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?

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(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.

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(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.

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(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.

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(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.

My approach to art

I tend to say that art is one of my hobbies, but what does it really mean? I don’t know much about it. I don’t know what is the historical background, symbolics, stream or general idea. Sometimes I can meddle with something, but most of the times I am pretty laical.

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(c) Bence Fejes – real artist!

I just know if I like something or not and usually can give a valid reason for my opinion, however sometimes it’s just a feeling. I can tell you that I loved the exhibition I’ve been to last weekend (COMING OUT of the best graduates of Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, I truly recommend!) – it was fresh, innovative, I’ve seen many things I’d never seen before. The approach was young and untouched, dealing with what surrounds us: the aspect of refugees was mentioned so many times, I understood the perspective of all the authors cause I can put myself in their eyes and imagine what kind of people they are. Trivial thing, but I also loved being surprised so many times – something can be a simple idea, but I was so astonished and wondered so deeply HOW someone even came up with the idea to present the idea in this particular way.

One of my best friends (and the harshest critic of the blog ^^) is already the Bachelor of Arts in field of History of Art. Going with her to the museum or traveling is a pleasure – it’s like having a guide who will tell you only the most interesting things which you will surely memorize! And I am always so impressed how broadely she percepts art – I just usually see a pure pleasure, decoration, enterteinment in it!

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(c) Bence Fejes

I can believe that many artists work the best while stoned, drunk or after an orgasm. I’ve even heard that huge Polish writers – Juliusz Słowacki or Stanisław Lem – took drugs while working on their masterpiece… I am really not surprised. Personally maybe I do not do better while drunk, but for sure I am more creative and with more vision and mission to put my ideas into words.

I could not be a fulltime arist. I just tried to plan my week 3 or 4 times and that is a huge step… I usually do it much more often, obsessively stick to my calendar and to-do lists and have panick attacks if I forget about something. I am really bad at working from home, lack of ideas frustrates me to the highest extend and the perspective of being dependent on someone’s opinion makes me feel sick.

I can’t say I am not creative. I keep writing since months and I love it. I am good at photography. I pay a lot of attention to the appearance and thoughtful design and content of my Instagram and Facebook accounts. Creativity helps me a lot in the field of engineering, since I like simple solutions. And I can not imagine pondering about ‘What did the author mean? What is the inner sense?’ all the time. No, it is simple. No, I could not be an artist. Could you? Are you?

Lanzarote – 5 días en el paraíso

I needed holidays. Not that I don’t need holidays any time you ask me J But now I needed them much more than usually, since Polish autumn is terribly gray, rainy, cold and does not influence my well-being positively. It was great to spend a couple of days in 25 degrees and the sunset coming around 7pm.

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I am very lucky that my Mom does not drive a car and she needed a driver to take her for a road trip around the island – I had a chance to visit Lanzarote!

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I don’t really understand why my Mother is so in love with the Canary Islands. It was great to be there for 5 days, enjoy the sun, lay down on the beach, drink sangria under palm trees and eat all the paella and tapas around, but I cannot imagine staying there for longer! It would be sooo boring! Unless you get an all-inclusive bracelet and have access to even more sangria…

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There is not much more to my holidays than pure laziness, sunbathing, short swims in the ocean, 2 days of driving to the south and north sides of the island. I was astonished by Teguise – the old capital of the island, by Mirador del Rio – the viewpoint located high on the volcanic mountains with a great landscape, I loved the little sailors’ villages with all the shrimps and octopus I could eat. And I was super happy to drive – it turned out that you really do not forget it, although I have sold my car over 1.5 years ago and drove maybe twice since then. I also really enjoyed speaking Spanish – another thing I surprisingly do not forget.

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There is not much to write about Lanzarote… Well, it’s not India 😀 Since I’ve already travelled and seen a bit of the world, my only comment is that it is funny to see a combination of the atmosphere of Maldives, architecture of Greece, society of southern Spain (fiesta siesta Spaniards & rich German tourists) with the Icelandic black deserts of volcanic ash and the horizon like on the moon.

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One more thing – we should all learn to think positive from the Canarians. Whoever I asked ‘how is it to live in paradise’ told me ‘well, Lanzarote is amazing, but there are so many beautiful places all around!’. I bet that the standard Polish person would start complaining that it never snows and there are too many tourists.

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I leave you with the gorgeous pictures – I am also lucky that my Mom is patient enough to contribute to the blog this way and take thousands of them (‘Mom! Help me do a head stand, that will look cool!’).

