Sinusoid on my way up

It was supposed to be me-weekend, just for me, myself and I.

After at least two weeks of terrible homesickness, many soothing conversations, on Thursday night I finally managed to fall in love with India again. That is all thanks to the new Indian people I met, who showed me that the modern generation is far from what I used to call ‘India, for f**k’s sake’. I again believed that I am here for some purpose and I should pursue what I decided to. And I even read my texts aloud and loved it.

The next day was probably one of most intensively terrible days of my life and I still am not sure how to deal with it. I did not get crazy yet only thanks to IAESTE guys holding my hands and the friends around telling me that I am Zuzanna Lisowska and if I get myself into even the biggest shit, I will get out of it by myself and even bring a bag of gold.

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(c) Bence Fejes

I was very keen on spending this weekend in a yoga ashram near Udupi, doing yoga and meditation, exploring hinduism. I was supposed to get there on Friday evening, unfortunately I was too exhausted to move out of the safe zone of Manipal, therefore I reached Yogagurukula on Saturday’s midday, welcomed by the guru Vijaya who immediately stole my heart (on a spiritual way! He is a happy husband and a fresh father to a little boy, future yogin).

Although it was a holiday, so we did not do any yoga, I probably had the greatest afternoon of my stay in India. After delicious lunch, eaten together with other white students from Australia, Germany, Denmark, Finland and Switzerland, I took a rest in a room which could be mine (hopefully I find time to get there again for a couple of days). Later on Nina, an Australian yoga teacher in Spain, took me for a long walk through the jungle and a nearby village, where we found more temples than in any other place (there is just one in Manipal itself!). This woman is like a Swiss knife! Yoga, massage, Indian dance, chanting, surviving among Australian snakes… Nothing she cannot teach you! We talked a lot, I shared many of my stories, beliefs and anxieties with her, and she told me that I should definitely pursue with writing a blog, write a book about what is in my head, and maybe try creative writing (of which I am thinking for some time already).

After the walk I joined the girls for chanting session, borrowed some books from guru’s library, talked to another yoga teacher starting his school in Manipal and then finally had a conversation with a guru. Listening to my story he gave me so many clues on how to start with hinduism, what to read, how to explore. And he made ma calm, peaceful and sure about my decision. He also understood my problem with yoga and meditation – I cannot stop over-thinking, when I am supposed to focus there are herds of thoughts galloping through my brain. Vijaya said that it is completely natural and I should start by changing my lifestyle, as a healthy soul needs a healthy body. Good nutrition, good sleep, good people result in peaceful and good thoughts. And that’s the beginning for me.

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(c) Bence Fejes

Afterwards we had a dinner with girls and went to the nearby temple, where our guru was about to conduct a puja (hindu counterpart of a christian mess). I really enjoyed this spiritual experience, although there are still so many things I do not understand! Saying good-bye near the temple I infinitely thanked to all the people I met and promised to be back, sooner or later. If I – or any of my friends – need an escape from life, a safe spot to settle down and think, I would definitely recommend going there, to a tower-like building with a yoga room on the ground floor and students’ rooms on the upper ones. I guess it is just my lucky sense for people – I met my yoga teacher people by accident, she told me about this place by accident, and somehow it ended up to be such an enriching experience!

This Saturday was also a day of strong independent women too. Aussie was just a beginning to that.

I really admired the Swiss girl I met there. She is just one year older than me, staying in Yogagurukula already for 2 years, with some holidays at home, planning to stay there for a couple more years. She did not want to go to the university yet, she tried the kindergarten teaching and figured out that for now the best option for her will be just to pursue with yoga and see what is there later on waiting for her. And she does. And I so f**king admire this courage to do what she feels, not what is expected from her! And the strength to believe that what she feels is right.

I also met a Danish woman living with her husband in India for five years already! I cannot imagine it, but she is in love with her lifestyle. She is all what her husband is not – peacefully doing yoga, admiring the sun raising and setting, cooking good, reading… Her husband works as an engineer (in the field similar to mine) 7 days a week and his only activities are morning jog, work and sleeping. And they still get along, and in their 50ies (in around 10 years) are planning to throw it all away and go traveling. I love them for this, especially that they share my idea about life: I do not need to have the best phone, car and apartment, I just want to be able to travel for 2 weeks every 3 months and I will be a happy human being!

I am so grateful for all that happened to me! And no matter what the next couple of days will bring me – maybe I will have to run out of the country and go homeless through Asia for the next month – I know I will be fully able to decide what I need.

