sobota, 12 grudnia 2015

Elections in Saudi Arabia

In one of my earlier posts, I have written about Saudi women. Today, I am glad to do it once again because their political situation is going to change a lot. For the first time, they are allowed to be not only voters, but also candidates in elections.

The local elections take place today. There are “more than 1,000 female candidates in the running, compared with more than 6,000 men” and “Some 100,000 women have registered to vote, meanwhile, compared with more than 400,000 men.

The women are excited and look forward to the elections. They want changes and believe they are ready to them but on the other hand, they know the situation in their country. Rather than radical transformations, they want respect and tolerance for everyone. It is also interesting what they say about this watershed moment: they reject western point of view, claiming they have their own. Of course, it is a step towards gender equality but they want also to stick to their rules. For example, one of the female candidates claims she respects conservatives and in case of her victory, rather than force them to change, she prefers a dialogue.

All in all, not many women are expected to win because they are not experienced. However, it is a very significant moment in the history oef Saudi Arabia.

You can read more about the subject here:

poniedziałek, 23 listopada 2015

It is not a post for or against refugees

Have you heard about magdas hotel? It is a unique place which staff is composed of refugees from many different countries. However, it is not a social assistance project, they are legal workers and they earn normal salary.

Magdas hotel is situated in Vienna in Austria. Its slogan is “stay open-minded”. They employ refugees in order to give them chances for a better life. Majid from Iraq, Dinnis from Guinea-Bissau, Maryam from Marocco – they could find an asylum there and start a new, normal life. They are members of persecuted religious minority or political refugees, they flee civil wars and poverty. They can earn their living there by cleaning rooms and cooking breakfast.

The hotel is located in an old building established in 1960s. It has been restored and designed by architecture firm with the help of Caritas and now it looks very modern, minimalistic and elegant. No surprise, then, that it attracts guests. All the more reason for visiting it is a relatively low cost of renting a room. And the restoring of the hotel was not an expensive venture because the most of the furniture is up-cycled: tables and nightstands are made from in-built closets, while coffee tables and shelves are made from  desk tops from an art school. It seems that furniture from magdas hotel is thought to start a new life, just like its staff.

So it is an extraordinary hotel, which aim is to promote creation of opportunities. But on the other hand, it functions as every other hotel. You can read more about it here:

and here:

piątek, 13 listopada 2015

Saudi Arabian Women Unveiled

Last time, I came across a documentary by Vice about Saudi women. More precisely, it is about Ziyah Gafic, a photographer who decided to “photograph them  [Saudi women] and interview them in their private spaces”. And the video tells the story of his project.

 As I do not know much about Saudi Arabia (and much less about the women), I was very curious to watch it. That also encouraged me to get to know more about the country itself.

One of the most significant facts about Saudi Arabia is that it was a Muslim kingdom from its origins. After conquering successively regions in central Arabia, Ibn Saud established the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932 with Sunni Islam as the official religion. He declared himself a king. Since its origins, the state has had six kings. They all originate from the House of Saud.

The influence of strict religious rules has been considerable until now, which is visible in the clothing, among others. As we know, Saudi women generally go outside dressed in abaya - long, black dress. One of the women explains: “For every occasion, we do have different kind of abaya. Fashion designers, they would have business only to sell abaya and women of course like it”. She says also that they have their favourite fashion designers and patterns.

However, in the video, we see women without cover, sitting in their houses and telling about themselves.

It is interesting to learn that they are successful writers or businesswomen. They express opinions about their work, their life and the society they live in. One of them said that “Saudi Arabia is an advanced country and it’s keeping with the rest of the world”. She regretted that many people think negatively about the country. “But if they visited Saudi Arabia, they would definitely change their perspective”. She also tried to convince that Saudi women are not oppressed, they are like the other women. “A lot of people think they are tempered. But the truth is they are very active but behind the scenes. (...) I consider achieving a lot.” – added the other one.

“All of the women we met, they all work and they all have college degrees”, said Ziyah Gafic. He is right: they speak English, they run their own businesses, they seem self-confident and optimistic. Even if they probably do not represent all Saudi women, it seems that the stereotypic image of Muslim woman is not entirely true. On the other hand, I would like to know more also about the rest of the Saudi women, without college degrees and who do not work. I am sure their stories would not be the same.

