Metropolises

Big Cities

  • space for exploration
  • a variety of people
  • any type of event you want
  • lots of opportunities
  • 30% time wasted from point A to point B
  • 30% of expenses on transport
  • triple the time to get to know someone in depth

A Life on a Rollercoster

I graduated from uni and stayed in my alma matter for 2 years as an employee. Like many recent grads, who start their careers, I entered happily into a so-called corporate world, or in other words, the world of professionalism.

Like many recent grads, who start their careers, I was happy to enter the real life. To use all the learned skills such as public speaking, creative and critical thinking to solve real problems. And then it hit. I was poorly paid. It was boring. There was not much future prospects. Yet, it was stable.

Not to discredit the experience completely, there were lots of great things about it: fantastic colleagues, lots of social and academic events, lots of spare time on hands (in comparison to student’s life). But that’s about it. Extremely under-challenged and very poorly paid. (Surprisingly, my two uni friends who stayed to work in the same place, also in entry-level positions, somehow were paid at least 20% more. I could not understand it. At first, I thought that my position was on a lower responsibility scale, but then, when my workload kept increasing and compensation did not I just felt used and unhappy.)

Money aside, I remember so many mornings walking to work and thinking ‘is there more to life than this’. All of the tasks were repetitive and no-brainers. So I started looking for new opportunities. Eventually, I got invited to an interview in a city of my dreams to a job of my dreams – travelling the world as a tour guide. I nailed the interview and I started the prep.

I quit my job (with tears for leaving an awesome community) and then it started. I felt flat on my face. Stressed out, disbalanced, crushed. A long recovery. It took me at least 2 months to feel normal again. I think my hormones were imbalanced and my body could not produce serotonin because of the prolonged time under extreme stress conditions. Eventually, I got back on my feet for a new challenge. This time was better, very different and way less stressful than the first one and accompanied by lots of learning. After it, a quiet, almost boring period again. Then, another challenge, this time infused strongly with joy + fantastic friendships. A peaceful period. Stress and adjustments again.

The moment I left my secure office (or desk more precisely), I crossed the borders 15 times. I lived on 2 continents. I was paid almost 10 more. I was unemployed and stressed out equally 10 times more. I was constantly challenged and reminded of how naive I was. I saw places and met people I have never thought I could meet. It gifted me with friendships in the most unusual places, yet, striped of my long-established friends and a safety net.

If anyone asked me if they should follow my path, I would not really know what to say. This rollercoaster of experiences allowed me to see, taste and live in places I have not dared to dream of. It often humbled me and made me realise how much I actually have had, and how much I did not know. It broke me and stripped away of the most precious friendships. Yet, it gave me eyes to see the world in a different way and walk alongside those I would have never thought I would be walking.

Ephemeral Existence

It feels I am living in a vacuum – in a new world where everything is like a game. New people, their hearts to conquer. New places to discover. Beautiful greeneries and leaves changing colours; bushes and hedges around unfamiliar houses.

And me. The same old me. Just getting older. With white strips of hair. And random tiredness combined with disinterest that comes with age and experience.

A new world of galleries, events and talks and London I am eager to know.

And everything wrapped in the temporality of time. This too shall pass.

A woman

To simplify what Hegel claimed –  the highest aesthetical beauty is a combination of content and expression that point towards a divine (Christian God).

This week I saw a natural size sculpture of a woman in Deptford Town Hall. The sculpture is made out of metal. However, the way it is done it reminds an unfinished clay sculpture that the creator did not have the time to smoothen and finalise. Her face is realistic with slightly raised eyebrows and tightly locked lips. Shoulders are slightly too low and breasts – a bit too big. The combination of lowered shoulders, raised eyebrows and motionless face create an impression of a hard-working tired woman. It seems that she has no more energy and just sits and waits here.

Hegel would probably not classify this sculpture as of the highest aesthetic standard. There is a lack of perfection in her being. The way how the sculpture is made, imperfect proportions, over-emphasising of her character would place her in the romantic (too much) category.

However, if I were to assess this sculpture’s aesthetics in terms of whether it points towards divine, I would definitely say yes. There is something in this sculpture that invites to sympathise with her. Her imperfect body, overall tiredness and exhaustion point to me that she is plainly a simple human being. A child of God in this imperfect world.

