Let’s talk about…

You need 20 minutes to cook rice. 1 hour and 40 minutes to reach Warsaw from Łódź by train. 2 minutes to brush your teeth in the morning. At least 40 minutes to watch an episode of a series.

Why am I writing this? Because all those activities have strictly determined time which you need to succeed. If you cook rice for 1 hour and 40 minutes, you will rather burn it and if you leave the train to Warsaw after 20 minutes, you will end up in Koluszki. But there are different activities and different activities. And how much time do you need to talk?

(c) Bence Fejes

I rarely shut up. Yes, I talk a lot. Really A LOT. There are not many people I feel comfortable with in silence, so I also often keep speaking just to fill the gap in a conversation. There are a few people who talk much more than me, but in 90% of cases – I am the soul of the conversation.

Can I stay silent? Yes, also. When I don’t know what to say, I would rather say nothing than say anything stupid, inconsiderate or unreasonable. ‘If you don’t know how to act, act decent‘ (‘Jeśli nie wiesz jak się zachować, zachowaj się przyzwoicie‘) – that’s what I derived from home, and I stick to that.

There are no guidelines how much we should talk. Some people are happy with 1 hour a day, some get bored after 10 minutes, others will not have enough after 15 hours.

There are some norms. I’ve noticed that I do not discuss even the most serious topics with my male friends for longer than 20 minutes straight, while I can talk about it to girls for hours. Guys are handy when it comes to finding a quick, obvious and usually the best solution, while girls – when you just need to analyze every single small detail, deal with something in your head. Of course it is generalizing, another gender stereotype, but this comes from my experience.

(c) Bence Fejes

I don’t think we talk enough nowadays. There is too much of WhatsApp, Messenger, Viver, SMS and Snapchat every day. And yes, I excessively do it too.. Partially because I have friends in all the countries and all the time-zones now, but also because it’s just quick and comfortable… I hate it, but I will rather chat instead of going out on a rainy day, if the matter to be discussed is not very serious. But I try to limit the usage of my phone to absolutely neceserry, strategic and logistic conversations: where and when we meet, what is the homework for tomorrow, how much money do I owe you, when is the exam. I guess that my two longest relationships fall apart partially because of fixing too many things chatting instead of talking (but that’s just searching for the pattern) – my needs of human-human interaction were not satisfied.

Since some time I am learning how to listen. I can point out an exact moment when I realized that I suck at it. It was June this year, I just came back from Erasmus in Sweden, was super-charged (or overloaded) with positive energy, needed to constantly talk and shine with how great I feel. I went to Rome for holidays, and there – surrounded with charizmatic and energetic, but level-headed Italians I’ve heard things like ‘– For Christ sake, why are you planning so much? Every single minute in nearest week! Can you just calm down? Listen to the sea and wind? Let it go? Flow? Say just thing which can change the world? It’s all complicated enough, why to overanalyze it?‘. And then I realized that it’s true. I needed too much of control.

(c) Bence Fejes

Since June, while talking, I often keep the track of how much I’m speaking, if there are enough questions per statements in what I’m saying, if I let another person talk, if I allow breaks to catch the breath, if I don’t jump from topic to topic. I guess I increased my sensivitity, but hopefully – remained authentic.

There are no guide books ‘how to talk’ and maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think I derived enough of it from home. Conversations are about empathy, respect, flexibility and sensivity. I guess I just learnt it in my adult life, when I grew up to some level of maturity and responsibility for myself and others. If you have guideliness how to raise my future-possibly-existing children in a way that they can start having levelled, healthy, productive conversations earlier than me, let me know.

What to LIKE about autumn

It’s 5pm. Although it’s far too early to sleep, I am lying in bed under 3 blankets, with tea which Dad generously made me, sticking the nasal spray and the pack of tissues to my hand. Yes, I caught a cold again, like the third time this season (the older I get, the worse my immunity is, honestly). Not that I got a shot for influenza barely 2 weeks before… Well, life is life.

