Friday, August 31, 2012

Discovering new potential

One of the jobs I have at the moment is organizing MICE movement (meetings, incentives, conferences, events) with a cool event company based in Warsaw. A couple of weeks back, I had an inquiry for 4 different types of courses, although the client had no idea what kind of courses they wanted. I went with massage as one of the options.

Now, a massage course had been on my mind for a long time and I figured it might be interesting for the client to have their attendants participate in one. Never having done any and not knowing about it all too much, I started my online research to find reliable partners (i.e. massage academies). There are many, just as there are many types of massage. Yet again, I was a bit unfamiliar with the matter at hand. Long story short, I called a couple of venues up and got their offers, asked them what they'd recommend for my specific client profile and never thought of it much. Until a week later, when I got a phone call from one of the academies I hadn't been able to reach.

I was surprised to get a phone call after a couple of days saying: We just heard the message you left us (in which I stated how urgent of a matter it was) and are getting back to you with our offer. At first, I admit, I kind of wanted to laugh at their service, but then thought - hey, maybe they've something interesting to offer. The lady I was on the phone with started telling me about a trizillion of different massage types they were teaching, all of which had mysterious names such as "bamboo sticks massage", "a burning candle massage", "Thai stamps massage" etc. I started feeling I'd need a head massage soon, if I were to remember the specifics of all she was listing, so instead I just said I'd have to come by when they had one of their future courses, so I could meet their training specialist and see how the whole thing looks like. And then, to my surprise (a very pleasant one), the lady said: We'd love to have you over for a course then. I'd love to have them have me over for a course, I thought to myself, and asked her to send me the dates of whatever they had scheduled for the coming weeks. A couple of days go by and I receive an email with 4 different courses, saying: Please let us know which courses you would like to attend.

So I go - 'courses'? Wow, I can take more than one? That is so cool!
However, not wanting to overdo it, I signed up for just two - the bamboo sticks and a chocolate one.

*     *     *     *      *

Let's just say a couple of words of introduction to each other. First of all, it will be nicer to work together. Second of all, I'd like to know how long you've been in the massage business for, or in the cosmetics/beautician business. It'll make my job easier to know how much each of you knows about how the body is built etc. says the trainer and I begin to feel a bit out of place.

Somehow, I'd assumed that as it was a short, 6 hour long course, it was mostly attended by amateurs like myself. Wrong. I was in a group with a girl holding a master's in physical therapy, two owners of massage parlours wanting to introduce new products and a masseuse working for the venue the training was taking place in. Yikes!

Umm or if someone's not from any of the above? I suggest shyly. The surprised trainer asks what I mean and as soon as I follow it up with the The only thing I've in common with massage is that I've been given one twice. answer, I see consternation and dismay on his face. Oops.

*     *     *     *     *

To get the most of such a course, you work in pairs. While the first person is receiving a massage, which the other person is learning to give, they have a great opportunity to soak in whatever movement their partner is doing and at the same time listen to the trainer's instructions. They say it's a lot more beneficial, if you're the first to lay down (no pun intended, guys). Seeing how I was way behind with any knowledge that might be expected of you at a massage course, I secured the better spot. Knowing that I was kind of out of place, I did my best to remember as much theory  as I could and pair it up with the movements I could feel being practiced on my body. By the time it was my turn to start giving the massage, that's pretty much what I did - I just started performing it. 

Regardless of the bamboo sticks that come into the picture later during the massage, you have to warm up the body first and in this case, the warm up was to be ended with a short shoulders and neck massage.

Why did you lie? I hear the trainer, who suddenly appeared to my right, ask. 
Eeee? I answer brightly.
Why did you lie you never did a massage course before? He insists.
Eeee... because I never have? Yet again, those brains of mine!

And then it turns out that apparently he could never tell and that I've just the hand movement needed to be a good masseuse.

You've got talent for it, Magda! He says and leaves puzzled to see to the other pair. Not as puzzled as I am, I can tell you!

