Blog update, what’s up ?

It’s always difficult when you are having a blast on a mission to jump to another. I almost had the fear of change and I was not ready for a new environment of work.

I recently am working on a few complex articles, which are not ready to be published yet, not sure why but inspiration and time wise, it is complicated.
It was recently my blog 1st anniversary, and I realised I have only published about 10 % of what I wanted to do. ☺️ Here is a quick update.

Diet update, not so great to be honest

Bad, bad and bad

My objective on the first few months of the year was to finally relaunch the loss of weight after the difficult last two months of 2021. Between my birthday and the huge amount of food of Christmas in Zakopane, I did manage to not take more than 2/3 kilos on that dark times. I was looking at a small effort and a longer effort to finally break the plateau toward an overall minus 25 kilos since I started.
I didn’t not managed to reach this objective and it has been very rough on my self confidence. I never really managed to sleep well for the last few months, I spent more time than I wanted on work and less time that I wanted on studying. I was not happy during this Polish winter. I had seen this problem while I was living in Berlin, the winter is super hard, cold and dark, sun goes down at 3.30pm.
Instead I restarted to allow myself alcohol again and more sweets than I should have, and of course between the ups and down in my couple, at work, the tiredness and the stress from the War in Ukraine (which is right across the border..), I put on some weight. For the first time in a while, I was always accepting it, like oh it’s ok it’s just one kilos, two kilos etc. In the end I went exactly 7 kilos up from my floor weight of the beginning of November. BAD.

Of course it’s harder to be super diet-serious when you have the feeling that nuclear war will wipe us out the next week, which at some point was the feeling we had in Poland. But the influence this weight gain had on my self confidence is definitely a bad hit.
I stupidly tried to go to Keto + intermittent fasting for three weeks following Dr. Berg on YouTube thinking I could go straight into it and that I would be happy. WRONG.
The biggest problem is right under my eyes for a few months now, bad sleep, very bad sleep, I often don’t sleep before 4/5am and wake up at 8/9, which is roughly 4/5 hours of sleep per night, sometimes less.

How to sleep better ?

So how do we sleep better, well, if you had asked me a few years ago, I was quite of an insomniac I would have not know and answered, take a Xanax or something ? Well I tried and it’s bad, it’s bad because it’s not real sleep, you have headaches the following day and overall you feel bad. IMO, drugs should be only for emergencies, like if you don’t sleep at all a few nights in a row.

A bit less screens too in the evening, or at least TV screen only, not close to face OLED panels. Regarding OLED panels, I noticed one thing, I switched to an iPhone 13 mini in November, and since that exact month, my sleep has been bad… Is there a relationship between what people call PWM (◊pulse width-modulation) or screen flickering and bad sleep ? Probably, is it the only reason, probably not. Before that I was using an iPhone SE with a standard LCD panel.

It’s quite difficult in 2022 to not let yourself being captivated by your phone, especially when you want to have a little time after work, scrolling without thinking. I was thinking about it today, and chose to remove from my home-screen these infinity scrolling apps. What do we gain at infinity scrolling, what do we gain at looking at others filming their life ? Nothing, ok sometimes it’s funny but in the vast majority it is just a waist of time, and OMFG the times flies when you infinity scroll.

I am right now trying to go back to lighter dinners on the evening, I suppressed alcohol and I am working on using less screens and reading all the books I never finished. I will tell you how it worked out. 😇

2022 holiday season is coming

Holiday season is coming, everyone seems to be super excited about it, probably because of the last two years of Covid.
For the first time, the situation seems to be better in Europe and USA than the rest of the world. I am sure you have heard about the many difficulties travellers will face this summer because of the workers shortage in tourism.
The industry holds a fair share of responsability in this situation, they got rid asap of their staff when covid started, and given the little social protection those workers had, they had to find ways to survive and change careers.
Now that the situation is back to normal, tourism industry is crying for help, still proposing the shitty seasonal contracts they were always offering.

Flights prices have shy rocketed in Europe, and I can only pray that our tickets won’t be cancelled the last minute by EasyJet. It was the only flight available to go to Corsica for the weekend, and it would ruined everything. By the way if you travel in Europe, it’s sometimes worth to use national carriers because they must find you another way if the cancel the flight, not like low cost which will even not refund you most of the time…

Still freelancing and not ready to give up my freedom

I have had a amazing first half of the year working full time for a client in France. I discovered a company who care about their employees and the work- life balance, like no other before. Fun fact, an ex colleague of mine, from the time I was working in Germany has joined them recently as well. I feel almost jealous. 😅

It’s always difficult when you are having a blast on a mission to jump to another. I almost had the fear of change and I was not ready for a new environment of work. After a first difficult week, I realized I needed to adapt to a new environment and in the end I am feeling great too.

I also got a few fixed contract offers, but declined each time even though the salary was acceptable for Paris even. I just can’t handle yet coming back to a corporate office environment. I am sure it would go a lot better than ever before but I don’t think it is yet the time to go back.

What’s next & why isn’t it always amazing ?