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(c) Bence Fejes

Humans of Manipal vol.3

I kinda like my own Humans of New York series… It just helps me appreciate even more the people surrounding me, and learn how to write breath-taking descriptions (which I could never do in high school and always wrote pros’n’cons thesis on the exams).

Today the person without who I would be on my plane back long time ago (and I don’t know what I will do with myself when he leaves back for Scotland).

Jackie, Alan, Scott or however anyone happen to call him – is one of the greatest male friends and brothers I’ve met in my life, and I really hope to stay in touch with him. Not many people just read on my face that there is something going on and immediately take me for a european (price and quality-wise) coffee to talk about it. And not many men can really listen and understand emotional side of a person. He is affable and immeasurably patient.

I still recall meeting him for a first time on our group lunch in a mexican restaurant. My third sentence pronounced to him was ‘Do you wanna go to Goa with us this weekend?’, however our first travel together happened only in the end of July, when we went to New Delhi – Agra – Jaipur, and of course we had heaps of fun.

Alan – although being more Chinese than any noodles – is a native Scottish-English speaker and you seriously have to get used to his accent to be able to understand anything. It is pretty comfy, though. If you don’t wanna answer the question you can always pretend you didn’t understand it. He is the person for who I am just using TheSaurus to use more fancy vocabulary and asking him about any new word or pronunciation. Just a personal challenge for myself and my perfection.

We are both quite similar – maybe that is why we understand each other but could never survive together for too long? – and similarly damaged by so-called first world problems. Alan has too much – brilliant girlfriend, enjoyable work in the job field of his dreams, supportive parents, almost a degree from prestigious university – and he still thinks that some part of his inner SELF is missing, although he does not really know or is able to explain what that is. I – on the other hand – am overjoyed, spoiled (we are both the only children too), appealing and charismatic, and I still strive for perfection. And struggle with overambitious plans and anxiety. And constant feeling that something will go wrong and I will not achieve my goals. Welcome to our heads, admire our logic…

Another human of Manipal is actually a group of humans of Lodz. I’ve been having a couple of rough days recently and needed some support, didn’t want to worry my closest though (YES, I’m better now!).

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That’s how I felt for the last couple of days.               (c) Bence Fejes

I’ve never heard so many positive things and thoughts of support from people who are physically that far away. And I have also never seen worried about me that much more than my mother. Or got so much support from the teacher on whose lessons I was literally sleeping every week.

Thanks to people like friends of my parents, my ex-teachers, flat mates, my not-that-close family and friends, I survived this crisis and after reading and hearing many positive words – can move on. And I really needed it, cause India is overwhelming sometimes.

What do people think about India?

I am in India for 45 days already, 38 are left until I fly back. What do people really think about India?

I talked to many people before coming here, like really. I was prepared. I heard a lot of good but also huge amount of bad thinks. Many many many different things, and I just guess that it is a definition of India – mix of everything. All you can imagine, you will find it in India.

I remember 2011 in New Delhi, there is even a Netflix documentary about it. Five or six guys renting a bus, driving through the city, kidnapping a couple, robbing them, beating the guy, massive raping the girl, destroying her internal organs with the rod, throwing the bodies near the highway. Men raping kids. Women sleeping on the street. Children borrowed from the orphanages, injured, to beg for more money. Homeless, the poor. Drugs, prostitution. Assaults, human rights violation. It all really happens here.

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(c) Bence Fejes

On the other hand – rich temples, full of gold, fat maharaja, fancy hotels, palaces, cars, women dressed like princesses. Beauty of the nature, various animals, gorgeous huge butterflies. Spiritual value of all the world’s religions, gods, cows, symbols, rituals, singing, smells and tastes. I cannot find myself in all this masala-like mixture!

I talked to my mother’s friend, a photographer who traveled half of the planet. She said that India was a lot, but nothing you can’t stand. That not much will surprise me afterwards. That I will be more resistant to many things. And she told me to be very careful.

I sent her an e-mail asking for support a couple of days before, and she told me many clever and deep things again. India is so different culturally that it is both shocking and tempting for us, Europeans. She told me to get some distance, do not take all I see directly to my heart, cause I will go crazy. I cannot save the world alone. Especially if I am not in my full strength. Together with all the inconvenience, people change here: I get richer in experiences and network, self-develop, broaden my horizons and appreciate what I have back in Europe and Poland.

