indisputable human factoid #2

There can be no tolerance of intolerance or intolerance of tolerance. Only intolerance of intolerance.

:(

Damrak is a major street in Amsterdam, crowded from dusk till dawn with swarms of the worst kind of tourists – loud, rude, vulgar, uncouth and, sadly, typical. Desperate as I was to quickly leave the center and get to the more quiet and sophisticated Herengracht, a part of ‘De 9 Straatjes’, I came across a disturbing sight – a swan sitting amongst a pile of rubbish. This bird – long considered a symbol of beauty and elegance – had constructed her nest with litter and trash thrown into the water by the severely uncivilized people that make up our poor excuse for humanity today. Her innocent unawareness and the fact that her baby swans will wake up in a mound of garbage, is so inexpressibly devastating to me.  Here is a concrete display of the damage humans inflict on the most innocent creatures – a demonstration of how far our most repugnant habits reach.

eggplant + rice + sencha

Not so brief lunch at Hong Kong House //  Lights – the restaurant is really brighter than this picture depicts // Sencha – drink to health // Eggplant – must try if in Warsaw // Rice – sticky // Fortune cookie – oh, God, no // Mine is the top, Jak’s is the bottom – and that’s when they realize they were doomed to a life of instagram-ing…

(As you may or may not have realized, Jak and I are vegetarians. What else would we be? In a country like Poland, vegetarian options are limited, and after a large # of years here, we’ve found the best.  Rest assured, whatever works its way onto this blog has a justified, indubitably delicious reason for being here)

indisputable human factoid #1

The world must constantly progress towards ultimate tolerance. Without the people who champion equality for others, with no reservation and no regret, the world would stagnate. Somehow, this fact is greatly overlooked by a large portion of mankind today, even though history – actual, sure fact – has already shown us countless examples, countless battles that substantiate this idea. Somehow, we are always fighting for our rights and for what is right. And what is right, indisputably, is tolerance.

Oh, they have sandwiches :: What? :: San-Weh-Chis :: Sand with Cheese?

art + jailed kitties + hummus

Once again, and to no great avail, Jak and I found ourselves in the midst of the city this chilly Sunday – something normally to be avoided since weekends for people are like full moons for werewolves. Everyone comes out and they all head to the same places – same cafes, same restaurants, same streets. Today, however, the city was surprisingly empty (thank goodness) and though, for one brief, very cursory, regrettable moment we wondered if we had been blacklisted and missed out on a secret memo informing other Warsawvians of a party that we so weren’t invited to, it turned out to be utterly delightful to not see 500 other people waiting for the same table at Charlotte that we had been eyeing for the past 30 minutes.

As we were walking around the newly converted ghost town, I spotted two cats sunning themselves on a windowsill (my eyes have a tendency to locate all kitties in the vicinity, no matter how well they are hidden). One of the kitties was utterly repulsed by my presence – she would duck down, then peek over the edge to see if I was still there (I was).

Then we proceeded to discover a wall covered in graffiti, cartoons and posters. Somehow, this random mess by hooligans turned out to be a harmonious piece of artsy work (not artwork).

Finally, we stopped by Samira for the best hummus (and quite delicious salad) in the city. The restaurant is next to a base camp for trash trucks. Read: grunge. But this is for its own benefit, as it remains far away from those trend-meisters who normally clog up the world. If you come to Warsaw – go here.

I finally got around to secretly downloading instagram on Jak’s phone, and couldn’t help but take photos of everything in sight, much to Jak’s irritation. Now can someone answer the question that has been hovering around my head all day: why is everything a cat does heart-wrenchingly adorable?

-Natasha

impostors and football fans

Amsterdam is my destination for the upcoming week. After that is the start of touring season (June) and soon every city will be filled with camera-toting, passport-yielding, sneaker-clad tourists. But that is to be doubly worse this summer, because…

June 8th is the start of the Euro Cup in Warsaw, making this city, as a result, the last place I want to be. Screaming face-painted football fanatics? Shirtless and drunk and brawling? Lines of police cars, bridges closed, roads blocked? Luckily, I already have an escape plan in the works.

On another note, I recently finished my first floor-length dress. You can see a photo of it below. Well, kind of.

Here’s something else: I have an impostor. I found out today someone is posting pictures of me as themselves on their lookbook.nu account (the images probably taken from my facebook page and website). Hm. Does this mean I’m overly famous now?

