Thinking outside the box: Iran

Hi, guys! Today is a perfect day to write a post. I bet you wonder what’s so special about Saturday. Well, many things – it’s like a gate between crazy Friday and calming Sunday, and still quite far from Monday, but that’s not exactly my reason. Mine is different. We can’t wait for perfect conditions because they rarely do come, so it’s way better to take everything in our hands, and make it happen somehow. Such a small thing to write a post, but I did make it happen. Points for me and for progress! I believe it turns out to be a very beneficial attitude, so give it a try if you’re looking for a change. Anyway, coming straight to the point – today’s topic is Iran. It’s a country in Western Asia. Its capital is called Tehran, and its population is estimated at 78 million. The official religion is Islam, but Iranians are proud descendants of powerful Persia Empire. Iran seems to be one of less known countries out there, and what’s unknown becomes more dangerous in our eyes than it really is. That’s probably what helped the cavemen survive, but that stage of evolution is behind us, so it’s time we thought  outside the box. Countries are more than their governments, and even though their uniqueness has many elements I assume the most important one is the people. As a Polish girl from a small town I don’t have many chances of meeting foreigners, but sometimes it does happen. Thanks God! I believe every time we encounter a new way of thinking, we become enriched ourselves, so I was happy to have met Mahsa when she was in Poland. Due to her natural kindness, I had a pleasure to talk with her about differences between Iran and Poland and also about her home country itself. When asked about what is particularly contrasting between these two countries she pointed out “the weather, the language, the religion, and freedom in the way of dressing”. Poland is rainy, Christian and quite Western regarding outfits’ norms while Iran’s sunny, rarely rainy, Islamic and conservative when it comes to the way people, especially women, dress. What were the other questions I asked her? Find out below!

Me: What was the funniest situation that happened to you in Poland?
Mahsa: When I first went to the classroom I thought it looked more like a party since the students were wearing short skirts and had so much makeup on. It was kinda funny to me.
Me: Ach, I can see what you mean. What do you consider the greatest Iranian and Polish absurds?
Mahsa:  There are so many of this absurd rules in Iran. For example, even if you aren’t a Muslim, you should wear hijab (headscarf) in Iran. Women cannot go to the stadium to watch a volleyball match etc. There are so many of them that I cannot even count them, we don’t know the reasons either, please don’t ask me, ask the people in charge. In Poland, I didn’t encounter that many unpleasant behaviors, just a few. For example, once I gave a kind of sweet to someone as a souvenir and said my goodbyes to go to the other city, but she called me an hour later (even if her English wasn’t good and she couldn’t talk to me, so I passed my phone to my Polish friend) and said there was something in it that she didn’t like and was allergic to it. In my culture, it isn’t nice to do so and we never talk about it. Another thing that I found absurd was that  due to the sanctions against Iran and as an Iranian, I couldn’t open a bank account or use a credit card.
Me: I guess people in charge are hard to understand almost everywhere. Anyway, what would you like people to know about Iran?
Mahsa: So many things, I want to talk hours about the reality of Iran and how it differs from what you see on TV.  I invite everyone to come to Iran one day, Iran is one of the most ancient countries in the world with a culture which is thousands of years old.  Just like in the photo of  the city Persepolis made by Darius the First.

http://www.wondermondo.com/


Me: What three words would describe Iran, and Poland?
Mahsa: Iran – mysterious, kind/welcoming, Mine.   Poland – relaxation, eastern and western ( I mean – the culture is something between East and West), pierogi!
Me: That’s nice! How do you think traveling affected you?
Mahsa: Traveling had a great impact on me, I matured during my trips. I’m a stronger and braver person now. I also made lots of friends from different countries and that’s the most precious outcome of my travelings.
Me: And how would you describe Iran society, especially women?
Mahsa: Iranian women are doing great these days, I think. Maryam Mirzakhani, for example, became both the first woman and the first Iranian honored with the Fields Medal, the most prestigious award in mathematics. They are educated, hard working and eager to improve but there are so many obstacles in front of them. However, I’m sure they will make it and will overcome all these obstacles and limitations.