My ex-headteacher, on the other hand, told me that I will enjoy more being with the wild but organized group than on luxurious holidays. Seems logical.

Few days ago the three of my friends han a transportation accident. They were in auto-rikshaw (or tuk tuk) and the car hit them. They were roofing. Tunisian girl in the middle was fine, but the little Thai girl (half of me in all the measures) got smashed on the bottom of the vehicle, while my Polish friend got very scratched and half of her body is purple, as the car hit directly on her. The ambulance journey looked like psychiatric hospital transport, the hospital’s service was worse than they would do alone with the european products. I hope they at least can get some money from the insurance.

It’s dirty, smelly and loud. People look, approach for a selfie, touch me. At first I wanted to feel like I’m a local (I am for 3 months). I am always super nice, smiling, with my heart in my hands. But you just cannot, they still treat you like an alien. So I changed into a mean bitch, white european Princess, I treat them with a lot of distance, sometimes rude. I don’t know if it is a good way to survive but the only one for now I figured out.

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(c) Bence Fejes

Yesterday I talked to many of my friends and my family. I needed this european breeze and was glad that it was a holiday both here and in Europe, cause I finally had a chance to catch up with people, support and be supported.

If I was to take this decision/chance again – I would still do it. But I would come to India for shorter time, maybe 1.5-2 months. And if someone asks about my opinion, I will tell them to triple-think it and hit their head before, to know if they know what are they going to do and if they are resistant enough. Seriously.

The best thing happening to me here are the people I meet here. And I am not alone, no matter from where we come – Poland, Thailand, Scotland, Tunisia, Oman – we all feel the same way, and the same bad sometimes.

Yes, I am fine. 38 more days.

 

Namaste Manipal

Last weekend was a lot of fun. I am so tired and happy!

IAESTE LC Manipal together with AIESEC and Manipal University organized an International Week for all of us, exchange students.

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Honestly, I partied 4 days in a row and I do not think it is the end. On Thursday one of the interns, a Turkish guy (they are always so fun!), organized a house party for us in his student accommodation. Well, I did not work on Friday. I did not even move until 5PM.

On Friday evening we had Sanscriti – opening dinner joined with a little party and competitions. We wrapped saree as fast as we could, we set the ranguli patterns (shaping the colorful powder on the floor) and danced a lot – all wearing a saree! Afterwards we went for dances to our favorite Country Inn bar.

 

Next day was pretty tiresome too! We started at 11AM with Savage Hunt – city game all over Manipal. I got so sunburnt, but had a lot of fun completing all the challenges and trying to be as fast as we could. Not to mention a group picture with the police officers…

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In the evening we had Bollywood Night Party, which was by far the best party I had in Manipal! Open bar, great music and all the people I love are the definition of a perfect party. When it finished I ended up in a bar in which I was most probably the first woman in 20 years (accompanied by my people, luckily), then in a car filled with 10 people (I was driven by the guy I just met, laying down under the front window), then in our lovely Country Inn again, as we refused to pay 100 rupees for entrance to Cocks and Mocks. The most funny part of the evening was when we ended up in a house party of some rich Indian kids, totally drunk and lost. Fortunately most of my friends were there (all of us went crazy) and I basically talked all the evening with my Scottish brother Alan.

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Sunday was most probably the most important day of the weekend. There was a huge ceremony with a lot of audience, consisting of various events and performances. After yoga session, henna tattoos, stalls of different countries (Poland was a disaster), dancing and singing talent show, we finally showed off with what we practiced for the whole week. First – Fashion Show. Each couple represented on the catwalk different state of India. I was a Punjabi princess and our show was such a success! Even my yoga teacher came to watch how well we do. Afterwards we performed our dance, looking like a jumping group of monkeys, but everyone was super excited. I loved our formation and choreography, music and the costumes, it was all just so perfect!

 

Afterwards we headed for dinner, shower, and after some beers in Green Apple, ended up in Country Inn and dancing like crazy again. Afterparty in the students accommodation literally killed me and if it hadn’t been for Philipp from Austria (my big brother, he will teach me self-defense!), I wouldn’t make it home.

My Monday at work was horrible. My supervisor wanted to introduce new level of the project but I told him that there is no way we are doing anything serious today and I just wanna come back to sleep. I prepared my methyl blue solution and spend the rest of the day wandering around.

Of course I over-slept for yoga (Pradeepa even came to see my show on Sunday!), so I am planning to go in the evening, before the International Cuisine event, and for now I just need to sleeeeeeep.

