Polish Toxicity in a Work Place

I was wondering lately about toxicity and what does it mean? Why some of the people tend to be toxic to us? Why do we meet them in our lives? And the most important – how to get rid of such people once we find out they do not bring any positive energy into our lives, but just use us in order to fulfill their needs?

I think we mostly meet such people in our working places. We spend there a lot of time every day and happen to cross our paths with many different personalities. With some we get along, with others we do not. We do not really need to be liked by everybody, do we? And it would not be such a problem in not sticking to toxic people at work, but what if this person occurs to be our manager?

I work in In Poland in a corporation, an American one. For the past few years I noticed that Poles who occupy managerial positions, in most cases are toxic. Or maybe that is the fault of Polish undervaluated society? My observation is that they seem so insecure about themselves, that once they are appointed or get a managerial position in a company, they start treating the employees as their property. Maybe it is their subconscious revenge, as probably when they were employees themselves, they were treated without the respect by their managers. I noticed, in the relations between managers and employees there is no trust, no honesty, no dialogues and no sincerity. Or maybe it is me who demands too much from the corporate life?

I am wondering if this is happening in other countries too? Or is it only Polish phenomenon? Are the managers-to-be taught to be assholes toward the employees while studying MBAs or different management related courses? Or is here the Polish history to be blamed for still having such a big influence over generations and the way we treat each other? Where all of us, Pols, treated without respect and neglected by our parents and when we finally get an important managerial position at work, we subconsciously start feeling that we start to matter to someone or something? Just because we didn’t to our parents, do we somehow compensate the lack of love and attention at our working places?

Most of our parents were neglected by theirs. Have we still not made peace with ourselves and our parents, as it wasn’t really their fault they were neglected and treated like shit in their childhood? Back then emotional awareness and emotional consciousness was not that important. Having a warm and clean place to sleep, feeding the kids, providing them with an education was more important than taking care of their mental health. Do we still tend to suffer because of the Second World War and its mental consequences? Our parents’ parents, that is our grandparents, lived during these horrible times. I cannot even imagine traumas they must have seen, lived through and survived. After so many years do we still, subconsciously, pay the price for what started happening 80 years ago?

I keep wondering why we, as Poles, only tend to hurt each in every aspect of our lives? Was the Polish society made only to suffer? For our behaviors I blame a bit the history, especially Second World War along with the communist times. The former taught most of Poles how to cheat in order to get what they need. Such actions can still be observed in our professional or personal lives even though the system changed. I know the new generation is being criticized for their lack of respect toward many things and the way they tend to act in a reckless way, anyway from one hand I hope they will finally teach Polish society that the luxury things we buy, the money we earn, the hours we spend at work to afford better brand cars or cosmetics, are not really worth the emotional sacrifice. I know it will take a lot of time to understand that nothing can buy respect, love, empathy, understanding, freedom or true friendships. In my opinion, if we don’t work harder on expanding our consciousness and being open about it, we will only be hurting each other even more. It is a funny thing I always preferred to be surrounded by foreigners. Even my boyfriends are from abroad. And I work in a very global company. As long as the managers I was working with were foreigners, all was perfectly fine. The moment I started working with Polish ones, all went wrong. I do hope it will change. For the time being I am working hard on changing my job and get a manager who is not Polish anymore.

Polish society – quite a strange one with big emotional and historical bag that is still being carried.

Home Alone for Christmas?

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This time of the year is coming when it feels strange if you spend Christmas alone. For the first time I felt the same. I thought how come I am spending such a wonderful time a year alone when I am not even old, my parents and my brother still are alive and I feel I do not want to spend Christmas with them?! Everybody around tells you it is such a special time you should (I hate this word!) spend it with your relatives. What if you do not really like your relatives? Shall you force yourself to be with them? Shall you visit them, pretend you want to be with them when in fact you are praying for the evening to be over? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we force ourselves to spend time with people we do not feel good with? Because the society says so? Because before Christmas and on TV as well as billboards we see these perfect commercials with perfect people sitting around the table who seem to be sharing and enjoying every moment of this special time? Do we live in such an illusion we can also have it with our own families when most of them are very imperfect? Do we think someting might change and improve our relationships with relatives during Christmas? Does this time really bring miracles?