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Hygge and lagom as a way of living

You know that I am pretty much influenced by Scandinavia. Erasmus in Sweden, several camping trips with my Dad to Norway, Iceland and Spitsbergen, a few episodes with Finland, lots of Scandinavian electronic music on my Spotify playlists and crime books on the eBook… Although I could not live there because of the climate (I wouldn’t survive the first winter with its darkness), I love the spirit, style, design and philosophy of the North.

I’m sure your familiar with the concept of hygge. It’s so famous and trendy that it became almost a cliche. Nevertheless, I am a fan.

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Typical minimalistic gift cards in Sweden. Well, everything is classy there.

For beginners – hygge is a Danish word used when acknowledging a feeling or moment, whether alone or with friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary as cosy, charming or special. Denmark is said to be the happiest country in the world (although the toughest life story I’ve ever heard, including rape, unwanted pregnancy, adoption and a cancer comes from the Danish girl), so they have full right to sign this recipe.

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One of my last Instagram pictures before Erasmus, taken on my very instagrammable carpet.

I’ve got ‘The little book of Hygge. The Danish way to live well’ (a Bible of 2016) for last Christmas, just before going to Erasmus, to calm my nerves and help me settle in the new place. And it helped. Decorating my new room with maaany candles, fluffy blanket, flowers and a collection of souvenirs which I kept sticking on the wall through the whole semester helped me create a lovely atmosphere. And as much as I enjoyed crazy Erasmus parties, I also loved cooking dinners with different groups of friends (– Today Finnish pancakes after the class! – Next Tuesday Turkish dinner and dances at my place!) and just spending time with them, instead of watching Netflix at home. Or the first summer afternoons I spent with my roommate on her balcony, eating ice cream directly from the box, and trying to study at least a bit!

And now, when during grey, rainy and generally disgusting Autumn, I very often try to create this hygge atmosphere to survive the evenings when I’m not busy or not in mood to go out. I often light the candles and incense sticks I brought from India, roll myself in the red IKEA blanket like a burrito and just watch Netflix, read a book, catch up with other bloggers, write… And even though I am much more of an extrovert than an introvert, it gives me a lot of power too.

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Something can grow in Sweden and under my hands, indeed!

Few days ago my best friend dropped by to watch the new season of ‘Stranger Things’ together (well, I asked her to come cause I was too afraid to watch it alone – I get scared even on Harry Potter movies 😂). It was just lovely. We created a fortress in my bed, made lots of microwave popcorn (which we ate all during the first episode already) and a huge thermos of pepper mint two. And we watched, talking about which of the actors are handsome (Z. said Steve, I am more for Dustin when he grows up), which are totally ugly, and which ones just look lame because of the 80s hairstyle. Pure hygge. 

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A poster I’ve found in one bar in my city. Ear the dinner candle-lit, not with the light of the screen.

And lagom… I learnt it in Sweden and try to follow in every area of my life. Lagom means not too little, not too much, just perfect. Very Swedish thing (maybe a bit socialistic). It costs me a lot, sometimes I just cannot let something go and keep killing myself striving for perfection. I should chill that out. It’s never too little or too much of joy and happiness – we just need to feel the equilibrium in all we do and we will start perceiving our life as lagom.

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Sweden, oh Sweden…

And on this autumn evening I wish you all to keep this Scandinavian spirit in your mind. It makes you at ease, gives the feeling of fulfillment. Promise.

And now maybe not the most typical hygge playlist (probably you can also find it on Spotify), but MINE. For the evenings and long commuting.

All these sleepless nights – a movie about me

There are not many good Polish movies (I just always recommend Ida, Sala Samabójców and Dzień Świra, if you manage to find it with English subtitles), but this one rapidly jumped into my top list.

I was trying to find any review published by a voice influential enough to make it worth sharing, but apparently nothing like this exists (the movie must have not reach The Guardian, BBC and Huffington Post).

According to Variety, ‘a beautiful a portrait of not much at all as one could hope to find, captures the listlessness of Poland’s youth’.

Cast as an avatar for a nation of disaffected Polish twentysomethings, Krzysztof Bagiński has an amazing face. From some angles, it projects a vulnerable kind of curiosity, almost childlike as questioning eyes peer out from deep hollow sockets. Head-on, he could be Michelangelo’s David, with his broad cheeks and full lips, a question mark knit in the crease between his eyebrows. In profile, he suddenly takes on an almost Neanderthal appearance, as his heavy forehead pushes down on that sharp wedge of a nose.

