Five random things about USA

So, it took me a while, but I arrived in the USA on the green card – and here are some of my first impressions after these two weeks.

Disclaimer – I am in Boston and the around of Boston, so these are true for this area. Also, these are things that are true for me – my experiences, feelings, observations. It may be completely different for you – I’m NOT basing this on any statistics. Also, I make comparisons to Poland – obviously – but I am NOT stating one way or another is better or worse. Just my observations.

  1. America runs on Dunkin

Ever heard this advert? Sure you have. Ever seen a Dunkin café? Also a certainty, if you’ve been to USA. I never paid attention to this during my previous trips to USA, but suddenly I’m seeing Dunkin Donuts everywhere. It feels like I go a few miles, and there’s another one. I might be inclined to believe there are more Dunkin Donuts than Subways. McDonald’s and Starbucks are the same, but I always saw that. The Dunkin Donuts places are the ones that got my attention now.

  1. Americans can take a compliment

Most of the times a Polish person hears a compliment, he or she will add something to make is smaller. Like – I’d tell a Polish girl I like her dress/skirt/whatever, she would say “oh, that old thing, I’ve had it for ages” or “oh, I just found it in my closet, I forgot I had it.” Not in America. They would just  say “Thank you!” in a very enthusiastic voice and sometimes they may add: “It’s so nice of you.” But I’ve never heard them diminish themselves.

  1. They talk about Trump.

When I was here in 2010, throughout the whole year I had only 2 semi-conversations about politics, and both of them were provoked by me. I was just curious on where the person I was talking to stood – left or right/Democrats or Republicans. They just answered the question, and that was it. But now during the two weeks I’ve been involved more or less actively in 5 conversations about Trump. You may think whatever you like about him, but he IS for sure evoking a lot of emotions in people.

And mind you, this is coming from someone who really avoids talking about politics in any country – despite my occasional curiosity over the “Democrat or Republican standing.”

  1. We have prettier metros

Seriously, Polish metro stations are really better-looking. This may actually be an observation about Boston, but from what I remember every station in USA I’ve been to was practically the same – not too pretty, and not entirely clean. I know, I know, Poland has only 2 metro lines, both of them in Warsaw. So maybe that’s why the metro stations are nicer there!

One more thing – the metro in Boston is well-explained and clear, no issues with that!

  1. You need to wait a long time for the white light on pedestrian crossing.

First thing about that – in Poland we have the green light for pedestrian crossing, while in USA it’s white. That said, is it me, or do I have to wait for-like-EVER for the lights to change? Not that anyone except for me actually worries about that – they just cross the streets whenever there is no car coming, regardless of the lights. I’m still too shy/afraid to do this, but maybe with time I’ll join them! Because, as I said, I really have to wait, and wait and wait, for the white light.

So, these are all for now. I still have not decided if I’m going to stay here, or run back home! But, I hope to write more about this country before I depart.


Happy New Year :)

I’ve never liked New Year’s resolutions. Probably because New Year’s Eve is sort of like any other night for me, and you can have resolutions at any time of the year. And basically, do people actually keep them?

So, instead of resolutions I have a wish for myself. I wish I could write reviews as soon as I finish reading a book. Cause I did finish my challenge this year, just didn’t get to writing reviews of all the books. Well, anyway, a new “sort of challenge” is coming up soon, but first I have to wrap up 2016.

Enough of that. For New Year I wihs you health, luck and may all your dreams come true.

And lots of good book, of course, as always.

And for me? Same thing!


Passionate. It’s such a nice word. It’s a word that makes me think of a lot of things all at once. About love, and about nature, but also about rage and hatred. Passion is a part of being human. Passion is what drives us.

I like people with passion. I like listening to anyone who tells about something they’re passionate about. I don’t care if there are books, or animals, or music or anything I might like. If you’re passionate enough, and you can talk about it, you could interest me in basically anything.

I have a lot of passions in life. I don’t think I could live without them. Or maybe I could, but what sort of life that would be? So, basically, I’m passionate about:

  • Books
  • Books
  • And have I mentioned books?

