Bye bye, 2017

This year was special. Well, every single one is, but 2017 was different for me than any year before.

I’ve spend 9 months abroad. First on my awaited mobility semester in Sweden, then quite spontaneously in India, plus all the smaller and bigger trips I’ve done. Can you believe that I have been to 19 different countries this year?!

This year I realized that I am actually living the life I always wanted to have. Ambitious plans, lots of traveling, great people around me, discovering sooo many new things, experiencing each moment.

I wish every year could look like this one – 9 months in the far-away and totally different places and 3 where my roots are. That would give me a lot of peace and equilibrium. Let’s try to convert a wish to a plan? Maybe.

Sweden thought me how to slow down. Both physically and mentally. I don’t need to be socially EVERYWHERE anymore. I let myself just relive everything. I strive for balance, I’m good to myself and others. I am still over-demanding for myself and sometimes I stress out to much, but maybe it’s something I can live with, if it makes me running?

India thought me A LOT. I didn’t even expect how much. I look differently at the first world problems. I appreciate Europe much more. And I really see how lucky in life I am.

In India I became a fighter, too. Not that I couldn’t stick to my rules, but now I can fight for myself and others like a lion.

I really got into yoga and I don’t ever want to lose it! Meeting people at my classes who practice it for 20 years and watching what they do with their bodies at their 50ies is really motivating… So is the feeling I have after each class.

My official uni graduation will happen already in 2018, but I feel it now very strongly too. It’s not about the crazy struggle of writing the final thesis and for the first time in my life – working on ONE project ALONE, constantly during 6 MONTHS (did I ever mention how easily I get bored?). I feel that graduating will be a big step in my life. Not that much will change (well, I won’t have insurance anymore so I need to remain in good health XD). I just feel the difference in my approach and the view for life. Uni was a school like all the others before – there is something to do, to study, some homework, timetable to follow. Apart from that – great student life! So many possibilities, activities! Meeting new people every day! Partying like there is no tomorrow, but also so many interesting projects! Well, there is no Erasmus for high school kids for instant…

I guess that ‘adulthood after graduation’ will be more responsibility, less spontaneity, but still more freedom and independence! I can’t say if it will be better or worse… For sure just different. And I look forward to it.

I also understood that everything changes. What was supposed to be forever blurs away suddenly, and some little insignificant things get a lot of meaning in broader perspective. Maybe it’s also adult life? Or just universe in general?

There are no mistakes, just lessons we need to revise. And although I’ve noticed that sometimes I do the same thing multiple times, I learn something new every time. And I still rarely regret anything.

I learnt a lot about people in general. I made many new friends, I believe some of them will stay forever. I’ve lost some people too, I’m not proud of it.

I still have plan for the nearest 1-2 years. Some people can’t believe it and are scared how obsessed I am with having A PLAN. I also scare myself sometimes, but I guess that clear goals give me some sense of stability, and result from my ambition and fear of missing out (if not now, when?!). Nevertheless, life is much more about the journey than about the destination… So I still don’t know what will happen and what I decide on my way 😉

I wish you all the best in 2018! Good health, inspiring people around and your dreams and plans coming true. Follow your intuition, that’s the only way to go!

Mexico – part 1 – Queretaro

Hello hello after Christmas! I’ve realized I really enjoy being offline on holidays. No notifications bothering me for the whole day, no need to check anything ‘important’ immediately. The post of Paris is yet to come, right now I will go with the wave of Mexico.

I’m not the biggest fan of flying. I don’t mind it, it’s still much better than HOURS in the bus, but not really exciting. 11.5 hours of my first transatlantic flight from Paris to Mexico City were not that bad, though.

After watching Netflix, reading magazines and eating all the snacks served by the flight attendant just out of boredom, I felt really excited when I’ve seen Florida from the window. That was the moment when I really felt how important this moment was – I’ve been waiting for this trip for the last 7 months and it was finally about to happen! And I was just approaching the North America, so the new continent was to be ticked on the list!


