Bookish paradise: The Kite Runner

Hello, my dear readers! How are you doing? Myself, I’m listening to Arabic music and enjoying my stay at home. I could list 99 things I miss about it when I’m away, but there are also certain advantages to living in a bigger city. ENORMOUS LIBRARIES! I borrow books from three of them in Kraków, and I can finally read whatever I want without going broke. That’s why I read quite a lot, and I am not ashamed to admit I would choose a book over a party any given day. Perhaps if it was a book party, I could reconsider my choices, but otherwise… sorry, I’m all about these books! In my bookish adventures, I explore lots of different worlds, and lately one of them got me fully focused and all emotional. Does “The Kite Runner” sound familiar to you? Let me show you, why it should!

More than your regular drama book

The book was written by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini and published in 2003. It tells a story of two boys – Amir and Hassan. At first glance, they only have about three things in common: they’re the similar age, they both live in Afghanistan’s capital city – Kabul and are best friends. Here is where similarities end, though. While Amir is a son of a wealthy Pashtun, Hassan is a son of a Hazara servant – Ali, who has been working for Amir’s father for ages and is his close friend. Inside their house social status doesn’t matter that much, but outside it – it surely does. Hazara people are thought to be inferior to Pashtuns, so Hassan is often bullied and humiliated. He also can’t go to school like Amir, as he is destined to be servant his entire life. Despite that boys are best friends, until one day something changes, as one moment of shameful silence affects their entire lives. The  story itself  helps  us to follow the events happening in Afghanistan. It starts with the peaceful days before 1978,  describes the fall of Afghanistan’s monarchy and goes through the Soviet military intervention as well as the rise of the Taliban regime. It is more than a regular drama book – it is a universal journey through the range of human emotions, and diversity of the country like Afghanistan.

Black or white? Grey.

There are books full of characters, which are either amazing or awful. Good cops or bad cops, or no cops. It is definitely not the case with this book. The amount of shades of gray used there is astonishing. Especially when it comes to the main character – Amir. Shameful actions, unnecessary violence, hatred, and chaos of the world – it is all portrayed in the book, alongside with what’s beautiful and pure about life, such as kite running, which is one of the most important symbols used in a book. It is much more than a simple game, and so is the statement of one of the characters – “There is a way to be good again…” . There always is a way.

For you, a thousand times over

I don’t want to spill too much because the unknown and undiscovered seems to taste sweeter, but I’d definitely recommend you to give this book a try. It’s a bitter-sweet, stress on “bitter”, story of friendship, loyalty, and importance of every decision we make, even if it’s a decision not to do anything at all. The language used in a book isn’t too complicated, what makes it easy to read it. Still, the story is gripping and full of interesting details, which make us know a bit more about Afghanistan. If you still haven’t read it, don’t hesitate to give it your attention. You will most likely not end up disappointed. At least, I didn’t.

“It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime…” – Khaled Hosseini 

That would be all for today. My list of books-to-read still keep growing, so I will definitely post a new review soon, simply because books rock! I would love you to recommend me some of your favorite books – I’m open to exploring all shades of the world!

What’s your favorite book? Have you read “The Kite runner”? Have you ever read a book about Afghanistan? Let me know!

Have a lovely day,

Jessie

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Shades of the world: beautiful Petra!

Hello, my dear readers!  مرحبا! How are you doing? Myself, I’m still trying to figure out who I am, and where I am heading. It has been long since I started looking for answers, but since these questions are difficult to answer, I’m not getting worried. One of the things I’m sure of, though, is that I want to visit Petra one day. You may ask: what is Petra? Well, it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world, and it’s located in Jordania. What is so special about it? It was carved in rocks!

Source/copyrights: esharm.com

Remains of Petra are evidence of the past greatness of Nabataeans. They were Arabic people, who inhabited Northern Arabia, and as much as we don’t know much about them it is assumed that their empire was truly big, and they were a force to be reckoned with. The interesting thing is that probably they were very few illiterate people in their kingdom, yet there are no written records of Nabateans’ life as if they refused to write anything down for future generations. They faded away as mysteriously, as they appeared, and left us with very little, aside from stunning Petra. In 106, The Romans claimed the Nabataean kingdom and renamed it, Arabia Petrea, what means “Stone Arabia”. Along with Arabia Felix and Arabia Deserta, it was what we basically call the Arabian Peninsula now.

Source/copyrights: travel-tour-guide.com

Moreover, Petra – as a capital of Nabataean’ empire – was a thriving city of wonders, the innovative heart of a great kingdom, which ruled lands from modern-day Israel and Jordan into the northern Arabian Peninsula. Some historians claim that one day everyone left it swiftly, for an unknown reason, so it became a ghost town, just like Machu Picchu. For sure, Petra has some secrets to reveal, as about 85% of the city still remains underground – untouched and undiscovered. Since 2007, it’s one of the new seven wonders of the world.