Maryam Mirzakhani // http://www.theguardian.com

Me: The next one is hard, so feel free not to answer, if you don’t wish to. If you were to be born in any country, would you choose your home country?
Mahsa: I love my country, but if I would be born again I would prefer somewhere else, in a country where people have more freedom and it’s easier to live there as a woman.

That was my interview with a very brave and kind woman, who is truly my role model. Mahsa, you’re one of the most inspiring women I’ve ever met and I’m deeply thankful to have met you and interviewed you. The message for today is simple: let’s not judge people by their culture, or birthplace, because caught inside the box we’re missing out a lot.

What about you guys? Have you been to Iran? Have you encountered many cultural differences? Let me know in comments!

Have a lovely day,
Jessie

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Reasons why I heart Coursera!

Hi, guys! As I am working towards my Monday productivity once again, I decided to post something and brighten up my day. My favorite Spotify’s “Pop chill out” is playing, and Ed Sheeran is singing to me “you look so beautiful”, so how couldn’t I feel inspired? No better way to get the girl, Ed!
Anyway, what I will be talking about today  can  also make you feel like you are on the top of the world, boost your confidence, push you towards improvement, and costs less than Ed’s album. Sorry, Ed! What am I talking about? Let me introduce you to Coursera! It’s an ultimate tool for all who wish to upgrade themselves and feed the brain with knowledge FOR FREE. I know what you are thinking – there must be something tricky about it. Maybe you’re checking your calendar to see if it’s first April.  I must disappoint you – I have blown more jokes in my life than chances of actually getting a date, so I’m absolutely serious.

Coursera is a web place, where many amazing universities offer free courses on almost every possible subject. Interested in studying Chinese? No problem! Desperate to get down to some marketing, but also fond of social psychology? You might have as well won the lottery because you can do both on Coursera!  As well as many other courses! It’s an amazing way to teach yourself something new without spending lots of money because all you need is some time and internet connection.  Myself, I am currently studying marketing and productivity, and I must say Coursera is helping me  more than I thought it would.  It is easier for me to plan my day and actually do something than it was before. Thank Coursera! There are courses which are set to start and end on certain dates, but that’s not always the case. Some of them offer you something more attractive: learning at your own pace. As you see, no excuses are valid, Coursera can work out even for the busiest of us. If you wish to expand your knowledge, join Coursera! Personally, I think joining this website was one of the smartest things I’ve done during two past years. One of few actually. Another one would be creating a Deviantart account. I would love to end today’s  post with some works of my friends – Josh & Paco. They’re truly awesome  – supportive and kind, and God knows it’s rare nowadays.

Paconidas – Only one day
 

A wish
To a genie
To the stars
And to the Gods
The only wish I want
Is not gold
Not fame
Or the eternal
Life
I only want
Even if there was only for a day
Is return to childhood
Is return to the innocence
Return to the long days
To the unlimited dreams
Only for a day
I want to be young again
I´m tired
Of the “adult life”
I´m tired of the responsibilities
I want to play with toys
I want to see cartoons
And I want to lose the worries

Only for a day

You can check out his other works here: http://paconidas.deviantart.com/

 
I also long to be small again. I bet we all do sometimes, but we have to carry on and that’s fine. We art pieces of art in progress. I’m excited to see what we eventually become! What I fear, though, is that we’ll become disconnected from nature whose beauty can’t be copied or replaced. If you take a look at Josh’s work you will agree with me. At least, I hope so. By the way, Josh’s DeviantArt account is fond of visitors, so feel free to enter: http://cjmottley.deviantart.com/
 
 
 
 
Photo by: Josh Mottley

What about guys: have you ever tried Coursera? Are you interested in any particular subject? Looking for other learning tools?  Let me know in comments!

Have a lovely day,
Jessie

They say dreams and I reply: Australia!