I had a very precise target last year, it was to make sure I had the skills for a completely remote style of working, tech oriented. I would say I have a very logical approach to work, in the way that I will make sure to have all the skills and work towards being excellent in a field to be able to work everyday and feel at ease. I wouldn’t say I am more interested in a specific field, but more that I am following the trend in order to insure an income and a minimum of interest in my day to day jobs. I would never join a company or sign a contract for a product I don’t like, or I don’t believe in.

This question came back to my mind recently, since my last client is working on a product where I have only seen failure in the past. I believe more into their new BNPL (buy now pay later) products and payment business than the rest of the product. Sure Klarna which was a major actor of this business recently had to fire many employees, but I think BNPL is still a good business to go into in 2022. Not longer ago than last week Apple announced a payment facility product themselves, but this will probably only deploy in the US for now.

We can not always do what we really want even as Freelancers, some clients are more difficult that others, and some missions are not as great as others. I think it’s still important to have versatility in the missions.

Work is like relationships, there are ups and downs, and crisis are good because with it comes experience. I see difficulties as challenges, arguments are healthy, like my counsellor would say “It’s when we share nothing that there is something to say, reality is often unpleasant”.

Looks like tourists are back to Paris

It’s good to be back, it’s good to speak French a bit. As I said to a friend, Wroclaw is my city of Love, Berlin is my city of heart and Paris is my city of Birth. 😍

I came back to Paris for a little bit, it was the end of my 5 month long mission for a client and had a few appointments to attend to. I think it’s the first time in my work life where I finished a job in the same happiness and high spirit I started with. Don’t worry I have already find a new client and will begin before the end of the month a new mission 😇.

For the first time, I feel sad to leave Wroclaw

I flew back to Paris directly with Ryanair from Wroclaw airport, this is the best way to go back; sure you might have a negative view over one of the most famous low cost European airline but I have always been on time and happier than expected with them. They don’t fly to any of the Paris closest airport but instead to Beauvais but then you have a bus that takes you to Paris in about 1h15min which is the same time in the end than coming back from CDG airport. Door to door it takes about 8h.

I was so surprised that no one is wearing a mask anymore, either in the airport or even in the plane. 😷 Although a pressurised plane with HEPA filters running might be the safest place without mask, the airport doesn’t seem that safe.

Flying with them is quite cheap, count 20/30 euros extra for carry-on luggage and an extra 6€ for an exit row. They have a satisfying choice of food on board, a coffee will be around 3€.
I always found there safety instruction’s drawings quite funny. I must say that I have always been curious to see the demonstration of how to put a life jacket on your child, if you look closely it does not seem this easy 😅

Ryanair emergency safety instructions on the back of the seat with little drawings and explainations
Ryanair safety instructions

I was then surprised that mask are not enforced anymore in Paris subway 🚇. Is the covid gone, images from China did not give me this impression…

Walking in Paris

It’s good to be back, it’s good to speak French a bit. As I said to a friend, Wroclaw is my city of Love, Berlin is my city of heart and Paris is my city of Birth. 😍
The first thing I noticed was the impact of global inflation on prices, my favourite Chinese restaurant increased its prices by 20%. 😥 Transportation cost remained the same on the Paris RATP network but for how long ?

Tourists are back too, I could see numerous American tourists, which usually are big spenders so restaurants must be happy. But Asian tourist are nowhere to be seen, a sign that the pandemic is still there. Only a few rich Chinese have escaped before the lockdowns to take refuge in Paris. I was happy to see a bunch of Ukrainians discovering the city.

Bir Hakeim bridge view on eiffel tower and beaugrenelle towers
Pont de Bir Hakeim is a beautiful spot
Vendome column in Paris with it's luxury shops and hotels
garden of the tuileries near le louvre , famous chairs available in big parks in paris
resting under the trees in Jardin des tuileries and it’s famous chairs

I must say I missed walking around here, the scenery is amazing and you easily walk 10 km without noticing. You can always stop by a bakery or a café terrace to rest and drink a coffee, buy a croissant or a pain au chocolat. For example the distance following the river from Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame is about 5km already.

The wedding season has started

I must say most of my friends did not marry in their early 20’s so I was quite jealous to never go to any wedding before. Well it seems that now everyone wants to get married ! I guess couples who survived the pandemic and lockdowns together are more keen than ever to tie the knot.

Whereas some friends decided to get married in their birth place, some decide on exotic locations, making it quite difficult to go, especially coming from Central Europe. Have you ever heard of Corsica ? It’s a big island South of France, belonging to France but let’s they have their own traditions.. The ugly truth is that continental French just go there for holidays and islanders are just hating them while still making a bunch of money from tourism.

Don’t expect to find an easy transportation up there, almost no trains, a few buses only twice a day and not on weekends (annoying when you travel). Prices are as crazy as french riviera and there are no cheap alternatives anywhere.

I will tell you more about it when I come back. 😛

Garden cafe of museum carnavalet in center Paris , with it's nice architecture
I wrote this article enjoying a Parisian beer in the garden of Carnavalet Museum

Back to Poland for a while

A lot of things have happened since the last time I wrote on my blog. While France was still focused on their presidential elections, the day I landed back in Wroclaw, was the day a convoy of French volunteers were looking for a place to spend the night on their way to Ukraine.