Over the course of nearly two hours — compressed down from roughly a year in the life of its characters — “All These Sleepless Nights” gives us plenty of time to ponder Bagiński’s head from every angle, and to a lesser degree, the thoughts flickering inside it. Featuring a trio of real people more or less playing themselves, Michał Marczak’s quasi-documentary is breathtakingly beautiful at times, filmed in a style more reminiscent of recent Terrence Malick movies than anything reality-based as it floats at arm’s length behind Kris, best friend Michal (Michał Huszcza), and the girl they both covet, Eva (Eva Lebuef).

The whole article available: HERE.

What did this movie mean for me?

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Hel peninsula, Poland, 2013

I have seen it in the cinema, quite late after it was premiered), with J., one of my best friends, one of the most intelligent, supportive and patient ones. She has great taste, too.

This movie describes me totally. In every inch of my personality and life. I can see myself there like in the mirror. Well, ok. I’m not a man, I do not live in Warsaw. But I am a total Generation X kid, a Millenial.

I do not know what I want. Sometimes maybe I know, or feel that I know, what I do not want. I fear of missing out. I am an individual. I strive to be original. I wear, listen, read and watch alternative. I want the best.

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(c) Zuzanna Diehl – my gorgeous best best friend, a talented Interior Designer

My day? I wake up. I sometimes skip my breakfast to sleep longer. I choose my clothes, do perfect make-up. I follow fashion and never admit to that. I go to Starbucks and laugh it out loud. I secretly envy. I small talk. I follow the course of the day I planned scrupulously – work, studies, social life, self-development. Yoga, languages, gym, exhibitions. I live on Facebook. I sext. I use Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, AirBnb, WhatsApp, Messenger, FaceTime, Viber, Skype, Dropbox, Couchsurfing, TripAdvisor, LinkedIn on my iPhone. I am everywhere every time all the time. I eat what is cool. I know all the pubs popping up and still go to the same ones. I drink coffees with colleagues, beers with best friends, cocktails and wines with a date, vodka from the bottle with an empty wallet. I dance techno. I reject appreciation for usual massive pop music. Everything massive. I dance and dance and drink and dance. And collapse or not. And take Uber or a taxi. End up at home. Or not own home. I keep partying, I keep living. And then I sleep sleepless nights.

All these sleepless nights (Wszystkie nieprzespane noce) is a movie about me. Is it about you, too?

And at the end – some quotes from a trailer (my translation). And a theme song – I love it.

It’s said that if you accumulate together all the vital activities and put them in sequence, having sex would take around 7 months. 4 moths of regretting decision you made. 700 days of pretending someone you are not. Boredom – 2 years. And 17 hours of breaking up. F**k, 17 hours?! That is far too short.

I’ve always wanted to have a girlfriend who will impress me, to feel the challenge how f**king awesome I am to have such a girlfriend. Theoretically.

I think that through the fun we reach the vivaciousness.

[PL] Podobno jeśli sprowadzić wszystkie czynności życia i przeżywać je ciągiem, uprawianie seksu zajęłoby jakieś 7 miesięcy. 4 miesiące żałowania podjętych wcześniej decyzji. 700 dni udawania kogoś, kim się tak naprawdę nie jest. Nuda – 2 lata. I 17 godzin rozstań. Kurwa, 17 godzin?! To jest stanowczo za mało.

Zawsze chciałem mieć dziewczynę która będzie mi imponowała, żeby czuć wyzwanie jaki muszę być zajebisty, żeby mieć taką dziewczynę. Teoretycznie.

Myślę że przez zabawę właśnie osiągamy pełnię życia.

Being a woman in 21st century

I am sure you have noticed the wave of Me too (or Ja też, Moi aussi, Yo tambien…) on your Facebook walls some time ago… What was it all about?

#MeToo
If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me too.” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.
#JaTeż
Jeśli wszystkie kobiety, które były kiedyś molestowane seksualnie napisały “Ja też” w statusie, być może pokazalibyśmy ludziom jaką skalę ma to zjawisko (więc kopiuj i wklej).

Writing a couple of words about the feminist book I’ve read and recommended recently, as well as after Paullajna’s comment on one of my posts (Infinite problem when a strong woman is being called a b**ch. Don’t stop Zuza, be a tough b**ch), I felt an urgent need to express some of my opinions concerning 50% of us. How is it to be a woman (after India I should say – white woman) in 21st century?