But instead of complaining about how much I hate autumn (yes, I do), I wanted to write what do I LIKE about it. Let’s try to be positive, it’s sh**ty enough outside to make it even worse with our grey and bitter faces.

(c) Bence Fejes – Mumbai is not as cold as autumn, but surely as wet!
  • Pumpkin spice latte – there is no better flavored coffee than that. Although I am a fan of americano or flat white (depending on the time of the day), pumpkin spice is the best when it’s rainy outside and you really admire yourself that you even got out of the house.
  • The trees are pretty – or at least they were a month ago. Every day walking to and from the public transport which takes me to the city centre, I pass Sowińskiego street, which is full of lindens growing along. It looks gorgeous in every season (from fluffy snow to fresh green buds), but it’s all so yellow there in October!
  • Wooly clothes – I personally own much more pieces of clothing I can wear October to March than April to September. All the huge blanket-like scarfs, decent heavy shoes, fluffy sweaters with funny patterns… It all looks as if everyone was a pillow you can hug!
  • Leafs to kick – I just love it. Kicking the leafs can release any kind of emotions – from anger to euphoria. Unless you kick the dog’s surprise… Than it results in anger.
  • Wine – I don’t know what happened to me recently, but I don’t remember the last time I drank a beer. It’s all about wine now! And when you offer me mulled wine with orange, I am all yours. With all the Christmas markets I recently attend, I guess I should get a backpack with thermos and straw to plug it directly to my mouth. I love mulled wine.
  • Netflix – during the summer it feels pathetic to spend time in front of your laptop and ANOTHER series or a movie. In autumn? I do not feel like social outcast staying at home.
  • Last but not least: one extra hour of your life – yes, I know we lose it back in the spring, but for the time being – I love the feeling of getting one more hour to do stuff. I am so busy that my day should last at least 30 hours and I still would fill it up, but this one hour is precious.

From the top of my head

  • Great friendship is when you let your mate soak his biscuit in your tea. But the modern trust is when you share with each other the passocodes to your phones. Appreciation is expressed with ‘likes’ or even ‘reactions’ on Facebook. There are algorithms and TV shows to find you a perfect partner or even a father for your baby. Welcome to the 21st century.
  • Together with December many Xmass gifts ideas pop up on the internet. I am the faithfull fan of jumpers. Many of my uni mates wore Christmas sweaters on the 6th of December – lots of snowmans, raindeers and Santas around! My personal favorite is the jumper dedicated for two people – double space for the body, sleeves as usual (well, you lose the utility of one hand then, unless you want to scratch your friends back underneath). I also loved the one with a pocket dedicated for the bottle of wine. Really my type of thing. Or the wineglass you screw directly into the bottle? Not bad, not bad. I am easy to bestow this year.
  • I’m gonna spend this Christmas with Eiffel tower and I am really happy about it. I’ve never been to Paris, I need some time alone. I tend to overthink even when I am not alone, but I feel like some days just with myself will make some stuff more clear for me. Lots to think about. I’ve realized my life and mind are not as clear as I thought.
    I want croissants, fromage and crepes. I get pierogi and barszcz all year long (yes, it’s simplification of Christmas, but you know I am not a family person).
    Additionaly, I’m surprised myself how fast my life plan change. Two days of exchanging e-mails and I am not sure anymore where I will end up in two-three months. But the plan is great and I will publish it as soon as it is settled. It’s all about traveling, of course.
  • There are many weird things online. And when you are at the point when you think that not much can surprise you anymore, you come across a bomb. Just watch this video.