But besides that

  • Food
  • And have I mentioned pizza?
  • And sweets? Like chocolate. Or ice-cream. I am totally passionate about ice-cream
  • And fruits. God, thank you for the fruits.
  • And for the pizza

But besides that

  • Music
  • And my guitar. I mean, it’s so pretty. And it plays nicely, too.
  • And singing. Especially when I’m alone. Like in the shower. Or while I’m cooking

And some more things I’m passionate about

  • TV series – Desperate Housewives, that I could watch for hours, That 70s Show, Roswell,
  • The Hunger Games. Most of the world forgot about The Hunger Games already, but I haven’t.
  • Some paintings. Like The Girl with a Pearl Earring. Or anything by Vermeer. Or anything by Renoir. Or anything I don’t know the title to, but I could just walk about the museum and look at it for a very long time. Sometimes I think it’s the only thing that can ease my “mini ADHD”
  • Thinking about writing. Planning on writing. Creating ideas for stories.
  • Forest. Walking in the forest. Trees. Grass. Flowers. Sun. Rain. Sunset. The dawn. Birds singing.
  • Minnesota. Duluth in Minnesota. Rose Garden. Superior Lake. Aerial Bridge. The Minnesota forests. The “land of 10 000 lakes” The lakes.
  • Some films. Girls with a Pearl Earring. Or Child’s Play (1&2)
  • My new tattoo.

And have I mentioned books? The smell of books? The sound of a turning page? The sense of excitement I get from holding a book? A sense of belonging I get walking between the shelfs of books in the bookstore or a library?

Oh well. I don’t care if it makes me a nerd. I am Passionate about books! Period.


JFK Shooting… that never happened (part 2)

Back at the airport, I realized what chaos has been caused and started hearing all other stories. Mostly, about mayhem at other places, where people were running. There was a woman pushed against the wall by the terrified, panicked people. There was a woman who fell down and had blood all over her face. I saw another one with blood all over her knee/calf, and thought to myself that my little scratches – though they started hurting sometime at this point – were nothing compared to that. I heard stories about people going on a door, forcing it to open – and managing to do that and get outside. About woman who screamed so hysterically it made others lose their calm.

And many other like that.

                As it turned out, apparently not everyone held on to their possessions as tightly as I did. There were hundreds of abandoned bags and passports by the departing gates, and it took hours to collect them all and return to their owners. Planes were delayed to what seemed like infinity, and nobody knew anything. It seemed impossible to get a straight answer from my airlines of what we were supposed to do. If I actually lived in New York, I would have just gone home right there and postponed my trip to some other time. Or maybe to never. But, as it was, I was alone in a foreign country, with no place to go, and a deep, sinking feeling of homesickness. I couldn’t, just couldn’t stop thinking over and over again “I wanna go home, I wanna go home.” As much as I like travelling alone, and as much as I love USA, I was so sorry I didn’t have anyone with me. And I was actually seriously considering abandoning my green card and never coming back to this crazy country ever again.

                But, as luck would have it, after talking to a lot of people, I found myself a “group of orphans.” They were three people – besides me – who were seeking company as much as I was. So, there were four of us, three girls and one guy, and we stuck together since then. I am forever grateful for them and really, really happy I met them during this weird time. Sort of like a silver lining to all of this.

Frankly, I wasn’t thinking about taking photos while this all happaned, but after that, when we were generally trying to get some sleep on the airport floor, I took two:



                Our bags, the ones checked in, as it turned out, were abandoned somewhere outside on their way to the planes, between the planes. Therefore, they weren’t sterile anymore, so they had to scan through them again. 16 000 bags. To be checked again. One by one. It didn’t surprise me at all when, once I finally arrived in Oslo, where I had a connecting flight to Poland, it turned out that our bags were left in New York.

                I wouldn’t want to go into details, so I’ll just speed it up. At the end, we had to wait for around 30 hours for our flight. They kept on changing the time of departure, so for most of the time we felt imprisoned in the airport. We tried sleeping on the floor, but as for me, I slept for maybe an hour during this first night. Fortunately, we got vouchers for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but still hours spent on the airport, with the same clothes and not knowing when I’ll see home again, took its toil. The basic feeling I had during that time was tiredness. It wasn’t shock at this point, or depression, I wasn’t terrified or even angry. I only felt exhausted.