A lot of things have happened since the last time I wrote on my blog. While France was still focused on their presidential elections, the day I landed back in Wroclaw, was the day a convoy of French volunteers were looking for a place to spend the night on their way to Ukraine. It put me back immediately into the reality of what’s happening there and how Poland is the very first ally they have when it comes to finding refuge.

Returning to Poland

It was quite a challenge to find a flight back to Poland, it use to be an easily affordable trip between France and Poland, now the train is sometimes even more cheap. In the end I chose to go through Krakow and take a Flixbus back to Wroclaw. I flew with Transavia which I usually avoid at all cost, and I remembered why… Their planes are outdated, crews and pilot are fantastics which is the most important but the ground experience is way worse than even Ryanair… a SHAME. One thing to mention also is that the plane interior is very old, and nasty but it still is safe.

Inside transavia old 737, with old green lather seats and old platics
Inside Transavia 737

Hosting Ukrainians for the night

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine I had been following a few photographers from Kiev, one of them had recently moved to Lviv and was thinking to leave Ukraine and go to Berlin. I followed their trip on Instagram through the border of Ukraine and into Poland, I was in the bus to Wroclaw when I saw they were super tired and I naturally offered to host them for the night in Wroclaw on their way to Berlin. Me and my gf we were just very happy to offer help randomly to people we didn’t know, except through Instagram. I must admit that over the years I criticised this social network quite a lot but it its still a formidable way to discover new talents.
Anya and Alina were travelling the whole way from Lviv with their little Fiat 500, with their cat Richard. It took them 7 hours to cross the border to Poland and they were exhausted.
It was such an honour to offer them to rest for the night and even help them with little things such as buying food for the poor Richard. Anya is a young talented photographer, notably known for her pictures in the Kiev subway during the first few nights of the conflict, she decided to go to Paris for now, while Alina is a PR specialist looking for new opportunities in Berlin at the moment.
You can follow them on Instagram and support them on Patreon :

two ukrainians girls from Kiev going to Berlin with their little fiat 500
Anya and Alina with their little car
Richard the ukrainian cat from Kiev
Richard the Ukrainian cat from Kiev

News from my friends in Shanghai lockdown

I was horrified to receive news from my friend Terry in Shanghai. China’s zero Covid policy made them lockdown the entire 25 millions citizens city. Terry was first quarantined at his home but was later unlucky to test positive. He was placed in one of those huge hangars among hundred other people, like an open- space with beds, a 30m ceiling and H24 bright lights.
At least he was fed there while other citizens in the city have a lot of problems to access food and even medics.
Every over day I see horrifying reports on how bad the authorities are handling the situation. The latest was them blocking streets witch ship containers and locking down entire building by installing cages around the doors. People with mental problems or just desperate throwing themselves out of the window.
The latest video was about an old man who was put in a body bag but woke up during transport to the morgue…

A quarantine hangar in Shanghai
A quarantine center in Shanghai

Easter in Poland, a very important event in a very catholic country

Easter in France is traditionally the moment of the year where you spend hundreds of euros on chocolates, on chocolate rabbits and other nice chocolates of all shapes and colours. You might also have a nice family lunch of the Sunday but that’s it.
Easter in Poland is not that much about chocolate but more about going to Church and with a very important Easter breakfast moment on the Sunday. Every family would have spent the last few days painting eggs, eggs that you would have to break against someone else egg in order to crack them open. We went all the way to Krakow to attend a family lunch on the Monday, of course there was soup which they love in Poland and smashed potatoes. It was very similar to France in the way that you eat way too much at that lunch.

Painting eggs for Easter

A week later we were lucky to be invited to attend Orthodox Easter, with Ukrainian refugees in Wroclaw. We share a bunch of traditional cakes and sang songs from there. I made them my favorite chocolate cake, which disappear very fast so I guess I am getting pretty good at it.

fondant au chocolat
My fondant with chocolate, a lot of it
Easter gathering with Ukrainians and Polish

Wroclaw has welcomed up to 80k people so far and Polish are doing all they can to integrate them and find them jobs. I am quite impressed by the level of education among Ukrainians, even on French radio, journalists were discussing the fact that they somehow managed to keep their universities open and that they are very good students. Decadent France is discovering that yes their neighbours are not the third world but are more educated than them, what a shock.
I was pleased to meet a few of them, they are all trying to blend in before coming back one day to Ukraine, looking for jobs, or for classes to attend, they all are taking Polish classes, I felt a bit ashamed that I did not take the time yet to learn Polish…
I was quite impressed that in Ukraine, all your important documents are digitalised in the cloud, what a great way to keep them available at all time.

Wroclaw, its streets and building, the beauty and the beast

This city is a urban jungle like not others, with abandoned buildings next to very modern ones, the perspective you have of one street can change depending on the angle you look at it. I have a pretty good example of this, I took a picture of the front and the read of a very nice vintage car I saw not far from where I live, see for yourself !

beautiful Honda

On this side, it looks like a totally destroyed street with random cars and bad looking buildings. On the other side, it’s … the perfect looking neighbourhood :

same but different