I need to admit, the first time I decided not to visit my parents for Christmas, hurt. I spent Christmas Eve alone! Yep, alone! My father did not really show the respect for this time as he decided to work till midnight that day, to earn more money. He is a tram driver, so shifts he does are different ones and I do understand he needs to work in barbarian hours sometimes, but hey – it was Christmas! He did not need to take such a long shift, he could have finished at 6 pm, he had a choice! Yet he decided to neglect, in my opinion, Christmas Eve, and negate his own words when he was each year saying that Christmas is a family time and everyone should be with their families then. And he did exactly the opposite! It also made me wonder why grown ups say different things and later on act differently? If he said he did not give a damn about Christmas, I would understand his behaviour. Everyone has right to their own perspectives. So adults can act in a funny way some of the time. He went to work, and me, I decided I am spending this time at home, alone. As my relationship with my mother sucks and my brother is kind of good but totally irresponsible person, I admitted to myself I prefer to be home alone than in a bad company, even though this bad company occurred to be my own family :/ Felt strange at the beginning. The plan was simple – I had some dinner, a glass of wine, watched some TV. Nothing special, yet the company was special, because it was my own. 🙂 And the next day, when I woke up, I realized the drama did not happen. I was still alive and smiling. It only proved me the worst is always the first time. Whatever you do, the first time will always be most scary. I cannot say I was very happy about the fact my family sucks and is incredibly imperfect, but I realized if I do not want to take part in it, I do not have to. I am not going to force myself into spending time with people who have negative influence on me just because it is Christmas and they take part of my family. I prefered to visit my aunt the day after Christmas Eve instead. She lives a few kilometers outside of Warsaw and with her I can talk about everything – my life, my emotions, my travels and future plans. Even though she is 70 we get along perfectly and she supports me in every aspect of my life! This part of my family I love the most! 🙂 And I want to be surrounded only by people who wish me well and support me in achieving my goals. It makes me sad these are not my parents, yet I know I cannot change it. We do not choose families we are born into. However as an adult I can choose people I want to spend time with.

So this 2018 Christmas I am going to the mountains with a friend. The plan is to relax, do some hiking, maybe skiing, spend Christmas Eve just the two of us and share only positive emotions! Finally I am allowing myself to choose how and with who I want to spend this special time, instead of pretending I have a wonderful family that cares about each other when in fact it happens to be a very dysfunctional one. No point sacrificing my precious time with people who do not know how to love. This Christmas I am going to love my friend, and the mountains, and the snow, and the cold weather! 🙂

And I wish everybody to spend this special Christmas time with people you feel good with, who bring only positive emotions into your lives and make you happy! Life it too short to be surrounded by any aspect of the negativity 🙂

Sex and Warsaw City

I have lately realized that I like ruining stereotypes. The one I have just ruined concerns relationships. Usually it is considered quite normal for an older guy to be dating a very young girl. I’m not going to speak of the exact age while they are dating, because it doesn’t matter, what matters the most is the age difference between two people. When it comes to a woman, dating much younger guy is not considered to be accepted and normal within the society we happen to be surrounded by. So I got involved, a few months ago, into a relationship with a guy 14 years younger than me 🙂 I am 35, he is 21. We are both quite young though. At the beginning I also got a bit attached to the stereotype and considered him too young for a relationship. I falsely assumed I am too old for him and we probably wouldn’t get along. However seeing him as a friend was not a big problem for me. Why? Why would I be able to make him one of my friends, but when it comes to love affair I was stopping myself from any emotional involvements? But then I changed my way of thinking as I followed my heart. I need to admit this relationship was one of the best ones I have ever created! From the moment we met, we had lots of things in common, lots of subjects to discuss, lots of similar interests, and there was this amazing chemistry between us that you don’t get with everybody. The only thing stopping me from having sex with this guy was his age! We felt so at ease with each other that we could spend all night talking about life, exchanging our points of view and sharing life experience. So after a few days I realized there is no way I’m going to control myself more as I felt an incredible emotional connection between us. The question arose – why would I discipline myself and hide the feelings I had toward this guy just because of the age difference? There is 14 years difference between, so what?! 🙂 When I compare him to some of the guys I happened to date and were a bit older than me – around 40, I found them so immature, insecure, not understanding my emotions and acting like kids, that I did not want to get into any relationships with them. Yet they were older what seems fine for the judgmental society. However their ego and insecurity made me realize I do not want to stick to such men. And then comes into my life this 21-year-old, brings peace and quiet, is emotionally well-balanced and doesn’t fight any battles inside himself. I feel and see how easy-going, relaxed and cheerful this person is and then I start wondering how come such a young guy can be so matured compared to much older ones that I totally do not want to date?!In one of an interview with a psychologist I read that women tend to get along best with men who lived in symbiosis with their mothers. My latest experience only proves this theory right! Do not interpret it that these mothers were overprotective, it only means they were able to create and be in a healthy emotional relationship with their sons. So thank you these types of mothers – you are really doing a great job!
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After a few days I spent with him I realized I’m not going to stick into this stereotype and stop myself from having sex with him only because I’m much older. I felt shouldn’t be doing that only because from a 35-year-old woman you would expect decency. What a crap! 🙂 I listened to myself, followed my emotions and do not regret every single minute of it, because I spent the most incredible time with him full of love, calmness, interesting conversations, amazing sex, chemistry, passion, and tenderness. 🙂 It only leaves me with wanting more of him and his incredible well-balanced personality. Even though he had to leave, as he was only visiting Warsaw for a few weeks, I will never forget him and will try the see him again as soon as possible.