                At the end, I reached home around 48 hours later than I was supposed to according to my initial plan. My bag arrived a day later, so at least I didn’t have to worry about that.

Of course, after I’ve calmed down, I’m not planning to abandon my green card, but since I never was a fan of New York, it will be easy NOT to come back there ever again. You know, there’s always Boston. Or Chicago. A lot of planes from Europe land just there.

                Thank God for that!

                Before I move on, there’s one more thing I’d like to tell. Back at the airport, one of the women I talked to said that she knew that the second stampede, the one that happened outside, the one where I hurt my knees, was actually caused by the police. Some people started to go back into the airport, feeling safer I guess, or just wanting to use the restroom. The police, though, didn’t want to have anyone inside, and they started screaming at them “GET OUT!!!! GET OUT!!!!” It added to people’s panic, and they run away, and those outside, not knowing what was going on, run with them.

It really doesn’t take much.

                There were some versions circulating of what really happened, but the most probable version – and I think the official one – is that there were cheering and banging from people watching the Olympic games, and one woman thought she heard a gunfire. She said it out loud, and panic broke. That was at Terminal 8. How the hell it reached Terminal 1, where I was, that I don’t know. This seems beyond ridiculous. But when you are in the middle of it, convinced that there really IS a crazy person running around with a gun, there’s just nothing funny about that. Not a single thing.

                Now, as I said I am in love with USA. It may be true that it’s more of a fascination, and my love is only for a few areas. For sure it’s true that I can distinguish between North and South, and Florida and California, and see it as different entities. It certainly is true that New York has, for me, always been this weird, unreal entity that just is my comprehension. It’s also definitely true that there are a few things I don’t like about USA in general. But I can understand them, at least to some extent.

But guns. Oh, my. They are the one thing that I not only dislike, but don’t understand. Maybe, just maybe, it’s beyond the comprehension of my “little Polish brain,” but seriously, what is up with that?

                We all read it on the news. The shootings. The killings. The panic is there, and it’s real. The event at JFK is a proof of how scared people really are of guns nowadays. And yet, they won’t do anything about that. I had always wanted more strict laws towards guns in USA. However, since I’m not quite a resident yet, it’s not my country, and while living there for a period of a year and a half in total, I never actually encountered this problem; I didn’t feel I had a “right” to speak up about it.

                But now I do. If you want to have a gun, you have to be a responsible person. A responsible person will know that all tests and questions that he/she may be asked are for the safety of others. A responsible person would do anything to prove that he/she would be using the owned gun, well… responsibly. I am not saying that I wouldn’t want to possess a gun. I’ve never had any, and I probably never will, but “never say never.” If I did try to possess a gun, though, I would willingly go through every test and background check they would want to do on me.

                So there. That’s the one thing I seriously don’t comprehend about USA. And that’s the one thing I even don’t want to understand. Because, one of the things I was thinking back there, was this: “You can be a victim of terrorism pretty much everywhere these days, but guns? That’s only in freaking America!”

(NOTE: Of course, I don’t mean that literally. I only mean that America has a problem with guns – and they need to do something about it, and they need to do it now!)

JFK Shooting… that didn’t happen (part one) (14th of August 2016)

Let me indulge in a little break from reviews, even though I am behind in those. But, I need to get something out of my system, and I need to do it now!

                Recently, I went to USA to activate my green card (more about that later), and when I was coming back last Sunday, the weirdest and most scary event of my life occurred on JFK airport. You may (or may not) have seen/read it on the news – usually, it was a short note about a false alarm of shooting and evacuation of two Terminals. Sounds harmless enough. Well, not for those that were there.

                For me it (sort of) started at the security. I checked my bag in and went to the security line to get “to the other side” when an official said it was closed. I didn’t say anything, mainly because there were some other people next to me, complaining that they would miss their flight. The official screamed at us for a minute, and then went to his manager to check. He came back and let us through.

