Feniks, or how it was before Amazon, AKA the most underrated shop in Wroclaw

This store has an uninviting atmosphere and seems to be from the 90’s, but it is such a gem in the very center of the city, it’s located in a 6th floors Art Nouveau building from 1904. I am here talking about the Feniks store of course !

I often go for walks in the center, enjoying a new restaurant, or discovering a new café. I like to discover new shops and streets I haven’t had the chance to explore yet. The center is full of very cute colourful buildings and most shops are like any other European cities, own by international brands.
The entry of this old-looking mall is situated on Rynek, between a Burger King and a McDonald, on the other side the entry is next to an old barber shop, and is in fact the entry of the supermarket situated on the ground floor. You might have been to the supermarket full of very Polish goods, but skipped the next floors given the uninviting style of the elevators or the big marble stairs with their ugly looking neon lights. This design feels super outdated in today’s world where malls are big shiny places.

Each floor consist of a large space filled with a pallid light, and some dusty looking shelves but please don’t run away, because this shop is definitely worth it !

On the first floor, you will find plenty of made in Poland clothes including scarfs and leather gloves with fair prices, vintage looking but great value. A bunch of toys and games for kids, and a solid choice of stationery items. There is also a shop specialised in selling old coins, like old zlotys, it looks perfect for finding a gift for your grand parents !

On the second floor, you will find what I would describe to be what Amazon is today. You can find anything for you house, your bathroom, your kitchen, vintage or modern. I have never seen such a large choice of glasses, of vases, of cups, coffee utensils, plates. From grandma style looking cups to more modern standards. Basically all you can ever dream to find in the same shop. Of couse there will also be a large choice of old looking stuff, I won’t judge, all I can say is that there is something for everyone 😄 even if it is a greyish looking sheep plush.

On the third floor, there is a bunch of clothing accessories, including rock&roll style T-shirts and clothes shop, a choice of skateboards, a large choice of shirts and suits (all of these items are always made in Poland) and a large choice of shoes for women and men. There is also a selection of old Vinyls between the military looking clothes and the Rock bands t-shirts and pin’s 😃.

address : Rynek 31/32, 50-114 Wrocław, Pologne
Oh and they even have a website : https://www.feniks.wroc.pl (which exists but lack all you would want of a website)

Taking time for your own good

I took a sort of “year-off” during the covid crisis to work on myself, make a total change of the way I am eating, and enjoy this opportunity to make a major breakthrough in who I am and what I want to do in my adult life.

It mights seem a little strange to my readers that I used the expression “adult life”, but there is more than just being over 18 or having responsibilities. With the great help of a professional, I discovered that I had never really “officially” expressed my views and, kind of showed to my parents that now this is my life and that these are my choices. That their opinions, are, what they are, and I am keen to accept to hear them out, but, it won’t change my own choices.

I also evacuated questions and subjects I was too shy or shameful to talk to with them. And THIS is such a weight off my shoulders, I feel I can now conquer my life and live free of fences.
Like for example, let’s say you always had the feeling that your mother, for some reasons, were putting your siblings first and not you. Well this is the kind of things you don’t want to keep for yourself until they eventually die. This is much more important than you would think, to evacuate this thoughts from your mind by mostly sharing them with your parents. It’s not easy, and there will be emotions and probably tears in the process but this will finally allow you to live your LIFE.

This had an indirect effect on my diet. I have been doing an important change on how I eat during the last 6 months and I was always struggling with some sort of bulimia phases where I would eat and eat and eat until I could not physically swallow anymore. This was an unconscious way to evacuate the stress and was therefore destroying all my diet efforts.

I am now weighting as much as 7 years ago which is so far an amazing achievement. 

I am not hungry and am not restricting myself too much. It’s important in those kind of life-changing diet to have a very strong mindset in what your goals are and how not to let it go. The benefits of this weight loss and diet are far more than just feeling lighter. I have greatly improved my self confidence, it is always an amazing feeling to fit in clothes you would not have imagined to wear again, or to go from XXL to XL for polos for example.