Where is my time?

I suffer from the chronic lack of time. At first I thought it happens just back in Poland – where I have university, extensive social life, some family life, every day duties, extra courses… I was studying in Sweden for one semester and I also had university + social life + traveling + house keeping… So it seemed normal too.

Here in India I am just for 12 weeks, my social group is limited to less than 100 people, I have pretty flexible working hours and a lot of freedom. Why I don’t have time again?

I guess it is just my personality, the fear of missing out (Millenials again), curiosity, energy. I am trying to live my life in 300% and do not want to skip any moment or opportunity.

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(c) Bence Fejes

That is why – apart from working – I start every day with yoga at 7AM, go to each lunch and dinner with other interns or coworkers, attend every party until the late night, and as always – volunteer.

I just love volunteering. I wish I could do it in more noble way, but I haven’t found a proper opportunity yet. Last year at my previous work I volunteered to organize a company barbecue… I kept doing that until the end of the summer, every second week on average. I am just a master when it comes to planning and organization. If I wasn’t an engineer to be, I am sure I would become an event planner.

It’s Saturday 10AM for me, I should be sleeping, as I partied yesterday second day in a row. Why am I up? Cause we just had our dancing rehearsal. Yes, I volunteer here too. This weekend – together with IAESTE and other interns – we celebrate Namaste Manipal, International week full of activities for all of us. And most of us volunteered to perform an Indian dance, as well as walk on a catwalk wearing clothes from different regions of India. It’s gonna be so much fun!

Apart from that we also had a dinner with saree wraping competition, ranguli powder painting, soon I am going out for the campus hare and hounds, in the evening we all party at Bollywood night. And yesterday I survived the whole party and dancing wearing a saree. And I honestly do not know how Indian women do it in their every day life!

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(c) Bence Fejes

Coming back to the point – I do not have time for anything. I should sleep more, read more, take a rest, catch up with my series. But I just cannot miss any second of my stay in India! Fear of missing out joined with hyper-productivity.

Productivity is a very trendy word. I am not a fan of it. Probably you can read more constructive things about it if you read THE POST of my uni friend – Paulina Paullajna Wyrwas.

I am productive, effective, organized and active. And I could write a book about it (which by the way I promised to so many people recently… Pradeepa – my yoga guru, Alan, Pablo…), but why? Each of us has their own – more or less succesful – way to manage their time. And I think that it does not matter if you hand in an assignment 3 days or 5 minutes before the deadline, as long as it is done. I do it both ways, depending on my current situation, and never suffered any problems because of it.

I am quite happy about my productivity and little-time-I-have management. I am happy with what I do and achieve, I do not fall behind with studies or work, I am a good friend, fair flatmate and not-bad daughter. I do what satisfies me and still have some room for mistakes. Yes, time is mine.

India and what next?

I am here, in India, for already 40 out of 86 days and I cannot imagine being anywhere else this summer. It is exactly what I needed in this time of my life, probably the last student holidays for some time!

But in October I need to come back to grey reality of Poland and studies and I have to survive. Although I am fully conscious that this time has to come and I do settle my commitments back at home (Bachelor thesis, university, another internship, place to live, travels) I am still not prepared for that – I cannot imagine being back in my origin for the first time in almost a year. And I need to talk it through with my friends, people back at home and my current friends here in India. And I am so glad I have someone to talk it through. Someone who asks if I am fine (– Everything alright? You were quiet for last couple of days!), promises to help and makes me laugh every day.

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(c) Bence Fejes

First of all – I need to move out. Since my Mom moved out, our relationship became much better. We meet around twice a week and we finally have this quality time. Far from domestic quarells about washing dishes, we are finally able to talk like a woman with a woman and it is GREAT, I wish that to everyone. I am currently living with my Dad and Grandma and it hovers between mediocre and bad. But since I am abroad, I really have better relationship with my Dad too! We don’t talk much at home, but here I have an urge to call him and tell him about something what happened almost every day! Not to mention all the photos and little reports I send him on WhatsApp.

I thought that my apartment is settled – I was supposed to move in with a girl from my university, ex-classmate of my best friends. Unfortunately the flat belongs to her brother, and his friend is moving in soon, so I got abandoned.