*     *     *     *      *

The course was a lot of fun but it is indeed good that I got to chance to take part in it for professional reasons as well - now I know that it's definitely not the type of a thing I would suggest to a corporate client. It also gave me a chance to pick the instructor's brain about what would be good, and he mentioned the burning candle massage. It so happens that he's giving that course tomorrow and I got invited to participate in it as well. It will be followed by the Sunday chocolate massage course, which I'd been already signed up for. Am really curious to see what those two are all about! 

Plus, the fact that by being invited to participate in those 3 trainings I'm saving almost 500$, and still getting the diplomas, makes it all the more exciting!

*     *     *     *     *

The truth is, before last Saturday's course I thought of it as an "only for fun one-time thingy" but now that I've done it, I figure - why not? Why not get myself a set of bamboo sticks and practice on my friends? I enjoyed doing it and maybe if I've the "talent" for it, as the instructor so graciously put it, one day I could use it to make some cash? I don't think I'd ever consider being a full-time masseuse but having one more skill that others will pay for cannot be overestimated.

*     *     *    *     *

So what thing have you randomly tried lately which helped you realise you had a talent for?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What do you do for fun?

So I was walking around the city center with those 2 American CSers tonight and at one point Chris asked me: "What do you do for fun?"
And you know what? 
I was actually left speechless for a second, because no clear answer came to mind. Instead, I could see the image of basically whole days of the last weeks and months come rushing.

*     *     *     *      *

Up until not so long ago I'd always have problems to coherently answer another question: "What do you do (for living)?". It'd be difficult to choose the one thing to state first and it was physically impossible to name all four at once. 

*     *     *     *      *

Today made me realise that answers to these two questions have become entwined. 
Seemes like all I can answer to the first one is simply "I live my life", and to the other "A lot of fun things". 
That's a freaking awsome thing.

*     *     *     *     *

I mean, c'mon, today I had ice-cream that tasted like beetroot (surprisingly good), carrot (yummy!), dill (I know what you're thinking, but!, although I don't like the veggie, I loved the ice-cream), beer (I finally have found a type of beer I might learn to enjoy), oscypek (typical regional smoked cheese (!!!)), rosemary with sesame (not really my kind of taste) and basil with lemon (the basil was too strong for me). Oh, plus rum, pistachio and peanut (delicious) - but I guess they're to 'plain' to get overly excited about.

Does it get cooler and more fun than that?

So what fun things do you do in life?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Picturing a quote - the Bee style

I've recently gotten accepted to a photography course organised by ZPAF (Association of Polish Art Photographers) which is perfect, seeing how I want to be taking loads of good pictures in the upcoming years. A proper photography course has been on my mind for a long time and I figure this short series of weekly meetings will be the perfect first step in the right direction.

*     *      *      *      *

"How can I start using all the pictures I have?" is one of the questions ever-present in my head recently.

I do like to read and share quotes, as well as pictures with quotes on them, so I thought - why not combine the quote sharing part with my pictures sharing part?

However, my graphic skills are less than null, so after getting depressed by trying to figure out a nice way of incorporating a quote I liked into a picture I liked in Paint (remember the null part, please), I asked a talented friend of a photographer, Weronika, to help me out. Thus, a new small "project thingy" was born and I hope Weronika won't hate me for asking for her help a few more times.

*     *     *     *      *

Here it is then, the first of a series of BAQ - Beecturing a Quote:

So ladies, what is a nice thing you did for yourself today?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Back to my NYC dance origins

When I was booking my flights to NYC, the trip wasn't to be all about dance. Not even majorly about dance, as I wouldn't be able to afford too many classes.

And then last Monday morning I read a message from Patrice, a French friend living in NYC whom I met on the Lombok volcano trek (and whose NY cap I'm wearing on the pics), in which he sent me an offer from SocialLiving - a Groupon kinda thingy - selling a full month pass at one of the big latin dance school for 30$ (!). Unfortunately, seeing how I was in the High Tatras at the time, I didn't get to answer until 8 hours later, by which time the offer was no longer available. 
However, that suddenly ignited a spark I'd long tried to put down - a dance-oriented stay in NYC was doable. More than that, that's what I was going to make it!