I also greatly improved my sleep, I use to be a total insomniac, sometimes not sleeping for 4 nights in a row and suffering a lot, and of course having to eat more to cope with the sleep depravation. I also enjoy much more to climb stairs, in fact, I don’t realize at all that I am climbing them. Also I could notice great effect of my heart rate. I basically went from an average 130 BPM while walking fast to 100BPM. Same for resting heart rate, went from about 85BPM to 65BPM.
I had to drastically reduce my alcohol consumption for good, the good news is that if you are socially drinking there are now many 0% alcohol alternatives. The funny effect is that now one glass of beer makes me tipsy and that’s in a way a cheaper way to have fun. I don’t miss it too much so that went fine.
I also had to stop caffeinated coffee, at first I had switched to deca coffee but it really misses the good nice taste of a good coffee and eventually dropped it. I was drinking way to much long coffee during days at work, which was having a very negative impact on my insulin even though I would not put sugar in it. This was the most important impact on my weight loss after all those years.

It was not all perfect though, there was also an unexpected negative effect that I did not anticipate, unfortunately, I did hurt my knee because my weight loss induced big changed in the knee support and therefore caused some pain. It’s also king of pricey to have to renew my whole closet, I am trying to do it smart and wait for my final goal to be reached.

There was some very difficult moments where my weight would not go down for a month even though i was making efforts, it passed but OMG it was a hard time. But it did not change my diet or tried to eat less, eating less is the biggest mistake because you will pay for it and not in a good way with like food craves at night for example. I forgot to mention that I do not snack between meals and drink a lot of water or lemon ginger hot water.

This whole change is having such a great effect on my self confidence, even though I haven’t work for a year now, I am so grateful I could spend time for my own good. I feel confident for whatever the future might be, I am keen to work on many projects and future achievements.

The french system episode 1

I’ve always been asked what I want to do with my life, my professional life, and I find it still hard to answer today. I think that in France it’s unfortunately a skewed question because they will always look at what you studied before even considering your application.

The ideal path to success

In my opinion the easiest way to succeed in your career in France would be to follow what French like to call “la voie royale” literally “The royal path”.
The absolute best way to achieve it is to first go to a good high school (lycée), preferably in Paris best private or public schools /or in a foreign French School in a big city.
Teachers in these schools will aim to prepare children for preparatory classes (classes préparatoires) from as little as 4ème (8th grade). I remember in 8th grade my teacher mentioning in the meeting with parents that they were already training us for these classes, a way to justify how hard it was to get a good grade.
A few Paris schools that comes to my mind would be lycées : Louis le Grand (website) , Janson de Sailly (website), Blomet ENC (website) , Stanislas (website). Here is a ranking of Paris lycées based on their Baccalaureate results here.

Good grades in those schools will make you ready to join a good preparatory school, again preferably in Paris. There are different kind of preparatory classes depending on which Grande Ecole you are targeting. Usually it will be a two years preparation to attend a Grande Ecoles, students not getting into the schools they were aiming at after those two years usually would sign for a 3rd year.
Those two years are feared by most students, they aim to prepare them to very hard entrance exams of Grande Ecoles.
They are different types of Grandes Ecoles : The business schools, the engineering schools, the national schools etc… The most well known out of all would be Ecole polytechnic X (engineer), and HEC (business school) or ENS (Ecole normal supérieur).
There are many other schools but I will concentrate here on the most well known, whose students often end up at key roles in big companies. Students will begin in those schools as their 3rd year after high school diploma (BAC+3) and most of them will exit those schools on their 5th year with a master degree.

In the french system, academical level will always be the first think to be looked at, and also from which school you are to determine your salary level. For example, for trainees these two schools will require a minimum salary which is at least 4 times the minimum trainee’s salary. No wonder why there is not enough diversity in Paris successful companies…
I don’t see any change to this system in the future unless an extreme left candidates would win the elections which is very unlikely. The elites will continue to reproduce themselves.

In case you are not great at school :

In case your parents have money and you don’t have the academical level, you can always go to a post baccalaureate business school which you access directly after your high school diploma. Those schools are expensive like the business schools, some of them have reached the “Grandes Ecoles” certification even like IESEG in Lille and Paris. You won’t probably get the best salaries after it but you will still qualify for a lot more than university graduates somehow.

Going to University

First of all, University in France will always aim to prepare you to be a teacher or a researcher in your field. It means a lot of theory and not much practice. No wonder why business schools students have a better employable rate after graduating. Once again there is a big difference sometimes between going to university in Paris and the rest of France. There are more competitive, have the best teachers for most fields and are more attractive to future prospects. Sorbonne is a world wide known name, Lyon Jean Moulin not really… At the same time, it’s the place where you learn the hard life, how to make things for yourself, get to know people you would never have met if you went to a private school. This should be the way for everyone.