Here’s the latest episode of our summer/winter reflective series “12 things I’ve learnt living 12 months in Poland“.
5. How to live without a backyard
For an Australian, your own backyard seems to be a rite of passage. Even in my student share houses, there was always a backyard, usually under-used and overgrown. I hardly knew anyone who lived in an apartment – that’s something only for rich, inner-city, business people. Here in Poland (and the majority of the world), that equation is rather reversed. Continue Reading →
Here’s the next instalment of our summer/winter reflective series, with Wendy looking back at her year as a migrant in Poland: “12 things I’ve learnt living 12 months in Poland“.
4. To look beyond the blocks
A few kilometers from the charming medieval Kraków city center, things start looking very different. Take a trip to Łódź or Katowice and you just can’t ignore that things look… Continue Reading →
Here’s the next bite of our summer/winter reflective series “12 things I’ve learnt living 12 months in Poland“.
3. If it ain’t broke, fix it!
While the modern shopping mall is now a completely normal part of capitalistic life in Poland, unlike back home, it is still possible to meet all of your needs without entering these shiny temples of consumption. In fact, absolutely unlike life in Australia, it is still possible (and affordable) to get most things repaired, instead of throwing away and buying new.
Here’s the second course of our summer/winter reflective series “12 things I’ve learnt living 12 months in Poland“.
2. Eat and cook to the seasons
The ever changing, more extreme seasons of Poland, mean you’d better just embrace whatever time of year it is to the fullest while it’s here. Poland has taught me that this also ought to include your everyday eating. Continue Reading →
We’re trying a new technique 😉 Rather than posting one mega article that’s just too long to read, we’re going to feed you this one in bite-sized pieces across a summer/winter (depending what hemisphere you’re reading from!) series – hopefully keeping you hungry for more! The series is a reflection piece Wendy put together looking back on her first year living in Poland: ’12 things I’ve learnt living 12 months in Poland’. Smacznego!
Tuesday, November 1st, 2016: Poles flocked to the cemeteries to place candles on the graves of the departed and reflect on life, death, loss and love. On All Saints Day, a national holiday, these sites of grey stones, narrow passageways and quiet resting are transformed into bustling hubs of family meetings, large floral displays and as the afternoon darkness of night settles, the twinkle of thousands of candle lights to mark each life with memory. The smell of melted wax is thick and sweet on the air, escaping from the gaudy, modern plastic lanterns, in the competition to see who’s relative’s grave will have the candle burning the longest.
While I don’t have graves of relatives to visit here, the day was also a time of reflection for me, as it marks one year since I crossed the border from Belarus into the country that I’d travelled half the world over without a plane to reach. I’ve lived in Poland one year now – a whole 4 seasons getting ready to repeat their turns. So let me think a little about what I’ve learnt in this time, in this place…
1. To see the beauty in every season
“My name is Marina,” laughs the girl in dungarees, standing behind a table covered with small jars containing spices. She switches back to Russian. “My friends and I were experimenting at home with different methods of making coffee and then we decided we needed more guests!”
Marina is a founding member of the collective behind Addis Coffee, a Saint Petersburg coffee workshop running on a pay-as-you-feel donation system. The workshop is ‘underground’ St Pete literally, being located in a series of rooms that were once a bomb shelter. Marina and the team have renovated the space, so it now feels very homely with blanket covered couches, board games and a guitar they welcome musical guests to use.
China is often shrouded in stigmas and stereotypes. From the outside heading in, I had an idea of what I expected to see. However, we found China to be a massive and multifaceted place, full of surprises. Here, we’ve selected some images that might help shift your thinking or broaden your perspective of China 2015.
Our second month in Indonesia was completely different. We left behind the isolated communities living slow-paced lives on the beaches and in the mountains of the distant east, barely touched by the global world and its brutal economies (if you missed that part of our travel, click here). Now we were getting to the core, to the heart of the country alike the Roman Empire bonding vast lands and most diverse cultures – and I imagine going from borderlands on the shores of Black Sea to Rome in the year 100 A.D. would look similar. We got close to the place most Indonesians from the East will never afford to travel to, but if they have electricity they often see it on the TV full of whitened faces and straightened hair – Java.
But let’s start from the beginning.
During our visit we met a bunch of passionate people with exciting ideas to help shape the future of Timor-Leste. While you’ll find plenty of foreign aid workers in this new country, surely the Timor of tomorrow is best shaped by those who know it best: Timorese people. Here is a brief look at just some of the cool projects we discovered:
– Arte Moris: walking in off the dusty streets of Dili into the Arte Moris gardens is like arriving in the Berlin underground art scene… In a tropical jungle?! Amazing sculptures made almost entirely of collected rubbish. Litter is everywhere in Timor-Leste, with waterways often looking more like rubbish tips. There is no waste system in place and at best it’ll be burned (which of course isn’t good at all!). So to find people using this rubbish as the raw material to make something beautiful is really exciting. The team of artists who live and work at Atre Moris (the vibe is totally ‘artists squat’), run workshops to encourage local youth in creative expression, interwoven with themes surrounding the environment. Inside we caught an exhibition of two local artists, giving insight into daily life in Dili. Other works combine traditional handicrafts into modern works.
Usually, before coming to a country or region I like to learn as much as I can about the place. This time was different, we got immersed in a place completely different from almost anything we’d seen before and just then we could start learning about it. The reality of Dili, followed by the history of this youngest capital and country in Asia appeared to be really complex – fascinating, shocking and welcoming at the same time.