                I didn’t give it another thought, just went to my gate and waited for boarding. My flight was supposed to start boarding at 10 PM, but 10 PM came and went and the gate was closed. I still didn’t think much about it. I mean, planes are delayed on a daily basis, aren’t they? Then, around 10:15 some flight attendants run pass us, in a hurry. I briefly wondered what was with them, but still didn’t think there was anything going on. Until they came back, running, and went right into hiding by the gate 4. Suddenly, though nobody called for it, passengers waiting with me by gate 4, Terminal 1, all in a big panic, run towards the gate with the flight attendants, got down and starting either moaning, or crying. Some of them abandoned their things right there; a girl next to me kept on saying “Mommy, I want my mommy,” and some other started praying. And this awful sound of alarm that I could feel kept on saying “Danger! Danger!”

                I had no idea what was going on, but it slowly started to get to me that it was serious – and that it was real. I held on to my belongings, only because they gave me some weird sense of security. I didn’t cry, or scream, or moan, or basically I didn’t make a sound, but in my mind I started going crazy. First, I started thinking how much I truly didn’t want to die. What I wanted to do before, and what I might never have a chance to even try doing. From trying to publish my book, to seeing my parents again. Then, it went into wondering how my family and friends would feel, how they would react if I really died right there. And then, would it hurt? After that, I thought it must be a bomb. And if it was, we were all going to die right there. At this point I started wondering if I was in a right place, should I maybe be farther from the walls, and if that mattered at all, for a good bomb was sure to affect everyone. Before I had time to go into details of what a bomb might do to me, if I survived, people that were at the gate with me, started running again.

                Of course, I went with them. All the while wondering if I was doing the right thing. I kept on asking myself if those people knew what they were doing, and if I was correct to just follow them blindly. At the end I concluded I didn’t have a better idea, anyway, so I kept on running with them. We reached a SPA, where a really nice, but really frightened employee let us in and closed the doors behind us. He told us to get to the rear, against the wall, and keep down at all times. I started asking around if anyone at all knew what was going on, but they seemed as baffled as I was. I still kept quiet, and still held on to my belongings as if for dear life. The girls beside me (different ones that before) held their hands and cried quietly; they looked as if they were praying. Maybe they were.

                The SPA employee spoke to us. He said he was aware that everybody was scared and that nobody knew what was going on. Then he informed us that he didn’t know, either, but was going to tell us as soon as he did find something out. Then he just kept on telling us to “stay calm” and “keep down.” I remember thinking in my racing thoughts how the hell he’s expecting us to stay fucking calm, but – to my astonishment – I did, and so did the others. I stopped thinking how it was to die and if that would hurt, and instead focused of telling myself that it couldn’t just be the end of it. That I had a lot to do, and – finally – I just started repeating over and over again in my mind “It’s a false alarm, it must be a false alarm.”

                I still didn’t cry or scream, only my hands were shaking vividly.

                I am not able to say how long we were in this SPA. It might have been 10 minutes, or even an hour. I observed the police coming back and forth on the Terminal. I observed the SPA employee arguing with someone outside, screaming at each other. I observed him lying on the floor, as if he was pretending to be dead, and for one moment thinking what if he really WAS dead. All the time I had this eerie feeling that it just couldn’t be real. It couldn’t be me there waiting with all these people to either die or be told we were safe finally.

                At the end of my time in SPA, the police came and shouted to keep our hands up. Everybody obliged willingly, but still they shouted “Hands up! Hands up!” a few more times. Then they talked to the SAP employee, and finally they told us we could go. I didn’t understand where I was supposed to go, but I got up, helped a man next to me to do the same, and followed other people. I stopped to thank the SPA employee and to ask him how he knew we were safe. He said that there was a shooter, but he was now in custody. I hugged him and went away.

                And by away, I mean out of the airport altogether. Outside there were what seemed like hundreds of passengers, all equally stunned as me. I sat down on the ground, relieved that it was “just a shooter” and thinking if he could reach me from this distance, if he was still there. I sat there, motionless for another unspecified period of time, and suddenly, without any words, people started running again. I tried to get up, but I tripped and fell to the ground, on my knees. I remember thinking that if I wasn’t going to get shot, I was going to die being trampled to death. But I got up and managed to sort of run away from the airport. I found a little dyke, sat on it behind the bushes, and finally my emotions surfaced. I started rocking back and forth, back and forth, crying quietly.