Classical music recital by Vasara Quartet in the V&A museum, October 7th

The performance took place in a small hall in the V&A museum that exhibits sculptures of enlightenment thinkers. In the middle of the hall, there was a wooden modern see-through half-circle with benches. It separated the space into two – the inside of the circle and the outside. Four performers with a tiny selected audience were inside the half-circle. This group of people were in direct contact with the musicians and one another. Despite the intentions of the organisers, the audience grew bigger and, thus, the rest of the spectators gathered outside the inner circle.

According to Winckelmann the highest aesthetic standard was achieved by Greek artists who portrayed noble ideals through their artwork. He would probably note that space was well selected. Torsos of enlightenment thinkers in combination with a modern geometrical half-circle seeped with the classical music sounds pointed one’s mind to wonder towards geometrical perfection, rationality and reason.

However, the performance for those who did not fit inside was rather different. Cold tiled floor to sit or stand through the whole performance, facing the wooden wall of separation, surrounded by torsos – sculptures of torn in half and immortalised in white marble bodies created an impression of separation. The noble experience was available only to the selected few.

New Beginnings

Ironically today is my birthday and I am starting life anew once more.

Strange. The city I thought I knew – I can’t recognise. My eyes go weary looking around. Too much of everything. Roofs, pavement tiles, appearances, shops, food…The beauty in the ugliness. Cars, exhaustion fumes, smell of weed, dark skin.

The beauty in the ugliness. Cars, exhaustion fumes, smell of weed, dark skin. And the sun, and hills, and leaves, and graves, and smiles, and friendliness. And being a student again. Yet, as if living another life, a completely different, unstructured, unconstrained…and lost.

Extremes. Conversations I cannot comprehend. The written words and meanings I cannot grasp. Dictionary. Bible. Constant search for meaning and the truth.

They say ‘through difficulties we grow’. I hope to grow and not to stagnate. I hope to grow without the cost of ageing. Who knows if that is possible?

Development. Challenge. Risk. Living on the edge. Trust. Instability, yet peace.

A friend I miss

Describe a friend you really like

•   When and how you first met this friend.
•   What you liked to do together
•   What you had in common.

I would like to tell about a friend I admire. Her name is Kristen. Kristen is a friend I can always rely on, share my joys and sorrows and just have memorable adventures.

Kristen isn’t tall. She has a slightly dark skin and dark black short hair that she uses for her hairstyle experimentations. Her smile is truly beautiful and her eyes spark when she smiles. She is always fashionable and loves wearing flats even if it’s winter.

Kristen is extremely creative. I always keep telling her that if she chooses to change her career, she should go into design. Kristen graduated with a degree in fashion merchandising and this can be witnessed once you enter her apartment. Her apartment is one of the most creative places I have ever been to. She selected fabrics for and sewn all table cloths, bed covers, chair covers and a curtain. She repainted the whole apartment with a combination of white and teal colours. She also repainted the wall in the kitchen, making it suitable for drawing with chalk.

She loves cooking and growing plants. Once she made the ‘Storyline’ girls chicken with caramelised onions. It was beyond words. Delicious! Another time I stayed at hers, she made yummy peach tarts.
Her window sill and balcony is always occupied by pots with mints and basil.

As a person, Kristen might seem a little bit reserved once you meet her the first time. However, once you get to know her, you can discover the depths of her heart and her cheery nature. She loves and cares about every person.

I met Kristen almost five years ago. It was a cold December day and there was something happening on campus when she came. Allison (another fantastic friend), my boss at that time, introduced me to the new recruiter who happened to be Kristen. I remember her sitting next to me during that event, still feeling foreign to the place. Little I knew that in five years time my heart will be crying when she will be leaving.

There are so many things I am grateful to Kristen for. She has always been there for me, encouraging me to pursue my dreams and live life authentically.

I am thankful to her for:

  • Storyline group
  • For allowing me to stay in her apartment probably 5 times or so
  • For picking up her phone and helping me to feel normal during TT
  • For helping out in my printmaking exhibition
  • For inviting me to translate for IBI group a few weeks ago
  • For being an example of a friend I would like to be