling is more and more popular; at the same time asking myself a question, why I actually enjoy it so much and have this need of on my own time. The most important and first thing that came to my mind was getting a distance. The distance from everything. One could say to distance yourself from problems, but I don’t think this is the only reason. You also need to look at your life from another perspective to check if by the rush you are not missing some opportunities or if there is anything that you could do better. Or simply to chill from overthinking – which is also very often the case which overwhelmes a lot of us. It does happen to me for sure. It also gives a scope to realize how much we’ve already achieved and open for new adventures ahead.

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still scared of flying …

Experiencing everything only with my own eyes is completely different than doing it partially with our travel partner’s eyes. In the end you only share your comments with yourself. I stop wherever I want to and focus on looking at the world with my own eyes only. I see it as I want to and grab every second of it. I am always really happy for every next second that is in front of me and with the thrill, I am looking forward to it!

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Alicante – also one of my solo-travelling destinations in the past

Being completely dependent.. from yourself! You need to plan everything or decide to go with the flow and not have any structured plan. This time I had the idea what to do. The second hour of the trip I have changed everything as I have felt that I need something else from the trip. With the map in my hand, I was walking around, discovering every corner of the city – in completely different order than anticipated. It worked really well though! When you are alone, what is also really good is that the public transport trip with 4 stops and changes does not make any problem anymore. You know you need to do it, you have your goal – so you just do it! I treat those moments as a great adventure and a way to talk to locals! Admit it – how many times you were discussing something with your trip partner. You have decided to go with your idea to go to one place, despite the fact that your partner originally did not want to. OK, you agreed to stick to your idea together, but inside haven’t you had this feeling as if you did something wrong by convicing to your plan or that maybe the other person is upset? Of course, you can talk the whole topic through 10 times, but the feeling is there. This is the nature of the human – which does not happen when you are on your own.

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Realizing that I actually feel comfortable with myself. I can go to the restaurant and have a meal or drink on my own and not having my nose in the phone. I can just look at the street and observe what is happening there, read a book or focus on the local dishes which are always my favourite part of the trip!

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Ruszwurm Cream Cake – love at a first bite bringing memories from Poland <3

I can’t see myself being on my own that long back at the uni. Now I can’t imagine not having this time at least few times a year! Very important lesson is also to ask for help. I am the kind of the person that has always had problems with that. When you travel on your own, I am sorry to admit it, you will always find yourself in the situation, you have to ask for support. Definitely help is also needed after all the selfie fails I had…

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Last observation was connected with the kindness I have experienced from others. I am no longer seen as an alien when I ask for a table for one, but actually people are very helpful, nice and start conversations, ask questions, provide some pieces of advice, introduces to others. Despite being on my own, I have always felt support coming from different sides. This brings me a lot of believe in people’s kind nature.

To sum up I can tell that I have discovered a new way of travelling and I will continue to do so – I am already planning some weekend gateaway shortly. During the times on the bench I have made some notes, I’d like to share at some points with you, some things I haven’t normally noticed in my quite fast pace life, but to be continued…

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words, words, words

I was back in Poland recently. For a week. Just to hang out with Family and Friends. Walk around my city and visit some places I haven’t been to for a while. I like coming back, because surprisingly, this is the only place where I can actually ‘un-attach’ myself from my current life and look at life from another perspective. 

What stroke me this time were actually my Friends’ observations about myself. It was funny, but at the same time slightly surprising! The comment I want to share with you was ‘You are not Polish. You are way too positive.’ I guess you know who I am talking about! Am I positive person? Yes, but I worked hard on becoming one. It took me years to get there and to focus on good things. I don’t complain too much and if I do, I try to make it in the funny way. If something bad happens in my life, I erase it pretty quickly from my memory (like a blackout!) and when people ask me how am I doing, I always reply with the smile; and I smile for real. Because our lives are way too short to be miserable and just to talk about problems. In the end we all have them, but we also all have to handle them, so we already think enough about it.

As a proper linguist deep inside, I love looking for new words. I find those blogs, pinterest etc. just to have a new word that would ever closer describe how I feel. Which to be fair is not easy, as I very often have so many mixed feelings inside, that I don’t know myself what I am actually feeling (mixed but not shaken ;)). And ‘words…. don’t come easy to me.’ 😉 Sometimes creating my own words, but then it is usually closely connected with just revealing my real silly side/moments! Admit it – have you never had a moment when you really struggled to find a word to describe your inner feeling at that time? I had it plenty of times (despite the fact that I talk a lot, I can be made speechless from time to time), so today’s post is about the most interesting words I have come across by now and on how the word can affect your mood, motivate and just make you smile or even happy! Is it naïve? Potentially yes, but who said being sometimes naïve is a bad thing? 😉 (I feel like I am repeating myself!)

HYGGE

– the cozy feeling you get when you’re enjoying the good things in life with friends

OMG – I missed one single word for this so badly and there it is! Now my best friends will only hear this word and since I have clearly no idea how to pronounce it, I will discover my personal way to do it. Girls – HYGGE in 4 weeks’ time!

STRIKEHEDONIA

– the joy of being able to say ‘to hell with it’

Do you remember #hntgaf post? This is just a perfect finish missing to that! Strikehedonia – my personal favorite. 

STURMFREI

– the ability of being alone and to do what you want

I love the word because a) it is German b) it is about being free c) shows that sometimes being alone is not bad d) doing what I want. Simply beautiful on so many levels.

QUERENCIA

– a place where one feels safe, a place from which one’s strength of character is drawn

Actually, as I started this post. I have just recently revealed such place for myself. Does it mean I want to be in that place all the time? No. This is just another ‘timeline’ one needs to have in order to look with an objective eye on the surroundings.

FLANEUR

– someone who strolls aimlessly but enjoyable, observing life and their surroundings

Because life is simply about observing and gaining from that.

EUDAIMONIA

– the contented happy state you feel when you travel

You can be happy cause you passed exam, when you got new pair of jeans or won a competition. Is this happiness compared to the one when you travel? For me not. Now I can use another word for that. Next step – research on the origin. 

INEFFABLE

– too great to be expressed in words

F – word…. Oopsie! 

ARCADIAN

– idyllically innocent, simple and untroubled by fear or worry

Everyone should be arcadian way more often those days…

RESFEBER

– the restless race of a traveller’s heart before the journey begins; the tangled feeling of fear and excitement before a journey begins

Nothing to add! <3

ELEUTHEROMANIA

– the intense desire of freedom

Freedom of mind. Freedom of body. Freedom of thought.

COCAIGNE

– imaginary land of luxury and idleness

Sounds a bit like …. 😉 

I hope that spreading those words will also spread smiles on the faces and they will be used more often. Or at least more people will focus on their meanings in their lives.

But now… STURMFREI!

Oops… I did it again

The famous Britney’s words are flying in my head in the past weeks. What did I do this time?  I took a bit of a swerve (or as my new friends would have said ‘curva’ 😉 ) and just took a different path in my life. I got this chance to move to another place – sunnier, beautiful nature, and most importantly with always smiling and helpful people. Delicious food, mesmerizing lakes and mountains, peaceful rhythm of life and the time to notice and glorify the smallest things in life. Smile and simple ‘ciao’ everywhere and from everyone. You don’t know each other, but a simple hello is just so natural. Fresh fruit, vegetables and small markets in every corner with the must – Gelato. That’s right – Italy, you got me. #loveitaly

This is my second major move and second major decision. It has been easier thanks to many factors, but also the people that I met just made it so simple to me and natural. My Family and Friends were checking on me every day and were so surprised that I was just calm but also have been calm themselves as I was telling them how well I am actually taken care of here this time. Despite that though, there are always things that are challenging but also the ones that motivate me to further changes. Smaller or bigger, with the move even the tiniest thing becomes a huge achievement as we are always busy with settling and organizing our lives, but also few changes at the same time sometimes feel impossible but yet… ✔✔✔✔

As I am a fool for listings, I have been doing a small list of the things that I actually see have changed in my life, myself or how different surrounding is having an impact on my daily… let’s say behaviours.

1. The new ‘will’ to move.

Sometimes, or in my case always, when I settle and I don’t feel 100% good in the place (and I kind of moved out when I was 18, so I know what I am on about 😅), I just get lazy. Lazy about stuff around me, lazy about myself. Yet, I am not saying that I end up on the coach with a glass of wine, but I also don’t give everything from myself in my personal environment and I just live boring life (as for me boring = no plans for the weekend, evening or every single minute of the day). 

