Thinking outside the box: Taiwan

Hello guys! This  is one of my first posts in my brand new blogging space called WordPress. It’s exciting to start anew, and as much as I liked Blogger, I’m very content with what WordPress offers me. Anyway, today I dare you to think outside the box, and restrain from judgements for five minutes, okay? We’re going to get to know Taiwan a bit more.  It’s a sovereign state in East Asia, but officially – the Republic of China.

source: http://www.operationworld.org/

People speak Mandarin Chinese there, and you might think they are exactly like Chinese people, but… no. Each place holds its own uniqueness, and so does Taiwan. You might have their Tablets or other electronics in your home, brought to you by Asus, and you might have heard about Taiwan, and how fast it’s developing. Taiwan deserves your attention, so I decided to interview my Taiwanese friend – Amy – and get an insider look on how it’s to live there.

Jessie (Me): What’s your favorite thing about living in Taiwan?

Amy: Convenient for everything, like going out for food at 3 am is possible in Taiwan. Transportation is really fast as well.

Jessie: Do you – as a nation – have any strange – to foreigners – habits?

Amy: Like in Taiwan we usually don’t party at home and don’t drink a lot of alcohol, so when some Polish people hear that, they think we are strange and when we eat, we eat with chopsticks. They think that it’s impossible to use two sticks to eat.

Jessie: How would you describe the capital city – Taipei – in one sentence?

Amy: Busy, crowded, quick lifestyle.

Jessie: As you were living in Poland for a few months, could you tell me how different is Taiwan to Poland?

Amy: The difference between Taiwan and Poland is really big. We eat different kind of food, speak different languages, and our lifestyle is very different as well! Like Taiwanese go to sleep late but  in Poland people go to sleep early and even the stores closed early! That’s really different.

Jessie: What would you say about Taiwan’s cuisine?

Amy: In my opinion, it’s delicious. But I think Chinese kind of food creeps out a lot of foreigners . Like we eat pig, not only just for the meat, but also most of the organs, because we are trying not to waste any part of an animal. But:Taiwanese doesn’t eat dogs and cats! That’s very important, because most foreigners think that Taiwanese eat dogs and cats.

Jessie: Do you, as Taiwan people, like the popular brand Asus, or is it less liked in its home country?

Amy: I will say it’s popular in Taiwan, because it’s not very expensive and it’s high quality.

Jessie: What tips would you give to anyone trying to learn your language?

Amy: Chinese language has been said to be a hard language to learn. But in Taiwan I met a lot of foreigners who speak Chinese very well. But for Polish people I don’t think it would hard for you because I think Polish is much more harder.

Jessie: If you were to take a one-week vacation in Taiwan, where would you go, and why?

Amy: At summer Taiwan is very hot and humid, so if  I was having a vacation now, I would like to go to the mountains and enjoy the fresh air and get out of the crowded cities.

Source: http://www.lonelyplanet.com

That’s how Amy answered all of my questions. Big thanks to her, because she’s truly awesome. I recommend anyone taking a trip to Taiwan. I know I will someday!

P.s: You can follow papercoffeestore on several social networks, and I encourage you to do so in order to always stay tuned. I would be honored to become connected with you via various platforms!

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/papercoffeestore

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/papercoffeestr/

Instagram:  https://instagram.com/papercoffeestore/

What about you? Have you ever been to Taiwan? Are you considering it? What is your greatest experience connected to “thinking outside the box”?

Have a lovely day,

Jessie

 

Half agony, half hope – Kyland by Mia Sheridan

Hello guys! How are you doing? Today is the day to share my mini-review of the book, which was my friend for a one beautiful evening, though I kind of believe books will remain our friends forever, against everything, especially the ticking clock. Anyway, THE book is called “Kyland” and was written by Mia Sheridan. Published in 2015, it could be definitely named a so called “new adult book”.