  • Sometimes you know people for years and you realize you haven’t really know them. This weekend I had a pleasure to say ‘– Wow! When the hell did you become so smart and mature?‘ and I really ment it. Great surprises which make me double think about people I have around. But the best thing you can here from me is ‘– You are a very interesting person‘. It happens sometimes. But well, I still claim that it is super easy to criticize and pour lots of sh*t on each other, while it’s rare to say or hear something really nice. That is why I break this convention.
  • On Monday 11th of December I’ve written the last exam at this university. I didn’t realized it is totally THE LAST ONE until someone made that point when we were waiting for the teacher in the hall. And this information really changed my mindset. Jesus, I am almost graduated! After all those years in school I will finally have a diploma, formal higher education and a professional title with my surname! I’m not sure yet how these three letters will change my life, but surely I will add them to the automatically added signature in my e-mails 😀
  • I encountered the theory that electronic devices work just because of the ghosts or elfs placed inside of them. If it wasn’t like that, they would not be that intelligent and would not hold magical powers, such as instant information exchange irrespectively of the distance between the aparatus. Interesting.
  • thoughts and prayers policy and change
(c) Bence Fejes

To live on your own terms vol.1

A friend of mine sent me recently an article which popped up somewhere on her Facebook wall and which corresponded to what we recently talked about – this is what we do: bombard each other with everything from anatomy handbooks to funny cats.

50 ways to live on your terms by a PhD candidate in Motivation Psychology. ‘Just 50?’ I thought. I guess I am doing pretty fine and since quite long time do not really let anyone rule me. Next I’ve seen the first point: ‘Stop depending on caffeine’ and I immediately thought that I will close the website soon and keep scrolling the pictures of my friends’ breakfasts. I CANNOT live without caffeine. And it is stated in my own terms :D. But I kept reading and it started making more and more sense.

(c) Bence Fejes

Read 1 book per week, write a journal for 5 minutes per day. As simple as that. Not that I do it – number of books I read depends on the time I spend commuting each week (and if there are places to sit in a tram and if my backpack is not too heavy to carry an additional book…), but I notice the difference. I like having some anecdotes in my sleeve! It’s always great to impress someone with your knowledge – like last week when I told my friend where the HeLa cell line with which she is working on her thesis experiment comes from.

When it comes to writing – I don’t do it every day either, but I think about it more than 5 minutes per day. Writing process means usually an hour with a keyboard once in a couple of days. But I have so many ideas every they that I often catch myself building sentences in my head.

Marry the person you love. I would rather say – marry someone who is not only love, but also the best friend for you. If you plan to spend the whole life with someone, you must be absolutely sure you will never stop to at least like each other. I wouldn’t marry a person I have been with for less than 5 years. I wouldn’t marry a person with totally different ideology, personality and views for life. A couch potato. Disco polo fan. Isn’t it at least a bit as important as love? But what do I know, my longest relationship lasted a year and I rather see myself getting a Noble prize than getting married…

Make a bucket list and actively knock items off. THIS IS SOMETHING I CAN TRULY RECOMMEND. I have a life-long bucket list, I had bucket-lists for my 3 months in India, for last 29 days in Sweden, for the next week (well, that’s more of to-do list). And maybe I am just a psycho obsessed with good organization (alles musst in Ordnung sein!), but it really keeps me motivated and fulfilled.

(c) Bence Fejes

Fast from the internet 24 hours once per week. That seems like a challenge for me, maybe I am gonna try it in some time – for now I’m far too addicted. It is really much harder to withdraw today, since we all have internet at home, school, office, tram, smart phone. But I know the feeling of relief! I still cannot make my mobile data work in roaming (any Play or iPhone users with the same problem?) so when I go abroad, connect to Wi-Fi just once or twice a day and I am SO HAPPY and free. We are seriously making ourselves crazy with the amount of information we process every day. And yes, world breaking news, uni group chat, new music releases and a professional e-mail are important to follow, but we REALLY can live without the cute pandas, videos of a pizza with a burger inside, your far friend’s grandma’s sister birthday party and next collection of galaxy yoga pants. Ok, withdraw. Give me my pandas back.