So what I have discovered is that again I wake up every day and I just want to do things. It doesn’t matter what. I can go hiking, to the gym, walk in the city or go sightseeing and exploring cities nearby, have a drink with friends or dinner on my own. I just want to do something. Again – I barely sleep, so it includes also walks in the late evening and the views here are just breathtaking. I sometimes just sit at the bench and stare in front of me. People can think I am a bit strange or start preparing the straightjacket for me, but do I care what others think? No, so I keep on starring. #carpenoctem 

So, my Friends, to share with you. Me – the laziest ass in this planet, have actually started going to the gym, hiking on my own and… most surprisingly I do it with pleasure and I like it! I have some motivators here as well, probably without them, I wouldn’t even start thinking about putting on my sneakers, but nevertheless, now I even pack my stuff for the gym with a smile. Yes… even my Parents do not believe it until today, so I have to send them updates from the gym. 

2. The will to explore.

No, I won’t devote another passage to the sightseeing and moving. What I mean by explore here is to go deeper with my interests, that have been always there, but kind of dissapeared in the past months or I was just not that motivated to look into them and check what has changed. Since the move I devote every single spare minute (and I don’t have a lot currently) to reading and collecting news about fashion, about my icons, any updates with #mafia? ;), street art, photography, music and really need to go back to that thought of playing an instrument. I really think that me being a tiny part of music or music being a huge part of my life is a bit missed and needs to be woken up again. I realized that I am so interested in those topics and have so much to discover still there. I am already planning few trips just to focus on those topics and also I have a lot of people to talk about those on and on as yes.. I can talk for hours if I feel connection with somone and I am passionate about the topic. I can also listen… I think 😅

3. The will to build.

Not literally… obviously 😉 but to build the space around me. To focus on what’s important and what I can easily get rid of. What I like and what describes myself and what is just the irrelevant rubbish taking the space. I like minimalism. I didn’t even use to like any colours except for black. The spaces around me need to be clean and reveal what’s inside of me. Now I have another chance to put it all out. I have always loved decorating and designing, so I am just loving every minute of it. Especially living on my own is giving me the full possibility to go crazy. Well, not too crazy but complete Klaudia’s style (which can be arguable – if good or not, but as the wise man said – you don’t argue on the taste!). 

For now, I have only built my muscles while moving the staff from the temporary flat to the new one… how I hate packing! I swear to stay in this flat until the contract expires – no matter what! ✋✊

4. The will to share the experience.

I am so lucky, as I have actually moved out to the new place at the same time when one of my Friends (www.shinealife.com). And yes, the type of the move is different, the aim is different, but the initial reason remains the same. To find a place for ourselves and in Emily’s case for her little Beauty 💞 Sharing our daily experiences and even smallest events from our lives gives me a kick and is a great moment of the day. As I know, that we are in the same place. Also, I remember about my two constant Polish ‘ass kickers’ that push me to go forward all the time and I don’t know what I would have done without whatsapp, as I wouldn’t be able to write a letter every 5 min! And I do tend to have stupid ideas, but I am so lucky to have them to support those ideas and make my life simply… more interesting. 

5. The will to smile.

I have always tried to smile a lot, even if I didn’t particularly felt like smiling, but I believe that this is very important element of our lives and make them just easier. I tried to do so to everyone. Sometime probably looking a bit creepy on the street. In here.. I wake up and the smile is just there. On my face. Despite the weather. The traffic. The rude lady in the townhall. Just smile cause I feel like doing so all the time.
Of course I have a lot of fun here as well! I think I have invented my own italian dictionary and I am constantly teaching the proper polish to my friends here (at this point I hope none of them is planning to use it in Poland though😨). On the streets everyone (literally every tourist) will ask me about the way or how to buy a train ticket and I will try to explain using any language I know or if I see it doesn’t work then giving up with simple ‘scusi, non parlo italiano’ and apologetic face (I actually feel really bad that I am not as fluent as I was with my English in the UK at the start). It feels sometimes embarassing, that I came to the country and I can’t fully communicate in the mother tongue, but this is another story and I am working on it hard 💪💪

To finish with #mychecklist

1. Flat ✔

2. Bank account (my nightmare in the UK) 

3. Residency – half-way ✔

4. Italian language – only my personal one mastered the rest is being a bit of a failure till now ….

5. Pizza ✔✔✔✔✔✔

6. Americano – new coctail introduced to me that became my numero uno ✔✔✔✔✔


So my recent favourite quote (no wonder I loved McDonald’s!):

P.S. second day with no electricty or gas… weirdly enough, I kind of liked it… 

missing Poland?

Living in Poland for 23 years. Did I get bored? Probably yes, but… maybe I just got too used to it, that I wanted a new challenge. I don’t know myself. I wasn’t fed up. I wasn’t unhappy. I didn’t have to. I just left. For myself. First year – I was at least twice a quarter at home. I hate flying (I am scared as f**k!!!), but I made it to sometimes ‘score’ 6-8 flights per month – home, for work, travelling. Personally I am really surprised, I didn’t have stroke on the plane by now or head full of grey hair! (prosecco is a great cure). Anyway, then.. I started to be in Poland less and less often. Why? Because I was meeting my Family and Friends outside Poland. I am in touch with them on a daily basis (as mentioned before, I text – don’t Skype or call.. I just find it boring after first 2 min unless you have something specific to talk about 😉 ) What’s the point of above senseless ‘stream of consciousness’? That actually there are things I DO miss in Poland. Saying that, I would have never suspected myself to do so! Just few days ago, I went for a very quick trip home. I would say that travelling home took me more time than actually being home. One hour to the airport by taxi and bus, two-hour long flight, rented car and 350km trip home – total of around 9 hours. But it was worth it! Cause it made me realize some very important things, that despite Family and Friends I visit Poland for some other reasons and for those reasons I believe all of you should visit my country at least once.

Architecture & History

To start with – I know nothing about architecture and just a bit more about history, but what I love about Poland, that even if you are not a specialist, you can feel this specific atmosphere everywhere. Each place has its spirit. The ghosts of past are everywhere and it doesn’t matter if the story of the place is happy or less fortunate, you feel mesmerized by the place, as if you were in different times or it simply inspires you to think. About anything. I love old buildings, lovely restaurants and magnificent cathedrals or castles everywhere. Possibly it is me being very sentimental, but I do love the way our cities have been built, but also developed in the modern times. It’s very Western, but still with our Slavic element. Driving through Wroclaw or walking in Gliwice with my Friend, just made me realize that this is a place I will always call my home.

Although… there are many reasons I don’t belong there, but this is the great subject for the next post, so let’s focus on other things that make me sentimental (yes… me.)

my hometown – Bielsko Biala

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Style

I am very sad to admit it, but since I am in the UK I kind of stopped (temporary!) caring about the way I look. I have never reached the point to leave the house with completely no make up or in the old tracksuit, but still… looking at my wardrobe, I can tell that I became lazy. The reason for that is very simple. In the UK, people do not judge you (at least not openly). In Poland – they do. You feel it everywhere. A bit of fat on your belly or no most trendy top in your wardrobe and people already put you in some kind of drawer. Is it good? No. Do I miss it? Yes. As you might have noticed, I will ask my favorite question here now.. Why? I miss it, because it made some pressure on me to make an effort. I like fashion. I like observing people and despite not like being observed, I should be aware, that people do that and why not play with your look to make things interesting? I don’t say follow all trends blindly, but maybe set up your own, special ones! I think fashion is fun and I have been always jealous inside of people that have this something that give them so much courage and creativity. What I must say here… in Poland I notice myself observing people, in a positive way, much more often. It is because of rat-race, but who said it is a bad thing.. to some extent.

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Food

Pieeeeroooogi… I din’t have time to try them this time, but this is something I love and no one does better ones that my Grandma. She is amazing because of so many things, but Pierogi make her super special! 😉 I don’t cook much in here, as for one person that doesn’t make sense and Polish food is also very fat, so you can’t eat too much of it yourself unless you are trying to be a sumo fighter (believe it or not, I am not!). Polish cuisine is very different and we have some specific specialties, that other Western countries don’t. We would pickle everything and add cabbage to anything, but this is something I love. I grew up on this and I miss it. What I also miss particularly.. Jagodzianki… Just look below…

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Language

I miss Polish language. I miss it a lot. I don’t have too many opportunities to speak it in here. I have one close Polish Friend and we don’t see each other as often as I would like to, so in the end I exchange few sentences in a week at work and then English everywhere. Not that I don’t like it, but it makes me so happy to speak in my mother tongue! And yes.. when a foreigner says even three words in Polish, they already have my heart 😉 I appreciate any effort with Polish. It apparently is super difficulty. Obviously as a native, I don’t see it, but I find it sometimes funny (good funny), when my Friends try to pronounce something (I must say though that my Italian Friend is really good with this! She’s natural! 😉 ). So do I miss all the ‘sz’, ‘cz’, ‘rz’, dzi’.. yes, I do!