Source: Goodreads

Now, don’t get fooled by its cover, because it doesn’t lack depth, but I’ll be talking about it a bit later. The book tells a story of two young people, a girl named Tenleigh Falyn and a boy – Kyland Barrett. They both live in a small coal mining town, which seems to be forgotten even by God himself. Poverty and hunger are no news in their town filled with hopelessness, what makes both Tenleigh and Kyland want to leave it as soon as possible. There’s a way to do it – Tyton Coal Scholarship, which pays all university and living expenses for that one lucky and hard-working student, who comes at the top of his class. Guess what? They both want to win, but as they start getting to know each other, trying to avoid commitment, everything gets complicated. It’s not exactly your typical love story, though it doesn’t lack romance or steamy scenes. Not at all. Nevertheless, it’s also a story of poverty, which shouldn’t be idealised, hopelessness, which defeats people and infinite power of hope and love. I spent a great evening reading it, and it made me rethink the way I took everything for granted: a warm blanket, my favorite tea and spaghetti for dinner. I would definitely recommend you giving this book a try. It might be so worth it!

Source: novelgrounds.com

Have you ever read “Kyland” or any other book by Mia Sheridan? What was the last book you have read? Let me know!

Have a lovely day,

Jessie

Power of education

Hello guys! Today I would love to talk about power of education. You might be a bit disappointed now, because why didn’t I choose a cooler subject? Well, for me this is one of the coolest subjects out there, and I felt a need to share my thoughts. Having always been a top student, nobody would say I could hate school, but up from some point I did. Kids are just kids, and they were the reason behind it, so I was still a passionate learner. Even the most boring teachers couldn’t ruin it. Then high school happened. What a strange time it was! Never had I been more happy and miserable, everything in turns. One teacher made me hate the school very much, and as I was very afraid of her, and I would rather stay home or skip classes to go to library than show up at her classes, especially considering her subject was always my Achilles’ heel. It wasn’t a smart idea to skip so many classes, but I didn’t care at that time. To be honest, it was all my fault not hers, but everyone who was ever taught by her will admit she wasn’t a gifted teacher. Like… at all. Anyway, as I started hating school, learning was also becoming less appealing to me. I still did it, but the thrill was partly gone. The thrill of learning something new, which I loved so much. Just after I graduated, I discovered a passionate learner inside me again, and God, it feels good. It’s incredible to learn and redefine who we are, and what we know. Biology, economics, and astronomy became fascinating to me, and I didn’t really pay much attention to them in high school. It’s like exploring a whole new world now. It gives us so many opportunities, and yet we can detest it. Too often educational systems suck, that’s true. They’re incredibly dull, and designed for robots, not kids, but don’t let your inner learner die. Keep it alive, because it’s a great blessing to have access to education.

Source: Pinterest

Millions of people, especially girls, are denied a right to study, and consequently they can’t break from a  vicious circle of poverty and hopelessness. Education is powerful, so let’s not make ourselves powerless, when in fact we have the world in our hands. What’s taken for granted in my or your mind, can be only a dream somewhere else, remember.

Source: http://www.brainyquote

What about you? Do you like learning? Did you like school? Let me know!

Have a lovely day,

Jessie

 

When You and I had tails

 
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Hello! You might not remember it, actually you stand no chance of remembering it, but once upon a time you had a tail. So did I.

source:tumblr

Not like this, though. Sadly! Nevertheless, that’s a real info, and it takes us back to evolution. Actually everything takes us back to evolution. What kind of a queen/king of everything! As Theodosius Dobzhansky, a well known evolutionary biologist titled his essay: “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of Evolution”. Now you might ask – when did you become interested in biology and why are you writing about this? Well, I’ll give you my answer: my anthropology course on Open2study (I’m definitely going to write a post about this website soon!) covers a lot of evolutionary material, and the second thing: it’s fascinating. I hope you will find it fascinating too. Let’s get back to the title, though. We all used to have tails. Evidence? You still have a tail bone – coccyx. Before coccyx, near the base of your spine you had five vertebrae, which later on fused into a bone. It all happened when you were just an embryo.

source: http://www.biotate.com/

What is its function? Well, it’s kind of useless – though some scientists disagree – but it’s a kind reminder that: your ancestors did have tails. Had you been a different breed, you would also have it now, but humans changed and they don’t need it anymore. So what did happen to your tail? Well, when the DNA, which controlled the process of your development figured out you didn’t really need the tail, so it was absorbed by your immune system. Once in a while, a child is born with a tiny tail, but professionally we call it “a caudal appendage” (you can google it for pictures!) . It happens, when the instructions saying “Get rid of it” become a bit illogical, and the tail isn’t reabsorbed. There have been over 100 documented cases like that. Fascinating, isn’t it? Well, the world’s first name should be fascinating. To end with a poem would be nice, so here we come, Mr Bukowski.

