April 28, 2009

The Festival, backstage

After becoming friends with the maintenance guy from the tower in the Main Square in Krakow and taking some neat pics (I was up there once again, after having confessed here, and not in front of my boss, that I'm claustrophobic), I also did the following: climbed a roof during one of our concerts, climbed up&out the windows of a club in Plac Nowy in Krakow and then climbed a wall, the way Ania had taught me in Transformator. Only this time I did it without any ropes, and with the camera hanging around my neck.
I have a few bluish-greenish-purplish bruises that I'm not particulary proud of, but then again it's been fun and unexpected and this whole experience proves two things: I can write under pressure (but that I already knew) and I'm still fit (had some doubts about, as I haven't been training in Trafo for so long).
Also, I have a state of confusion which cannot be blamed on any of the above mentioned activities, since none of the bruises is to be found on my head, or inside it, for that matter. My older and much wiser friend, J., thinks it's all because I'm so frivolous. She may be right.

The real face of Ligota reloaded

These past few days in Krakow have taught me an essential lesson. I had to go all this way to discover what a treasure I have in Kato. The thing is, when dealing with cultural events, when hanging out with writers / artists / singers & other performers in this field, there's not much of a difference, wherever you do that. Of course, it's a matter of nuances, but this world has rules of its own, and they are somewhat universal, they pretty much function in the same way.
That's why, if my scholarship would have been in Warsaw or in Krakow, I probably wouldn't have discovered Poland the way I did in my beloved Ligota. I've learnt so many things here, I got to know this country from a completely different perspective, I met some wonderful people and due to our meeting I got the goods on this culture. Not to mention they were the best language teachers one could dream of. And I felt adopted and accepted here, we've shared some stories and others are yet to be shared. I know now that my days here in Kato are numbered. One month left to write my paper, a short but hopefully fruitful trip back to Bucharest in June, and by the end of it I'll have my second BA, then it's back to Kato for a few more weeks, and then Warsaw.
But now I'm 100% convinced this will be my oasis, the place where I'll long to come back. I just don't know if I'll ever find a way to thank them for everything they've given me, sometimes maybe even without knowing it.

April 26, 2009

Most of the times

I dislike not saying goodbye just as much as I dislike saying it.

April 25, 2009


When I was proposed to work for the Festival, I forgot to mention I was claustrophobic. Actually, I didn't forget, I just didn't find this piece of information relevant. That's why it's not in my CV, either, but maybe it should be. Because I had to climb these stairs:

To get here:

And beg the maintenance guy to open the window on the roof so I can step out and take this picture. He also begged me not to fall as that would have been quite disturbing, and most likely we would've both lost our jobs.

Kinda cool, isn't it?

April 23, 2009

Ready, set, go!

Half an hour ago I arrived in Krakow, for the Festival. The fact that I'm already online is the best proof of my addiction. Then again, I'm working and my work here is mostly related to online stuff, so I have an excuse and my mind is at peace. Actually, I can't remember the last time I've been so zen. All other activities have been put on hold. Probably out of reflex I'll feel like taking a walk to the tent later on at night, but of course the tent will be just fine without me, as it's been for the past ten years. Stopped thinking about my paper and my writing, about the exams I have to take when I go back home, the tests awaiting for me in Kato, at the end of May.
So it's time for one last lazy coffee in a lovely little (Irish) pub in Stare Miasto - maybe this is my sixth sense, finding Irish pubs the very minute I set foot in a new town.
This Festival is more than an opportunity to get back to the kind of work that I like and that I'm quite good at. In a way, it's the calm before the storm. In a manner of speaking, because it won't be calm at all, and it will probably drain my energy, but it helps putting all other things in order. Because the best way of putting things in order is not thinking about them.

April 20, 2009

Nothing but good news

My very good friend Veronica, who lives & works & plays cool in Paris, is coming to visit at the beginning of May. The decision was spontaneous and delightful:
me: I miss you, I miss talking to you until we grow tired of all that talking.
vero: wait a sec
(I wait)
vero: here: Paris - Beauvais 07. May 2009 20:50 Katowice 07. May 2009 22:45
(via Y!M)
We've been waiting for so long (me, my imaginary friend, and probably the rest of the Anonymous fan club) but it's been worth being patient. The big announcement has been made a few days ago: I've just signed with the Isabel White Literary Agency. Weeeee :) Congrats, man! Time to pop the bourbon!!
(via http://www.myspace.com/bookwithnoname)
Dropkick Murphys in concert, Warsaw, July 12. I am so there!!!
(via Tomek)

April 18, 2009

Poets' corner


one abortion was bad luck
two abortions is, like, totally uncool
three abortions is you're being downright stupid

i don't really know you anymore
know not who you're hanging out with
what ever happened to your artistic ventures?

you freaked out you say
you cracked
lost all joy

i think to myself (this you don't know)
you never let me kiss you
not even touch your hair

i tell you on the phone (this you hear barely,
because of the cheap calling card)
that three is being downright stupid

you cry and suddenly
you're next to me
wetting my shoulder

we are older and what was light wear
turns into scratches and tear
our backpacks are not fashionable anymore

heavy burden, broken dreams
in ziploc bags standing
at the very bottom of our frozen hearts

i can't afford to fly there
and embrace this avalanche with you
you are a faint broken voice on a speaker

until a woman's voice speaking spanish
is saying something like credit is over
and then i heard a busy tone

bruce silverton
you can read more young american poetry here


i love you most of all vegetables
i'm going to chow down my vegetables
vacuum cleaners in the sun are delicious also

i hope you'll toss me a carrot
i love you most of all
watering the plants in spring is informing

tell me the name of your favourite vegetable?

from the King himself, Fakekarl. Superb, as always.