What is very important to me in this story is that I ruined another stereotype in my life. That is that a woman can get involved in a relationship with a much younger guy and it can work out! It is only a matter of personality when it comes to people we meet and invite into our lives, not a matter of age. It doesn’t mean the older you are the smarter you get. That is bullshit! We, as people, tend to judge everything – relationships, the way others act and think, their opinions, their way of life and many other things. I know the only person that can live and feel my life is myself. I have always liked doing things in a totally different way the society tells to do. In this case, if I listened to another stereotype I would have never allowed myself to get involved with 21-year-old and I would have never experienced such a wonderful relationship. The best was for me to listen to myself, my needs, my emotions and follow my heart. 🙂 I wish he didn’t leave, I wish he stayed longer, yet I know he has his plans for life and we managed to meet only for a certain amount of time. I’m grateful I allowed myself to make the best use of this time and gained in return not only another life experience, but a lot of love, respect and tenderness! I know now that men I want to build relationships with, must be the ones that don’t have any problems with their egos and are well-balanced. I love learning through my own actions and need to say I don’t care what the society says. I am aware I might be judged, but these who do not allow themselves to live a real life will never experience what I had with this 14 years old younger guy! 🙂 So thank you my life for this incredible experience!

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Polish Girl Independence

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This month there was 100th Independence anniversary of Poland and such a celebration  made me wonder what it means to me? Poland disappeared from the world map for 123 years. Only after the First World War it gained its independence back. How about its people? How about me? What does it mean to be independent?

For me independence, and in the same freedom, is the ability to make my own decisions, deal with its consequences, and most importantly – not to be judged as well as lead the life I want to live. When I have a good look at Polish history, my analysis brings me to a conclusion that during the communist times I would never be able to buy my own flat and live on my own! I would need to get married to leave my parens home. It wouldn’t mean to live only with the husband and starting a new family with him, probably I would need to move from my parents’ to my husband‘s family as during these times it was not at all easy to get your own apartment. You had to sign up a wating list and wait a few long years to be assigned one. Of course it was not even certain you would! I remember in the flat of 54 m², where I spent my childhood, were living three generations: my grandparents, my parents, me and my brother. Three rooms – three separate ones – each for one of the generations. Nowadays, when I compare the conditions I spent my childhood in with the ones I live now, it shows me how my perception of having my own space changed. I live in a flat of 48 m² and cannot imagine having a kid there. However I remember spending my childhood and sharing a room with my brother of 9 m². We managed, there was no other way. I remember I envied my friends who, when living with their parents and their siblings, still had their own room. For me that meant they had their own space and were allowed some privacy. I can’t say I had such an opportunity. That is probably why now I need a lot of my own space and privacy. In my opinion everybody needs it. We need to have our own corner where we are able to calm ourselves down and know that is the only place no one else has access to without our permission.

