As Google Photos reminds me, #OTD one year ago I was having loads of fun with my husband, my then 4-year old son and then newborn daughter. There was a lot of cuddling and laughing and getting to know the three weeks old cutie. It was also bloody cold in Warsaw but we decided to go to Nowy Świat and Krakowskie Przedmieście and see the Christmas/New Year decorations. Have a look how lovely they look this year:
Source: @miasto_warszawa instagram
I’m thinking about Warsaw now because this year changed a lot in my life – first and foremost, I don’t live in Warsaw anymore and miss this city very, very much. This whole year was a breakthrough. Let me start to reflect on it from the very beginning.
On Jan 3rd, I decided to launch a blog. I had been dreaming about it for months (if not years). I have always wanted to have something that was mine, to have a thing I could develop and to have my own place where I could share ideas, contents, thoughts. I established a WordPress account already in October 2017 but was too afraid to start. After having my little daughter, I knew I was ready. And so the adventure began. Today the blog includes over 50 articles and podcasts. It is visited every day by people from over 100 countries:
Even though I need to admit that I haven’t had a possibility to produce new content for this blog for a couple of weeks now (you’ll know way in a minute), I am very proud of this website. I know from private messages and social media reviews that you like the contents, the knowledge, the analysis and the spirit it provides. And myself, I also gained a lot from blogging – I reflect on it here. I truly hope that in 2019 I will have time to write and podcast here again. And again and again.
In February, I came back to teaching at the Vistula University in Warsaw. I have taught a group of Ukrainian and Polish students my favorite subject: public diplomacy. It was agreed that I will teach it in my own way, meaning: not only about the toolbox but also about why exactly public diplomacy is so important. It is indispensable and relevant due to global trends and challenges such as demographic shifts, industrial revolution, cultural transformations, etc. Teaching is one of the most inspiring and enriching experiences I have ever had. I reflected on them here and here. You can find my teaching materials in Polish and English on this website.
As in March the world celebrates the International Women’s Day, I did it, too. Women’s issues are very close to my heart and will continue to be. First of all, I started to upload more and more contents about women to this blog. You can find here the miniseries on women who inspire, you can find two podcast episodes, you can learn about websites that provide you with the best women-focused data sets. I also spoke about women empowerment with my students (as it turns out to be one of major global trends). At that time I have also discovered the BBC series “The Ascent of Woman”, of course available on Netflix. I have waited all my life for this documentary and hope it to have further seasons.
On March 1st I accompanied by beloved friend Anna Kowalczyk at the PL BusinessWoman of the Year Gala where she was nominated in the “Influencers” category. At that time Anna was already very much in the process of writing of my personal books of the year tackling the history of women on Polish soil. I was honored and lucky to read a few drafts of it. Poland needed this book so much!
Source: boskamatka.pl – the book is available only in Polish (for now :))
Also in March Anna learned that she nailed it at the selection processes and the interview and is going to the US in 2019 to participate in the Marshall Memorial Fellowship organised for over three decades by the German Marshall Fund of the United States. I was happy to nominate Anna to this fellowship – and to participate in this wonderful adventure back in 2016. I reflect on the fellowship here.
In April, May, June and July I was totally focused on the preparations to one of the biggest things that happened in my life up to date: to moving to serve at the Polish Embassy in Israel. I will greatly reflect on this experience in a minute.
Before that, I just need to mention podcasts – one of my favorite ways of spending spare time (if I have any) that to a large extent defined my 2018. I wrote about podcasts several times on this website. First, about podcasts devoted to international relations. Second – about best Polish podcasts focused on business and economy. The second post is still the most popular article on this blog. More importantly – I started recording podcasts myself. They tackle various kinds of diplomacy and global trends. You can find them here. The first one, on inspirational nerdy women, is the 5th most popular element of this website. Also, I was invited to one of leading Polish business podcasts “Inna Kultura Biznesu” and was thrilled – and stressed – to be interviewed for the very first time in my life 🙂 It’s not an easy thing to prepare, record, produce and air a podcast episode. Hope to improve and to publish many of them in 2019! There are so many topics out there!
And then, August came and my whole family transferred to Tel Aviv. We left our cozy, convenient apartment and neighborhood, our beloved friends and families – our whole life actually – and decided to follow my dream of serving abroad as a career diplomat. In coaching literature they call it “reaching beyond the comfort zone”. I would call it “jumping into a deep pool with no certainty that there is any water and that I can swim”. Nevertheless, we survived After over 4 months of living in Israel I have so much to say – this blog doesn’t have enough space for my reflections 🙂 Moving abroad, changing almost everything in our life – the apartment, the people we meet, the food we eat (I love hummus and shakshuka but still, I miss Polish apples and strawberries and pears), the before-work routines, the job we do – ALMOST EVERYTHING – is a huge lesson of patience, perseverance, “keep calm and carry on”, discipline, passion and love. We learn new things every single hour. No words to describe how overwhelming it has been. Hopefully it explains why I have had so little time to focus on this blog/podcast recently.
Among many other things I have started to learn video contents. Our Embassy has recently aired a video clip with the Christmas story. I have never thought I would be able to take part in such an endeavor. Have a look:
Obviously, I am doing much, much more at the Embassy. This blog, however, is written in my private capacity, let it stay this way and not focus too much on my professional activities.
Myself, I am present on LinkedIn, Twitter and – since very recently – Instagram. I have never thought the latter one would be so addictive! Yes, Instagram is one of my 2018 greatest discoveries (what took me so long?!)
My 2018 was challenging and full of new activities and new lessons. What about yours? Have you also reached way beyond your comfort zone and to your surprise you realized that you actually widened your comfort zone with this jump? Yes, Israel is to some extent within my comfort zone now.
Let me know about your experiences!
Have a very happy New Year!