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A little hatred

hosea-ballou-quotes

A local newspaper has published an article about my bike trip’s plan. The trip itself is not such a big deal – it’s just a bike trip, from Warsaw to Istanbul, maybe not an ordinary thing (at least not for me), but also nothing really unique. On the other hand – it feels really nice that the plan has been noticed and that there was someone who wanted to write about it.

Several comments have been published under the article :

  • “I think you should ride around Ryjewo and then around Poland and speak with ordinary people (not with local elites like e.g. in Ryjewo), but with those that have been debased by the party you are supporting. I can guarantee that this is much more tragic than the stories from the Balkans” – wrote lolek (logged as a guest).
  • “She will be cut into kebaps in Istanbul! And they are going to create a local bus for driving kids out of her bike. I’m curious who is sponsoring her? Dad or mum?” – wrote Polski Murzyn (a Polish Nygga) – also logged as a guest. And then added: “That’s a pity she is doing that for other people’s money instead of her owns! Time to start working after a few years of studying and not begging in the Internet! There won’t be a civilization’s jump and the Green Island here with such idlers around!”
  • mieszkaniec (resident) – also logged as guest – added: “Ms Traveller will not let to make herself into a kebap becasue she used to work for the Cogress of Women. She will bring the torch of learning taken from Ms Sroda into the Muslim countries and she will now teach them how they should treat women 😉 Well, good luck.”

As such an unpleasant wave of comments has never happened to me personally before, I started to wonder, what makes people write such things, namely: claiming to know better than me what I’m going to speak about in the Balkan countries and that these are going to be tragic stories only; knowing my political views and the party I’m supporting; staying publicaly racist and xenophobic; being curious though where do I take the money from and not being satisfied that there are other people willing to support me; knowing I’m an idler doing nothing, but knowing I’ve been studying at the same time (good research!); and eventually having knowledge about where I’ve been working befor, they know also all my secret plans.”

The time I’ve spent on writing this article is probably not worth it. But as such thing happened to me for the very first time, I felt I needed to express it.

At the same time I keep looking at the link to the article published on Facebook with almost 70 “likes” and comments of a very different kind: “I will keep my fingers crossed”, “good luck”, “safe trip” – signed by people’s own names and surnames.

And it only makes me wonder why people lose their time to write such comments, especially when they don’t want to sign them with their names and surnames. At the end of the day they know what opinions they have and they are not ashamed to speak them out loud anonymously. Why not sign it officialy and show the face then?

ignore the drama

Warsaw, 8 September 2015

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Doubts

Yesterday I eventually passed the treshold of the minimum amount on Polak Potrafi, which means 5000 PLN will already be mine for sure. That means that I’m going on this journey. It has just happened! Yay!

But at the same time I also started having some doubts, becasue the other savings are shrinking and there is less of them than I thought I was going to have. And I’m thinking quite a lot about maybe finding some winter job on the way in Austria for one month or two to get the budget a little up in order to have a bit more money and a bit more peace of mind. I have also decided to apply to the Ministry of Culture for a creative scholarship for the next year, although I don’t believe I have big chances to win, but I wanna try at least.

Those last two weeks – and this is how long it took me to collect the minumum sum of money, have showed me a lot. It was a really hard work – hours spent in front of the computer, hundreds of e-mails sent, countless conversations. But they brought also a lot of beautiful moments. First of all it was quite amazing having 80 people that decided to donate for my project in two weeks. 80 people! Secondly – my invitations to join the project brought a lot of good stories that people have shared with me and renewed many lost-in-the-past contacts.

The longer I’m in Poland, the bigger pressure I feel that I should be doing something. That yes, it’s cool, awesome what I’m doing or planning to do, but at the same time everyone goes to work every day, earns money and I sit back home the whole day in front of the computer most of the time. And it makes me feel quite uncomfortable. That’s interesting, isn’t it?

Another thing is that I also started to feel that I actually wanna go back to work. I supposed that it was going to happen one day and I was quite surprised it took that long! But suddenly here it is, I got there again. So what I fell is kind of need of a bit of stabilization, regaining my own place and recreating the space around me. Becasue five months out of work and out of stabilization and out of your friends circle is quite a while, isn’t it?

At the same time I really really really wanna make this project happen.

What should I do now?