From one hand independence and freedom for me is to have my own physical space in life. On the other hand it is also making my own decisions without being judged. I tend to claim that the only person, at the end of each day, that is allowed do judge me in any way – is myself.

I also think that I happen to live in the most incredible times! Yes!!! Amazing ones 🙂 I can travel as much as I can, and where I want, as long my budget allows me to do so. I think money is just money, these can always be earned. The most important is that I can choose whatever destination, then take a flight and just go! 🙂 Isn’t that lovely? Within a few hours I can be on the other side of the globe! I wouldn’t be able to do so, in such an easy way, during the communist times. Luckily I was only seven when capitalism arrived to Poland and I don’t really remember a lot from communism. I think with my free spirit and eager to travel, meeting international people, visiting as many places as possible, I would feel a prisoner in Poland about 40 years ago. I am incredibly happy living in a free country now that allows me to buy my own flat, to make my own decisions, keep the passport at home and use it whenever I want it, to host foreigners, to observe how the city I was born in and live is changing and how colourful blocks of flats are becoming as well as notice how many tourists are coming to visit Poland. I am amazed how much Warsaw, the capital, grately changed during only 28 years of capitalism. Looks like freedom also means development.

Independence is something you cannot buy in my opinion. It is something you need to fight for, like I was fighting to buy my own flat that brought a lot of autonomy into my life. Nobody controls who I am inviting into it and in the same into my life. If I was still living with my parents, they would see who I am meeting and most probable they would make their own observations and comments about my friends I would not really want to listen to. I do not like being controlled by anyone or judged, even if these people are parents who do not wish me bad. As a grown-up I know, and I am aware, that the only person responsible for my life is myself. I stick to my beliefs, try to make reasonable decisions, and if some occur to be wrong I deal with the consequences, so I only try to make these that don’t hurt. 😉 Apart from living on my own, making my own decisions and sharing my positive emotions with others, taking responsibility for myself is the biggest independence and freedom I have ever achieved in my life. Even though capitalism may not be one the best systems, it gave me the possibility to have at least a bit of autonomy in this crazy, egoistic and commercialized world. 🙂

Bergen – in Norway

It was just one March weekend break. I left on a Friday and came back on a Monday. Quick trip. A very quiet one with lots of amazing views. I love travelling to countries that make me feel safe, and I admit Norway gave me such a feeling 🙂

When it comes to the weather it was not that cold, anyway one day it was snowing and foggy. In such a northen part of Europe I would never expect a great weather, especially that not even spring season started. What I was told by a friend who has been living there for the past 10 years was that during the summer the tempartues are around 14 degrees. That is not even summer for me :/ Anyway it would be nice to check myself one summer weekend how really Bergen weather is  🙂

As most of us know Scandinavian countries are expensive. I do agree. Well, the truth is it is just food that is so expensive, and it makes me wonder why? As for the tram ticket from Bergen airport to the city center I paid around 5 euros, for a simple lunch I had to pay at least 30. The prices in the restaurants as well as shops surprised me. I thought that 30 euros during my Cote d’Azur trip for lunch or dinner was quite expensive, after visiting Norway I changed my mind and now claim that was not that much 😉 perspective change 🙂 and in the South of France I always had a glass of wine to go with the meal. I did not do it in Bergen, that would probably even double the price. Anyway the food was delicious and I really enjoyed it, but I could spend a fortune there on it.

It was March, winter season, there was still snow in the mountains what made my trip more interesting. The most incredible thing is that Norwegians are so close to nature. I was again couchsurfing and to my surprise a Polish girl hosted me. Her flat was situated in an area that you simply go out from the block of flats, turn right and then turn back and there is a path going into the mountains. We had a nice 1 hour walk to the top of it. Just a perfect Friday afternoon in a deserted mountain area where you can calm yourself down. I love Norway for that 🙂 I even envy them they are sourrounded by such lovely landscapes. For me, in my native country, it requires taking a train and a few hour trip to be so close to the nature as they are.

