Born in the eighties, I dreamed of becoming an astronaut already in kindergarten. Born in the eighties in Eastern Europe, I quickly soaked up the ever present brutal realism, and pragmatically pivoted to a slightly more realistic, but only slightly less romantic interest in astronomy. This passion helped me survive through school and contributed to my decision to study the humanities. It made perfect sense at the time.
After years of working and volunteering in a number of Polish NGOs and a various selection of odd jobs, I moved to Berlin for a fresh start, and taught myself enough to get into software engineering. Currently in Oslo, I'm still an engineer. After years of living in comfort an engineering life provides, I'm focusing on fighting climate change. I'm a two-times immigrant, this is a process.
I have a technical blog, which I don't update as regularly as I'd like since my crime is being a hobby maximalist. I used to blog more in Polish: on politics, feminism and, together with fellow activists, on animal rights and guerrilla gardening (our blog, sadly, did not survive when the blogging platform was discontinued; own your data is the universal lesson).
I think people are what they do, not who they say they are. So here's a selection of things I did that I would want to humbly believe answer the titular question.
As part of Suboktav, an electronic music collective, I entertained a small but lovely audience during outdoor raves in 2021 and 2022. If you enjoy any flavor of electronic music, you can follow Suboktav events on its Facebook group.
In 2021, I was nominated for the first Female Developer of the Year Award which celebrates Norwegian engineering women.
In 2019, I gave a talk during DevopsDay Oslo about making our applications greener. Preparing this talk helped me realize there's so much I could do, as an engineer, to influence the industry, and eventually gave me a renewed sense of purpose.
Do you remember the Abortion Drone? I would argue it was one of the first reproductive rights actions tailored for the contemporary news media cycle. In 2015, Women on Waves flew a drone carrying abortion pills over the German/Polish border. A fantastic event. I was lucky enough to be there on the Polish side, receiving one package of the pills.
I crowdsourced a trip to RubyConf Argentina in 2014, where I gave a talk about the evolution of programming languages. The service I used for collecting money doesn't exist anymore, so here's a broken Wayback Machine version. I collected 1.760,00 €. I described Ruby's place in that evolution on Monterail's website.
Once (in 2014), I learned Ruby on Rails so that I could teach other women how to make websites as a Rails Girls coach, once in Poznań, and once in Warsaw. I did something similar with Clojure in Berlin: first as a participant of Clojure Bridge, then as a coach.
In 2013, I ran a marathon in the Polish city of Poznań. I took a year to go from zero to marathon runner, and I blogged about some of theś preparations and the day. It's in Polish, casual, and you can read it here.
Before I uprooted myself and moved to Berlin, I was lucky enough to be part of a wonderful community of activists in Warsaw. We've done a variety of things, from a guerrilla gardening tour of Poland+ (holding a workshop at the notorious Czech Fluff Fest), to piqueting the worst Polish circus twice a day for two weeks straight for their documented animal abuse. We organized hundreds of events, literally, all over the country, and once got featured in Newsweek for our freeganism shenanigans.
In 2011, I joined the Tak dla Kobiet (Yes for Women) initiative, one of many uprisings to provide people in Poland access to safe and legal abortions. We spent three months collecting signatures over our legislation project all over the country, holding protests, and building networks. Tragically, we did not succeed in changing the law, just like multiple initiatives before us and after us. I still believe that time will come.
2010 was a good year: our guerrilla gardening collective called MPO (Miejska Partyzantka Ogrodnicza, a play on the name of Warsaw's city cleaning company) ran a number of workshops to inspire locals to take over unused lots and greenify their surroundings. One such workshop, which included making seed bombs out of soil, happened as part of the X-Apartments theater festival in a top-level suite at a Marriott hotel. We had a telescope pointing to an unused green lot around the Warsaw Ghetto. The contrast of a rich interior with soil and that unused lot of land was striking.
In May 2010, my partner at the time and I won 3rd place in the Polish National Veggie Burger Eating Contest. Our team was called "Ave Seitan". 2010 was also the year the first Polish vegetarian lifestyle magazine came to life. It's called Vege, and I was lucky enough to be an editor for the first ten months. Sharing happy feels with my dad on that photo.