Yes.. this is one verb to play:

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Views and Nature

The nature is so beautiful. I think I haven’t appreciated it enough, while living there. I had amazing view from window and I just took it from granted. I would never live in the countryside again, but.. it has something again magical. Beautiful hills, powerful mountains and various trees. Wild animals. I love just looking at it. You would see me very often in my house in my room, just staring through the window and appreciating the view I actually ignored for most of my life.

not from my window:

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There are so many small things that I realize I am missing every day when I visit my country, on a daily basis I wouldn’t even notice them back in Poland but now they have completely different meaning. The place you grew up, flavors, nature.. it all stays within you and only those elements are able to make you feel like home.

In the end it seems to be truth…

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i follow music

‘Without music, life would be a mistake’ Friedrich Nietzsche

Surprise, surprise – at least for many of you – I used to sing. In a small band,  choir, for fun and I have mastered karaoke. I don’t do anymore due to lack of time, maybe I simply gave up as I didn’t see any reason to follow that teenage dream of becoming an artist. In any case, I don’t sing but that doesn’t mean that music is not part of my life anymore.

Listening to music in the morning when I brush my teeth, on the bus to work, at work, after work on the bus, when I read, study… all day long. I sometimes listen to one artist for the whole day and sometimes completely different genres within few hours only. It depends on the mood, weather, my plans and mindset. Have I ever thought how does the music affect my life? Of course, I tried to analyze which songs I choose in particular cases. However, the more I thought about it, the more I failed and ended up in swiping the songs and turning off my playlist completely. It has confirmed – the choice of music needs to subconscious. Considering that, is there any particular impact that music has on our body or brain? Thank god for our beloved uncle google, who has opened the new door in front of me! So let me share with you some interesting facts about music vs. …

music vs. creativity

Do you remember your music lessons? The teacher asked you to close your eyes, played some classical music and then asked you to describe what you’ve seen. As a teenager I have always thought – what for? It appears there is a good reasoning behind this exercise; which, believe it or not, has actually stimulated your visual attention. Having said that, it appears that it actually does not only apply to pupils at school, but also stroke patients, that seem to have improved this ability while being exposed to classical music. Moreover, I believe that this stimulates your creative thinking and allows your imagination to expand – in the end it should not know any limits!

music vs. exercising

What about exercising? How many of you listens to music while jogging? Well.. maybe not me, as I am not friends with sport, however, I can tell that many of you does from what I see in parks etc. Not sure if it is connected with rhythm, motivational or aggressive lyrics and/or simply to have the feeling of time passing faster. The result is one – music does help us in exercising and as scientists confirmed (btw. why the use of word scientists with no other proof makes us all believe in it?;) ) it makes cyclists – cycle faster, joggers – jog faster and sleeper – sleep more.. no.. sorry, I was just thinking about myself…! Let me just quote:  A 2012 study showed that cyclists who listened to music required 7% less oxygen to do the same work as those who cycled in silence. Despite that I still don’t suggest cyclists to listen to music on the road!

music vs. our personality

The most interesting one for me. I don’t believe that it is 100% true though. However, let’s check yourself and for my friends… you can check my personality based on the list at the end of the post 😉

Blues fans have high self-esteem, are creative, outgoing, gentle and at ease
Jazz fans have high self-esteem, are creative, outgoing and at ease
Classical music fans have high self-esteem, are creative, introvert and at ease
Rap fans have high self-esteem and are outgoing
Opera fans have high self-esteem, are creative and gentle
Country and western fans are hardworking and outgoing
Reggae fans have high self-esteem, are creative, not hardworking, outgoing, gentle and at ease
Dance fans are creative and outgoing but not gentle
Indie fans have low self-esteem, are creative, not hard working, and not gentle
Bollywood fans are creative and outgoing
Rock/heavy metal fans have low self-esteem, are creative, not hard-working, not outgoing, gentle, and at ease
Chart pop fans have high self-esteem, are hardworking, outgoing and gentle, but are not creative and not at ease
Soul fans have high self-esteem, are creative, outgoing, gentle, and at ease

taken from – North, A. C., Desborough, L., and Skarstein, L. (2005). Musical preference, deviance, and attitudes towards celebrities. Personality and Individual Differences, 38, 1903-1914.

To close this post a small thing to share with you – Spotify has decided to make my TOP 2016 list and here you can find some of the songs that have been included. It seems I really like ‘following’ 😉

  1. Lykke Li – I follow rivers
  2. Arctic Monkeys – Do I wanna know?
  3. OutKast – B.O.B.
  4. Dawid Podsiadlo – Forest
  5. The Beatles – I’ll follow the sun
  6. Kanye West – All Of The Lights
  7. Death Cab for Cutie – I Will Follow You Into The Dark
  8. Hugo – 99 Problems
  9. alt-J – Left Hand Free
  10. Tegan and Sara – Here I am

 

Maybe it is worth to give a little thought and check what your latest playlist says about your mood and attitude? Are you positive, sad or motivated? If you’re curious, last song on my playlist – Santigold L.E.S. Artistes.

get lucky

My Mum has always been winning a lot of competitions. Not only in some magazines, or local quizzes, but she’s been few times on tv shows, won some projects – long story short – she’s been always very creative and this has been rewarded (money, holidays, car, cosmetics etc.). Few years back, there was a reportage filmed based on her luck. It was even called Lucky one. It’s been broadcasted in the national tv channel and since then people always ask her – how have you done it?!

In my Family we have been always believing in the word luck.  I have tattooed it for a reason. I think it has completely different meaning though than for most of you. a dictionary would define it as ‘a purposeless, unpredictable and uncontrollable force that shapes events favourably or unfavourably for an individual, group or cause’. So how my definition is different? I do believe that you can bring the luck into your life or at least help it a bit! I don’t mean some lucky charms, prayers or other spiritual rituals. There are numerous more rational ‘tools’ that will bring the luck to you and you won’t have to keep your fingers crossed before making any decision.

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Plenty of times in my life, I have heard that I was lucky to achieve this and that. Then I think – seriously? Was I only lucky? It is so easy to say – oh.. you were lucky to get this. I don’t have it but apparently you have better aura. People love linking the achievements of others just to some external forces and that you have no control over it. Well, we do have control. Quite strong one. How come? Let me think… I guess it is called hard work. I know that we like to believe that all good things come from heaven and are given on the silver plate just in front of us. Unfortunately – sorry to break this myth for you – it is not. People who spend most of their lives in front of TV may only get lucky in gaining more fat and  be completely brainwashed. Would we call this luck? No. Anything that comes in our lives is triggered by our actions. Easy example brought up at the beginning of this post. My Mum. she has been reading a lot, studying languages, expanding knowledge on her hobbies, stimulating creative thinking, opening for new cultures… thanks to that she had courage to try her skills in many competitions. As she has always been very confident she got into and then based on her knowledge she won many times. Many winning projects, that she has made were of the price of uncountable sleepless nights, researches etc. etc. …

Ok, but as some of you might know me – I am not complete realist. I stomp hard on the ground, but I also see some external factors, again that are simply results of our actions or who knows… maybe there is some divine force behind it? (can’t believe I wrote it actually!). Very important word – Karma. What is it? Simply – what comes around goes back around – look one of my previous posts. You helped somebody – you will get some help in the future. You hurt someone – you’ll get hurt. As simple as that. I hope this is not the only reason why people help each other – to get something back, but it should be a good motivation to start with. Putting others first is a great magnet for your own success.

Also, I didn’t put the image of clover for no reason on this post. I already rejected the idea of lucky charms, so why this small plant? I think this is some kind of metaphor. What is as unusual as four leaf clover, but also so desired and could bring a lot of positivity into your life? For me it is Friend. I think this is a big personalization of luck for me. To share good and bad moments, successes or failures, to cry from laughter and sadness. So maybe also for you the famous clover is only the metaphor of something different?

What would you say about positive thinking? Could this also be the magnet for your good luck? Yes! Yes! and Yes! When you focus on positive things, you always bring them to yourself. As I wrote before, positivity, smile, good attitude are the elements that work like magnets for good things. Again – something you have control over. So use it! New opportunities – go for them! You won’t get lucky unless you actually try to experience new things. How many times I have heard ‘look, what you have achieved! I would have never done that?’ why? Maybe because you haven’t tried? 😉

I will keep on stimulating my luck. What does it mean for me? Surrounding by positive people and friends, focusing on my own dreams, looking out for new adventures, not closing myself for new experiences and last but not least to focus on supporting others – let’s make sure to make friends with Karma. Will it work? For now I can surely say – I took over one feature after my Grandparents and Parents – good luck.

human magnets

For some people it is so easy to get to know others. They just attract the attention. Gain respect immediately. Their present is felt. They are being listened. How do they do that? Are you one of them?