                But I still managed to hold on to my belongings!

                Before we were allowed back into the airport, I managed to collect myself enough to ask around if anyone knew what really happened. One person said that she thought she heard a gun fired. Another person said that there was a shooter at Terminal 8, but there were rumors of another shooter at Terminal 1. Somebody else just said there was a woman who thought she saw a guy with a gun. Nobody knew anything for sure, though. So I sat back on my little dyke and observed the police coming. It seemed like every 5 minutes a new car was arriving. If I didn’t look at that, I looked at the empty terminals, and it seemed to me as if they actually evacuated the whole airport.

                And all the time that awful sound that meant danger could be heard for what seemed like miles away.

                At the end they let us inside the airport again. Somehow, about three hours passed; and only back inside did I see what mayhem it all caused. And that I had it fairly easy, in comparison.

To be continued…

52 books challenge (2015) summary 2

New Year has come and I have to officially admit that I did not meet my “I will read 52 books in 2015” challenge.

If this challenge taught me anything is that quality matters, not quantity. That it’s not worth to waste my time trying to finish a book I don’t enjoy for the sake of finishing – or for some silly challenge; and that I don’t have as much time for reading as I used to.

Okay, I knew all that already. I just got re-assured.

But, 49 is not such a bad result, I expected it to be worse. Out of these 49 here’s my top 5.

5. The Orphan’s Tales – In the Night Garden (Catherynne M. Valente)

1A lonely girl with tattoos on her eye-lids tells her stories to one of sultan’s son. The book is filled with old magic, out-of-this-world creatures, and quick action. It’s written in exquisite language, and captivates the reader from the first page.

4. Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn)

Gone GirlA thriller about a missing wife and her husband as a main suspect of her murder. Written from two perspectives – the wife’s and the husband’s – takes the reader to a journey through one marriage, where something is going terribly wrong. Thrilling book that keeps you guessing and makes you keep on reading till the very last page.

3. Thief’s Magic (Trudi Canavan)

Thief's Magic

First part of the new trilogy, Millennium’s Rule. Written from two perspectives, so it reads like two separate books. One protagonist is Tyen, a student of archeology, who discovers a book, which was once a woman. The other is Rielle, who has the power to do magic, but has been told her whole life using magic means stealing from angels. As usually, Trudi creates interesting characters, fascinating wolrds and makes it exteremly hard to put her books down. I have to get my hands on the second part of this trilogy, and I have to do it fast!

2. Speak (Laurie Halse Anderson) Speak!

Melinda Sordino was raped during a party, but when she called the police and they came, she wasn’t able to talk about it. Now, she’s hated by everyone at her school, and not being able to express her pain, she finds solace in silence. A book about how important, yet hard, it is to speak up and fight for yourself. Also, about not ignoring the silent ones, cause they might be fighting their quite battles, and inside they might be screaming for help.

  1. I Am the Messenger (Markus Zusak) I am the Messenger

Ed Kennedy is a taxi driver. An averege Australian, with no bigger hopes for any kind of greatness. One day, he receives an ace and is sent on a mission. A mission to help ordinary people, just like himself. I can’t quite explain why I put this book on the first place. It must be something about Markus Zusak’s prose, something that gets right into my heart and won’t let go of me. Not that I would want to.

For me, Markus is brilliant.

Okay, so here are my top 5. I decided to ignore the fact that my top 2 are actually (sort of) Young Adult books, and will not analyze it. I promise. I will not.


Happy New Year!!!

So, this is my very last post this year. Tomorrow I’m planning to do a summary of my books challenge – which turned out better than I thought it would just a few months ago.

But now, it’s time for a different thing. As 2015 is going to an end, I’m sure a lot of people are doing summaries of the past year and making hopes that the next one is better. So, I would also like to wish you something.

I wish many good things to happen to each of you, I wish you a lot of dreams worth making true, and numerous paths worht taking. For the new year I wish you to enjoy simple pleasures and achieve big goals.

But most of all I wish you can find and read a lot of hard-to-put-down books with fascinating characters!

Happy New Year

… Because I definitely wish that for myself!!!