The Africa project

After months of hard work, weeks of nervous aura and a few days of intense stress, on  the 12th of February I officially graduated as a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering 🙂 Today – instead of Valentine’s day – I am celebrating the second day of official unemployment! But I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t have the plan…

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Soon enough I am going to Africa to volunteer in three different countries.


First stop: Tanzania. I will work in Dar Es Salaam with the two brothers running the primary school, doing their website and social media, fundraising, helping wherever I’m needed.

Next: Kenya. I will volunteer in the private agriculture project in Homa Bay, around lake Victoria, taking care of orphans and widows of the area by helping them in sustainable farming and growing their own food. Yes, farming, gardening, cows, chickens, goats… All what I – as a city girl – am so excited for!

Last stop: Uganda. I will join the non-government community organization near Mbale, working in elderly care and other community projects.






My planning process started around 2 months ago and was a curvy path.

Initially I was searching for a mediating organization sending the volunteers to Africa. I figured out that it’s all either about being very Christian or paying lots of money for I-don’t-know-what to participate in such a project. None of them worked for me, so I organized it totally by myself.

I contacted private people, small unknown local organizations, exchanged lots of emails and finally found reliable people with whom I signed the contracts. I am all the time in touch with people I am going to work for, I talk to the volunteers who have been there before, I read their opinions and double-checked all the details, I also keep talking to the world travelers to get to know the opinion about those countries.

Most of the people I talked to about it, say I am crazy. And I am not saying I am not afraid. Yes, I know that it’s not that safe to go to Africa being a single white woman. But I believe that with my common sense, suitable precautions and strong planning and logistics, it’s all gonna work out fine.

All trip is pretty much of YOLO philosophy… But it’s worth trying. I have plan A, plan B, C, …, up to plan Z. As always. I believe in my organization skills and I by definition trust people. If I had reasons to feel insecure, I wouldn’t go there.


Saying I want to change the world, help children or be another mother Theresa sounds shallow… But yes, I want to make a change, even if it’s just a little. I won’t save everyone, but if I make it easier at least for a handful of people, it will still be something.

I can’t really explain it, but I have a feeling that it is the right thing to do for me right now. I think I really got rid of some of the first world problems being in India… Now, with the full confidence and consciousness I can say that I am very privileged in life and would like to use my intellectual abilities, two strong hands and open head to pay it back to the universe.

And one more very simple reason – I haven’t done the gap year before the university so I want to do a few gap months now, just after graduation. Probably I will not have any long holidays or completely free period any time soon. If not now, when?


The TIME and what to do with it

Maybe I’m obsessed with it, but the concept of the NEW CHAPTER is constantly spinning in my head at the moment, which pushes me to change something.

I am graduating in less than a week (keep your fingers crossed for my defense presentation). Adult life starts. I will lose the right to student discounts and public healthcare on 31st of March and I will officially become a member of a grey zone, or rather some weird minor social group of unemployed, not-studying and unproductive people. DRAMA! Well, at least in theory.

I have absolutely NOTHING to do for the next month, indeed. It seems incredible to me! I have never been in such situation and it’s terrifying me. I am addicted to DOING something, being PRODUCTIVE and ACHIEVING goals. When I have nothing planned for a particular day and just scroll Facebook or watch movies I feel like the worse person in the world 😀 That’s why I decided to challenge myself and let myself just to be bored until the middle-March, when the new adventure (yet to be described) starts.

Obviously, I won’t waste this time. I already planned (yes, that’s what I am also obsessed with) and written down the daily routine which will help me to have any structure during my 7-days-long weekends.

1.5 hour of learning German (Memrize and DuoLingo, here I go!), 3 hours of job searching, 1 hour of reading books and – if the flow comes – writing, 1.5 hour of yoga… Well, allowing some flexibility to go out with people and explore places as long as I am here in Lodz.

But that’s another contradiction: I feel bad doing nothing but following the plan is all a challenge for me! You know how it works with Netflix for example… You plan to see just one episode of a series and end up watching 3 in a row. I guess I’m not alone… Paradoxically, the less time I have, the more organized and productive I am. I have always had a huge problem in organizing my time when there are no deadlines motivating me.

When I know that I have an exam for which I need to study or the assignment which needs to be submitted by the particular day, I have no problem with it. Usually I do everything well in advance and rarely forget or blow things off. That’s why I really enjoyed working with my thesis supervisor – he demanded weekly meetings which made me work on my project regularly, not to come to see him empty-handed. That’s why I am giving myself this month to learn to organize my own time.

I have a nice colorful piece of paper with the day ‘timetable’ and plan to set the alarms at particular hours to follow it. Any other ideas?


You deserve a good story

I had known this song for so long! Come on, everyone heard it, or at least any other remix (well, I do not even know which of all of them is original). I was surprised that I found in this song, or rather in a video, anything what inspired me to write. Something new. Or maybe it was always there?