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1. positivity

Do you like being around people who complain all the time? Who are never happy with what they have? Always wry face, never smiling, always some negative comments… Does it sound appealing to you? I bet it doesn’t. If it does though, then it’s high time to think why you are NOT a people magnet and if you want to change it.. But let’s focus on positivity. Why is it so important? Why are we so much drawn to it?Maybe there is something naïve about thinking that the glass is always full or as my beloved the Beatles song goes ‘tomorrow may rain, but I’ll follow the sun’. Maybe being too much of an idealist is not healthy; in the end you need to keep the balance. If people feel optimism and positivity around you, they will stick to you. Such confidence and attitude gives others the feeling of safety and takes them away from problems. Positive people are always able to find a good way and potentially a solution, or just a temporary solution to any issues. They won’t be focusing on the problem here and now, but will think about the resolution and how to react. They also point out the advantages and lessons learnt from the experience.

So why we love positive people? – because they won’t let you drown and will always do their best to put a smile on your face.

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2. trustworthiness

Being trustworthy and loyal to your friends and other people – of course. How simple is that? Is it something that attracts people – not long term. In the end, what really brings people attention and will make them want to be close to you is being trustworthy with yourself. You have decided to travel on your own – a month ago you were following the unknown in Asia? You were talking about moving abroad – and there you are in Spain two months after? Or losing 10kg in a year – your body in bikini now looks… super hot?! That’s what people love. That’s what people appreciate.

You can be supportive to others. You can lead them, guide them, but without being the example yourself and showing that you are following your decisions yourself – you will not gain their full respect and for sure you won’t be a human magnet.

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3. confidence

Being self-aware. Personally, I am quite aware person. What do I mean by that – being sure that I’m perfect? Of course not! I perfectly know my strengths, but even more my weaknesses. I don’t excuse myself from those, but focus on improving them. I won’t pretend if I don’t know something, but I also won’t feel bad about it. In the end we are not Eintsteins in all fields and we don’t hold PhD in every faculty, so just be genuine. On the other hand, I won’t pretend that I don’t know how to do something if I do… only because I don’t want to seem to be a show off or overconfident. If I know something, why not use it? People like surround themselves with confident people. People who are confident with their weak and strong points. People who can say ‘I can’t do it’ and be comfortable with it, but also the ones that will say ‘I can do it and I can show this to you now.’ Doesn’t it give you the feeling that they are honest with you but more importantly with themselves? I think this is something that we are really seeking for in our times. Unfortunately, I have noticed that the world around us is full of overconfident people that do not know their weaknesses or people who will underestimate themselves in every area.

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4. resilience

Did you really think that the more you say YES the more people will be around you? You couldn’t be further from reality. Something that attracts people is actually having the balls to say NO. Why? Because not many people can do that. So many of us is scared to say no to our friends, at work, to family or on the bus to that really rude lady bothering everyone… Why are we scared? – read the first sentence. Why shouldn’t be scared? – read the third sentence. You should be confident with yourself. Listen to your guts. Having said that, if you feel like saying NO, just say it! People will appreciate it and will again feel safe next to you.

Most of us likes being around people who listen, are not scared to share their ideas, are full of energy, self-aware, able to accept their mistakes and in a way inspire us. Some of us has this inborn talent, others need to learn it. Is it possible? Yes! You can consciously develop your inner strength and become a human magnet. Believe in yourself first and then let people believe in you.

Do I know any human magnets? Yes – 1st my Mum and 2nd my Best Friend. They both have all features above and definitely work like magnets to me.

 

 

 

why mafia?

‘If there is a will, there is always a way my friend’ Ryszard Kukliński

I bet most of you might not have heard about Ryszard Kukliński or Iceman – as his wife, Barbara, was describing him there was a ‘good Richie’ and ‘bad Richie’. Family provider. Great Father and Husband. Hard-worker (I bet he was, as having double life cannot be easy!). But then… he was disappearing for days. Why? Well, the other side of his life was filled with violence and abuse. Job title – contract killer.

Why I am quoting the contract killer, the member of mafia, person that was sentenced for 5 murders (and god knows how many were not proven to him)? Because I have always been fascinated with the gangsters theme. Probably because my Mum has been always digging around this topic and I simply caught the bug. That’s not only it though. I was always curious how come one can be so good, religious, full of empathy, family person and, on the contrary, kill in cold blood. The way gangsters are presented usually gives us mixed feelings. We hate them for things they have done, but we admire for their personalities and sometimes even I wish I actually got to know them and could ask them some questions, like – how can you mix your religious side with the criminal part of your life? How does it feel to be always on verge on death? How have you become being who you are now? Do you want your children follow your footsteps?

Not many people are aware of that passion. I remember at one of the courses, when I revealed it, no one there could have believed it. A blond girl, 150 cm tall with pink nails that is in love with crime and violence (not being violent and approving that though!). It caused lots of laughter and disbelief. I really needed to go into more details and prove my knowledge. After that, I heard almost every day that I have my connections with mafia, so better be careful – well, why would I deny that? 😉

What are my favorite stories? Not to be original here – Al Capone. My dream is to go to Alcatraz and New York and follow his ghost in the city. I am sure I will make it next year as I have already planned my whole trip. Exchequer Restaurant & Pub, Fox’s Restaurant & Pub or Renaissance Blackstone. Why do we like him so much? Because of his ‘broken’ childhood or maybe because he was able to make decisions that are risky, dangerous. They are full of mystery, always calm, never scared. It is easy to ‘admire’ such people in a way. Well.. at least until we realize the other part of their lives. What I love about those stories is how easy it was for them to convince others to follow them. Blindly perform commands and kill just because somebody else told me so. How come was it that easy to make others to kill? Let’s face it, not all of the people chosen to be part of mafia – some of them were just made to do so, but still.. reading those stories, sometimes you just wonder… how come?

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Another story that is just eyes opening shows how much politics and economic situation have been helping mafia to grow in different times and countries. Late ’80s and ’90s are just the best times for Polish gangsters. The fall of communism and citizen’s militia or SB, there were so many changes that it just gave a huge scope to act for the new ‘entrepreneurs’. I bet many of you would have been surprised how well polish mafia was organized and… how brutal it was. I have read all books written by crown witness – Jarosław Sokołowski ‘Masa’. He was one of the most meaningful ones in the Pruszkowsky gang. He shared a huge knowledge on all of the bosses of those times, gave a lot of light on many criminal or murder cases, but do I believe that was all? No. In the end as the crown witness he still can’t say most of the things that were linked to him in the past – has he done it or not? We will never know. Books are some kind of interviews, but with lots of different digressions and stories in between. Some of the descriptions are difficult to be read. Sometimes you just don’t understand how come this could have happened and what kind of a person you have to be to do those things. You probably don’t seem to have the feeling I have as warm feelings towards polish mafia as for American one. Why? It’s pretty simple…

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There are some common traits of all American Mafioso – always surrounded by beautiful women, always very elegant wearing the suits from the famous designers, intelligent, good sense of humor and charm. Actually I wouldn’t say it’s only about our friends from the U.S., but also the Krays Brothers are the perfect example of this tinsel. Parties, being part of ‘celebrities’ world – when you sum all of this up, you can’t be surprised anymore why we just admire some part of this world so much. They just seem so sophisticated, unusual and from just different world at the first glance. They are just so colorful.

Take the scene from ‘The Goodfellas’ movie when Joe Pesci as Tommy kills another man. He just said something about his past career and Tommy punched him – many times actually – to death. The reason of this death – disrespect. This brings another reason why we are sometimes in favor of those characters; they always give you the reason and they will always present it in the convincing way. I don’t believe that Polish gangsters were any close of having the charisma of Capone, Krays, Castellano or Gotti. What I do enjoy about them though is the real world back then in Poland – something I am not familiar myself, as I was too small to understand or even not in this world yet, the mafia language (as for the linguist, it is fascinating what kind of epithets and metaphors they could come up with!) and the women’s world in this very specific habitat. I believe that many of them had more power than men and were leading this world from the background.

I hope I encouraged you to step into the mafia world a bit more!…

Not to keep this post too long – normally the moment I start talking about mafia, I just get stuck in the topic forever, so you’d better don’t encourage me – below you can find the very short list of my favorite books and movies on the gangsters world (all based on true story).

Movies:

  1. Świadek Koronny (The Crown Witness) – Jarosław Sypniewski, Jacek Filipiak, Michał Gazda 2007
  2. The Goodfellas – Martin Scorsese 1990
  3. Dog Day Afternoon – Sidney Lumet 1975

Books:

  1. Books by Jarosław Sokołowski ‘Masa’
  2. Mafia Princess by Marisa Merico
  3. Shadow of my Father John Junior Gotti

Ben Franklin Effect

How many times you have felt bad because you needed to ask for help? When you were out of cash, needed help at school or simply needed support in your life? But then have you actually asked for help or you just felt bad about even thinking about it? Why are we scared to ask for help? Is it our pride? Do we think we are better, so we shouldn’t show our weakness or are we ashamed of our mistakes or disabilities? Do we think that we don’t deserve somebody’s good word, nice gesture or just a simple smile and saying ‘it will be alright!’?

wow.. so many questions written and twice as much in my head. Why? Because it is so difficult to believe that help comes with nothing in exchange or maybe I just prefer to work on everything on my own. My achievements, my problems and my struggles. Probably mixture of both.