Rio (Ryjewo), 30 August 2015

About last weekend and identity issue

During the weekend I decided to cut myself off a bit from Girl on Bike, its FB fanpage, money collection etc. Of course I have not managed to do it 100% and I checked FB and Polak Potrafi’s platform from time to time, but I have not sent a single “work” e-mail. But I’ve done a lot of other stuff and again magic things started to happen!

I went to visit my granny on Saturday. And suddenly, out of the blue, we started to talk with granny about the past and granma told me a lot of family stories. So I slowly started to analyze what is going on and it looks like I am: 1/4 from current Podkarpacie (granny Halina), 1/4 from where my parents currently live (grandpa Bruno), 1/4 from Zamojszczyzna (grandpa Roman) and 1/4 from Warmia (granny Maria). Which makes qiute an interesting mix and explains a bit my constant need of moving around!

So on Saturday I was listening to the stories of my greatgrandparents and greatgreatgrandparents (from my granny’s side), stories about Katyn, Lviv, Argentina, Detroid, Warsaw reconstruction, displacements, Russian soldiers etc. etc. The biggest (and most amazing!) surprise was a diary of my greatgrandpa (my granny’s dad), which I have received from granny. We’ve talked about it years ago, but the diary itself did not belong to grandma. She knew however that I’m interested in our family’s story and I’m a bit rummaging in our past. So she has extracted it for me. Amazing! The diary of my greatgrandpa Jozef, who started writing it at a day of his wedding with my greatgrandma Stefania at 10 April 1939. I had tears in my eyes!

With granny Halina listening to family stories

And on Sunday I took my whole family for a trip to Kadyny. Kadyny – a place where my dad used to live for the first 10 years of his life (0 to 10). So we went there and my dad was telling us – here was a school (a restaurant now), here was a dayroom where I have watched “Winnetou” for the first time and I cried my heart out, and here is Bazynski’s Oak Tree – second oldest oak tree in Poland, here was wood depot where I used to play with my buddies, here was a playground where we played football.. And we were driving through this tiny village (of around 450 inhabitants right now), dad was spinning the stories, I was taking the pictures, and we all were listening. And eventually we have decided to ring the doors, where dad lived as a child and where he has not been since… 1970! One day in the past I have met the woman who lives there right now – Ms Magda at the Congress of Women in Elblag and she had invited me/us to visit herself one day. And that’s how I have introduced myself now. We stayed there for half an hour, told each other different stories, started to getting to know each other a bit. Dad asked to take a picture of him unter the grapevine, where he had exactly the same one taken (exactly!) 50 years ago! I need to find it now and put the two of them together.

Dad and grapevine
Dad and grapevine

We went to the nearby beach after that and then to Pogrodzie, where dad was born (I know now in which house exactly!), and to Tolkmicko, where was was supposed to go to the fourth grade, but then his parents have moved to Ryjewo (Rio).

I’m writing this all not to forget, to keep memory of those moments. Becasue I believe they are quite magical and we need to collect such magical memories.

Rio (Ryjewo), 23 August 2015

Damien Hirst “New Religion”

 

Yesterday was exactly one month to go (to my bike trip). It’s been already the second time of “one month to go”, so I didn’t do any special action this time. But I did my own celebration – my friend Yaelle visited me in Rio and we went to Gdańsk together, mainly to see Damien Hirst’s exhibition “New Religion” presented in Łaźnia Centre of Contemporary Art. The exhibition is tiny, presents the artpiece and a movie about the artist himself.

I didn’t know Hirst’s works until now. Maybe I’ve seen some of them but I didn’t remember. So I actually went to this exhibition with a lot of curiousity and an open mind. The entrance to the exhibition was already quite interesting:

 

Damien Hirst "New Religion"

Watching the movie about Hirst, I thought about this very famous quote of Albert Einstein “Everyone knows that something cannot be done until someone comes along who doesn’t know that it’s impossible, and does it.”. And that can probably relate to Hirst’s art as well although there is a lot of artistic insolence and conviction about his own uniqeness in it.

I noted also a few other sentences from the movie:

  • “art should activate the reaction
  • “the essence of art is an amazement
  • “art is a way to make comment about the world”.

And I actually think that this is exactly how I perceive art and why I like to go to different kind of exhibitions and art events.

Hirst is definitely not the favourite artist of mine – I can already say so. But:

  • he definitely activated the REACTION in me with “New Religion” – bringing a lot of associations, memories, references and comments;
  • he aroused the AMAZEMENT (decidedly!);
  • he made a COMMENT about a piece of the world he was looking at – and gave the audience a space to react – in their own minds or in the conversations with the others.