*     *     *      *      *

Today I got another message from Patrice, sending me a Groupon offer for none other than BLADE, the Hip Hop Dance Conservatory I mentioned in my last NY post, the one I first planned on going to those 5 years ago. 

I've bought my first dance classes in NYC!

Friday, August 17, 2012

My very own symbol of a new beginning?

It's funny how things work out sometimes, don't you think?

It was only last Friday (it's really been a week already?) that I reminded you of my previous stay inSlovakia and said how it was going to be very different this time around.

True enough, I wasn't driven around in a nice car all days long. I wasn't taken to do study tours ofhotels, nor was I fed in fancy restaurants. It was the middle of the summer and not the middle of the winter.

And yet, somehow, so many similarities. 

*     *     *     *     *

On Saturday we set off on a 5-6 hour trek around our hotel's area. We come off from the forest by a nice looking restaurant and then continue around the lake to get to where our hotel is. I'm talking very passionately with my friends and suddenly I see Julia look to my right with a longing expression on her face - just next to me, the rain-soaked and snow-frozen me, is a glass wall behind which a couple of people is lying on nice comfy spa beds overlooking the mountains we'd just wandered. 

Suddenly it hits me - I know this place. 
I've been here. 
I've lain on one of these beds.

December 2010. Slovakia FAM trip before Vienna and my flight to Bombay. The complimentary night at the Kempinsky High Tatras Hotel.
There was snow then, there's snow now.  

A wave of memories floods me and emotions overtake me. I'm laughing like crazy and feeling the hope, lightness and joy I experienced that night we stayed there. The hope that I was beginning an awsome period of my life, the lightness of being which comes with spending a night at a luxurious 5* hotel, the joy of excitement for all the adventures ahead.

So here I am, almost two years later.
Adventures I did have; no more stays at 5* hotels but in a Goan hut barely holding together and in a tentall over Iceland; an awsome period for sure, though not at all what I might have expected at the time.
The funny thing is, the Tatras Trekking weekend was, in my head, a beginning of a second part of 2012. The better, more exciting and more interesting part. The one with more fulfillment and adventures. Oh, let’s not forget more awesome food.

*     *     *     *     *

Let's see if Kempinsky becomes my very own symbol of new beginnings.
Do you have one of your own?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

New York, New York

I've had only one mental block in the last couple of years - going to NYC to learn dance.

*     *     *     *     *

Over 5 years ago I found out about a summer dance program at BLADE - the 1st Hip Hop Conservatory in the world. It was dirty cheap at the time (USD was veeery low and the program was only about 750$ for 8 weeks of classes) but I was younger and scared I wouldn't be able to find a decent room to rent, that I wouldn't have enough cash, that I wouldn't make it. My mind wasn't as open and my heart wasn't as experienced. Or the other way around.

Both the mind and the heart started changing and yet still, I never went. After a while I abandoned the idea of BLADE and moved on to BDC - Broadway Dance Center - because of Luam and her choreos, which I used to watch like crazy about 3-4 years back. They run some short-term dance programs, which are unfortunately a lot more expensive than the BLADE one was, but I was still dreaming of going. Then I stopped dreaming and started gearing up (gearing up = saving every penny), so I could afford to go and learn there for 3 months.

*     *     *     *     *

It was a couple of months after a pretty serious knee injury I had that I went to see Step Up 2 with Paula. By that time I have already given up on dance as a career or anything I could be living off and was planning to visit Marianka, my best friend at the time, who was studying in Indonesia, possibly travel around SEA later
I exactly remember how we were in the middle of the movie and I found myself with tears in my eyes. 

Because the routines and dance skills were leaving me speachless.
Because I could only imagine how much hard work it took to get to where they were.
Because I never focused on dance and never really made it a priority.
Because Poland has close to no streetdance culture and I was thousands of miles away from where it was all hapenning.
Because I would never learn from those dancers.