But how is it with helping in the end? Let’s focus on us helping others. Why do we do that? There are multiple reasons. One of them claims that it is to make ourselves feel better. The feeling of satisfaction from the fact that our actions contributed to somebody’s happiness and fulfillment. The fact that we played a small role in somebody’s movie makes us feeling better with ourselves, doesn’t it? Are we being egoists? Charles Dickens says “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” I remember when I was around 10/11 years old on holiday with my Parents and Grandparents in Hungary. There was a homeless Man that had his own life stored on the huge wheelbarrows. His very, let’s be diplomatic, intense smell was recognizable from far away. You haven’t seen him, but you already knew he was there. Mix of mold, humid, sweat and of course well known Hungarian spirits (I remember until today our favorite invented sentence, that kept us laughing all holiday – Eine kleine Berbeluche – the ones that know Polish old slang will know what I mean!), really long hair and probably full of lice… Despite that… as a kid, I just felt the internal need to help him. Back then having full pocket of Forints that had no value, but compared to PLN seemed so much more (obviously I had vague idea about the currency exchange). I preferred to spend my last coins to give him or to go with my Parents to do shopping for him, rather than going for ice cream. Why? My Parents didn’t tell me to do that. They would rather have me getting something for myself and give this Man some money themselves, but I was so stubborn – it was supposed to be from me! Every afternoon I was looking for him somewhere in the city (he was changing his places) to say hello, give him some money and then just see the smile on his face. From the perspective I see this was very innocent gesture. I didn’t expect anything in return – just happiness. It made me feel better. Does it make me altruist who turned into egoist or the other way round?

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Another reason why we help people. Because we like them or maybe… we want them to like us? Ben Franklin once said: ‘He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.’ So does it mean we ask others for help to make them like us more or do they help us cause the fact they helped us once with no obligations will make them closer to us? Have you never had this good feeling when you helped someone and they were grateful that you even ask them if they need more help, as you have this genuine impulse to go further? I am sure you had it. Why? The scientists claim that subconsciously we couldn’t accept the fact that we have helped someone we don’t like, so… our brain simply assumes we like them. Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? But think about it. Again we are coming back to this feeling of fulfillment, being proud that our knowledge, experience or abilities have been useful for someone else. Are you the one asking for help though? – then you can only gain some new friends or just strategically decrease the amount of your foes! There might be a strategy in it. When people feel like they did something good for you, they expect you to like them and to be thankful. Of course we are.

Something that recently made me cry.. – and let’s face it I almost don’t cry – was the scene from the reportage in the polish tv. The reporter was asking people on how much money would mean ‘a lot’ for them. The replies were various – from 5k PLN to 1m PLN, but there was this one reply that made my heart melted – older Lady said, that for her 2k PLN (around 500 EUR) is a lot, as she would be able to do good shopping, would afford more expensive ham and coffee. The reporter has made a big shopping for her and left me in tears. Small thing, most of us would afford to do such gesture and I really want to believe most of us does. It happened to me back in Poland – doing shopping with my Mum for few people as they were struggling and we just couldn’t pass them indifferently. The thing is that I used to live in Poland 2,5 years ago… Time to change it – goal for the next week, help somebody for no reason here. Just because. Just because I want to and just because I can. And Ben Franklin effect definitely does not matter a thing to me here. Would I benefit from that? Yes. I will feel better with myself.

What’s the conclusions for today? Don’t be scared to ask for help – people will do it with pleasure and moreover, this will make them closer to you with the feeling that they care about you and want to support you further. You will show them that you respect them and admire in a way. Or treat it as your strategy – maybe you will win over the people that looked at you disapprovingly? One is sure – Ben Franklin would be proud!

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i’m in a relationship with food.

Cooking – one of my biggest passions. I can waste the whole night on watching Masterchef, Top Chef, Hell’s Kitchen. I know Ultimate Cookery Course by Gordon Ramsey by heart and I would marry him if I could (I mean it!). Dinner Date, Come Dine with Me – both in Poland and the UK. It’s just my love. One year, I was actually talking about cooking so much, that I got for my birthday and Xmas (both in Dec.) 7 culinary books!! The only problem is that this particular love became a bit toxic and my love to food gave my some small gift… additional kilograms! Not that it’s bad, but for me towards the end of the year, it became a nightmare. In November I just looked in the mirror and cried. That was it. I saw my ‘new’ size. Looked in the mirror and said ‘THE END’! The End with excuses! Yes, people telling me I look alright – I don’t. Not for myself. And my relationship with food needs to come to an end or at least we need to work on it.. maybe some therapy?

At that moment I was trying to change my diet habits with bigger or smaller success. It seems to succeeded from January, as I finally realized, that all the diets that I was planning to try actually don’t work for me. I was just losing my motivation after a week. Why? Because when I told myself that I will choose only healthy products I just realize that this doesn’t seem to exist for ‘average’ people. Let’s face it – I am not planning on spending half of my salary on food.

Let’s imagine you go to groceries. You are looking for low calories, organic (or closest to organic) product with low carb, ideally gluten free and low amount of fat, sugar and kcal (quite a lot of ‘musts’!). You are looking at labels and the amount of ‘E…’ just puts you off. In the end you end up with broccoli, carrots and apples – which, by the way, are not much healthier themselves, unless bought from the farmer directly (I suppose). I come back home and while trying to make something more or less edible and maybe not super boring… I end up with soup, ‘leczo’ or some salad. How exciting..

So next idea I had was to look at the kcal I am eating on a daily basis. I had an app. First 3 days I was putting everything there very appropriately. Then what, I didn’t have time… stupid small excuses. I struggled. I struggled a lot… and my scales was not showing any improvements!! At the beginning of this year, it was now or never! I have decided to go on a diet with no plan. To eat regularly, replace all the crap I was putting in my body, be more careful with choosing ingredients, replace junk food with healthy version and… learn to say no. Say no to going out for dinner, say no to takeaway, say no to any temptation. Finally it worked. Those are early days, as just 5/6 weeks, however, the results are there – in the end 5kg down is a huge achievement for me.

The only problem now is, that my diet has become a bit boring, and my body is looking for some replacements and more interesting options… So plan for the next weeks is to focus on some experiments with cooking! Challenge accepted! I will keep you updated!! It’s also part of my plan to stick to the diet… the more supporting people, the better! I won’t give up!

And no, I don’t plan to be another person to tell you how to eat. I am not specialist myself! I just want to share one of my biggest passions with my friends. Also to prove that in order to lose weight you don’t have to drink water and eat a slice of lettuce per day. In the end… yes, I am in relationship with food – but this time more mature one!

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#hntgaf

Most of us has a favorite sentence, that we keep on repeating in our head as a mantra in order to help us with the everyday struggle. For some it will be ‘make sure to treat every day as if it was supposed to be the best day of your life’ for the others ‘today I refuse to stress myself about the things I have no control over’ and what is my ‘mantra’? ‘I don’t give a f*ck’. Obviously not in every aspect of the day and of my life, but let me show you something… basically how not to give a f*ck about things you have no control over or you do have it, but… it is just irrelevant and creates unnecessary stress and anxiety in your life.

Before I start though, it’s worth to mention when to #gaf. It is important to be able to recognize it. We don’t want to become emotionless robots! I mean, I don’t want to… for you – your choice, but I wouldn’t recommend it 😉 Coming back to my main thought – when do you #gaf? First, and most important!, thing – things that make you happy! Feeling of happiness, fulfillment, relax and strength. Those are things you should focus on and give plenty of f*cks! It doesn’t matter if it’s about passions, work or people around. If it makes you smile – grab it and keep it! You need to remember though, that the amount of f*cks you have is quite… limited. The main rule with this mantra is to be able to recognize when we should care and when to… stop. If something makes you think too much that it leads you to anxiety, stress… because of overthinking… then really? Should you care? I believe the answer is simple. Let’s face it the amount of f*cks we have to give (just because!) is already quite high – don’t make it more difficult for yourself! Simple calculation – is it worth your time and energy, or not?

If the result of your analysis (not longer than 3 sec!) is no, then please proceed as follows:

  • stop thinking what other people think or say – do you really #gaf? In the end, aren’t you the one coping with yourself? care about what they feel and respect their opinions, but don’t care if they like your approach if it only affects you.
  • if you want to say no, just say NO. Nothing to add.
  • you worry about something that will happen either way and you have no control over – #dgaf. You won’t change anything. Just brace yourself!
  • people have some expectations towards yourself, that not necessarily go in line with what you want? Just tell them off. Your life – your decisions.

Please note one thing though – all of the above are based on the fact that they only affect yourself. Please don’t turn into a mean girl or an asshole and go into the extreme! The balance must remain!!

