Old Jaffa’s Secret Doors

In one of the sunny winter days I went for a trip to Old Jaffa. I described this place a bit already in my previous post but there is one thing that really brought my attention this time. The old city is full of beautiful doors and gates. All locked, all mysterious.  They all look like taken from fairy tales and makes you wonder about all the people that crossed them along all those long years. Some of them are so tiny that they look like they were made only for dwarfs while others are huge and remind you of doors from old castles.

The atmosphere of Jaffa is magical and you can feel it every minute you’re there. If you ever come to Tel-Aviv, Old Jaffa should be definitely number one on your “To See” list.

Just look at these doors, aren’t they from a different world?

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Rule#2 Thinking about scary things is much worse than actually doing them

Break Your Comfort Zone

Break Your Comfort Zone

Yes, that’s right. I think that thinking about scary things can be much worse than actually doing or living them. We all fear something. Some of us don’t like public speaking, others are afraid of driving a car, meeting new people,losing their job or not getting one. We all fear something and I don’t really understand why no-one is telling us that thoughts can be much worse that the situation itself.

We have the tendency to think about the worst case scenario. Let’s say that we are afraid of being criticized. We are ashamed of exposing our true self because for some reason we think that the environment won’t accept us, that maybe people will laugh at us or think that we are weird, stupid, that we lack talent or something else. This thought paralyzes us, makes us behave unnatural, we start to believe that we will never be able to show who we really are because the thought about being criticized and not accepted in society is not letting go.

Well, in this case two things may happen. First, we may finally decide to show the world who we really are and what we represent and receive a very positive feedback that we didn’t expect. We can get lots of compliments, encouraging words and love from our family, friends or maybe even strangers. In this case we feel a huge relief and we clearly see that we were completely wrong and that only the courage to do something about it helped fight the fear. Second scenario is that what we predicted comes true. People criticize us for what we’ve done or what we represent and there is not much of positive feedback. We feel very down and upset…but wait, really? Is it really so horrible? I mean, no-one wants to feel this way but is it really as bad as you expected it to be? Weren’t you way over reacting in your head? Maybe you didn’t even know that you have the power to deal with unpleasant situations so well? Or maybe you just realized that being criticized doesn’t really affect you that much because you finally are the person that you always wanted to be or you finally do things that you really love and care about?

Think about it, I’m sure that you’ve already been through many situation that can confirm this. How many times you imagined somethings as horrible and scary and in the end it turned out just fine or maybe even great?

Recently I’ve  started to do things that I was a bit afraid of, things, that required to leave my comfort zone and confront some of my fears. And I have to say that for now I’m very surprised with the results and also with myself. I thought I will be way more stressed about some stuff and that they will be harder for me to achieve…but I was wrong and I’m very happy about that.

Maybe you should try that to? What scares you the most? Maybe it’s time for you too to confront your fears and realize, that many times thinking about scary things can be much worse than taking an action and doing them.

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Vintage Tel Aviv

Do you like vintage? I really do. I think that you can find wonderful things in vintage stores, things that you won’t  find in regular shops, stuff that makes you look unique. Don’t understand me wrong, I’m not one of those people obsessed with vintage, wearing only clothes and shoes that came from the last decade but I do own some vintage things and I always get compliments wearing them.

If you live in Tel Aviv you definitely won’t have a problem finding places to buy vintage. Two of my favorites are the Vintage Market on Kikar Dizengoff and The Vintage Market inside Dizengoff Centre. Those two places offer a variety of vintage things like clothing, accessories, shoes, home stuff and more. If you are a vintage lover you should absolutely go there; also if you are a tourist and want to get some nice presents you should have a look at the designers’ stands that are located in the the vintage market in the Dizengoff mall. And if you don’t like it at all….well, maybe it’s a time to change your mind ;-)? Whoever you are and whatever style you prefer I ensure you that you will enjoy visiting both of those vintage-offering places.

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Winter in Tel Aviv

One of the reasons why I like it here is the weather. Yes, the weather. I was born and raised in a cold country, where the winters are long and very cold and summers short and not always warm and sunny.
I love summer, I love sun, I love the sea and the beach. That’s why a few years ago I decided, that I will not live in a cold country for the rest of my life and that the weather affects me in so many ways that I have to take it into consideration while planning my future. You may think that the cold could not be a reason to move out of somewhere but believe me, for me it was. Not the only one of course, but a very important one.
These last days were wonderful, warm and sunny. I had the day off because of the Israeli elections  so I went for a long walk along the sea shore. The beach was full of people, some of them were even swimming in the sea! You could see the happiness and joy on kids faces, couples resting on the sand and animals playing cheerfully. I loved that. This weather and the fact that sometimes there is more than 20 degrees in January compensates for the many hard days that I had here. If you have a chance to visit I would recommend you to do it soon, before the real summer starts and the heat will be difficult to stand…;-)

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New York, New York!

To be honest, New York was never on my “have to go there ASAP” list. Don’t ask me why but I was pretty sure that it’s just a huge city with tons of people and skyscrapers. Too crowded, too loud, too everything. How wrong was I!

I had a great chance to go to New York last September and I have to say this: I LOVED IT !

Yes, it’s crowded and yes, it can be a little bit overwhelming sometimes (especially walking on 7th Avenue during rush hours) but this city has so much to offer.

The whole time I was there I was just running around with my camera taking thousands of pictures. The view from the apartment I was staying at was really great, also, I could go up to the roof there and then behold the…breathtaking skyline!

I think the diversity of NY can’t be compared to any other place. You can find and meet there everything and everyone that could possibly be found or met. Wow, New York. I’m in love. I could talk and talk and talk about New York but I would rather let the images speak for themselves.