‘Oh come on, Zuza, you deserve a good story!’ – that’s exactly what a friend told me recently. The conversation was basically about how some people are just meant for each other: meet their second half at 16 and stay together for the rest of their life. And others crawl through life, search for something big and at some point just go for a not-bad option. I expressed the opinion that yes, I believe in unbelievable, in people who fight thousand battles to finally manage to get happily together, in stories which tell about a true, unconditional love, BUT that I do not see it happening for me. ‘So you believe in a crazy, romantic love story for other people but you don’t believe it for yourself?’. I really found it sad. And decided to reconsider that and change my approach for my own good.

What should my good story be about?


 I am not sure if I believe in love at the first sight. Maybe I don’t, maybe it just never happened to me so I don’t know how it feels. Similarly, I keep asking my engaged friends WHAT IS THE FEELING they have and how do they even know that THIS is someone they want to be with for the rest of their life? I don’t know it and still didn’t get a clear answer. But, in this case, I believe that I will get to know it when the right time comes.

For sure I am not a romantic type. I am definitely practical and reasonable. My common sense just doesn’t not let me be spontaneous with feelings. Well, I even have it tattooed… My heart-brain on right thigh depicts the equilibrium between emotional and intellectual way of making choices.

 And here comes the video – I would love to live the story like this! Even more – fall in love like crazy, drop all my reality and every-day life, move to the other side of the world just because of LOVE. And I really wonder if my mind, logic and sense of responsibility will ever let me live it. Even if that would just last a month. Even if it would be a huge mistake. I really hope that something like this will happen to me at some point. And when is a better moment to experience it than now?

A couple of days ago I was planning a huge trip with a friend. The plane tickets back turned out to be very expensive and we still try to figure something out about it. At some point I was saying: ‘why would I even buy the ticket back? Maybe I will fall in love and stay there forever?!’. And although I was joking, I secretly hope it to come true. So maybe I really am a hidden romantic? Or prospective romantic-to-be?

Use-by date

I’ve wrote this text a couple of weeks ago and left it for some time to let it get ripe and think it over again – it was too important to just let it flow.

Imagine you buy a yoghurt. Or no, that is not a good example – it gets bad far too easily.

You buy a chocolate then. And on a wrapper it says BEST BEFORE: … , but you don’t really care – you just got your delicious chocolate! Assuming that you can control yourself, you eat one piece once in a while, truly enjoy it, and even just thinking about it is enough to make your mouth water. And then the date comes and… your chocolate is taken away from you, but you didn’t eat it all. And although you enjoyed every single piece, there is some sadness and bitterness coming up: I wanted to keep eating. What if this chocolate was a never-ending one? Would it still taste so good every time?

And now put there a person instead of a chocolate and you have real life. Yes, people come and go, but it makes me think a lot about life and the point of being in relationships.


I don’t know what I want. Well, sometimes I know what I do not want, but it’s rare too. Usually I just want everything and get frustrated that it is not possible.

I know I don’t like being alone. I need a hug sometimes. I need a springboard from the grey life. And even being a strong independent woman, I need to feel small sometimes. It’s just human thing to search for SOMEONE at some points of life.

On the other hand – I love my careless life full of freedom. I have my plans, for now they consider ONLY me. There was a time when I tried to co-work on the plans with someone, I wanted to create one common plan and follow it together. It didn’t work out for various reasons. That’s how I understood that I just need to build a stable life plan for myself and then start thinking about the next steps. And yes, it makes me happy. But it sucks sometimes, too.

I don’t want to get attached to any particular place, feeling or person right now. I don’t know where I am going to be next couple of months, nor in one year time when I’m planning to settle down. I don’t feel ready to promise anything to anyone. I do not even know on what stage I am in some of the social relations. But at the same time, I feel like I am not learning how to build anything stable. How to survive with someone all the good and bad. Try to repair things instead of throwing them away. It is a missing part in my life and it hurts, but I also fully acknowledge that this is the price I pay for the remaining comfort of life.

It doesn’t make me a worse person, but it also doesn’t make me better. Is it just a temporary way to survive? What if at some point I will have problem switching from the temporary to the permanent?

Maybe if I’ve met someone BIG before I became megalomaniac with my plans, it would look differently. But would it necessarily make me a happier person?


A za dzień – już się nie spotkamy.
A za tydzień – już nie pozdrowimy się.
A za miesiąc – już się zapomnimy.
A za rok – już się nie poznamy.
A dziś krzykiem noc nad czarną rzeką
Podważyłem jakby trumny wieko
Słuchaj – ratuj mnie.
Słuchaj – kocham cię.
Słyszysz – już za daleko.