So let me show you my small list of things I do give a f*ck and then a list where I honestly, couldn’t care less.

Give a f*ck list as of today (things and causes only)

  • good book – my best friend
  • booking flight tickets – ryanair website is blocked by me
  • personal growth – yep, studying every night is nothing weird to me
  • animal rights – never stop caring
  • going out – hate staying at home
  • work – simply cause I love it
  • pepsi – why? because I am an addict on detox…
  • the way I look – yes, lot’s of worry, but feeling good with myself, I guess makes me happy (one day!)

Not giving a f*ck for today (only affecting myself)

  • influential negative people – just hate it. REALLY HATE IT.
  • changing other people’s minds – this is my opinion, you think differently – that’s cool!
  • making stupid mistakes (including making fool of myself) – we will always keep on doing those, so let’s get over it and laugh at yourself
  • Passwords – at least once a week, I need to change the password to most of my e-mail accounts. I just… don’t care.
  • facebook drama – press unfollow.

Am I a happy person? Yes. Am I an ass? I hope not. I care about people, but I think about myself as well. Sometimes being selfish is just healthy. In the end, we need to take care of ourselves and measure the amount of f*cks given wisely. This approach (which I have ‘acquired’ just few years back, made me so much calm, careless, happy and… grateful for what I have. I don’t care what others think and the time some people spend on wondering what to change in order to make other happy and pleased with myself, I go out, travel, study and take the best from my life! I am almost never stressed, under pressure – hell yeah!, but pressure is something I love.

It is worth to mention that this approach actually brings people closer to myself than to put them off. Why? Not sure, maybe because I am fully transparent and if I care, I really listen, but if I feel like something is irrelevant, I will say it straightaway as well. Maybe it’s a culture, or maybe just me – but I guess I am just very honest and direct to bits. I love when people tell me the worst truth and I do same back.

and yes.. this post was inspired by my friends 🙂

so let’s not give a f*ck!

 

 

 

no strings attached

From the youngest times we attach ourselves to something. We start with a Teddy Bear as a toddler and then we just add up to the list other material or non-material things like phone, favorite book, best friends, favorite places, movies, favorite brands and some daily habits like watching tv with a dinner or sitting at the laptop all evening. I didn’t enumerate family for a reason. Family is not the attachment, but in most cases it is simply part of us and here the strings shouldn’t be broken easily if at all.

Have I ever thought what are my ‘attachments’? Possibly not. I must admit, I can’t imagine my life without phone, laptop and/or my books. But I mostly use it for my personal issues like texting my parents and friends, going through some news and looking for some important updates for me. I don’t Skype – I honestly hate it! I also don’t call too much, I am much more of a texting person. It’s easier, faster and doesn’t allow uncomfortable silence (one of my biggest fears!). Am I attached to people or places? Yes and no. Yes – I love some particular places, especially the place where I was born. Yes – I get used to my favorite spots and love coming back to the same cozy restaurant at the corner. Yes – I love my Family and Friends to bits, but they wouldn’t follow me blindly everywhere and I wouldn’t do the same either for them. So why I am still so far away? Because there is also a big No with me getting used to things. I believe we shouldn’t depend our lives on surroundings. The most important is feeling good with ourselves and then nothing else can ruin this. Yes, we will miss our closest but then.. we can visit them at any point or text every 5 min – we are in the 21st Century in the end and there are almost no limitations. For the places – world is big. It would be such a waste to spend your whole life – which hopefully would be long and happy! – in one place that you know by heart after few months.

With things I might be quite pragmatic… career I have now – can be gone in next few years, house where I live is not even mine, the youth, the body we have now – it doesn’t last forever. So why would I bother? Unfortunately, with my career I do bother. This might not allow me to move as much and to experience as much, but still… keeps me very happy and focused. On the other hand, I know it may sound crazy or just easy to say, but as few years back I wouldn’t leave my house without my favorite bracelet, then today, I am just more careless. Focusing on here and now and just looking forward to the future. I accepted losing certain things, I don’t feel that much pain anymore or being depressed is not my thing. Well… we just need to learn the lesson and keep on moving forward. In the end … how many times have we heard about billionaires committing suicides? The need of having more and more just drove them to madness and made them being less attached to… themselves than to things around them.

I would lie though if I said I am not attached to anything now – my ideas is the thing. It’s the blessing and the nightmare. If I stuck something in my head, it takes ages to take it out from there. Usually plenty of people telling me how wrong I am will not help. I need to realize things on my own and then just… let go. It happens in my personal life all the time, but takes a lot of energy and even more sleepless nights.

What about love though? Hard topic, and I am definitely far from being specialist myself – but is this something that becomes attachment? Do we depend ourselves on the feeling itself or in the end is it all about people? Here I have no idea… If I get to know, I will share my thoughts but again… what’s the most beautiful in this world is that we are all different…

‘a goal is just a dream with a deadline’

‘If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.’ Woody Allen.

I am not a fan of Woody Allen, but this sentence is one of the ‘truest’ truths! How many times I had something planned, thought through, almost ideal concept and then… just before finalizing it suddenly something, someone, disease, some event will happen and then the whole plan is just ruined. I think you know what I mean.

That’s the reason why I use the word ‘dream’ instead of ‘plan’. Plan requires realization. If it doesn’t work out, the disappointment can be painful. Dream will come true or not. Am I making my life easier? So what. Until now this tactics works out well! When I have some resolution (read: dream) I start to work towards it. Here the effect may differ. ‘A flash in the pan’ is not a stranger to me! Which one of us though hasn’t assumed that in the New Year that you will so this, and that, and even THAT! Then it just disappeared – as if this ‘plan’ never existed. Well ok.. there’s one person, my Mum – but she’s the best organized person I’ve ever met (I guess she has OCD) – so despite her I don’t know anyone, so she doesn’t count! 😉

Crap.. it means you can though. Ok! So those are my dreams for this year:

  1. I won’t tell…
  2. …I won’t tell…
  3. …I won’t tell

Don’t want to jinx it! It is easier to working towards realizing them than to tell everyone about them. If they come true, trust me – I will be the first one to share it! For the time being I will keep it to myself, let’s make sure I am not a …. 😀

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Of course that wouldn’t stop me from elaborating on the goals and dreams a bit more. Have you ever wondered why the New Year’s Resolutions are always the ones that last the shortest? Is it the matter of planning, the rush, the pressure of the surrounding or we just set the goal because this is what we are expected to do, but… not necessarily want to achieve – at least not now? How do you start organizing in order to make your dream come true and what’s your plan to start with?

I personally believe that the most common mistake we do while setting New Year’s Resolution is as rush. We tend not to think thoroughly what we want to achieve or we perfectly know the goal, but we haven’t thought that maybe losing 15kg within 2 months is rather impossible – unless you can afford liposuction and you don’t mind being in pain for the next few months (OMG!) or becoming a CEO in the big corporation may take a bit more than 6 months (we all wish it was that easy!). I always try to think what is possible to be achieved or what I really need at this stage of my life in order to be able to proceed. This year – I can share one element – I need another change. I usually go through missing puzzles in my life and just try to find them and put them all together in order to create a full picture. As long as I don’t dream too big, it usually works out well.

When I handle job interviews, there is usually this question about your 5 year long plan. I hate this one. How can you plan and organize your life 5 years ahead? You can’t. Especially when it comes to young people that are at the very beginning stage of the career. I used to have this plan and after 6 months it has changed completely, since then I can honestly say – I don’t have a 5 year long plan, so please don’t ask me this question 😉 I only look at this year and simply think how I would like to be. Write down 10 words that would describe your ‘future you’ this year and treat them like a mantra. Just make them stuck in your head! Put them on the mirror or repeat daily once you wake up. Few of my words this year – freedom, independency, joy, growth, challenge and change. Make sure that on 31st Dec. 2017 you will be able to say my year was… and put your adjectives here! If you are able to enumerate all of them, then make sure to celebrate properly your success!

From more scientific point of view it is said that each goal should be distinguished into few smaller parts that are supporting each other and altogether will lead us to our dream.

Let’s go back to the example with losing weight. One can say – I want to lose 15 kg this year and believe it or not – it is possible to achieve, but… think smart and set up the whole process in a structured way. First of all you need to set the performance goals for the whole year, that will be supporting the main dream, so let’s say by 30th June you will lose 10kg as it is always easier at the start and then remaining 5 kg by end of November. What’s your schedule to achieve this? Trainings 3 time a week, well-balanced diet etc. Share your plan with others! There’s nothing more motivating than feeling embarrassed in front of others that you haven’t achieved something that was all within your own control and you have everything well organized. Sounds harsh? Sometimes we have to be hard on ourselves though – otherwise we would stuck in the same place forever! You can use this scheme for everything – getting promotion at work, finishing some certificates or some self-development goals – I can confirm from my own experience.