The real face of Ligota

Lately, my neighborhood here in Kato, Ligota, started to resemble Vama Veche. For the non-Romanian readers out there, check this out first.

Vama Veche is / was (this “is / was” thing is one of the endless debates, which you can hear back in Ro once spring starts and everybody plans going to the seaside. Is VV still what it used to be? is it still worth going there? Is the spirit still alive? I dunno and at this moment I don’t care, for this debate is leading nowhere and also it has little relevance for my theory) a small village down by the sea, which started off as a hip-hippie-anti-establishment meeting/melting pot back in the 70s and has pretty much remained a meeting/melting pot, there’s still some hippies around, young and old, and for the rest of it people of al musical / sexual / political orientations.

The best part about VV is this: you get out of your house (if you’re renting a room somewhere), of your tent (camping on the beach is illegal, but that never stopped anyone) or your sleeping bag (if you decide to fully enjoy nature and spend the night out), take a few steps, and you’re on some terrace. Without a doubt, you’ll see some familiar faces. And stop with them for a beer. You take a walk on the shore, you run into some other people you’ve met at some point in your life (even if you don’t exactly remember when and where) or, on the contrary, into your best friend who just decided overnight to show up in the little village, so you sit down at the next terrace and have another beer. Another few steps towards the Bulgarian border, another 10 ex/future/potential friends. Theoretically, it shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes to walk from one end of the village to the other. But it can take up your entire day without even knowing it. And of course, the terraces are open until morning, so you do have the option to dance & drink in the sand 'till sunrise.

Ligota doesn’t have a sea, but it does have a lake and a pool, and it doesn’t have sand, but it has the forest. And of course it has the pubs. Not only the tent, but also Panorama (if you’re hungry, that’s about the only place that can solve the problem), Kompresor (which pretty much looks like grandma’s yard, if grandma sold beer) and Lesniciowka (the newest, and one of the prettiest). And everybody knows everybody. You can’t just go out to have a beer without running into someone who’s had the same idea, at about the same time. And from one beer to the next, you can lose track of time and figure out it’s night already, so it’s time to grab your friends and go out for a beer. Or join the Spanish students who are barbecuing in the small park in front of the akademik.

Not bad, come to think about. The only thing that worries me is that both Vama Veche and Ligota induce a holiday-like behavior, which can pretty much kill the intellectual / proactive / energetic buzz. That’s why lately life has become a struggle with yielding to temptations.

Thank God you're a man!

Sometimes I'm a fool for commercials. Luckily, I don't get that very often.
Even though I'm not a big fan of beer, and I drink it only because there's not much of an option in the tent and I don't really hang out in other places, even though sometimes, after a busy day at work, I don't really want to see beer, not to mention taste it, I'd still be willing to try this Goldstar thing.
Just because I think the ads kick ass.

Advertising Agency: McCann Erickson, Tel Aviv, Israel
photos: http://adsoftheworld.com

April 10, 2009

Career shift

At the end of April, for one whole week, I'm trading beer kegs, orders and the cash register for press releases, conferences and parties.
This morning, I was proposed to work on the PR campaign for the Romanian Culture Festival, held in Krakow, and organized by the Romanian Cultural Institute in Warsaw.
I'm finally getting back to doing what I know best (although after all these months spent in the tent, I'm quite a skilled bartender. Not to mention my pretty outfits).
Check out the program and if you happen to be around, pay us a visit :)

April 9, 2009

We have a winner!

I'm much happier now. Partly because Kato has finally decided to join the rest of the world and celebrate spring, partly because my call for applications has been closed. I'm also advancing with my writing, slower than desired but anyway there is some progress, we're on a holiday so that means I can just hang out in Ligota without having to go to the city center, the tent is crowded as never before and we started selling ice cream, maybe soon we'll also have beer popsicles.
I might be on the right track towards inner peace and equilibrium, and how wonderful that would be. Almost too good to be true :)

April 4, 2009

I want!!!


The Book With No Name
T-shirt competition started by the Red Bubble website

Now if you asked me, I would've loved a tee inspired by page 98 of the bookie, but then again I only got this idea after seeing quigonjim's fine piece of work, so I guess I'm not really entitled to comment or to make pretense. I'm just saying that page 98 is cool, and I'd wear it :)
I just dunno if I should go for cranberry or baby blue.