Oh Yes – Poem by Charles Bukowski

there are worse things than
being alone
but it often takes decades
to realize this
and most often 
when you do
it’s too late
and there’s nothing worse
than 
too late. 


So if you need to stay home alone tonight, and you’re missing so much fun, just remember you could learn something new and fascinating and that’s cool too. Explore, dream, discover.

Would you like to have a tail? Let me know!


Have a lovely day,
Jessie

Malala: one book and one pen can change the world

Hi, guys! It’s a Sunday evening in Poland, and the sky is filled with little stars, smiling at me. As their fading light is already a memory when it reaches our Earth, it’s like the past encouraging us to keep on going. Little miracles of every day can also be beautiful. Another of the little miracles is that you can read that text. No, by no means I imply it’s awesome. What’s awesome, though, is the fact you were given an opportunity to learn how to read. It might seem quite normal, but millions of people were never able to go to school, and education helps fight too many problems for this not to be a big issue. Malala Yousafzai is a girl, who decided to stand up for the fundamental right of every human – the access to education. As the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate, she became a symbol of the fight against terrorism and violation of human rights. Born in Pakistan, she had to leave her beloved home country after she was shot on her way home from school. Malala, being only 18-year-old, lives in England now, and in 2013, she published a book – “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban”.

source: meetup.com

After having read that book, I would love to share my thoughts about it with you, so let’s call it a mini-review. Malala’s story is set in Pakistan, and page by page we follow her daily life – from school fights with her best friends to financial struggles of her family, and we witness the process in which Malala became so passionate about human, especially girls’, rights. The book tells not only a story of one girl, but of the entire community. It educates us on Pakistani history and is abundant in life wisdom. The book, created by both Malala and Christina Lamb, is written in a pleasant, simple, yet convincing manner. The Nobel Prize laureate portrays herself as a regular girl with dreams to change the world. She fights with her friend, and can be moody, but never does she give up on her dreams to guarantee everyone an access to education. I believe her book holds a great message, and can inspire us to be kind. It is surely worth reading and I would definitely recommend you to give Malala some of your time. It would be nice to end with a quote, so I will.

source: lifepopper.com

P.S:

Now you can follow Papercoffeestore on Instagram and like it on Facebook. I would be very honored and incredibly thankful if you could do it.

 

 
Have you ever heard about Malala? Who are your role models? Let me know!
 

Have a lovely day,

Jessie

God, bless the tech: Duolingo & Memrise

Hello, guys! How are you? I need to tell you one thing: little miracles can happen. After two months of being gone, my dog was found. We literally had no hope, and thought he would never come back, but today life surprised us in a very positive way. Never underestimate the unpredictability of life!
Anyway, today is the day, when I start my new series: God, bless the tech. 
It will be all about my favorite apps, websites, and online things. The first post will be all about Duolingo and Memrise as I believe education could be the panacea for almost everything. Both Duolingo and Memrise are apps designed to help you with learning, but despite many similarities, they also differ quite a lot. I’m going to discuss both of them to highlight their essence.
source: pulsosocial.com/
1. Duolingo –  Perfect tool for learning languages. Courses are targeted at users of many languages, not only English, but the greatest variety of languages is offered to people, who ca n speak English. They can choose from Spanish, French, German and Portuguese to Dutch, Swedish, Italian or Turkish. They are many more courses to come, including Polish, Hindi and Hungarian ones, but they haven’t been finished yet. When it comes to non-English users, they have fewer options, sometimes only English. Those, who are fluent in Spanish can’t also complain, though because they’re offered 6 courses. Myself, I have been using Duolingo for awhile, and I’m content with its form and functionality. It definitely helped me to get down to Spanish and recall what I learnt during German lessons in high school. What needs to be said is that you both learn how to say something and write it, so I would call it a rather effective approach, plus it has nice motivation mechanisms – you’re sent e-mails to remind you about your daily learning time. There are daily goals, so you can feel as if you accomplished something big, after 20 minutes of quality time with Duolingo. Plus, you can also use Duolingo as a website: https://www.duolingo.com
The only two cons I can think of is that there aren’t too many languages to choose from, even if you’re willing to learn everything in English (I wanted to go for Arabic, but it wasn’t possible), plus it’s for languages only, so it can’t be your multifunctional learning tool. The greatest advantage, aside from amazing content, would be its price – 0. It’s completely free, so don’t hesitate to give it a try!
source: http://www.mustseeon.net/
2. Memrise – if I say “universal”, Memrise could pop up in my head, because it’s truly like that.  It is based on a popular mechanism of so-called “flashcards”, which help you memorise almost everything. Memrise seems to be all about Aristotle’s quote “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”.  Unlike Duolingo, it offers courses on the variety of subjects ranging from arts, literature, history and languages, to maths, science, geography and the natural world. It can also help you to prepare for standardized tests, such as college admissions, SAT, driving license, CAE or IELTS. It can be easily accessed via computer, because it also functions as a website, aside from being an app. Thanks to Memrise, I was able to start learning Arabic online,  but anyone interested in Japanese, country mapping, Morse Code, anatomy and many other subjects, should be satisfied with having chosen Memrise. Obvious advantages are price (again, it’s FREE), and the variety of available courses. The cons, on the other hand, can be its flashcards’ mechanism as it’s boring for many people.
To sum up, I would say both of these websites/apps are wonderful in their own ways, and can definitely improve the quality of your online learning. Speaking from personal experience, combining both of them helps me a lot to stay on the right track and improves my language skills. I would definitely recommend you to see if they can work for you. It costs nothing, and who knows how many little miracles could a little learning bring? You will never know if you never try.
Have you ever used Duolingo and/or Memrise? If so, what’s your experience with them? Do you study online? What language would you like to master? Let me know!
Have a lovely day,
Jessie

