Destiny street

Bratislava, the city I come from and where I currently live, is a capital of Slovakia (in case you didn’t know, which I wouldn’t blame you for one bit). Despite that, living here sometimes feels like living in a village.

Why? Well… The city center is really small, you can get everywhere on foot in less than half hour, I can’t go out without meeting someone I know by chance, everybody knows everybody – at least so it seems… And my life in Bratislava sort of revolves around this one street – Grosslingova. If it was the street I live on, it wouldn’t be weird at all. But I don’t. I live quite far away from there (but then again, define “far” in Bratislava).

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When I was little, I needed a math tutoring for I’ve always been a mathematical anti-talent and this math tutor of mine lived on Grosslingova street. I went to high school and my undergrad college here. I met my first great love as well as many good friends on this street. My third boyfriend lived on this street, too. So did my ninth boyfriend. And guess where my new workplace is located?

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A peek through the fence of my high school. The building was built in 1908, together with the “Blue Church” in the background.

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Then…

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And now.

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My “alma mater”, Bratislava liberal arts college, where I did my bachelor’s.

And it’s not even some very significant, or busy street. It is in the city center, yes, but it’s a quiet, mostly residential street. Despite that, there are many cool places. There’s a flower shop, tea shop and a beautiful tailoring shop owned by father and two sons. There are maybe four hipsterish cafés and restaurants, one of which is called “La Cocotte”, which is a super cool pun – if spelled differently, “cocotte” is a Slovakian swear word. There are three bio/vegan shops – one of them right next to the butcher shop. And yeah, three schools – two of which I attended.

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A long time ago, there was an orphanage in this building. It’s completely overgrown with ivy and it’s one of my most favourite houses on Grosslingova.

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I know every corner of it. And so many of those corners bring back fond memories.

I hardly think it’s a coincidence that I keep coming back to this street. Maybe it’s some kind of a sign. Maybe I’ll live on Grosslingova one day. Maybe I’ll meet my future husband here. Or what if I already have? Who knows 🙂

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One Sun, one window, 13 sunsets

From my desk at work, this is what I see every day when I look to my left:

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Yes, it’s a window. A pretty dirty window.

The view is not the most picturesque one, but still, we can see the Bratislava castle – right in the middle of “Two Towers” plus some cranes and construction sites and trash… An interesting mixture.

I love sunsets. Who doesn’t? And this particular sunset, out of this dirty window, has a special place in my heart.

So, I watch the same sunset everyday but it’s still not getting old. The sun is setting every single day, it’s the most common thing in the world, yet – it’s always different. Always special.

I took tons of pictures on my phone. Here are some of my most favourite ones.

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And one extra black & white sunset. I picked 12 photos for this post but then I thought: my favourite number is 13, so I need to choose one more.

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The saddest thing is that as of February, we’re leaving this coworking space where we work from and we’re moving to a new place. And from what I heard, there are no picturesque views from that place, so no more sunsets for me 😦

Edvard Munch

Today I took a day off at work just to go and see the Edvard Munch exhibition in Albertina, Vienna (I didn’t want to go over the weekend – too many people).

The exhibition was called Edvard Munch: love, death, loneliness. And no other three words could describe the Norwegian painter’s life better than that.

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“Like Leonardo da Vinci studied the inside of the human body and dissected corpses, so I am trying to dissect souls.”

I love his painting for the excess of emotions running through the paper or canvas. He was the master of emotions, even though he didn’t experience many positive ones throughout his life. Like I said in one of my previous posts, the negative, or sad emotions for some reason tend to be the strongest. And this is very true with Munch. He could beautifully play with dark emotions. He often painted or drew several copies of the same motif in different color variations just to play with senses and emotions of the onlooker.

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His art revolves around one question: what is life? That’s why he titled his body of work “Frieze of Life”. By the end of the 19. century he started sorting all his to-date works by theme into separate cycles. The Frieze of Life is his own account of life as observed via love, jealousy, sexual desire, depression, anxiety, melancholy, angst…

Edvard Munch led an unhappy, yet rich and thoughtful life. He was melancholy and depressed most of the times but his mind was beautiful. And his life was full of love. It was a destructive and painful love, but that’s how love often is. That’s the kind of love that inspires the most beautiful art.

“My path led along an abyss, some bottomless depth. The angst has been with me for as long as I can remember.”

“I was given a singular role on this earth: a role imposed upon me by a life full of illness, hapless circumstances, and my vocation as an artist. It is a life that does not even know the semblance of happiness, in fact, does not yearn for happiness at all.” 

Munch was not only a painter, he was a poet, too. When painting, he used to write down his thoughts. They’re leaving me speechless (and I think they’ll do the same to you).

“Like a star rising from the dark and meeting another star that flashes up for a moment only to disappear again in the dark, so man and woman meet each other. They are gliding along together. They light up in love, a brief flame – and disappear again in different directions. Only few find themselves together in a large blaze in which they can be fully united.”

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“He lay down, but could not sleep. Her image – in the bright summer night, with the pale moon above – stood before him. Her eyes in the shadows. And yet – the way she looked at him. Like she was waiting for something. Should he take a chance? Should he kiss her? Wasn’t she expecting it? He had never kissed before.”

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“When my eyes look into your big eyes – in the pale moonlight, with delicate hands weaving invisible threads that are tied around my heart. They are guided by my eyes and by your big dark eyes. And around your heart. Your eyes are so big, now they are so close to me. They are like two big dark skies.”

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“The ancients were right to compare love to a flame, for like a flame, love only leaves ashes behind.”

“I know the mystic look of the jealous. It is a searching look, full of hatred and full of love.” 

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“The picture is a warning. It says that love goes hand in hand with death. And yet, it is only a woman kissing a man on the neck.”

“Togetherness has a price: the loss of individuality.”

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And there’s a reason why his painting “The scream” became one of the most popular paintings of all time. Even though the three color versions of “The scream” were painted by Munch some years before, the drawing became acknowledged during the interwar period, for which it became a sort of a symbol. The despair and fear coming out of the painting served as a representation of the era.

This is Munch’s note on the Scream:

“I was walking down the road with two friends when the sun set; suddenly the sky turned as red as blood. I stopped and leaned against the fence, feeling unspeakably tired. Tongues of fire and blood stretched over the bluish black fjord. My friends went on walking, while I lagged behind, shivering with fear.”

In a thread factory

I am working in a “Thread factory” but I am not making threads.

Some clever heads (and hands) refurbished the former thread factory in Bratislava and turned it into a beautiful co-working space for young artists, entrepreneurs and freelancers. On the first and second floor there are mostly art studios, galleries and ateliers, on the third floor there’s this vast space for startups and that’s where I work.

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I truly believe that work environment does affect our mood, creativity and productivity. We were just discussing this with one of my colleagues while we were looking around us at work. We said something like: Yeah, this place is just so awesome that even if the job was shit, I would love coming here. Only the job isn’t shit, it’s actually amazing, which only makes it better!

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The place itself is a source of inspiration. The creativity flows in currents in this large airy space. I love the mixture of the new and the old. Of the modern minimalism and the cold industrial architecture. It goes well together.

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And who would have thought that inside this ugly building there’s something as pretty as this. Well, do not judge a book by its cover. 🙂

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