April 3, 2009

Never again

will I complain about not having a life.
Because my neighbors (other neighbors, not the ones with the b-day party and the horrid music) have taught me the real meaning of having no life. They've been out on the balcony since this morning, and what a wonderful sight it is, that of 10 guys in shorts, drinking beer and applauding the passersby. The postman was the most successful act of the day, he was acclaimed for two minutes or so, followed closely by some girl with a huge green backpack and the DHL guy.
I can only hope they won't make a habit out of it.

April 2, 2009

Indoor activities

My neighbor from across the street (actually the door opposite to mine, but I like to pretend the akademik is a small village) is having a party. The music is growling, the strums of the guitars omen the apocalypse and everybody's screaming kurwa. No other words are uttered. I think it's his birthday party. As I was in a very good mood today, I thought of baking him a nice cake in the kitchen down the street, wear an all-pink outfit and my best smile and drop by to say hello-happy b-day-kurwa, but I was afraid my ears would start bleeding if I get any closer to that door. I had to go out and pick my stuff from the laundry down the street, and passing his door gave me a short but intense headache, so early in the afternoon I gave up the idea of being nice to my neighbor.
Instead, I focused on some of my favourite indoor activities. I spent almost the entire day writing about Polish poetry of the Warsaw ghetto, reading about the ghetto - facts and fiction - and took a break every now and then to add something to my bookie. I took a nap in the afternoon (this is luxury) and woke up when the DHL delivery guy knocked on my door, with a suprise pack from Maxi, who sent me a very intriguing book and ladybird chocolates.
Tomorrow I might consider outdoor activities. I'll take Herbert (my imaginary dog) out for a walk in the forest, spin the pois around, as it's been a while since I last did that, and feed the ducks and/or the wild boars.

I need inspiration. My colleague from Nigeria told me Africa is inspirational. I'm considering applying for a volunteer program there. Actually, for the past two months I've been thinking about leaving Europe for a while, and becoming a volunteer is the best scenario I could come up with. It may be just the thing I need now. Some time ago, when I told Maxi about this, she was one of the few people who didn't tell me it's a stupid idea. Instead, she told me this: "you always seem to look for that very thing which will keep you excited for a long time or at least until you've got a new idea". How accurate is that?

I like this month. It has a very promising beginning.


Eight years ago, when I was still in high school and had no idea what the future holds, I was on a summer school where I met my first Polish friend. On the last night, instead of goodbye, he told me “Maybe someday we’ll meet again. Life writes many interesting scenarios”. I haven’t seen Oskar ever since, but today I thought about him, because his prediction came true. I’m a fool for coincidences.

Three years ago, when I first came to Poland – for a summer school, by the way – I was so lucky to have had the very best teacher in the world. His perfect teaching skills are still a mystery to me. I’ve met other gifted professors, but none of them had such an impact on my life. He encouraged me to keep learning Polish, telling me I was really talented and it would be a pity to give up. So I didn’t give up. More than that, I became a student of Polish Philology, even though I had sworn I wouldn’t set foot in the University of Bucharest after graduating Ro & En Philology. I never met Pan Jelonkiewicz again, never got the chance to tell him how he’s changed my life and to thank him.

Last year, at the beginning of the semester here in Kato, we were asked to write a short composition about our first impressions on Polish people. In love with Warsaw, in love with the language, I wrote about the beginning of my Polish adventure. And of course about my teacher. It was a very pretty text, honest even though somewhat naive, in the way you get to write texts when your vocabulary is, let’s say, that of a 6 year-old. Nevertheless, they did publish it in the little magazine they edit in the School of Polish Language. So I guess it was quite good.

Two days ago, after a talk with my teacher in Bucharest, I figured out I had no future (I’m also a fool for exaggerations, things were not that bad, but I actually enjoy being a drama queen and creating the darkest possible scenarios. This week’s plan was to start working in a mine here in Silesia and to stop going to school, for good). I had given up the thought of going to England, because I knew that if I take a break from studying Polish in its natural habitat, it will be forever. And I’m not ready to break up with Poland. The details of our discussion are irrelevant, the main point is that I was on my own again, and having no one to turn to, I turned to the people in the Polish School of Language here in Kato.

So today I had a little talk with Pani Dyrektor. She told me that if I want to stay in Kato, she can help me with that. But we both knew that all this time I wanted something else. My body had to be here (the body signed a contract it would be in Kato until the end of July), but my heart and my mind were somewhere else. So she told me that if I want to go to Warsaw, Pan Jelonkiewicz would help me for sure. I was surprised to hear his name in this context, even though I should've known better, and I wasn’t that sure he'd help me, especially since I wasn’t even sure he remembered who I was. And then she told me that the last time they met, she gave him the little magazine. And he read my honest and naive text. Which made him very, very happy. And he knew very well who I was. I was also informed that he said very nice things about me. After the holidays I’ll finally meet him face to face and tell him everything I wanted to tell him. And I’m also going to Warsaw, for good.

Which is really awesome, since I’m not at all convinced I would’ve made a good miner.