Source/copyrights: orth.ch

Now you might think… “Wait, I have never been there, but I saw it somewhere!”. You’re not crazy: you have probably seen  the Hollywood blockbuster “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusadewere”. Some of the scenes were filmed in marvelous Petra. Still, the world is yet to fall in love with Petra, but that’s okay since less crowded places are better to visit. More than 500 thousand tourists per year still support Jordan’s economy quite well.

To sum up, Petra is one of these places, which will forever be on the top of my to-visit list, no matter how much I and my preferences change, and I believe it could fit your list as well. Possibly.

As I enjoy ending my posts with poems, I would love to do it now. Ladies and gentlemen, I have a pleasure to introduce you a poem by Wisława Szymborska  – a brilliant Polish poet, and the Nobel Prize Laureate.

Nothing twice

Nothing can ever happen twice.
In consequence, the sorry fact is
that we arrive here improvised
and leave without the chance to practice.

Even if there is no one dumber,
if you’re the planet’s biggest dunce,
you can’t repeat the class in summer:
this course is only offered once.

No day copies yesterday,
no two nights will teach what bliss is
in precisely the same way,
with precisely the same kisses.

One day, perhaps some idle tongue
mentions your name by accident:
I feel as if a rose were flung
into the room, all hue and scent.

The next day, though you’re here with me,
I can’t help looking at the clock:
A rose? A rose? What could that be?
Is it a flower or a rock?

Why do we treat the fleeting day
with so much needless fear and sorrow?
It’s in its nature not to stay:
Today is always gone tomorrow.

With smiles and kisses, we prefer
to seek accord beneath our star,
although we’re different (we concur)
just as two drops of water are.

Translated by Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak

That is all for today. Thank you for sticking with me!

Have you ever been in Petra or Jordan in general? Are you interested in visiting the Middle East? What are your dream places to visit? Let me know in comments, please!

Have a lovely day,

Jessie

Revival of the paper coffee store

Hello, guys. This short post is not a part of my normal blogging schedule, but I feel a strong need to type every single word I’m writing now. Past weeks have been quite rough for me, and I feel like it has affected my blog as well. I would love to apologise  you for it  and to be honest, apologise to myself as well. I have moved into the second stage of adaptation to new places: loneliness and homesickness. October excitement and enthusiasm faded away, leaving me hopeless and empty. I didn’t feel creative, nor inspired to write. However, after all, this time, I know I love this blog very much, and I’m going to give it as much attention as I possibly can. Let the revival of the paper coffee store begin.

I am planning on writing more articles on the Arab world, both regarding the language and history which is very fascinating, yet almost completely unknown. There will be also book and movie reviews, possibly new interviews for my series – Shades of the world, real life stories and learning hacks. Moreover, I haven’t forgotten about Spanish, and I hope to write an article about it soon. Generally, get ready for a bit of everything! The website’s layout changed as well. I’m an amateur, but I hope you like it. I believe it goes in line with the vibe of the papercoffestore.

For anyone curious about foreign words used in the layout – they are all greetings, and represent languages I am or will be learning. You may already know that I’m a native Polish speaker, who is learning English, Spanish and Arabic, but what about Hebrew and French? Well, I’m yet to take any of these languages up, yet alone write posts about learning them, but they’re part of my dreams. You see, in my dreams, I can speak  English, Arabic, Spanish, Hebrew, French and Polish (Already done, since I’m a native!) fluently. That’s a great challenge to undertake, but I hope you will accompany me. It would be a pleasure to have you with me.

Last thing: you can check my guest post “Building castles out of all bricks they threw at me”  out on Jonelle’s blog – Tyranny of Pink. It was such an honor  to write for her, and I would genuinely recommend you to check her website out.

Wow, I have already written so much and I hope you don’t mind. Thank you for all your support. Today I’m also going to post something about Jordan’s greatest treasure – Petra. I hope you will like it. Remember that you can stay tuned with me via social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. When it comes to twitter, I’m definitely going to tweet more Arabic words, so if you wish to get some taste of the language, join me!

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Have a lovely day,
Jessie

Please, tell me beauty is not dead.

Hello, my dear readers. How are you doing? What’s your current state of mind? Myself… I’m scared of the world and its chaos. I’m broken by the hatred. I feel too much, and I want to feel nothing at all, and slowly fade away. It hurts to process that the same heavenly Earth we see on the photographs can be the scene of terrible violence. All these beautiful moments seem to have lost their colors as if the rain of hatred was sweeping everything off. I keep begging myself: please, tell me beauty is not dead. I refuse to believe it is dead, so I read poetry. 1,2,3,4 – magic is not gone.

Let me introduce you to some of my most beloved poems.