“If the issue that we are dealing with is that Muslim woman is underrepresented in the media, then I wanted to dedicate my attention to her.”, said Ziyah Gafic. I think he achieved his aim.

sobota, 24 października 2015


Today, I would like to write some of the most interesting facts about Belgium. This country was established in 1830, so it is very young if compared to the rest of countries of the Europe. However, in such a short time Belgium has managed to develop its own unique history, traditions and culture.

The first thing that comes to mind if we talk about Belgium is probably the fact that Brussels is the capital of European Union. The country is also widely known for its comics, waffles, fries and chocolate, considered as one of the best in the world.

The territory of Belgium was habited as far back as 100 BC by Celtic and Germanic peoples but the way to the creation of the sovereign state was very long. Belgium did not become independent until 1830, after the secession from the United Kingdom of Netherlands. After the success of Belgian Revolution, a Kingdom of Belgium was proclaimed. Since that time, Belgium participated actively in European politics. It became a member of Benelux, NATO and EU. It possessed its own colonies.

The country is divided into three regions: Flemish Region, Walloon Region and Brussels Capital Region. It is bilingual, or rather trilingual, because apart from Dutch and French, it recognizes also German as official language. However, the German-speaking community is not numerous. What is interesting, in almost all the country every official information has to be written in Dutch and French. Only in the German-speaking part of Walloon Region inscriptions are written in French and German.

piątek, 29 maja 2015


Recently, Grimes released new song, which is a great reason to write about her. J She is not only a musician and singer-songwriter, but also a producer and music video director. She is born and raised in Vancouver, but she did not get interested in music until she moved to Montreal, where she came in order to study neuroscience (!).

One of her friends, involved in the underground electronic music scene, introduced her to the techniques of making music. She liked it very much and quickly started to neglect  her studies because she preferred to develop her music skills rather than attend classes. Luckily, this choice turned out to be advantageous to her. Today, Grimes is one of the most prominent figures of contemporary electronic music.

The story about her stage name is very interesting. In one of the interviews, Claire Boucher (because that is her real name) explained that she wanted a pseudonym that would be “something aggressive and masculine” as not to stand out from the other electronic musicians who were (and still are, though it changes) mainly men.

And what about the new track? It is called “Realiti” and was shot during Grimes’ tour in Asia. Even if it was released a few time ago, I have listened it from that moment many times and it puts me in a good mood every time, so I want to share it with you. :)

niedziela, 19 kwietnia 2015

Coachella Festival

I like the idea of music festivals. One of my favourite is Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, called commonly Coachella Festival. It is a music event that takes place every year in Indio, California. It was founded in 1999 and became one of the most remarkable music festivals (“the best music festival”, according to Rolling Stone) that presents almost 200 artists on eight stages during three days.

Since the festival promotes diversity, music fans have occasion to see performances of such different artists as Azaelia Banks, Drake (hip hop), Hozier (indie rock, soul, blues), Charles Bradley (funk, soul), Belle and Sebastian (indie rock) or John Talabot (house music, electronic), Kiesza, Kimbra, Jack White, Florence + the Machine... In fact, the festival have presented yet the impressive number of widely-known artists, so it would be much easier to enumerate rather those who did not have ever performed there.

wtorek, 14 kwietnia 2015

Easter baking

I am a big fan of baking, especially of Christmas and Easter baking. I enjoy the time of preparing dough with all the additives a lot,  then waiting impatiently for results and finally, seeing everyone helping themselves.

As some members of my family have food allergy, this year I decided to try to bake some vegan cakes. I chose a traditional poppy-seed cake with icing and lemon muffins. Muffins are definitely not one of the Polish dishes, I know! But we all like them and that is why I wanted to bake them, too. Fortunately, it was very easy to prepare them, because I had many other things to do.

I strongly recommend you this lemon version of muffins: the time of baking is short, the preparation – very easy, and they taste so delicious J  All you need is flour, sugar, baking soda, water, oil, and a lemon. I do not remember the address of the site where I found the recipe but I am sure you may easily find it if you try to write “vegan lemon muffins” (the original version contains also poppy seeds but I omitted it) in your browser.