I could enumerate on and on such examples, but we need to remember that our dreams can be affected by various factors like our motivation and any other obstacles that could come on our way. I will focus on those another time as this is another pretty long topic.

For today I just leave you with your 10 words for this year.

Ahh.. whatever…I will share my list below (and let’s just hope it won’t jinx it!) to motivate myself even more – the first word is with me forever and I wouldn’t change it with anything else in so many areas in my personal and work life.

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‘i wanna make you happy…’

I am insomniac. I work, come back home, read, listen to music, go for language courses, meet up with friends, go to the cinema, go to the pub… no place or time to sleep! It’s been always like that – studying three faculties and working didn’t help in the past either. I know, I know.. it’s not healthy, and as my coach at one of the courses I took said that I am in ‘heart attack risk group’, but at least I have plenty of time to focus on all of my passions! Life’s too short to sleep.

Mark Twain wrote ‘Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.’ It seems I lead ideal life! Of course, there are always ups and downs, but the most important is just to go ahead and defeat any obstacles.

I think my main obstacle is missing my Friends. My decision about leaving my country was rapid. I sent out CVs end of August and in the middle of Sept. I had a contract in my hand. Three weeks after my suitcase was packed and… let’s go on an adventure that lasts until now! It was chaos, pressure to have everything organized, stress due to lack of place to live in the UK, no friends there – help! I think some of my friends in my hometown were shocked about my decisions. Few that know me best, just shrug their shoulders and said ‘we knew you will do it!’. Since then they have always been with me. As they say – ‘for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish.. ‘until we party till the end’ ;).

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*Ewa, myself and Asia in Liverpool this year – waiting to see you in the UK soon again!

When I look back when we met (10 years), I can see how much we have changed, but we still share all of our experiences, thoughts and ideas. We travel together and dream together. Supporting ourselves is big part of our relation and we always motivate each other to reach our goals. We have changed, but somewhere inside there is still this Ewa, Asia and Klaudia from silly High School (Musical!) times and when we’re together I feel like 16 again! When something important happens in our life my first reaction will be to text them in our whatsapp group (Happy T(h)ree Friends – we are similar in terms of being crazy, but less destructive and violent 😉 ). We have our own world, our full-length movie. The main theme in this movie – commitment, trust, compromise and lots of fun!

You need to remember that in order to have such amazing Friends you need to give something from your side. I hate when people complain that they have no one to talk to or to go out with, when they actually don’t try themselves to support and take care of others. Nothing comes just like that in our lives. We need to make first step and put a lot of efforts! Do you want your Ewa and Asia in your movie? Start with yourself and show how to be a good friend – I know you are!

Supporter, listener, common sense, honesty, craziness – best qualities of friends and they have it all. I hope they see me the same – if not, please girls scream! 😉

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Good books – every year I set myself a goal to read a particular amount of books. This year it was 50. I almost didn’t make it! But in the end in Nov. I read my 50th book and actually exceeded my goal later. I choose my books carefully and depending on my mood, I can read anything from silly romantic books, through biographies, thrillers, criminals and my personal favorites… books about mafia and gangsters (all based on true story). Sometimes I imagine myself in the prohibition times in New York. The style, the people, culture, Jazz – I can see it and hear in my eyes of imagination now… and Hudson River must have had really nice taste those days! As history has it… they wanted to decrease the crime and what did they do? Allow the corruption, illegal activities and gangsters to spread their wings! I’ve been always fascinated by those stories. All so religious – as Al Capone said, he was praying for a new bicycle, but then he realized God doesn’t work that way, so he stole one and asked for forgiveness! Clever, isn’t it? 😉 And the role of Italian Mamma – that’s another story!

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*photo above – book by Martyna Wojciechowska ‘Kobieta na krancu swiata’ (Woman on the edge of the world) – recommendation for my Polish friends and a gift from my Polish friends – thank you!

Recently I have also read a book ‘The Art of Happiness’ by Dalai Lama. Normally that wouldn’t be particularly my choice of book, but the title intrigued me. I never perceived happiness as the art, as something that is controlled purely by us. This book changed my perception and made me ‘work on my happiness’ every day. In the book author says that happiness is intrinsic and comes from ourselves. We cannot gain it from others, but also we can’t get it under any circumstances. Sleepy conscience! We don’t get it from material things and money has nothing to do with it. In the world full of pessimists, people who are rushing with life, rat race – we simply forget about what makes us happy and what is important in our lives. If you feel good with yourself, with your surrounding, then you will achieve more and will be able to support others and… share, spread your happiness!

So how to be happier then or how do I understand being happy?

  • keep in touch with your Friends and Family!
    I have read that most of regrets of dying (sounds strong I know!) is lack of contact or too small contact with closest people. You don’t want that, so take your phone now and call your Friends – I bet she/he’s dying to hear about your super exciting day!
  • just move and go outside!
    Don’t sit all day in front of the tv or lying on the sofa. Just go out – to the mountains, for a trip or just to the closest park to read at the bench or observe what’s going on around. Clear your mind and don’t close yourself in your ‘four corners’. Today even I went to the gym and honestly – I hate trainings, but I made myself to do that and it’s been great! Some of my energy has been ‘offloaded’! (Shall we change our Sunday coffee to the Sunday gym?)
  • do not compare yourself with others!
    ’cause nothing compares… nothing compares to You!’
    You are who you are – and you are amazing! It’s high time to understand it.. and so what that she looks like model, you have great passions and that is way more important for people! Each of us has something special to offer. Just find it within yourself.
    I read recently that we tend to compare ‘worst’ parts of ourselves with the best ASSUMPTIONS we have about others. This is completely subjective and makes you focus on things you have no power over. You control one life – yours and just keep it this way; put your priority there!
    Get your grid together and believe in yourself – you are special (in a good way!)
  • focus on your passions!
    Do what you like to do – that doesn’t mean you have to be good at it, but as long as it makes you happy – go for it! I love cooking, reading and travelling and maybe… mafia – but I promise nothing to be worried about with me (I suppose) – I do it as much as possible and except for the first one, I can’t hurt too many people with those! 😉
  • get used to… being happy!
    In our nature there’s always this element of complaining. Because the weather is not good, we have too much work or the sun shines too bright. Ridiculous, can you see it now?!
    Weather – you can do something fun indoor – go to some nice place with friends, gym, read a book or start some interesting courses!
    Work – take it as a challenge and be ambitious! Prove yourself you can do it.
    Seriously.. too much sun. This statement is incorrect on so many levels…
    Find a positive trait in every moment and focus on it. Just let yourself to be happy. Don’t complain, don’t exaggerate. Just see things as they are and accept them – unless you can change them!
  • make yourself happy by helping others!
    Don’t be selfish! Give a hand to this Granny on the street, give some change to that homeless you see every day around the corner, bring some dog food to kennels or do some shopping for the family nearby that might not have a warm dish today. Seeing smiling faces caused by the small things you do – you can’t describe the feeling. You support others but at the same time make yourself feel better – kill two birds with one stone!
  • last but not least – you are the one responsible for your happiness!
    So don’t blame anyone/anything around for failures, but accept those and move forward! Now!
    People won’t judge you on million times you fail but on the times when you actually stood up (Jo Malone).

    Ready to be happy every day? If you need some positive energy let me know, I could share mine with the whole army! 😉

    p.s. time for summary of 2016 will come at some point, but in a nutshell I am not the one complaining how bad this year was for me. It was actually pretty amazing! New adventures, few new countries visited, new challenges at work and most importantly I have met a lot of meaningful people that I took my energy from. It doesn’t matter if I don’t see them again, but the most important are the lessons I have learnt. They remain in my memory forever.
    I can say – I am happy!

    So Thank You Everyone and Have a Good Year – I hope mine will be at least as good as 2016.

    Now time to get ready – this year for a change I am finishing calm and on my own – mulled wine, good book (‘Shantaram’ G. D. Roberts – btw gift from my ‘Happy Two Friends’) and then movie night with Scorsese. I need to relax from time to time as well (although I tend not to accept that 😉 )
    Have a good night!

*on the top photo you can see my Granny smiling. He is one of the people who made me who I am today – we miss You…

mature to travel, travel to mature

‘To travel is to live’ Hans Christian Andersen

It is not just a quote. This is the essence of my life. I have heard this for the first time from my Mum – she has it engraved on her medallion (now I have it engraved a bit more permanent). To understand its meaning you have to be mature. Emotionally, with age… To get matured you have to… travel. Vicious circle? Following this train of thought you could have said that everything we do is the vicious circle. A bit yes, but it depends on us if we are able and try to stop it. Also.. to travel you have to have funds. To earn you need to work. In the end, in order to feel a bit of satisfaction, joy of travelling you have to get tired! So… vicious circle? I call it life.