Currently I am begging, crying and threatening my best male friend (male version of me and the best Arabic brother ever) to let me move in with him and his mate. Even though I would be sleeping on a couch with a hamster around (I’m allergic!), it would be great to live with them. And it’s much closer to the university and the city centre. And they need some female hand an accent in this apartment! Living with Philippe would also mean…

Living closer to yoga! No, he is not a guru, but his apartment is very close to Stacja Joga office, where I used to do yoga last autumn (and really liked it).

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(c) Bence Fejes

That is my main goal – after coming back from India not to stop things which make me feel good. Do not eat after sunset, keep doing yoga. I really feel the difference when I start the day with yoga session at 7AM, short breathing exercises, fresh non-masala breakfast and a coffee. And I know that physical excercises will keep my body and soul in a good shape, reduce my weight and not let depression come back.

German – my educational priority almost as high as getting a diploma. I wanna move to Germany in one year time and I must be ready. Although I hope on finding a job in English, as I did last year, I am fully conscious that I need fluency in their language to develop my career.

Little thing – I am dreaming of developing some talent which I can show on public. I mean – writing is being shown to public, but I cannot perform with it in any talent shows. I am really dreaming of coming back to music! Becoming a DJ seems too complicated, but I used to play piano when I was 7 to 12, and then guitar 12 to 16. And now I am dreaming of playing drums! Just because. Just because it looks cool! And I want to be cool like Adam Marszałkowski (great drummer of Polish band Coma), Rob Bourdon or Dave Grohl.

And last but not least – I wanna keep writing. It will not be Suzana INDIANA anymore, but I will of course keep the name. I still have many travels to happen and many thoughts to share. And I promised my doctor not to stop writing to keep my good state and monitor my emotions. Amen.

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Wishes to the gold fish

Sometimes I am a dreamer, everyone is. And I am a little girl with the big big dreams.

Some women dream just about starting a family, becoming a mom, having a house with a garden and a dog… Fortunately my Mother raised me differently and I already know that having a child is not what would make me a real woman and the only things I should care about are my own dreams, goals and well-being, no matter how much it costs. Same thing with being married or in relationship. It would be amazing to be in a happy one but if not – it’s not the end of the world and I really can imagine being single. Well, I am a single. Although it would be awesome to have someone by my side, someone forever and for 100%, I just do not have time for it. I travel, I study, I realize myself and do a lot of planning FOR MYSELF. Maybe in a year or two, when my life becomes more settled… And my Mom doesn’t feel like becoming a Grandma anyway 😀

By the way, it surprises me so much that some of my friends – intelligent and beautiful, ambitious engineering students, dream mostly about moving in and starting families with their long-term, met in young age boyfriends! They want to work 9 to 5, cook dinners, watch tv, babysit while the husbands watch football and drink beer. This picture terrifies me! Please, think it over, girls!

When I was younger, every day before falling asleep I was picturing all the good things which could happen to me and what I was dreaming to have or achieve. Now – to my own harm – I rather tend just to worry about what bad could happen and how I would handle that right here right now. Sometimes it sucks, sometimes is helps, because I am already mentally prepared for so many situations! But maybe you can’t really prepare for everything just in theory? Why women tend to over-think while men tend to over-react? I know I am still full of fears and anxieties, but I try to talk about it and sooth it. And I am lucky to be surrounded with some people who really can listen and understand.

Anyway, I still DO have the dreams. So many! From silly to really serious ones.

I wish someone would paint me one day. No, not this creepy cartoons or caricatures which you can find in summer towns in Polish seaside (and pretty much anywhere else). I dream of like Ruben’s style painting, you know? I just love his art and this type of normal, curved women.

Peter Paul Rubens ‘Woman with a mirror’

It is obvious, but I also dream about traveling the word. I have already showed it on Facebook, but that is what I’ve found recently in a fortune cookie in a Thai restaurant in Sweden:

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And I have already been to 33 countries (was able to count that just because of Couch Surfing) and lived in 5 of them! I have a world map tattooed on my ribs and friends coming from major part of the world?!

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Created with http://www.amcharts.com – big pity that it does not calculate the %

I do not know what I want, but I know what I do not want. I don’t want routine, boredom, monotonous life. I don’t need to have the best car, fanciest apartment, jewellery and designer clothes. I just want to travel for 2-weeks holiday every 3 months (hopefully such job exists). And I do not want to spend vacation in Polish seaside, I want to be able to afford Singapore, Japan, Brasil… That is why I am moving to Germany, their salaries will let me do it. I am not moving there for better life, but for the life I deserve, as an ambitious woman, engineer, traveler.

And I simply just want to be happy. Is that a lot?