Human Family – Poem by Maya Angelou

I note the obvious differences
in the human family.
Some of us are serious,
some thrive on comedy.
Some declare their lives are lived
as true profundity,
and others claim they really live
the real reality.
The variety of our skin tones
can confuse, bemuse, delight,
brown and pink and beige and purple,
tan and blue and white.
I’ve sailed upon the seven seas
and stopped in every land,
I’ve seen the wonders of the world
not yet one common man.
I know ten thousand women
called Jane and Mary Jane,
but I’ve not seen any two
who really were the same.
Mirror twins are different
although their features jibe,
and lovers think quite different thoughts
while lying side by side.
We love and lose in China,
we weep on England’s moors,
and laugh and moan in Guinea,
and thrive on Spanish shores.
We seek success in Finland,
are born and die in Maine.
In minor ways, we differ,
in major we’re the same.
I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.
We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.
We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

 *

So You Want To Be A Writer – Charles Bukowski

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
fame,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

*

Possibilities – Wisława Szymborska

I prefer movies.
I prefer cats.
I prefer the oaks along the Warta.
I prefer Dickens to Dostoyevsky.
I prefer myself liking people
to myself loving mankind.
I prefer keeping a needle and thread on hand, just in case.
I prefer the color green.
I prefer not to maintain
that reason is to blame for everything.
I prefer exceptions.
I prefer to leave early.
I prefer talking to doctors about something else.
I prefer the old fine-lined illustrations.
I prefer the absurdity of writing poems
to the absurdity of not writing poems.
I prefer, where love’s concerned, nonspecific anniversaries
that can be celebrated every day.
I prefer moralists
who promise me nothing.
I prefer cunning kindness to the over-trustful kind.
I prefer the earth in civvies.
I prefer conquered to conquering countries.
I prefer having some reservations.
I prefer the hell of chaos to the hell of order.
I prefer Grimms’ fairy tales to the newspapers’ front pages.
I prefer leaves without flowers to flowers without leaves.
I prefer dogs with uncropped tails.
I prefer light eyes since mine are dark.
I prefer desk drawers.
I prefer many things that I haven’t mentioned here
to many things I’ve also left unsaid.
I prefer zeroes on the loose
to those lined up behind a cipher.
I prefer the time of insects to the time of stars.
I prefer to knock on wood.
I prefer not to ask how much longer and when.
I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility
that existence has its own reason for being.

That would be all for today. I hope you enjoyed these poems as much as I did. One more thing: changes are coming. I’m still thinking everything through, but something about the blog’s about to become different. I would love you to be the part of my journey, and I’m truly grateful for each and every person who reads it. THANK YOU. You are making a difference in my life, even though you don’t realise it. Small things matter.

Have a lovely day,

Jessie

Long live, Poland!

Hello, my dear readers! As you might know I am Polish and today in Poland we’re celebrating  a very special date for our nation. On 11th November 1918  Poland regained its independence. By 1918 my ancestors had been waiting for that to happen for 123 years. That’s quite a long time, yet they did not give up on their hopes of living in the independent country.

Since 1795 Poland was divided between Russia, Austria and Prussia, which later on became Germany. It didn’t exist on maps, but it existed in hearts of thousands of Polish people. Uprisings, young men sentenced to prisons in cold Siberia because of their love for their homeland, hidden Polish books read with tears of emotions – they all mark the difficult journey to independence.

It is easy to complain about the weather, crowded streets or a salty soup, when you are safe and sound, able to cherish who you were and who you are. Too bad we often forget about all sacrifices somebody made for us to have a good future. It is true not only for my nation, but for many more as well. There are also places in the world, where the better times are still under construction. Let’s not forget to reflect on everything we got, and practice gratitude. If I was born 200 years ago, I wouldn’t be able to use my mother language at school. How terrible that would be?  All we have today is a result of the continuous effort of the entire generations. Let’s remember about it the next time we get too whiny about the littlest things. Gratitude is like glasses showing you the world the way it is. Wear it everyday – it is always a must-have.

That would be all for today. Stay grateful.

Have a lovely day,
Jessie

 

The salt of the Earth

Hello, my dear readers. There are days when everything around me seems blurry, shapeless, meaningless, and I find myself looking for a reason behind my creation, and the creation of everything else as well, too. I ask myself lots of questions, which I never find satisfying answers to, and my levels of motivation drop significantly. It’s actually quite a common thing for an INFP such as me, but no matter how hard I try, I am never able to completely fight that overwhelming sense of hopelessness living at the bottom of my soul. I bet you might know that feeling as well. Many people do, but they will never admit it, not to appear too weak or sentimental. Anyway, I labelled my state as something a bit problematic, and I wanted to find a solution. I needed something beautiful to put my mind at ease. Upon my search, I came across a trailer of the documentary called “The Salt of the Earth”. It was a moment filled with sweetness, as I found my little salvation.