My stops are travels. Sometimes with some company, sometimes on my own. On my own though doesn’t mean alone – significant difference! Along the way I meet so many great people, that it is actually quite difficult to find a minute for myself – you almost need to ‘fight’ for it! When I finally have this moment for myself, I spend it in various ways.

I put my thoughts into respective drawers, I make plans, observe people, dream about next trip, but I also like to have fun, get crazy, and try local spirits 😉 I can sit for hours on a bench with a book or just to look at people. But there is also something that is remarkably comforting for me and makes me feel blissful – the sound of sea!

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There’s a catchphrase – ‘travels broaden the mind’. God, so true! I don’t mean here sitting by the hotel’s swimming pool, although those moments can be nice as well (not too long though). I mean spending time with locals, whoever and wherever ‘local’ is. They are amazing! Deriving the positive emotions, energy, smile and the ability to grab the moment – priceless. Getting to know new cultures, trying their food… but be careful here, stomach problems can destroy any joy 😉

I remember the single landscape, single face, gesture, word – they stuck in my head forever. They are like pictures from the movie. They pop up in different moments of our lives.

I bet all of you had it and is there anything crazier and fun than while watching tv you realize… you’ve been there?! There’s not! In those moments my mind starts to play its own movie. We are also fully responsible for the fact if our memories are pleasant or… a bit less. First rule – stay away from always unhappy, picking up holes malcontents. I can handle intrusive ones as well now. Just be assertive. Of course, sometimes it can get less … nice… but I delete those moments straightaway. Those scenes are not in my movie.

 

There are places I come back to, or want to come back in the nearest future, like Benelux (for beautiful cities!), Italy (for wonderful people!) or Spain (delicious food!). Just like my Mum, she loves Spain. Her favorite place is Alicante (the photo above is from there 🙂 ). The most beloved moment there for us is when all elderly people go to the city after 10 p.m. Very elegant, in groups or on their own, they take the chair and sit on the promenade. Those groups always mingle and their ‘squad’ always changes. There are plenty of dogs around – very often also quite… ‘age-ish’ 😉 People play chess, cards – they argue like children! Women with red lipstick, men with perfectly ironed shirts. Every time we look at them we get very emotional. Actually, may sound weird, but I get most of my energy from them! I respect elderly people a lot, although they say that this is the only thing that god didn’t do well… agreed.

Travels teach me to be open-minded, easy-going. A lot of tolerance. Those are features that you won’t learn from the book. One who only spends time at the mentioned hotel’s swimming pool won’t understand. You could see aggression and drinking at best there… Happens. Although – not that I complain – you need to get fun as well!

To underline – I am definitely not a traveler. I would say, I am, as much as I can. As much as possible. The more you have, the more you want though! But when I do go for a trip, I do it completely, fully, 100%! I don’t think about work, home, any problems. I focus what’s there and now. Try everything! Take it all from the place and get the whole energy from there to charge batteries for the time I am back. Funny enough, in this whole craziness and fast pace, I always slow down emotionally/mentally and distance myself from the normal world and go into this magical one.

Thinking about my age (just turned 26), I must say I have seen and done a bit already. I am far from my Parents, but on the good track. I don’t bite more I can chew. When I look at their photos, when they swim with dolphins, dance with Masais in the village in Kenya, standing at the Grand Canyon (and the chopper there – a must!), partying in Vegas, I am so happy for them and I believe that everything is in front of me. Some features are like DNA given by your Parents. In the end you can say those are only genes, but there must be something there. My Parents – when they work, they work hard; when they travel, then they fall into that completely; they get crazy without borders!

This ‘gene’ is stuck deeply inside of me and I will make sure to nurture it.

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***

On the photo at the top of the post there are few important things:

  • ‘Traveler’ magazines – I may keep them forever. I started subscribing them after getting my first salary in my first proper work at Fiat 4 years back. Still getting back to them and plan next trips! It also reminds me about every single bonus spent on flight tickets! 😉
  • Tag for the suitcase I got this Xmas from my Friend – you know me so well!
  • Camera bought from first savings in the UK before my trip to Morocco – loved the place!

I am still focusing on Europe though- next step Italy, I am there so often and have seen so little.

Time to catch up!

change?!

With no false modesty. I am good at what I do. That’s it. Not popular attitude among Polish people. Popular though among Americans, although some of them should not say those words out loud. That’s good though that they have such a high self-belief. Why should you kick your butt yourself – kicks from others are already enough.

But not about it… I have met new people. I like people, I like crowds, full promenades, beaches, cafes. Wild beaches in the middle of nowhere are not for me. Well ok, from time to time as well, but I like people. Looking at them, listening, observe. Forrest said, that most of people doesn’t seem dumb until they open their mouth – there might be something about it.

In England I was on my own. Not for long though! The international mixture I have met in the new company was incredible! That was exactly what I like most. I felt from the start, that I belong to it and I finally found the place, where I’d like to play a part. So it’s high time to start writing a screenplay!936690_902143943158586_604886251267094479_n

I assumed that I will try to find something positive in anyone, and… that wasn’t difficult at all. Of course time verifies all friendships, however, for the start, this attitude helped me out a lot. From the time perspective (over 2 years now) that was a good strategy. Com15725472_1359370834102559_831260120_omon truth as well, that always works out – the power of smile. Thankfully I did not need to stretch myself in this area, as I am quite happy and out-going person by nature.

 

Motivation is the word derived from the ’motive’ which means needs, desires, wants or drives within the individuals. It is the process of stimulating people to actions to accomplish the goals. The encyclopedic meaning of motivation. My motivation is my ambition. I left to prove the world and most importantly to myself… what? Well what..? Nothing! This is the travel for adventure, new experiences. Let’s also face it and not be insincere – broader possibilities. If you can do what you love, earn money that allow you to fulfill your dreams (read – travelling 😉 ) – then what else do you need?
This is my private definition of motivation.

to finish 5 small things to help change your life!

  1. don’t look back!
    You can’t focus on things you wanted to do to or the ones that you regret doing (my life motto – No Regrets!). Focus on where you are and what you’d like to achieve. Set up goals for now and make a plan how to make it come true! Don’t let your past hold you back!
  2. live the moment & step outside your comfort zone!
    If you want to do something – try it! Don’t have second thoughts, you don’t want to think in the future, what if… We tend to focus too much on the goals and how our present affects our future, but we forget that we can be happy here and know. Open yourself for new experiences. Challenge yourself every day with new sensations! Keep the momentum!
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  3. smile, smile and… smile!
    Once I was told (no idea if that’s true!) that in States students are taught to wake up in the morning and smile for 15 sec to the mirror. They say that it makes their day more positive but also they are getting used to smile to others during the day. I started doing that and … it works! Even while having the worst day ever (yes.. we always say that), I find someone to smile to or something to laugh at – nothing gives you more energy than a happy face looking at you, so share your energy with others!
  4. love yourself
    What a cliché! however, it works – the better you feel with yourself, the more you accept yourself, the happier you are. You can’t change unless you feel confident about it and yourself. Find strength and accept yourself the way you are. We only have one life – don’t waste it for worrying about 2kgs more or too big nose 😉
  5. find a mentor
    My mentor is my Mum – always strong, confident but at the same 13419140_1090872174311403_6800033911874585715_ntime always full of crazy ideas. She knows how to work hard but also how to party hard! It’s important to have a person to look up to and to get the meaningful lessons from them – I am lucky to find them in my closest surroundings, but will write about it in more details in the future.

    change?! – ready, steady… go!

 

controlled panic…

‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…’, as said by Lao Tzu. Easy? Sometimes you have to say something out loud to understand it. And… one day i said this sentence out loud. Almost screamed. Well ok, let’s not exaggerate, but loud enough to let its meaning get a foothold in my head.
That everything was not right, work frustrated, need of change? None of those things! I left, because I wanted. No more and no less. I have always felt that I need to do something, to run somewhere and to make sure nothing passed me by in life. Well, maybe not like a moth to the hot bulb, although sometimes you need to get burnt 😉 Get burnt – don’t confuse with burn!
The need to fully live my life I gained from my Parents. I didn’t even need to look for arguments to convince them to my move. I guess they were even happy – that’s always a free accommodation in some place in the world 😉 As luck would have it, it was surroundings of the Robin Hood’s House, Nottingham.
Following Forrest Gump – ‘you just make your bed real neat and remember to stand up straight and always answer ‘Yes, Sir’. – well I answered that to the challenge.
Everything happened so fast that I don’t even know myself when I was standing with a suitcase in my hand at the airport in the UK. I could have written now: I closed my eyes, the typical smell of dampness hit my nostrils… No way! I was standing and counting to ten in order not to start to panic and cry like a lost kid in the department store. However, I had to get a grip quickly.
New people, new places – everything that is new is exciting. Every move outside house was like a big adventure. Do I exaggerate? One whose life is within five cross-streets will never understand. Mine, I hope, will be happening on at least three continents 😉
So this is how I found myself in the UK…