Say ‘No’ to people, obligations, requests and opportunities you’re not interested in from now on. I am so proud of myself that I’ve learnt it! I do not talk with people who make my upset, discouraged or anxious anymore. Being a poor student just about to graduate, I have recently rejected a good job offer just because it is not consistent with my life plans (I am not staying in Poland no matter what). I don’t force myself to go to the catholic church just because it befits according to family obligations (do you know how many kilometers I’ve done pushing the strollers with my little cousins around the church during all the first communions happening in my family? :D). I am not nice to anyone who treats me bad, even if I shouldn’t. If I have a choice to sleep properly or prepare something for school last-minute, I will take care of myself and go to sleep. School can wait and the world will not end. As it goes for many other things.

More is yet to come.

And what do you find crucial to your well-being?

Destination (un)known

I’ve just came back from the greatest weekend I could have at the moment. Using the power of Ryanair (20 euros round trip!) I’ve ran away from every-day life and jumped for 48 hours to my beloved Karlsruhe, where I’ve done an internship last summer and where my heart stayed.
Ever since I made the plan for my ‘adult life’ after graduation, I connect everything to Germany. I can’t imagine living anywhere else and if everything goes as planned – I will be FINALLY moving there in September 2018. My former coworker asked me, when I’ve visited the old office: You’ve seen half of the world and out of all the amazing places you are so much in love with Germany to live here?! Why?!. There are a couple of reasons.
Germany is like Poland but much better. Well, maybe it’s offensive to Germany to even try to compare it to Poland but that’s a different topic (not a patriot at all!). What I mean is that there are no significant major culture differences – we share history, people are kinda similar, the food is familiar (still traumatized after India). I’m aware that getting deeper into the society will cost me some effort – the Germans already have their roots there: family, childhood friends etc., and I will be this new one, but with my social skills it does not worry me. I will probably end up with other expats anyway.
The quality of life. Maybe I can earn good money in Poland as an engineer… good money to go for holidays to Spain. And there is nothing wrong with Spain, but I want to be able to go to Thailand! And generally keep traveling like crazy. That’s what I want to have money for, not a fancy car or clothes.
I know they pay huge taxes in Germany, but I don’t mind it since I can drive perfect highways, have cycling paths everywhere, and go to the doctor with no problem. Being legally insured via public fund in Poland, I still often need to pay for private appointments not to wait two years to see a specialist.
What is more, in Germany you choose if you want to pay taxes for church or not, depending if you use its ‘services’. In Polandia they will rather make you pay even more if you dare not to show up in a church on Sunday.
Germany is the world center for Biomedical Engineering – the domain I chose to develop in. I know how fast paced it is, I know that sooner or later it will be vast everywhere too… but I don’t wanna wait for it, I want to build my career somewhere where I already have possibilities, not where I will have to build it up from scratch. For this purpose I could go to the US, too, but it doesn’t seem favorable right now with Mr Donald. I also cannot imagine being that far from where my parents are. Being in Germany I can be back in Lodz in a couple of hours if they need me. It wouldn’t be that fast and cheap from America.
I haven’t been as sad as I am today since a long time. It felt great to see my people, my places there, eat beloved Kasespatzle, watch a friend playing basketball match, spend hours at Christmas Market with never-ending mulled wine in my hand and just lay down on a couch and talk talk talk to people who mean so much to me. Not much changed there and at the same time a lot did change, for me and for everyone.
When I arrived to Karlsruhe on Friday morning I had tears in my eyes – it was so good to be back! It never happened to me while coming back to Lodz.
This night I cried again, when I understood that it was just a sneak-peak and I still have to wait a couple of months for my dream life. I was so jealous about all the friends there who have already graduated and could have directly stay there, earn money, develop hobbies, rent a nice apartment, keep learning German. I want it too! And at the same time I am so afraid that my move will not be as easy as I imagine. I really want to find job, but my German will not be even B1 yet by then. My plan B is applying for Masters programme directly, which also not a bad option… I want it so much that it must happen! That’s karma.