I faced the worse jet lag ever. 7 hours of time difference and the high altitude of Mexico City made me feel as if I were drunk.

I’ve taken the bus to Querétaro, where my Erasmus friend Andrea lives. Claudine from Canada was already there, and was much more energetic than me (just 1h difference…).

On the first day we went, accompanied by Andrea’s brother and his friend, to La Peña de Bernal – a huge lonely stone located around 40 min drive from Querétaro, surrounded by the quaint village full of unique handmade souvenirs are very weird snacks.

Important fact about Mexico – I’m surviving! Food is as spicy as it was in India, but it’s easier to find a more eatable equivalent. And I do not poison myself on every corner like in Asia… Nevertheless – Mexican food is kind of weird! I mean – obviously delicious, but it’s all just about different combinations of tortilla bread with meat, rice, beans, tomatoes, avocado and onion.


The top of weirdness was chilaquiles: the typical breakfast dish Andrea ordered for us on the first day – kind of Dorritos, bland and soaked in chili sauce with the fried egg on the top and lentils on the side. It was delicious, but how did they even come up with this idea? XD Not to mention super spicy and super sweet Mexican candies and lollipops… Or michelada – a drink made of beer, tomato and chili. This country is really inventive!

After the walk around the village and admiring the stone (which looks like it was thrown from the sky by the aliens), during which I almost died of the temperature and altitude, we headed to La Redonda wine plantation, where we had a really nice picnic in the sun. You can imagine how my face looked like in the evening… I am one of those people who have just two shades of skin – sour cream or fried shrimp.


Next we have visited the lovely town of Tequis – full of Mexican tourists enjoying the last hours of Christmas. We ate the first tacos (the food and drink check-list is quite extensive here!) and headed home… well, not successfully.


On the way we ran out of gasoline and spent one hour on the side of the road waiting until our friends get us some. At some point I was just wandering who will be first – them or Mexican cartel willing to sell our organs to get drugs. It was an adventure though 😀


We were planning to go out in the evening, but ended up too tired to move from the couch. We finally tried the Mexican tequila, though, and I would really be happy if I can open the business to import it to Poland! Even the cheapest Mexican tequila tastes better than the one we have in Poland.

Next day was pretty lazy – after the long sleep and burritos for breakfast (me and Claudine were very motivated to try all the Mexican food so we didn’t differentiate between meals and its content), we took a walk in Querétaro city center, drank amazing tropical margaritas and took an early afternoon bus to Mexico City. Claudine, as a YOLO tourist without the plan, decided to go with me.

In Mexico I feel pretty proud of my Spanish. I am able to communicate everything I need, and their accent is not that hard to understand – even when speaking fast. I try to learn new words every day!

I don’t feel in danger – maybe because I’m with the local friends all the time. However, there are prison-like fences and quite a lot of police on the streets… Andrea also said that she wouldn’t walk out alone at night.

I got rid of jet lag pretty easily – 2 nights of more-less proper sleep have let me adjust quickly. And it’s quite funny that when I call my parents just after waking up, they are already finishing dinner…

Overall first impression of Mexico – great. Exotic but civilized. Friendly people, sunny weather, lots of differences, local traditions and cute places. But my opinion is the same like about Spain – great country to visit for holidays, enjoy the atmosphere and then go back to the more organized place… it’s just all too slow, not serious, not punctual, disorganized and easy going for me!

Christmas fairytale

Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas everyone. Have you been nice this year, kids? Let me tell you a story.

There was once an Elf. Just an usual elf, no superpowers, no Lamborghini, no criminal record.