Bergen is a nice spot if you are interested in the views. You can climb mountains around its area as well as take a boat to see the fiords part. I could not miss that! The trip was 3 hours long and I thought it would be terribly cold there. It was in fact, but the boat inside was perfectly warm, so what I was doing was from time to time getting outside, taking lots of pictures and coming back inside 🙂 see these incredible shots below

The feeling the city gave me was amazing. I felt calm, relaxed, safe and protected. I knew nothing would happen there that would cause me any harm. The trip, even though, was a quick one, will stay on my mind 🙂 and finally I saw myself how Scandinavian countires look like. I have visited mostly all parts of Europe, and now at least a got small portion of its Northen part.

Once I read again some of Jo Nesbo’s books I will perfectly know where the plot takes place 🙂

South Korea Love

Why am I so in love with South Korea? And why this country is just incredible?! Is it because of people I met there? Or the landscapes? Or of what it has to offer? Or how amazing it is sightseeing a city that is so modern and in the same time it had so much of ancient culture and architecture? This whole mixture makes it one-of-a-kind. And I’m definately coming  back there, next year, for sure! I’m planning it already 🙂
It is funny how much I fell in love with the country, especially that my trip started in the most terrible way it could have. I was landing at 11 PM, late, I know. Yet I wasn’t afraid of landing that late, because I knew the country is a safe one, so even if it happens I need to wander around in the centre looking for the hotel I booked, or any other place I need to look for in the middle of the night, nothing will happen to me. I didn’t know the biggest problem will happen at the airport! So I landed, got my language, exit the area and then looked for an ATM as I needed money. And then problems start :/  It was already Sunday night, as when I got my baggage, it was around midnight.
It occured there was only one ATM working at the moment as there was some maintenance being done on others. And the only one working there was not giving me money! Thefirst thing I did was to call the bank I have account in, and they said everything was okay from their side – would they say anything else? I went then to the information center and they said there might be some problems because of the maintenance time. I did not want to take the taxi to the hotel as I prefered to take the night bus. I hate paying for things I do not really need. Anyway for the bus I could only pay by cash (that I did not have) or use their trasportation card, that of course I did not have as I just landed in a foreign county :/ I had some money to exchange, but because it was late, all of the currency exchange points were closed.
In the meantime my hotel reservation was cancelled, to my big surprise. I have no idea why booking.com cancelled it just because I did not show in the hotel :/ So once I got such an information by mail (the Wi-Fi works just perfectly at the airport!) I called the hotel, explained my issues and asked if I still can check in probaly around 3 am. They were fine with it. What made me angry and sad was the fact that at the airport there is only ONE (!!!) company providing ATMs service. As the ATM was not giving me money, and it was to others, I asked the information lady if there are some different ATMs around the area. To my surprise the answer was there are none :/ So it is Sunday, midnight, I am in such a well developed country, and I have problems withdrawing money at the airport! What the f*** is that? Can you imagine how surprising that was?!
So I took a taxi, had no other choice apart from staying at the airpot till 5 or 6 am untill the day life begins. I prefered to check in to the hotel, so I asked the driver to pull over near one of the ATMs that I could withdraw the money in a different ATM, and see if it is a problem with the card or there is another one. A different ATM also didn’t give me the money :/ Now this whole situation made me a bit nervous. Anyway,  I started thinking logically, what I always do and try to find a solution. I was able to pay for the taxi by card, I could pay for the hotel by card, so why couldn’t I withdraw the money? So instead of going to sleep I was thinking if I am able to get some money in this so-freaking-well-developped country? And the next day, instead of starting it from sightseeing, I had to figure out how to get the money! Fortunately I found, quite close to the hotel I was staying in, the branch of the bank I have account in and their ATM gave me money 🙂  Thank you Citibank, I love you too 🙂 Thinking in advance, I took a bit more that I needed, just in case, because I was not sure if any of other ATMs would give me money. I did not even want to try them again.
By the time I solved my problems it was already past midday. Finding a locker on the central station was a challenge that day because all of them were booked. So I was wandering around the city with my backpack. Fortunately it was only around 11 kg what wasn’t that bad, just a bit inconvenient. And because of it I was moving a bit slow :/ That day I did not see much of Seoul.