Just look at these pictures, how could you not fall in love with this city?

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Tel Aviv – how it all started

When I was thinking about my next post about Tel Aviv, I remembered that long time ago I wrote a short article about my first time in this city. While reading it after a long time I realized how much I was stunned by Israel when I came here for the first time and how much I wanted to come back here. So now, I think, I might be a little bit closer to finding the answer for the question from my first post – how did I end up living here?

The whole article was written is Spanish but I decided to translate a few parts of it and share them with you.

“All great loves and passions come unexpected; they change your life radically, enter without permission and usually stay forever. I’m sure you know very well what I’m talking about – who didn’t feel this way at least once? Who hasn’t suffered sleepless nights, days without eating, loss of focus caused by thinking about something or someone very special? Well, I’ve never expected that I will get completely amused and charmed by the city that I’ve knew practically nothing about until I was 21. Who would believe that the place that is shown on TV and other medias as a dangerous and not really tourist friendly will make me save every penny to go and see it again? If you told me that, I wouldn’t believe, but…one phone call started it all and changed my way of thinking about Israel forever.(…)

As soon as I landed I had this very special feeling that is difficult to describe. The air smelled of the sea and although I noticed very high humidity I wasn’t bothered at all. The airport was awesome, new and modern, opposite of what I’ve expected. The walls were full of paintings and postcards showing the country’s history. I felt great.(…)

Tel Aviv surprised me in every possible way. Beautiful beaches, nice architecture and tons of people everywhere. I was sure it’s going to be the best holiday ever. My first direction was Jaffa, the oldest part of the city. How much I loved it! Narrow streets with small houses, an old port and many restaurants and cafes with sea view – something unforgettable.(…)The famous Carmel market, located in the city center cannot be compared to any European market. I’ve never seen so many colors, smells, exotic fruits and vegetables, spices, jewelry and cosmetics at the same place in my life. Crowded, loud and crazy in a way but unforgettable. Being there one can enjoy Arabic food and fresh juices made from exotic fruits. Simple and delicious, exactly the way I like it. (…)

Few days a week there is also another market called “Flea Market” which is open from noon to midnight. You can buy there all kinds of handicrafts: clothes, necklaces and earrings, paintings and household items – all made by Israeli artists. In the evening concerts and various shows are held in the streets and the variety of what you can see and hear is pretty impressive.(…)

Besides all this, Tel Aviv never sleeps. It is full of bars, cafes, galleries, shops and nightclubs. Everyone can find something interesting there. No matter if you like art or music, if you prefer to eat in a fancy restaurant or in a traditional bar, or if you like laying on the beach or dancing until early morning hours…regardless of what you choose you’ll have a lot of fun and you won’t forget it for a long time.(…)”

Well, I wrote this a long time before I moved here. As you all know, reality is always a little bit different than experiencing something as a tourist but I have to say, that going back to the past and thinking about the moments that I was here only for a while made me want to discover all those small things that I liked about Tel Aviv again and enjoy those little details that I could see back then.

PS. Forgive me the quality of some of the pictures, they were taken few years ago with simple compact camera.

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Tel Aviv-ing

There are no simple answers for a question: how did I, a Polish girl, a Christian girl, end up living in the middle of the Middle East. Sometimes I ask myself and believe me, finding one reasonable answer isn’t that easy. So if you wonder, no, I didn’t study any oriental languages, I’ve never dreamt about having a camel farm or something like that nor wanted to go and spend the rest of my life in the desert, all alone, contemplating the world in the silence. Of course  there were few reasons why I came here but still, I think that I brought certain people and situations to my life and those led me to the place I am right now. So, here I am. In Tel Aviv.

When I came to Tel Aviv for the first time I was in shock. To be honest, I didn’t expect  to be so amused and excited about this place. Everything was so colorful, full of taste and smell… full of life. I loved the fact that the city is located just right  on the Mediterranean shore, that the weather is so nice almost all year long and that people live here slower but louder (now, after living here for some time, I’m not so excited about these certain characteristics anymore ;-)). I fell in love. Few years after I moved here and I have to say that I’m living one of the most challenging but also enriching experiences in my life. There are so many things about Tel Aviv and Israel that I want to share, so many pictures that I want to publish and  hundreds of stories I wanna tell. Stay updated and I promise you won’t regret that.

All rights reserved to JoKo Photo 2013

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Rule#1 – The perfect time to start something new never arrives

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So, I was waiting and waiting and waiting. And wondering. When is the perfect time to start writing the blog? To launch my website? To open Facebook page? And you know what? It never came! Perfect time doesn’t exist. For few months I was finding excuses not to start with my “thing” because it my opinion it wasn’t the right time, things were not ready, layout was not perfect, I didn’t have the logo yet, I was going for a trip, I couldn’t decide what it will be exactly about etc….believe me, the list was long. Wait, it still IS. I’m sure that this exact moment that I’m writing my first post and the moment I’m gonna post it will be far away for being perfect but…I’m done with waiting, wondering and thinking…time for action arrived!

I love photographing, especially people. I think that that there are things that can’t be expressed by words but they definitely can be expressed by image. I want to look at my pictures and feel that they say more than 1000 pages book. I also wish other people could see that.

I love traveling and I believe that we are all made to travel, physically or spiritually. My big dream is to go for a round the world trip. I never get tired of travelling. I’ve lived in a few places already and I find it the most enriching experience one can have. We grow by accepting and understanding others, by challenging ourselves to open our minds more and more every day.

So, those are my goals. For some, they can seem very big, for some, very small. For me they are just right because they motivate me to move forward every day. And If I feel down and see no reason in anything I always remind myself that no matter how small step I take today tomorrow I will be a bit closer to make my dreams come true.

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