Hello! It’s Monday, and as I stopped blaming Mondays for my lack of productivity some time ago, I decided to write a post. Life is what we let it be, isn’t it? Anyway, drinking my favorite, incredibly bitter black coffee and listening to John Mayer, I decided to let myself dream a bit today, and guess where it led me? Straight to Australia! In my mind, of course, because now I’m more kilometres away from Australian kangaroos than a number of poems I’ve ever written and that says a lot. Considering I have never been to Australia you might ask: why are you so fond of Australia? Are you into deadly spiders, crocodiles and octopuses? Well, as much as I’m open for new relationships, that’s not exactly a reason. It’s more about a lifestyle. I know few Australians and from what I’ve observed they seem to radiate optimism. If we could somehow produce optimism, Australia could be one of top players in such an industry. Real talk here. As I believe that positive thinking does wonders for me, I would love to live in Australia. That’s one of the reasons, but not the only one. Below I’ll post my favorite things about the land of kangooros and koalas. Did you know the population of Australian kangaroos is twice as big as of Australian people’s? We know who’s the real boss here!

1. Outback roads.
Let’s imagine there’s nothing but a tarmac road in front of us. No houses, no people, no concrete walls, but empty space in all shades of orange and red. Sky is full of stars, just like in that Coldplay song, because city lights don’t compete with stars. Honestly I don’t see a better way to figure your life out. Outback covers about 90% of Australia, but only up to 10% of its population lives there, so naturally you need to be well prepared to remain safe during a trip there, but so many people call Outback somehow magical that it’s surely worth the try. Who wants to teleport there now? I do!

goforfun.com.au/


2. Queensland
The second largest state in Australia, but it’s not what makes it so special for me. I mean, quite nice, but… Great Barrier Reef wins this battle! The largest coral reef system on the planet – it says everything. Seeking for a little magic? Australia has it all! Not to mention that Queensland has Brisbane –  a very lovely city, so it’s a full package.
http://www.50shadesofage.com/
3. Sydney
As a culture lover I fancy Sydney’s iconic Opera House. Even though I’ve heard from many people that the city itself  is terribly overrated and Melbourne has an edge over it, I don’t mind. There are places you need to visit on your own, no matter how cliche it may be. Sydney is one of them for me.
wikimedia.org/

4. Vance Joy

Vance Joy is an Australian singer most known for his song “Riptide”. Somehow every time I hear his songs I feel as if I was in Australia. My head is filled with sunshine, and joy of life, even when it’s raining cats and dogs and I can’t find my way home. He’s my australian love.

There are 99 more reasons why I love Australia so much, but I’ll post them on another occasion. 
My desire is to end with a poem and a song, so I’m elated to inform you that Charles Bukowski will help me with that, accompanied by Lily Hates  Roses. 
I met a genius – Charles Bukowski
 I met a genius on the train
today
about 6 years old,
he sat beside me
and as the train 
ran down along the coast
we came to the ocean
and then he looked at me
and said,
it’s not pretty.
it was the first time I’d 
realized 
that.

Have a lovely day,
Jessie




"Aye, Sassenach" – the story of how I fell in love

Hi, guys! It’s a Sunday afternoon and Spotify’s “pop chillout” playlist is on, so there’s no better time to write a new post. This time, there will be lots of love, adoration, and admiration because I’m going to introduce you something I absolutely love. As a big fan of fiction, I would always spend hours reading or watching TV shows and movies. It would make me joyful for hours, even when life seemed to be a pointless drama show with a terribly awful script. However, due to a continuous pressure, I stopped enjoying activities, which defined me. It was terrifying and made me realize how precious it was to spend time in front of books. Checking facebook every hour or laying on the floor doing nothing – that was a real waste of time, not doing what I loved. The damage was already done, so I was afraid I would forever remain a loveless, passionless ex-bookworm. Only God knows how suffocating that fear was! When I was almost over the fact that I lost that part of me forever… a miracle happened! I came across a TV show called “Outlander”. Bingo! This is how I entered a land of happy fiction geeks again,  proud to be back! Now I will tell you everything you need to know about “Outlander” to fall in love forever.