-Natasha

pour, pore or poor?

The weather here in Warsaw finally hit 34C (according to the temp reader in the car) and I couldn’t have been more delighted. What useful thing did I do today? Sit in a cafe. Drink freshly squeezed orange juice. Wear my new sandals that make more noise than all the automobiles in the city. And brush spiders off Jak. Oh yes- the start of warm weather means a whole new onslaught of creepy critters. What’s more? Yesterday, I had a conversation with Jak that went something like this:

me: How do you say ‘my name is’ in Polish?

him: Mayonnaise? Mayonnaise.

me: My. Name. Is.

him: Mayonnaise.

Yeah. So goes the communication skills.

-Natasha

thoughts on thoughtlessness

How do I dissect such an enormous term? Indeed, like most nouns in this world (excluding, of course, “tea party” which pretty much equates to “inexplicable existence”), this one would require countless posts before I could even begin to penetrate its full meaning. In having already begun this task, I  have doubly doomed my intentions by surrounding that one word in a sea of other words, though despite being less meaningful in relation to the topic of this discussion, remain, nonetheless, havoc-wreaking in their own subjective definitions.

I got to thinking of thoughtlessness when I was reminded that the word has an unfailing presence in the majority of humans. I spend a large part of every year in Warsaw, Poland (that story will follow another time.) Being unable to speak Polish well enough to hold a conversation, I am often left feeling a bit (very) ignored in social settings.

A guy I know has the tendency to capture many girls in order to prove to himself (and to the world) that he is masculine, attractive and has, well, captured many girls. If there is a female in the room, he will without reservation examine her, approach her, get her number, and then brag about his future plans with her. Each girl, in turn, become his “future wife” (that is, until she is replaced by the next Jane, and is then termed “ex future wife”). And on every such occasion that he forces his current wife’s company on Jak and I, I am, undoubtedly, left ignored. Although they both are almost always capable of speaking English, they refuse to do so. Then they proceed through the entire evening unaware that one of their party has been kicked unceremoniously from the conversation. Thoughtlessness? I believe it to be.

But lets delve deeper. How is it that people can be so invariably unaware of their surroundings, the people in them and their feelings, the full force of their many actions, and the resulting consequences, however minuscule they may be? How is it possible that all of us have been this very word, in all its grammatical forms, so many times? When have I been thoughtless? Well, perhaps just earlier today, when I stubbornly refused to let Jak add raw zucchini to our salad. Or maybe that was just selfishness. Perhaps thoughtlessness was present when I forgot to wish my dear cousin’s daughter a simple “happy birthday” (though that was later rectified by a box of goodies mailed just yesterday). What is thoughtlessness? Does it even exist? I feel it does, otherwise, I would not have written this post. But I think the word is not complete in its own identity, unlike the words “mean” and “aloof”, which have straightforward definitions. Being selfish, as I described earlier, is to be thoughtless as well. Being forgetful, also noted previously, is another version of thoughtlessness. The other variants? When you realize not that someone really doesn’t want to step on the gum you thought wise to spit on the road. Or when you reach the end of your generosity towards your pregnant wife’s belief of entitlement simply because she is suffering a cruel and usual punishment. Or failing to understand that not everyone likes to inhale a cancer-causing phenomenon.

Littering, talking on the phone for more than 3 minutes in company, cutting in line, spitting on the street, remaining unaware of another’s mood despite being right next to them, half-listening, forgetting promises…the list is endless, the definition loose. Anything can be considered thoughtless. So are we forever doomed to be a thoughtless society committing thoughtless acts on an everyday basis? Does its frequency spare it from being labeled a true insult? How do we get rid of thoughtlessness when thoughtlessness is everything bad (and we all know how much we suck in that department)?

-Natasha

point x

There is a chance you ended up at this page by a colossal, destiny-driven mistake. Whatever unexpected turn led you here, you can be sure that your life is about to take a very drastic (but not entirely unwarranted) turn for the better (or worse).

We hope that by opening your minds to the content of Map of Mind, you will find yourself closer to point x- the treasure that is different, but no less cathartic, to each of us on the maps of our lives. “We” constitutes two people: Natasha and Jacek. I could attempt to explain who exactly we are and the various attributes that define us, but stick with us long enough and you will gather that information on your own. This isn’t just a one-sided discussion. We want to hear what you have to say on everything we have something to say about (but no profanity, please).

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