Firstly, the quote from ‘I LOVE DICK’ by Chris Kraus again:

Female monsters take things as personally as they really are. They study facts. Even if rejection makes them feel like the girl who’s not invited to the party, they have to understand the reason why.

Yes, if a woman is strong and independent, she is very often treated as a monster. Or a tough b**ch. Or a terminator with no feelings. She must be a terrible partner, mother, daughter, just a good friend because for sure she is interested in football and cars, but than maybe she is planning to take over your boyfriend? Bullsh*t.

That is why I enjoyed so much my stay in Sweden – one of the countries where gender equality is very strongly developed. You can see as many mothers as fathers with children in the restaurants or on the playgrounds. Typically ‘manly’ jobs like bus driver or technician are widely practiced by women. LGBTQIA+ people live their lives in peace and are rarely stared at. It has its price, tough, and I felt sometimes kind of lost.

I come from the conservative and often very sexist country, but no matter how much it sucks – I like when the man lets me pass first in the door, helps me carry the bag (but a shopping bag, not the girly one!)… But it is not because I am weaker, but to show me kindness and respect. I can also let the guy pass in the door first if he carries something heavy. It makes my confused – where is the border of sexism and good traditional manners?

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(c) Bence Fejes

Another confusing and sad fact about me is that I haven’t felt attractive until the time when I started to have sex with men. Before that I was so engulfed under the complexes about my body! And my parents did not make it easier for me, saying in the same time that every body is beautiful, I am gorgeous and smart, but also that I should lose some kilograms. Not until I was 17 or 18 I’ve figured out that at some point of contact, it really DOES not matter how you look like. Everyone just looks great and natural.

The facts are clear – women still earn less than men, their work is diminished (staying at home, cooking and taking care of children is hard work too! And I think it should be paid), their opinion does not matter. During one lecture on my exchange, in course of Swedish Language, Culture and Society, my professor (Ylva Lindberg) told us a ridiculous story about the conference she participated in: its topic was connected with women’s rights, and she – Ylva – was the only female speaker among 10 men… It seems to be relevant to artists, directors, critics, politicians too… Well, not musicians… Female singer is made to show boobs on stage! When it comes to art, another good quote from ‘I LOVE DICK’.

If women have failed to make ‘universal’ art because we’re trapped within the ‘personal’, why not universalize the ‘personal’ and make it the subject of our art?

I am far from being able to call myself an artist, but I think that my writing is very universal AND personal in the same time. Well, I am a valuable person so why my PERSONAL opinions wouldn’t be UNIVERSAL for the readers? Especially that most of them can identify themselves with me – I am quite a typical representative and voice of my generation – studying, traveling, fearing to miss out, with boisterous social life, postponing family life for sake of career.

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(c) Bence Fejes

On the same lecture, Ylva showed us the results of the survey she conducted among engineering students a couple of years back. It was adjectives describing boys by boys and girls and girls by boys and girls. Stereotypical woman was obviously weaker, more stupid, acting under emotions, while the man was decisive, critical and his opinion mattered the most. And it was just a couple of years ago, in Sweden!

One Swedish guy I dated back in Jonkoping was a total feminist and I loved it about him. I felt absolutely equal, respected and supported independently of gender. I was in a relation where we were two humans willing to cooperate and spend time together. Unlike my first relationship (still the biggest one!) with a guy from conservative (both in terms of religion and culture) background, which costed me a lot of nerves and undermined me as a human being.

Nevertheless, maybe it is the last thing which should be written in my feminist statement, but there are just a few moments in life when I feel like a real woman, and none of them is feministic. When I wear high-heels and gorgeous dress, walk in to the bar with a drink in my hand, all eyes on me… In the trustful mood after sex, cuddling a man and being hugged to his chest…

The other moments of power I experience are more related to being a great human being then a woman: when I speak up for a group cause everyone else was scared or too shy, when I ran a successful presentation and my audience is really interested, when I show off with being a good driver or a good cook… I really don’t understand myself and hope that I will figure it out soon enough.

I’ve once heard that 30yo is the best age for the woman – still young and gorgeous, but not making mistakes of a 20-ish yo. Maybe then? Or when I am in a good relationship basing on mutual respect and partnership? Or when I have a baby? No, I don’t want having a baby to be a moment defining me as a woman, as from what my Mom taught me – being a woman does not mean that I need to be a mother.

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(c) Bence Fejes

Anyway, most of the things I want from life are pretty uni-sex: to travel the world, have a great job, never stop learning, make my constantly popping-up dreams come true, spend my life with an appropriate person, do us much for other people as for myself… And be happy.