Elf wanted to learn something new every day, experience every moment, try new things.
Elf always claimed that it’s better to do something and regret it than regret never doing it.
Elf didn’t waste his time reading or watching contents wasting his time or influencing him negatively.
Elf would do anything for friends.
Elf failed and fell apart a couple of times, but always got over it.
Elf tried to bring smile to everyone’s life, although was also sad or angry sometimes.
Elf went mad facing any kind of discrimination or stereotypes.
Elf did not believe in any particular god, but believed that nothing happens without the reason and that there is some energy around.
Elf tried to treat others as he would want to be treated himself.
Elf never wanted to hurt anyone and could say he is sorry.
Elf rarely regretted anything, usually just learned from his mistakes.
Elf really listened what people talked to him and was ready to discuss and compromise.
Elf accepted things as they were, strived for more but contented with less.
Elf was passionate, could show feelings, express emotions and be open with people.
Elf tried to mirror or the good thing which life brought him to give the positive energy to the others.
Elf surrounded himself with other positive elves.

Do you know such an Elf? You should. You should find him in yourself, at least partially. Life is easier when you follow his simple rules. And that’s what I wish you this Christmas: be an Elf.

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Keep lagom

It’s the first day of winter today. Not that it matters, but noticing such facts gives me some time structure and orientation. Maybe I just treat my life like a tv series and divide it into episodes? When I think about the past, I can clearly see them separately, and it is very often connected to the season of the year… Anyway. That’s not what I wanted to write about.

I’ve mentioned lagom a couple of times already… A very meaningful word expressing ‘not to little, not to much, just perfect’. I heard it many times in Sweden. It must be apparently some kind of ‘Swedishness coefficient’ – they all want to be so correct, levelled and… simple?

I recently borrowed this book from a friend and wanted to share the most memorable  lagom facts. It’s great that someone (Linnea Dunne to be precise) wrote the whole theory guidebook of what the Swedes have in their blood…

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Everything is automatically more appealing if I photograph it on my very-oh-so-instagrammable rug 😉

         § What is lagom about? In the most basic meaning it describes something which is ‘enough’ or ‘proper’ – good amount of milk in coffee or the perfect touch of the massagist. In the intangible meaning the meaning is more subtle – it means that the balance reached perfection, which results in many social codes. Lagom means that accepting the invitation to your friend’s summer house, you bring your own bed sheets to share the laundry responsibility. Lagom is the right to stay at home with your sick child, but not overusing this right. It’s buying a practical, sustainable car even if it does not look appealing. It’s painting just one wall in significant color and leaving the rest white, because too much of color would be overwhelming. It’s painting lips in wine red but reducing the rest of the make up. Lagom is a burger without french fries because moderateness is a virtue.

         § Did you know that – according to researchers – money does give happiness, but just up to some extent? Money contents the poor, but this effect does not occur in the rich. Lagom amount of money is sufficient. Above this level happiness depends on different factors.

         § Lagom mentality: when you already learn how to catch some distance and do not allow your thoughts for meaningless circulation, you will live more authentically and concentrated, accepting both good and bad experiences.

         § If your tasks at work are done well, it means that you devote them lagom amount of time.

         § Mindfullness meditation aims at reaching non-judgemental consciousness of the now and can help you accept things which you cannot change. 

         § In the end think, what happiness is for you. Our expectations are a heave weapon – if you look for euphoria, your life will be mainly the point of disappointment. From the lagom perspective, the life is about accepting problems, looking for solutions, but also enjoying little moments, peace and joys of everyday reality. If you learn to speak directly, but cooly, you will handle all the feelings and dramas with no problem.

From Lagom. The Swedish Art of Balanced Living. by Linnea Dunne.

Apart from purely psychological and philosophical aspects, you can find there many tips about lagom life (hobbies, sports, interest clubs), cooking, fashion and interior design – so all I love in Scandinavian production!

The book has lovely and cozy design and is perfect to read under the blanket on snowy evenings when it’s called outside… Ok, no blogger bull-sh*t 😀 Of course I was reading it in the crowded trams while commuting in the morning.

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And Hygge… I’ve read this book a year ago and I am still in love. There must be something addictive in Scandinavia!

Who you are and what do you think of immigrants?

I was really afraid of writing this post, since my point of view is not really strong, I don’t have enough political knowledge and valid arguments to present. It’s all just about the feeling, but… Something touched me. Stupid unimportant situation. One more comment on Facebook. It triggered me to keep writing.