And at that moment I had made up my mind - if I could afford to go bum around SEA, I could definitely afford to go make my dream come true in NYC. I was going to be waiting tables if I had to, but I'd make it. That was in July 2010.

*     *     *     *     *

In August, I had a crazy week during which I alowed myself to be crazy in ways I never had, which in turn saw me deciding on flying to Indonesia anyways (I figured I'd come back after a couple of weeks and work my ass off in Warsaw making up for the money I'd spend) and doing so later in September. On the very same day I came back on my flight from London (was flying thru Kuala Lumpur into London and then to Łódź), so the last day of October, I was reassuring my parents that I'd be staying in Warsaw till April '11, as that's when I was planning on starting my program. And I kept reassuring them and all my friends until exactly a week later, when on a random Sunday evening I met NJ. NJ, my future boss in India.

Going to India didn't have to mean I had to cancel NYC. Actually, ever since it felt as if India was really going to happen (so I guess 3 hours into the 4 hour conversation we had on the night we met), I kept on saying how I had to be free by April. And so it was agreed - I go to intern till March, come back home to repack and set off to Danceland.

Somehow though my plans have changed and already on my flight back to Vienna (was flying Bombay - Vienna and then taking a train to Warsaw) I knew where I had to go next - I was physically missing the South of Spain. BDC programs start every quarter, so it didn't actually have to be April (although I wanted to go there at that specific time, so I would experience the annual NYC dance parade they hold in May). Thus, I decided I could do it after I come back from Spain. That was March 2011.

*     *     *     *     *

Upon coming back from Spain I got offered a job, which seemed like a huge opportunity, so I decided to take it. As you can probably imagine: a) things weren't as peachy b) dancing in NYC kinda got lost along the way.

Ever since those 5 years ago NYC has somehow grown into this huge block in my head. I'll have you know I don't consider myself a coward but the truth is, every time I was ready to go there, I'd chicken out. Of course, I wouldn't call it chickening out, as I always had some "excuse" to postpone the trip but that's what it comes down to.

Not any more.

*     *     *     *     *

Olgierd happened and then "enough is enough" happened.
"I can do it" also happened.

And then, within two weeks of making up my mind I had managed to arrange for a place to stay, find a source of funding and book a cheap flight.
Two weeks was all it took to conquer what I had been running away from for 5 years.

Scary isn't it?
*     *      *      *      *

Get ready New York City and its dance schools - I'm coming to get you!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Tatras calling!


I've been so looking for today to arrive - I have been missing the mountains, trekking, nature and a backpack on by back (where it's supposed to be, not in the closet) for a long while now. And so finally Friday, August 10th is here and I'm off to Slovakia for a weekend of trekking with some cool friends from WITC.

OK, so I did imagine doing it in shorts and getting tanned whereas the reality is closer to long pants, gloves and a raincoat but still - I don't mind one bit! 
A little sweat and a little rain ain't never hurt nobody, as Beyonce would put it in one of her songs.

Also, will somehow have to wash my raincoat tonight, as suddenly the water got turned off in my flat and was unable to do so.

*     *     *     *      *

It is true that the last time I was on Slovakia it looked more like this but this weekend is gonna be so much more fun!
Ok, off to pack.

Have an awsome end of the week dears!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Why isn't there ever an "enough"?

Do you ever feel satisfied nowadays?

I know plenty of people who make the best use of time they possibly could - working, having fun, doing hobbies, socialising, achieving - and yet they always feel they should be doing more. I'm one of those people. 

We feel we should learn more, do more, plan more, be more. 
More, more, more. 
Where does it stop, and does it ever?

*     *     *     *     *

I realise we all need progress and progress comes from wanting, needing or imagining something more than what already is but is it really necessary to always be in the pursuit of MORE?