 
The first episode was aired last August, so it’s a newbie in a TV world. The story itself, however, is much older. It’s an adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s novels, which have been available on book shops’ shelves for over 20 years. The show follows a story of Claire Randall, who finds herself transported to Scotland of 1743 when she encounters mysterious stones of Craigh Na Dun in Scottish Highlands. Having been accustomed to life in 1945, Claire experiences a shock upon discovering she has to live in a seventeenth century’s society full of superstitions, brutal violence, and wars. During her journey through Scotland, she is accompanied by a brave Scottish warrior Jamie Fraser, and caught between two worlds and battles, which are not even her to fight. It is a tale of love, infinite hope, and unpredictability of tomorrow. Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, and Tobias Menzies, who play the show’s main characters  excel at their work, managing to capture plausible portraits of complicated human beings. To give justice, when it is needed, the entire cast was chosen wisely. A well written, often brutal, yet also funny and adorable script makes the show a bit outstanding. “Outlander” is no violence-free, but such scenes are required as they are in line with a historical reality. All in all,  if you were to try something new, I would recommend you checking if “Outlander” is for you. If so, maybe you’ll have the best time you could be given in front of a TV screen.  If you never try, you’ll never know. Aye? Aye! Below you can see the show’s official trailer.
 

 

To end with a poem would be poetically nice, so enjoy! This time, it’s something mine.

The aquarium was my home,
and you looked like a sea,
I longed to get lost in your waves
and your arms friendly welcomed me. 
 
I thought I belonged there, 
under your starry stare. 
I guess it was just a stop by, 
so we both learned to be less shy. 
 
I still like the way you smile – 
you were beautifully worthwhile, 
but as our paths reverse – 
farewell, my favorite old universe.




Have  a lovely day,

Jessie 

Coming home

Follow my blog with Bloglovin Hello! I have a pleasure to make it the first post ever published here. It should be special enough to deserve being called “a beginning”. Most likely it won’t be special, though, but that’s absolutely fine because starts aren’t always fantastic. We worship them like gods, but we forget  the middle and the end also make a journey. Maybe even more, as it requires a lot of determination to carry on.
Anyway, what I decided to talk about today is poetry. Not only does it seem to fade away in our culture, but to make matters worse… it vanishes in us, people. What was the last time you read a poem? If recently –  thumbs up for you, if not – don’t feel too ashamed, because most of us have been there. Not everyone enjoys poetry and it’s perfectly fine, but some people just haven’t tasted its lyrical texture, so they cannot judge it. Below I’ll share with you one of my favorite poems. Let me hope you will give it a chance, even the slightest one. Poets may be dead, but if they’re watching from above, maybe they will gift you with the sunniest and loveliest day you’ve ever had if you read one of their works.

 
THE TOWER OF BABEL – Wisława Szymborska
“What time is it?” “Oh yes, I’m so happy;
all I need is a little bell round my neck
to jingle over you while you’re asleep.”
“Didn’t you hear the storm? The north wind shook
the walls; the tower gate, like a lion’s maw,
yawned on its creaking hinges.” “How could you
forget? I had on that plain gray dress
that fastens on the shoulder.” “At that moment,
myriad explosions shook the sky.” “How could I
come in? You weren’t alone, after all.” “I glimpsed
colors older than sight itself”Too bad
you can’t promise me.” “You’re right, it must have been
a dream.” “Why all these lies; why do you call me
by her name; do you still love her?” “Of course,
I want you to stay with me.” “I can’t
complain. I should have guessed myself.”
“Do you still think about him?” “But I’m not crying.”
“That’s all there is?” “No one but you.”
“At least, you’re honest.” “Don’t worry,
I’m leaving town.” “Don’t worry,
I’m going.” “You have such beautiful hands.”
“That’s ancient history; the blade went through,
but missed the bone.” “Never mind, darling,
never mind.” “I don’t know
what time it is, and I don’t care.”
Translated by Stanisław Barańczak and Clare Cavanagh

The final thought: words are what makes us human, but it also can make us monsters. Let’s use it wisely. After all, even mermaids want to be human…

Have a lovely day,

Jessie