Everyone can read this artpiece in a different way. I usually read art in the simpliest possible way, from my very personal perspective – built of my own experiences and the way how I see and observe the world around me. In this particular case – talking about medicine as a new religion has appealed to me a lot.

The world of Hirst’s and mine are two different ones. But somehow I was able to find in his art a piece of my world. Turning from the religion and faith into medicine and sciene is a positive turn visible in (so called) Western culture, which I’m a part of – as I was born and raised in here. We trust medicine more and more and at the same time we believe ourselves and the people around less. The doctors became new gods and the pills they “serve” are new hosts that aim in giving a relief to all our pains. It reminded me the scene from the movie “Amy” after Amy was rewarded the Grammy Award and the party was over, she was sitting sad on the stage and said to a friend of hers: “You know, it’s so boring here without drugs”.

I think that there is a lot of power in her words – the addiction to constant emotions, actions, beauty – all the emotions the Western culture is feeding us with, and inability to deal with the lack of them at the same time.

Hirst is talking about a similiar action-reaction in the context of drugs. And maybe that’s why I quite valued this artpiece of him.

 

Damien Hirst "God"

The exhibition is presented in Łaźnia Centre of Contemporary Art in Gdańsk, Jaskółcza St. 1, until 27 September.

Rio (Ryjewo), 16 September 2015.

What have the sisters been invented for?

I made up such a plan. I’ll try to have the project on Polak Potrafi ready on Thursday and slowly slowly, no telling it officially to anyone, I’ll try to collect the first one thousand (which is 20% of what I need) until the end of the weekend. The first step worked out – the project was up and running on Thursday morning and my sister was the one to make the first payment. But not only has she made the payment, but she has also written about it on her FB wall: “my sista wants to make her dream come true but needs some dough” attaching the link to the . And then it started! An avalanche I’ve been completely not ready for. Some shares, first payments and after two hours I had… 450 PLN! So not only almost half of what I wanted to have until the end of the weekend, but also with so many positive emotions that I didn’t actually know how to handle that! But at the same time I didn’t know how to operate the system as suddenly there have been many different options that didn’t really work together with each other, so I started panicking..

Then comes my sista again. Sooo mastered. She sits down next to me and says “Chill down, give it to me, I’ll log in and check what’s going on”. And I think this is what the sisters have been invented for: to be next to you the-moment-you-need-them-the-most-but-you-didn’t-know-it-was-going-to-be-then. So we kept sitting together, talking and solving the problems. I eventually answered everything I could, chatted with a lot of people and regreted a bit that I couldn’t meet them here and now what would be just wonderful (and which made me grew a bit sad). The inability of having the situation under control on my own (the system was getting a bit crazy), made me decide to write the message to Polak Potrafi and point out all my questions. In the meantime my sister said “I go to paint the fence now” and was gone. She left me alone, staring at the computer and pushing the “refresh” button pending the answer from Polak Potrafi. But I eventually decided that it doesn’t really make much sense, so I joined her. And we’ve painted the fence together. In brown (obviously I was a bit dissapointed it was not in pink!).

my sista & me!
My sista & me: “fresh paint”

Polak Potrafi repaired the system in the meantime and at the end of the day I got 710 PLN collected, which was already 14% of what I need to collect in total.

Thank you Karolina, Marta, Małgosia, Kamila, Beata, Justyna, Asia, Daniel, Maja and Adam! You made my day yesterday! ❤

Rio (Ryjewo), 14 August 2015

one month

dream with your heart

Yesterday was exactly one month sine Girl on Bike came alive. Or maybe on-line I should say. A month ago I have submitted the first project proposal to Polak Potrafi, I got immediatelly rejected, fell into despair and a couple of hours later that I’m going to fight for this dream until it will either get fulfilled or dead.

This project sometime really crosses all my possible expectations. Sometime so much that I really just feel like taking this bike and running away, not to face every-day-growing-before-you-leave-to-do-list and all possible questions-tasks-challenges I myself give to myself. On the other hand it has released so much of a positive energy that it’s kind of difficult to believe. So many beautiful things have happened.

And if I had to say what is THE ONE THING I like about this project the most, I’d say its inclusiveness and how much positivene associations it brings. And that it has those different parts of “joyful” and “thankful” facebook fanpage and more “emotional” and “documentative” blogging part.