Many folks who travel to the poorer regions of this world come back saying how incredible it is that people in there are happy in spite of not having a lot. I've said it before and I'll say it again, in my opinion it's not in spite of, it's because - people are happy because they don't have a lot. 
They're happy if they have a place to sleep and live, something to eat and feed their loved ones with, relationships with friends and neighbours, all of which brings them a peacefulness that the 'Western' mind and soul rarely experience. 
Because they have what they need and that's enough.

In our quest for more, have we maybe forgotten what enough feels like? 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Flight tickets rampage

"So where are you going on holiday this year?"
"Oh, no - I'm not going anywhere. You see, I want to work and be serious in Warsaw."
That's the kind of a conversation I was having those past couple of weeks with some of the people I know.

And then last night I realised the job I had to be in Warsaw for, I do it two days a week. My dance and Zumba classes - Tue & Wed nights. Everything else I do is pretty much via Internet or over the phone. So, unlike most of the people I know - I have to work on the spot for 2 days and I can have a longer weekend. A 5-day weekend. Every week.

That's quite a game changer right there, huh?

Well, I do believe I'm action-oriented so it shouldn't be much of a surprise that flights were bought today. 
16 flights. 
Now that might be a bit of a surprise.

*     *     *     *     *

It just so happens that Ryanair had a two day sale, ending tonight.

It just so happens that a friend posted a link about a start up weekend in London taking place in the middle of Sept. I was sure the flight would be expensive, as London usually is, but decided to check anyways. 
The exact dates I wanted (13-17 Sept)? 
-> 100zł RT, that's like 25€. 
Than I checked flying out of Warsaw but into Łódź (a town 1,5h away from Warsaw). 
-> 18zł to go and 21zł to come back, so the total of less than 10€. 
Start up weekend in London - here I come!

Then, being high on the London deal, I checked other flights and found a trip to Oslo, Norway for 19zł RT, so less than 5€. Not much of a thought process there - I was sooo buying it! Of course, Norway is beyond expensive and so getting to Oslo from the cheap airline airport is about 10 times the flight but I don't see Norway being cheaper any time soon, so Sept is as good a time as any to go pay it a visit. At first I was thinking about going end Sept/beg Oct and alone. Then I thought of Ewa, a girl I run with in WITC and asked if she'd like to join. She liked the idea but couldn't do it that weekend. So I checked the price for an earlier weekend and it was just as cheap, Ewa said she was in and so I made the purchase. Thus realising I could add another country to the list of places I celebrated birthday in (it's Sept 22nd).

And then, wait a second, the guys from WITC like city breaks, why not ask them to join?
-> create an event on FB -> invite friends -> spend the next hour buying their flights
Thus, my solo trip to Oslo turned into a BirthDay Weekend Norwegian Style with some of the coolest people I know in Warsaw, almost all of them athletes, as we are called by our almighty President. So far we're 8, including Gaile flying down from London, but I'm secretly hoping at least one more person will join us. Coming from Denmark, it shouldn't be so difficult for her... (yes Maggie, I'm calling you out girl!)
Do you remember the feeling you had as a child -anticipating your birthday and planning out the party months beforehand? Well, I've been just taken back to my childhood. I did not expect such a trip, definitely did not expect such turn out. And now I simply can't wait for that weekend to arrive!
After all, what better place to celebrate than the one you can barely afford anything in, right? Surrounded by friends - makes no difference!

Also, I've realised how I love love WITC. Just in case anyone had doubts.

I've been craving, literally craving some trekking and been going around whining about it to some friends, saying how I wanted to get away, if only for three days some time in August. You don't always get what you want in life, but you always get what you need - that's what they say. It seems I not only wanted but needed it as well, as soon afterwards I got invited to an event organised by some other WITCers  - a long trekkingweekend in the Slovak Tatras. Finally, I'll get to wear my kick-ass trekking shoes again and soak in the beautiful scenery of a mountainous region. Just a week left to go!

*     *     *     *     *

So yeah, I'd call it a pretty productive day.
Where do you spend your holiday this time of year?