At 8 PM the whole crappy situatuion changed as I met my hosts who appeared to be just amazing! We met in the center, they took me to their flat and I spent a great evening with them. They showed me on the map all of the places worth seeing in the city and they were absolutely right! I need to add they were also incredibly prepared for hosting people. There were so many tour guides in the room they offered me for 2 night I could really choose from 🙂 They occured to be such great people that they will stay in my heart for ever 😉 Because that day I was not able to see much of the Seoul, the next one I woke up early, left the flat at 8:30 in the morning to have the whole day on the sightseeing. So I did 23 km by foot and I’m sure I haven’t even seen half of the city that I fell in love immediately! I can only say: I love, love, love it!
I love the palace I saw, I love the stream in the centre I walked by, I love all of these skyscrapers around, I love the Seoul Tower and its view, I love the markets I went to, I love the village I went to, and I just love every single spot I saw! I even went on one of the bridges as I like admiring a city from their view. And it did not disappoint me 🙂
I need to go back to South Korea, I want to go back there, I want more of the city!
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So even though the beginning of my South Korea trip sucked, with every single day being there I was loving the country even more! I knew if I did not allow bad emotions to stick to me, it will only get better 🙂 and it did!
And I had some lovely stars on the ceiling when I was sleeping! 🙂 Thanks to my hosts, of course 🙂
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They occurred to be the best ones, so welcoming and wanting to share a piece of their life with a stranger, that means me. Meeting such people makes me continue my Couchsurfing adventure and because of them I know the website is the right place for me to be in 🙂  I’m very happy and grateful I had an opportunity to meet people like my lovely Seoul hosts! I know if you are a good person, you only attract good people 🙂 I tested it myself so can guarantee it works 😀
My next destination in South Korea was its second biggest city – Busan. South of the country and by the ocean with a nice beach, and going there by train was only about three hours. Ticket price 50 euros. And what’s funny is that nobody even checked if I had one on the train 🙂 In there I spent only one night, anyhow I managed to do a bit of sightseeing and meet a girl I hosted two years ago! Another Couchsurfing surprise 🙂 That’s amazing there are people staying at your house and then it might happen in the future, that in fact you meet them again. So we just grabbed some coffee and a cake. It was nice to see her again in a different place 🙂
In Busan and by the ocean there is a lovely park I had a walk and a nap 🙂 It happens to me that I take naps in different cities when I travel. I did it already in Rome, Nice, Thessaloniki and probably much more 🙂 The coastal view is incredible! Check it yourself 🙂
Some tips now:
1. In Busan I had no problems finding a locker for my luggage and they were available on every subway station. It costs 5000 won for the whole day. The machine was taking only banknotes of 1.000. Listen now: there was also a machine at the station exchanging you money to 1.000 banknots. How great is that? How thoughtful of Koreans is that? Do I find it in Europe? No way 🙂 How come not loving Korea even just for that? 🙂
2. The transportation card is centralised, so the one I had from Seoul also worked in Busan. I love Asian inventions a lot!!!
3. If it happens you land at night – get some money before heading to South Korea. I could have exchanged some before, yet I thought that in such a developed country I will not have any problems. How foolish of me that was! Lesson learnt 🙂
4. Their English level? Totally fine. And the people are amazingly helpful. Even if they sometimes might struggle with their communication, they will always help you. They did when I got stuck in the subway and the gate did not want to let me go 🙂 It occured that one way ticket was not enough for the trip I did. The same as in Taiwan – the subway charges you for the kilometers you do, so one way tickets may not always be enough.
Summing of the trip, I need to say that these four days were quite intense, surprising, amazing and not enough! I am really planning of coming back to South Korea next year. I want more of it! I want all of it! Next time maybe I will manage to visit Jeju island? Who knows? The plan is ongoing 🙂
Is the country expensive? For me it isn’t. Of course I did not expect it to be cheap. If you compare it to Vietnam, or Thailand or the Philippines it is much more expensive, but still, in my opinion, very affordable.
Something for the girls – the cosmetics they offer are of really great quality and totally inexpensive. My luggage was 11 kg when I was beginning my Asian trip and only because of Korean cosmetics it got into 16 kg 🙂  so the plan for next year is to come back for more cosmetics 😉
And I want to see more of Korea – that’s for sure! For me the country in a mixture of Japanese and American style. It is not that strict as Japanese are, yet well-organized and functioning in order. Plus it has this chilled out American mood. At least that is the feeling I had once being there. And I love such feelings! See you soon Korea 🙂

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