And you can talk about this project with everyone, and everyone will feel included and will have a right to comments. This is somethig I didn’t think about at the very beggining of this story. Becasue if someone like bike rides or any other sportish stuff, there is something about it in here. If someone likes to read and likes the other people – likewise. If someone likes challenges, it’s challenges every day. And if someone likes  girl and women related project, then there is A LOT about it.

But most of all it’s a project about emotions. And passion. And dreams. And joy. And that’s what connects us all, isn’t it?

what we all want in life

Rio (Ryjewo), 11 August 2015

This is your life

This is your life

I was skimming over my Facebook wall today, like we all do every day. Then suddenly I saw this picture above posted by my friend Shaun; it started with “This is your life” sentence, so I immediatelly decided to continue reading it. And eventually got inspired enough to write this blog post.

Can I call Shaun a friend? Not really, I guess. I kept seeing him from time to time during those beautiful months I’ve spent at Abraham Hostel in Jerusalem. Yes, he was very handsome and very tall and had those beautiful long dreadlocks. So every time he was around and was saying “Hi!” to me, I was blasting and forgetting all the smart and interesting things I could (should?) have said. And after that I was thinking “Damn it! I could have said XXX and XYZ! Stupid me!”. Oh well… Shit happens.

So I can’t really call Shaun a friend becasue we have never had a proper conversation, and – yes – it was not Shaun’s fault at all. It also took me days of thinking whether I should invite him to my FB friends or not (like a teenage girl, I know! But I couldn’t help myself!). But I eventually did. And he accepted! Yay! It never changed anything and didn’t lead to any kind of propoer conversation, but when I saw this picture today on FB, I knew immediatelly, why I was supposed to meet him on my way not that long time ago. Becasue this picture came just in a right moment.

“This is my life” – is a sentence I have to learn and remember very well. To be able to defend myself when I’m being asked “What for are you doing all of this?”. This picture gives all the answers I believe in and want and try hard to follow. I should even try to memorize it!

“Do what you love and do it often” it says. It’s exactly the opposite to the what the culture and the system I grew up in has taught me so far. I’ve learnt to be humble and not too brave, and I’m a very good student. I’ve learnt how much it hurts when you try to do what you love but you fail. I had to pay for every mistake I made, the system doesn’t accept the loosers. “What for were you pursuing yourself so hard?” I’ve heard every time I was trying something new and I failed. It made me stop saying  that I was trying. But it never did stop me from trying. And I learnt, very quickly, that I’m only allowed to speak, when I succeed. With this new lesson I quickly started to build my image of a successful girl. The failures were known to me only.

One of the most difficult decisions I had to make in my life was quitting my job to travel. Yes, travelling is what love, that’s for sure. So I always kept travelling, I can’t complain. But was I really living my dream life? No, I wasn’t.

The decision was hard not only becasue of the uncertainty it brought. I didn’t know what I was going to tell the people. What for have I quit my job? For having an idea of travelling, but not really a plan. Some people even say that it was an extreme decision – I actually never thought about it in such categories. I rather think that I matured to it eventually. Although it costed me a lot to take this deep breath to immerse into unknown. What has helped me? The most important sentence I’ve ever heard in my life and I keep it now as the most precious treasure in my heart. When discussing all the hesitations with my dad, I eventually heard from him “I wouldn’t quit job if I were you. But this is your life and your decision. And whatever you choose to do, remember, that I will support you, no matter what”. Yes, dad. In that one single sentence you made me eventually make up my mind. You made me brave enough to try.

Have I no fears? I do have. A lot! All kinds of them. I had over two hours long skype conversation with my friend B. from Palestine yesterday. At one moment she had said “Thanks for sharing this, Kasia. I thought I was the only person in the world who has fears. Nobody talks about it. And becasue I want to be a strong woman and I want to be perceived like one, I feel that I am not allowed to have fears”. No, B., you know already that I also have a lot of fears! And I guess we are not the only ones that do have.

Should I name some of them? Like when travelling to an unknown country I’m afraid to be sexually harrased.Like what I’m going to do when my bike will brake during my bike trip and I will have no idea how to fix it on the way and there will be no one to help. Like when sleeping in a stranger’s house, I’m afraid that he is maybe going to abuse me. Like what if I will not have a place to stay and I’ll have to sleep in a tent in a middle of nowhere and I’m really really afraid of sleeping in a tent alone. Like being raped (the worst fear of all). Like the one that I will lose my friends becasue I will be abroad for too long and we will not manage to keep friends anymore; and I will be lonely. Like the one that the people closest to me will die. Like being terribly lonely. Like I will be somewhere on the other side of the world and something terrible will happen here and I will not be able to help. Like generally speaking not being able to help. Like becasue of the life I chose for now, I will not have home one day, but not in the terms of a building, but in terms of emotions. Like I can enumerate countlessly.