M. Umer

New Year, new me

Yes, yes, I know, it’s the most pathetic, but also the most meaningful title for the NY post… I have already done kind of summary of 2017, now it’s time to start 2018 properly.

I welcomed this year with one of the best parties of my life in a gorgeous place and with great people. And although the evening of 31st of December was a bit depressing (maybe I am getting old but I really felt nostalgic about one more year passing by that quickly), I welcomed the New Year with a huge smile on my face.

What changed? Not much and a lot at once.

I will be 23 this year and to my surprise – I don’t really care. After 18 and 20 birthdays are not touching me that much anymore. My mom will be 60, though, and that IS surprising. I still remember her 50th b-day… My oldest cousin will turn 18… And my lovely little niece, whom I vividly remember in her mom’s belly, will be 12 years old. So if everyone around is getting older, maybe I am getting old too?!

Like never before I am feeling the end of the old and beginning of the new chapter. Looking back I can see clear periods. Careless childhood ended probably when I was 13. Then my rebellious teenage years, which ended around the age of 18. Next – theoretically being an adult but still a big kid.

Dividing that differently, I can see all the sub-chapters of my life until now, corresponding to the schools I went to and therefore – groups of people I was surrounded with: 0-6, 7-12, 13-15, 16-18, 18-22… And then BANG. Now I definitely see the chapter coming to an end. I WILL BE GRADUATED (hopefully, hue hue). I will start a real adult life. And it will all be in my hands. And I will have so much freedom with so much more responsibility! Exciting and terrifying at once.

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Believe it or not, as a teenager I was a pretty good photographer… I hope it’s not possible to lose the talent and inspiration will come back to me. Here: Grenoble, France, NYE ’14-’15. Very significant time in my life.

How was the first days of this year?

No NY resolutions. It’s so pointless for me to make them… I have made plans for this year a couple of months ago, achieved something big an important in the last two weeks of 2017 and did NY room cleaning and re-organising just today, on the 11th… I was never crazy enough to say ‘I will start going to the gym’, but remembering all the previous years: ‘lose some weight’, ‘be more patient’, ‘worry less’… All this sh*t didn’t work anyway! 😀 I have noticed that yes, it all comes to me sooner or later, since I need it and feel the lack of it, but does not depend at all on the calendar… It’s all about the particular moment, the period of time connected to some minor or major change or event… At least for me. Do resolutions if you need. You know I love check-lists anyway!

And when it comes to room-cleaning… I LOVE IT. No, no worries, I don’t mean polishing windows, vacuuming the carpet etc. (I’m not crazy yet… Or well, fun fact, I really enjoy washing dishes!). I really enjoy throwing away the things I don’t need!

2 years ago, before moving back with my dad, I was able to fit all my belongings (excluding bike, skies, etc.) in my old VW Golf III. Yes, it was a small car. I was so happy about it! That’s how the freedom feels for me.

My ultimate minimalism started a few years ago, when I made the decision that sooner or later I will move out of Poland. I looked, for instance, at all my childhood books… All the Harry Potter books. Yes, I love them! But would I take them with me if I was to move to Australia tomorrow? Obviously not. Nowadays I can find them online, if I want to read it again, or – more old-school – borrow them from someone. In this way I sold 90% of my books, earned quite a sum of money. Very important books, for example those with dedication, which were the gift from someone important, are safe in a special box in my mother’s closet. And it feels very comforting.

Once in a couple of months I go through my wardrobe and look critical at everything. How many times did I wear this since the last remanent? Not even once? Immediately out. Sometimes to charity, sometimes to a friend, as the piece of sewing material or just to the trash bin. I don’t care. I am not sentimental anymore, I am practical. The less things I have, the more mobile I am. That’s how the being free feels. Especially if you are my type of person – if you tell me that in two hours I am leaving to travel to the other side of the world, I will be back in one hour, with the luggage packed and enthusiasm in my eyes.

This cleaning session was NY-edition too… I have decided to throw away a few postcards and to cut in pieces a few photographs. Maybe it was my way of saying good-bye and finally dealing with unclear, never-explained situations? With a bit of harmless revenge?

I smiled a lot reading again the little memory-stickers from my friends from Sweden… A few days ago it was exactly one year since I moved there. I won’t ever forget it! And it will still take a while until I lose the sentiment about the material things reminding me of this period.

I still kept a few very important letters and pieces of jewelry, too… It’s been a couple of years when I just misplace them. No matter how minimalistic I wanna be, I will probably never lose sentiment to some objects.

Maybe I am weird. Well, I love blue cheese, do not own a hair dryer, prefer paper calendar to the iPhone app and always wait until tea gets cold to drink it… But it’s been the longest period in a couple of years when I am feeling so well, so myself and have so many plans and hopes for the nearest time period. Cheers to that!

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!

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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