One colleague I know from uni posted a picture ‘Greetings from Berlin!’. Usual Facebook stuff. But then I’ve read a comment of an unknown to me guy, saying ‘Watch out for refugees!’ and I exploded.

I usually don’t engage in any political discussions online (in real life neither), but this time something changed. I wrote a looong comment telling him that instead of arousing the public hate already present on the internet in media, he could better think of where it comes from – consider what the people are afraid of and whether they even realize that their phobias come from the lack of knowledge and respect to other cultures. And I dare to say that I DO have this knowledge.

(c) Bence Fejes

Last year I’ve spent 3 months in Karlsruhe, Germany and I was under a lot of good impression how the Turkish immigrants are united with the society.

I was in Germany this year too, so after the wave of immigration from Syria last autumn. And I did not see any difference. I did not feel in danger, as it is often presented in media.

Another point – the Crimea and flow of Ukrainians to Poland. Some people speak of them with some contempt and I totally hate it. Where my dad goes to GP, there are 5 Ukrainian doctors and you can rarely meet so kind and professional practitioners. Ukrainian Uber drivers are the nicest ones of all. Ukrainian students I meet are the most socially active ones, participating in all the communities and student organizations. I have no reason not to welcome them warmly in my country, as Ireland or England welcomed the Polish who went there to search for better life.

In Sweden, I’ve been living in the cheapest area of the town, in the building placed in between the communal apartments. Walking 400 m from my block to the bus stop, I could meet people from literally EVERY corner of the world. Indians coming back from grocery shopping, Muslim moms on the playground with their kids (who will nota bene in the future be as Swedish as the blond blue-eyed kids running around them), Romanian construction workers, Libyan priest on a mission, American med-students on a placement, and so on, and so forth. Later on, I got to know that the place is known to be in top-10 of the most dangerous places in Sweden… That tells a lot about the level of danger there, in the country which ‘accepted so many immigrants’ – the most dangerous thing which happened to me was finding rotten onions thrown around the building by some drunk student.

(c) Bence Fejes

India is the mixture of cultures, languages and religions. Muslims, Hindu, Buddhists and Christians live there all together, mixed like the blonds and brunettes in Europe, and I haven’t heard of any major conflicts between them.

I know there is also an economical aspect to be taken into account – letting the refugees in is connected to a huge investment of money. But most of the European countries do have money, right? And such investment sooner or later pays off. A good example is my former boss, who came to Germany 20 years ago as a teenage refugee from Vietnam… Today he is one of the most successful entrepreneurs of the region.

The topic of refugees came to the contemporary art too. I’ve seen an exhibition of this-year Academy of Fine Arts graduation projects and this issue appeared a couple of times. One student created a concept of calling the people coming to the country ‘newbies’ (‘nowacy’) instead of ‘refugees’ (which thanks to the medial propaganda does not cause positive associations). You can read about it, in Polish, HERE.

I will soon be an immigrant myself, too. And there is no war or cataclysm pushing me out of my country. It’s just my ambition, wanting-more-from-life and disagreement with current world view in Poland. I guess I am a worse type of immigrant… No? Don’t I overuse the hospitality?

I know that the culture gap can be significant. That it won’t be easy in the beginning. That the differences are huge and it will take a while before the immigrant fully assimilate. But we are all humans and out there, there are people losing their houses and families because of some powerful peoples’ problems. Why wouldn’t we help them if we can?

(c) Bence Fejes

Social studies: people you shouldn’t party with

It’s mid-December, New Year’s Eve is coming… Normally I would be already panicking about where and with whom will I spend it (at least not about when xD), why I haven’t got any invitations yet or why I got 3 of them and thus where should I finally go. Or where to go first: it happened to me a couple of times that I was taking a taxi (and hoping that the driver did not celebrate) and changing the party in the middle of the night just to party with two groups of friends. It makes it so much easier that this year I will be on the other continent and even other hemisphere. Anyway…

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I’m very nostalgic about this pic… It was taken when I just started uni, now I’m almost graduated!