The question I keep asking myself  is whether I want to stop myself of living MY LIFE because of those fears. And if I will be happier not travelling and not being exposed to face those fears. The answer, so far, is “NO”. And I’m not saying that this is a recipe for everyone. Certainly not. But it is for me, I guess.

Why did I want to post this? To tell some people who see me as this extremely happy, very successful and always laughing girl, that yes, you are right, guys. I am happy becasue I chose to. I am successful becasue that’s how I see my life and I do laugh a lot because it helps me to deal with my fears. But all of this doesn’t mean that I have no fears, emotions or hesitations. I do. We all do. And strong women do as well. And we all have right to doubt.

Have a nice day, B.! That’s for you:

courage and fear

Rio (Ryjewo), Poland, 8 August 2015

I, the product

I’ve been to Poland for 2,5 weeks now. My “to do list” has already 1,5 pages. And it keeps growing. I’ve been laughing at myself today – from the day when I was writing about my kibbutz experience and how I was reading this article about self-discipline and how much unreal it seemed back then. I guess that it was a laugh through tears because I myself have made this situation happen. Becasue nobody has forced me to do anything, nobody told me “you have to do it”. Well, but I don’t want to spend the whole days in bed, I guess. The new travel plan will not make it happen on its own..

So I’m meeting a lot of people, talk with them, I write a lot of e-mails, I’m working on all social media platforms, I’m learnign, I correspond, I run this fanpage and… I don’t write. Anything. I just realize that there is no space in me to write, because there are so many other things to do, so “write a blog post” is usually at the end of my to do list. Which was not the point at the beginning of this story. I’m even bigger fan of Sylwia Chutnik now – she is  hero doing everything what she is doing and being able to find herself in this creative mode, which requires space.

I think a lot about this bike trip. And about everything I’m doing to get ready. I have already made up the stories, explanations, alibi. Everything sounds so good already and everybody believes in this story. Everybody keeps their fingers crossed. How about me?

I keep thinking, where am I in all this. Do I still know how to stop and be amazed by the moment? Do I know, how to – here and now, in Warsaw – lose time with no regretes? How to get back this time I have negiated with life before being back to Poland? It’s 17.41 right now, I’m sitting in Tel Aviv Cafe in Warsaw (it’s my seventh hour in here), I had three meetings, in two languages, there were a lot of smart words and a lot of knowledge I gained today. But have many times have I laughed today? How many times have I been looking into the space, thoughlessly? How many times have I been amazed today? The best moment of today: 30 minutes of bike ride from Wilanow to the city center. So many beautiful ideas I had in my mind then!

There is this Argentinian book called “Si me querés, quereme transa” in Spaninsh, but the Polish title is “Ja, transa”, which in English would sound “I, transa”. A really good book. I recently laughed to Nikodem that I could call myself “I, the grass” (ja, trawa in Polish) becasue of all those blogish-facebookish photos of myself laying down in the grass. After today I started to think abotu the new piece of my identity called “I, the product”. And I still don’t know, how I feel about it.

Warsaw, Poland, 5 August 2015

Out of the comfort zone

I just realized that this whole project is for me so much about going out of my comfort zone and there are so many moments when I totally don’t know how to deal with it. So today was the day of planning a film scenario for Polak Potrafi. And I keep reading this scenario and thinking “it’s so much not me”. Me myself I cannot believe that in what I want to do, but on the other hand I want it so much. So I constantly keep searching for a way to make someone else’s believe instead of me and make it all happen – this whole campaign and promotion of myself. I just want to take my bike and go, meet people, talk, volunteer – do everything what I’m good at. Kind of run away! Because I totally don’t know how to manage with what is happening right now. So I can only hope that one day I will get down here on the picture, but I’m totally not there yet:

where the magic happens

So I’ve been to Krakow those last six days and it felt so good in there. Now I’m back to Warsaw and here it’s only wotk, work, work – oh, so much Warsaw-like!

And now it’s middle of the night and I keep working, and working, and working…

Warsaw, Poland, 2 August 2015

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