What it’s like to live with chronic pain

When I was watching House M.D. in my early-mid 20s I could never understand why Dr. House was such an angry, hostile, bitter, mean and irritable jerk. Until I could … when I got 30 and my severe back pain started. It all became way too relatable and I could see so clearly why there was so much bitterness and hostility in his character. You might still think that he is just a jerk (a genius one) and probably this is also part of the truth, but I can guarantee you that living with pain every day (as Dr. House did) can bring you to the darkest of places and your heart, mood and mind will become cold, austere and bleak.

After 5 years into this I am not in my darkest place now. Thanks God! But I have seen, felt and lived through a lot and I continue living with my struggles every day. There is a lot I want to say to the world, just to let it out of me, to make people notice, but it’s hard. Hard to find the words to explain, hard to find someone who would listen, someone who would understand, someone you would trust. But then I think that there are thousands, hundred thousands of people who know exactly how I feel and who are fighting the same battle, they are having the same resentment, fear, struggle, despair and pain. And I want to share it for them. They might never find this text or might stumble upon it randomly on the internet, but maybe it will make a difference for someone. Just to know that there are people out there who “get me”, just to be able to say to yourself “I am not alone in this”.

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Our wedding day

This summer in the end of July 2021 we celebrated our wedding in Munich. After all the doubts and uncertainties due to the pandemic, going back and forth with our decisions for months, we came to the conclusion that there was no point in waiting for this corona crisis to go away. We had to make a decision. We did not know if celebrations would be allowed, how many people would be able to attend, what the restrictions would be like, nothing was clear. But after giving it many thoughts we knew that the conditions would not improve any time soon. So we decided not to postpone our wedding and celebrate it this summer no matter what.

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What to wear in Morocco as a female?

If you are planning to go to Morocco, you probably know that it is a Muslim country and there are certain rules for how women and men should dress. Though no one expects you to be dressed as a local Moroccan person, there are still some guidelines you should follow in order to respect the local culture and reduce unwanted attention. If you come prepared and think about your outfits in advance you will feel much more comfortable walking around in the streets and will have overall a much better experience. So put some thought into it and select your outfits for Morocco carefully!

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Havana, Cuba

Many people don’t like November, they say it’s gray, rainy, dull and depressing. In 2020 entering yet another lockdown even more so. But me I actually always loved this month. It’s calm, it’s cozy, it’s time to slow down and enjoy the quietness before the holiday season preparations kick in (not sure about the last part this year though). Today on the 1st of November it is raining outside, my last open air tennis training got cancelled and I decided it was the perfect time to finish the long overdue chapter of our 2017/2018 trip to Cuba – La Habana.

It was the very last part of our 2,5 weeks on the island. We have saved the best of Cuba for the end and it was absolutely beautiful. After almost 3 years since that trip my memories are not that vivid anymore and I wouldn’t be able to tell you in detail what we did. But I still would like to share with you some pictures and some emotions that stayed with me.

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Viñales, Cuba

It was the longest and the hardest to arrange drive during our vacations in Cuba: 416 km from Cienfuegos to Viñales. Normally it would take us 15-30 minutes to find a taxi, but that time it was very hard to get one. No one on the streets of Cienfuegos was willing to take us that far. Only with the help of our casa owner could we find a driver who finally agreed to take us to Viñales. For a much higher price than we expected, but at that point we did not care anymore =) It took us 8 long hours in an old car to get to Viñales, but we made it!

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Moments to remember: 2019

It’s April (!) and I have to hurry up with this post, otherwise it will be the time for the 2020 reflections already! 2019 was very exciting and full of new beginnings. The biggest event of the year was starting my new job, but I had some other highlights on the way as well: trying skiing and surfing for the first time, showing my home town St. Petersburg to Pasha, swimming in the Eisbach river, hiking in Norway, traveling with my dear friends to Marseille and some other fun stuff. But let’s start from the first days of the year.

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A week in Salta & Jujuy, Argentina

In October 2018 I went to Buenos Aires to volunteer for two weeks at the Youth Olympic Games. After the Games I decided to spend two more weeks traveling around Argentina and I had to make a tough choice which part of the eighth-largest country in the world I should see. Many foreigners who come to Argentina do so for its world known Patagonia region. It was high on my priority list as well, but as I researched online I came to realize that October was not exactly the right season for going there. I continued scrolling through the internet and found some articles about the north of Argentina – the provinces of Salta and Jujuy. I read a lot of amazing reviews many of which said it was even better than Patagonia! Guess what, October (spring for that part of the world) was exactly the right month to enjoy it: warm and sunny, but not too hot. Without giving it too much thought we decided to discover Salta and Jujuy and get to know the northern part of Argentina.

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3 days in Marrakesh

This October I went to Marrakesh for 3,5 days. It was a long-awaited journey and I was so happy to be finally able to discover this famous city for myself! I have seen a ton of stunning pictures on the internet and was very eager to experience this beauty, but I have also heard and read a lot of negative comments about the country. So I was a bit of cautious in my expectations and tried not to get overly excited.

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First time surfing in Lanzarote

I have been willing to try surfing for many years. Every now and then I would come across a blog post about surf camps, get all excited and dream about that day when I would stand on the surf board and try to catch my first wave. During my university time I didn’t have money to afford a surf trip, then I started working but was dealing with some serious health issues… And then last year two friends of mine went to Fuerteventura to a surf camp and the desire to try it has reemerged in me stronger than ever. The health issues with my back pain were not really sorted out, but I still decided to buy a ticket to Lanzarote in February and to give it a try!

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Cienfuegos, Cuba

We stayed in Cienfuegos for one night only and it was absolutely enough to have a look at the city: to walk along Paseo el Prado turning into malecon, to visit the famous Palacio de Valle and to hang out around the main square which for some reason they consider to be a park and call it Parque Jose Martí.

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