You’ll go to paper towns and never come back…

Hello, guys! How are you doing? The first thing that needs to be said is: THANK YOU! You have visited my blog over 1000 times, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Each view makes me happy, and reaching this first milestone means a lot to me. Every view, comment, and like is something amazing. You all are truly inspiring, and you’ve helped me to become a friend of words once again. THANK YOU! Do you know who’s also awesome and inspiring, aside from you? Ladies and gentlemen – John Green! Some of you might have heard of him, as his books are bestsellers and there’s no way to escape them in a bookshop, plus he’s quite a force on Youtube with his educational videos. What I will be talking about today is the movie based on his novel “Paper towns”. Yesterday the movie was officially premiered in Poland, and as a Green fan, I just had to go.

source: msmagazine.com/

The story tells a story of a young man – Q – who goes on a road trip with his friends in hopes of finding a missing next-door girl – mysterious Margo Roth Spiegelman, who suddenly disappears after their night escapade.  I don’t want to spill too much, especially if you didn’t read the book, so let’s just say that their journey is full of funny moments, universal truths, and important questions. What is love? Friendship? Life? Q wanted to know too.  The trailer will explain a lot, so take a look, please!

The movie was directed by Jake Schreier, and main roles were played by Nat Wolff as Q and Cara Delevingne as Margo. I found the cast’s acting nice, yet not impressive. Before watching a movie, I wasn’t sure if Cara could pull Margo off, given she was mainly a model, not an actress, but she did okay. To be honest, I believe she didn’t capture all of Margo’s magic, but she didn’t do a terrible job either. In my humble opinion,  she was amazing at times, but quite average in general, and that’s it.
source: Tumblr
The script was quite in line with the book, despite few modifications, which deprived the movie of some of the book’s depth.  My example? Some of very smart, and crucial to the book words.
source: Tumblr
Anyway, the music was well chosen, especially Vance Joy with his song “Great summer”, as its summer vibe was on point. To sum up, I’m happy they didn’t turn one of my favorite books into a terrible movie, but I somehow feel it could have been much better. I would totally recommend it to anyone, who didn’t read Green’s book, and when it comes to those, who did read it – well, there’s a great chance you’re far less likely to be blown away, but you will probably be able to deal with what you will see. At least… I could.  To end with a quote would be nice, so here we go. Well, I need to say one last thing – the internet said the quote was written by John Green, but it turned  out to be said by a young blogger. It’s still incredibly nice, though. Here we go… again.
source: we heart it
Do you like Green? Have you watched “The paper towns”?  If so, did you enjoy it? Let me know in comments!
Have a lovely day,
Jessie