New Year’s Eve = party. And I guess you can imagine how I party. I rarely say no to alcohol, I do not wear high-heels just to be able to dance all night long, I make new friends in 5 minutes even when I’m sober, I was once called a party-commando (komendant melanżu). And just to remind you – I still am super responsible, ambitious and perfectly deal with my life.

But as I get older, I search for more value in the party itself. If it’s not enough fun, it’s not worth it to be hungover the next morning. I will never say no to a proper latino party, electronic music concert or a silent disco, but I will not go out on Friday night if it is just another pop clubbing. Unless I am really emotionally wasted after the whole work-week and REALLY need to get drunk and dance it all away (happened last Friday).

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Latino party in Warsaw with a real Latin friend!

And about the people – I have my partners in crime. Great team for latino party. Another one for student parties and karaoke in the pub. Another for in-house parties. And another just to hang out in the bar. But we all know those people…

Five types of people you don’t want to party with

  1. Johnny Bravo – and ‘the more muscles, the less brain’ rule starts to make sense. His ‘personality’ and self-confidence grow proportionally to the amount of alcohol he drank. He hits on literally EVERYONE who has boobs. The problem starts when the boobs-owner has a boyfriend… The Polish know the concept of Sebix – bold guy, always wearing sport pants with enough stripes, biggest fan of sport (or beating up the supporters of the other team), art (or rather painting penises on the neighbor’s wall) and poetry (*%#$!@ #@$&*$% is the most honest compliment you can get from him). On Fridays Sebix changes his sport pants for jeans and hits the dancefloor, just to find the woman of his life (or night). And the way he tries to pick her up is usually at least… primitive. If you have a bad luck to be his goal, you need to run fast. But Sebix likes boxing too, so make sure your boyfriend does not stay on his way. Well, actually any reason is good to fight. Hey, didn’t that guy took your place in line to the cloak room by any chance?!

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    This year’s Halloween and our costumes for 3€
  2. Drama queen – exactly my type of girl. High-heels as long as her artificial nails. So much make up that you hardly see her face from underneath. There are other things you can see since her skirt is far too short, though. The queen usually goes around with 2 or 3 friends of her type, but she plays the first fiddle. No matter if she is happy, sad or angry, she has to inform about it loud enough to make everyone around know about it. You can best hear her in the girls bathroom or in the night bus, when she is already drunk, coming back home and loudly going through even more drama which happened during her night out.
  3. Online-party unit – depending on sex: or typical male nerd who goes through the newest mems or plays Snake in the middle of the party, or a girl who, drunk enough, calls and messages her ex boyfriends. It’s not easy to assess which one of them is a worse loser… Each of them drinks too much and does not socialize enough. Instead of talking to people, they glue themselves to the smartphone screen, as I do it in the morning tram to avoid contact with the rest of universe unenthusiastically commuting with me.

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    With A&O – the best party companions I’ve ever had! Silent disco in the beginning of this academic year.
  4. Your worst uncle – anyone who has been to a wedding at least once, knows what I mean. Do you remember this uncle who pinched your cheeks the strongest when you were a kid? Imagine how annoying he gets when he is drunk. As subtle as atomic bombing, as funny as socks with sandals. He does not take no for an answer when it comes to drinking or dancing. Dancing one rhythm no matter what the beat is, of course. He knows ALL the short folk songs (Jeszcze po kropelce, jeszcze po kropelce…) and he stays at the parties much longer than he should.
  5. Photographer and the DJ – two different types, but annoying in the same category. Photographer will take a picture with camera, phone, toaster, calculator or even a fridge, if he succeeds. He will take a selfie with EVERYONE in the room (usually to show off on Facebook that he ‘has friends’). And the more drunk you all are, the more pictures he will take. DJ, on the other hand, will always push his way to the speaker/laptop to play ‘this one great song’. He doesn’t care that it’s great just for him…

Do you know these people? Don’t invite them to your NYE party.

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The real lady… Decides to wear make up when already at the party XD

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.