      Source/copyrights: imdb.com

 

Upon reading the title many of you may recall the words from the Bible:

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

 

The documentary was named like that for a certain reason. It is an expressive narrative of Sebastião Salgado, a famous photographer, who – during over 40 years of his work around the world – has seen many shades of the world and witnessed a whole spectrum of human pain and tragedy. Having seen great famine and wars and conflicts in every corner of our planet, he fell victim to hopelessness. After seeing people do the most horrible thing to other people, to the animals and the planet, his soul became ill, and his body followed despite being in a perfect condition. This is when he decided to change the way he worked: he started documenting the beauty of the world, paying tribute to the planet Earth. The entire documentary is a journey through his life.

It is full of astonishing photos, gripping stories and unbelievable wide range of emotions. We are shown the evidence of the war between Tutsi and Hutu in Africa, people fleeing their home in former Yugoslavia but also the most beautiful fauna and flora of the planet. It is much more than a display of terror and hopelessness of the planet. It is a story of hope, and the world as it is, beautiful and deranged, cruel and blooming.

                         Copyrights: Sebastião Salgado/// The blind Tuareg woman
                 Copyrights: Sebastião Salgado / Genesis

Of course, I should mention its creators as well. The documentary was released in 2014 and directed by Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and Wim Wenders. They, along with the entire crew, made a great job at creating what I call a masterpiece. They showed the world’s brutality in detail and still managed to capture the beauty left in the world, making me think that perhaps, there’s still hope, there’s still a chance of salvation despite everything we have done, are doing and we yet to do. The moment I and my friend Sasha walked out of the cinema, we both smiled and cried, struck by the beauty of what we saw. I would definitely recommend you to watch this documentary, as you are probably not going to regret it. I didn’t.

That would be all for today. Stay awesome, and thanks for sticking with me.

Have a lovely day,
Jessie

 

5 signs that they don’t fit your life anymore

Hello, guys! Today, it’s time for a little game. Let’s visualize a situation: you have felt deeply connected with a particular person for quite awhile, and now, big bang… the connection is gone. Partly or fully, it’s just not the same anymore, is it? They don’t fit your life, and you feel it deep down.

You are starting to feel bad about it because after all you’ve been through a lot together. Is it a short crisis or a new reality? You’re confused and full of dilemmas. What to do? Move on or leave it as it is? That is a question. Here are 5 signs that they simply don’t fit your life anymore!

1. They make you feel uncomfortable with who you are.

You’ve changed, and so have they. That’s natural, as just like sociology says- we’re constantly changing. They don’t seem to be okay with that, though. They blame you for not staying the same and make you feel guilty about who you are. Is it what you want in your life? Does it fit your perception of happiness or contentment? Answer this question honestly, and then you will have it.

2. You have nothing to talk about anymore.

This one can be terribly painful. You’ve had many incredible conversations, and now you don’t really know how to engage in small talk. The weather’s fine, no breaking news, and here you are with nothing to ask about. Let’s talk about awkward silence, huh? No subjects to discuss can mean you’re just heading in opposite directions, and says a lot about a current status of your relationship.

3. They don’t support your goals and distract you from what you want to become.

Imagine: you’re motivated, ready to rule the world, and suddenly you hear “You’re not made for this. You can’t do it”. It’s likely to weaken your inner strength, and prevent you from reaching your full potential. Some people want us to forever remain in an old frame of what we should be according to them. It doesn’t mean you should let them direct your life. Nothing remains invariable – look at nature and everything around you. Computers used to be different than they are now, and so were you. Everything progresses. You have the right to do so too.

4. They drain you out of your energy.

Just like any other energy vampires, they make you tired and hopeless. Instead of feeling happy when you’re around them, you dream of leaving the moment you arrive. It’s no fun to hang out anymore, and it doesn’t feel right. Just like a puzzle, which doesn’t fit a picture – you simply aren’t compatible with each other.

5. You feel better off without them

That’s the most obvious reason. You might care about them, but you don’t miss their presence. At least not in a current form. You’re doing well without them being around, better than you ever thought you would, and there seems to be no place for them. Misfit alert on! That’s when you finally can say they don’t fit anymore.

These are 5 signs they might be not your “forever’ after all. It is a bitter pill to swallow, but it keeps getting better with time. I was heartbroken when I noticed my long-term friend wasn’t my friend anymore, but with time by my side, I am doing better than ever and I feel inspired. Be around people, who support your growth and life will suddenly become a little bit more lovely.

To end to end on a lighter note, I would love to share with you an absolutely adorable cover of “Can’t help falling in love”, sung by  Haley Reinhart. Enjoy! Remember you can always stay  tuned by following me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

What’s your experience in “moving on”? Do you have any useful tips to share? I would love to hear your thoughts about it, so please let me know what you think  in comments!

Have a lovely day,

Jessie