Ten Things Of Thankful.

I’m very very late but I thought I’d like to join in with

Ten Things Of Thankful

and write a bit about some things I’ve been grateful for this past week, since the link up is still open. Here’s my gratitude list.

  1. My Mum reading to me. I’ve always loved it when my Mum read books to me, although it hasn’t been very often in the recent years. Last week was different though. One day I just asked Mum to read me something, not expecting much enthusiasm in return, but she did agree! So I picked my favourite fairytales book with the fairytales from around the world where people always have so ridiculously long names and placenames are even longer (most of the fairytales in it are from the African countries), which always annoyed her so much. Like, is there even such a country, Biladutasemipi? I’m curious what does the Biladutasemipian language sound like? Must be crazy. But then I remembered there was a book I never read, that I bought for myself a few years ago. I never read it because my OCR scanner pissed me off and I couldn’t scan it, but I always wanted to read this book. It’s the correspondence between Astrid Lindgren and Sara Schwardt, who wrote to Astrid for the first time when she was 12 and they were like penfriends for 30 years, Sara was one of her readers. So then I asked Mum if we could read that book and, so far, we’ve read perhaps four letters, and that’s something, given how easily Mum falls asleep when reading anything. It’s very interesting, although I can barely keep myself from correcting her Swedish pronunciation, but I know I’d be a prick doing it all the time so I try not to.
  2. Cocoa. You know how I love coffee. And, even though I decided some weeks ago that I am going to, I need to, cut on how much coffee I drink and not drink it everyday, because it makes my anxiety worse, but I was drinking it once in a while anyway. Well, now when I don’t drink coffee everyday, I can clearly see that, apart from energising me, coffee really doesn’t make me much of a favour and makes me feel crappy in a lot of ways. Yes, I drink green tea instead of coffee, I am trying to befriend it, but, while green tea works perfectly in making me more functional in the mornings, I still don’t really like how it tastes, hence I miss my coffee still. So, I’ve looked for some alternatives and decided I’ll try natural cocoa. Even if it won’t be as effective as green tea, though it does have some stimulating properties, at least I can drink it as a taste alternative to coffee, prepare it a bit like I would a cuppa coffee. And that seems to work. I used to be really mistrustful towards cocoa because it made me sick years ago, and I am emetophobic, and I usually never eat things that made me sick even if just once, but cocoa and orange juice are the only exceptions, because I really like them and at some point, some years ago already, I just was able to think logically and realise I just had to have bad luck one time and drink them either when they were expired or something, and neither cocoa nor orange juice have ever made me sick again, and I would be very surprised if they ever would in future. Especially that, hey, it’s not that easy to make a person with emetophobia throw up. ๐Ÿ˜‰ So, I’m drinking green tea every day and when I want something more like a coffee, I have a mug of cocoa.
  3. My penfriends. For last week, especially my English penfriend whom I help a bit with learning Polish. Such things make you properly explore your own language and realise you don’t know quite as much about it as you’d like to think. I love such brain stimulating stuff!ย  I am also very grateful for those of my penfriends who have been very loyal and with whom I’ve been writing for a while already. It’s a rare thing to find a pen pal that you’d write with for, well, over 2 months, so when you write each other for half a year or 10 months it becomes to look impressive, and feels like a fabulous achievement! ๐Ÿ™‚
  4. Warm, but not hot weather. I really like how it is outside now. Definitely pleasant.
  5. Playing with Zofijka. We always have a lot of fun with Zofijka, and recently we’ve played quite a lot together. She always makes me laugh, not even because she’s always so funny, but because her laughter is very infectious.
  6. Music. I discovered a lot of great music last week again, and listened to a lot of music that I hadn’t listened to in ages.
  7. Good blood test results. I had a blood test last week, and so did my Mum. I wasn’t quite concerned about my results, and I am glad they are good, but I was very worried about my Mum, who was at the gynaecologist’s a while ago and she told her she had a cyst on the ovary and something on her breast as well. She doesn’t seem to have cancerous cells as it turned out now, so that’s good, although she’ll need to have an ultrasound to make sure all’s well. But that cyst thing really gave me a bit of a scare.
  8. misha. misha had a week of solitude last week and wasn’t very involved, I saw very little of him, but as always, I treasured every moment with him.
  9. doing cupping therapy for my Mum. Do you know what cupping is? You put the cups (but not the cups that you drink your tea from obviously haha, they’re either gum or glass cups that are used for cupping) on someone’s back, or chest at times, those cups are either fire cups or they suck in the air so that they stay pressed to the skin, and it’s an alternative or complementative treatment that is used to make the immune system stronger, so especially when you are ill. My grandad, who is a bit of a quack, very much into medicine, but not a doctor, can do cupping with glass cups and has often done it to us when we were sick and the doctor said cupping could help. And some time ago my grandad taught me how to do cupping for someone, with those cups that suck the air inside of them, that you place on the skin with a pump. That was horrendously difficult and I was stressed to do it on my own, because, well, what if I wouldn’t notice a bone or something and do it wrong! But my Mum likes to have cupping done regularly to keep her immune system working properly and over the last few months I’ve become pretty good at doing cupping, although I’ve had one situation when I failed and placed a cup on Mum’s mole by accident, which scared the shit out of me, but thankfully nothing happened afterwards. And, on Sunday, my Mum got a cold, probably during her run. We hope she won’t get her episodic asthma flare from it. So, to prevent it, and to get well sooner, my Mum asked me to do the cupping to her on Sunday evening. Which I did. It’s still a bit stressful to me but I enjoy doing it, and I am glad I’m getting better and better at it, and I like learning new things like that (that are available to me without sight) from my grandad. Mum feels a bit better today and is eating tons of ginger.
  10. A good news from my gran. She phoned my Mum last week and asked if we’d like to go on a pilgrimage with her again at the beginning of September, to a place where we were last year – Mum, Zofijka and me – and we all really enjoyed it. Of course we’re all going!

What are you thankful for? ๐Ÿ™‚

20 things that make me happy.

I got an idea for this post from Carol Anne of Therapy Bits. Here’s a list of 20 things that make me happy, in no specific order.

1. Yeeeah you guessed it… Misha! ๐Ÿ˜€ What would I do without Misha? I can’t even imagine and I don’t want to. I can’t imagine my life without Misha now. He can sometimes change so much just being around. And always makes me think that, blimey, God must be a real, real genius, to be able to create something so perfectly beautiful!

2. My music crushes! As I like to say, each and every one of them is like an antidote for all the bad stuff for me. They enrich me and my life and I can learn so much from them, deach of them brings different things into my life with themselves. They give me something to dream about and a different world to escape to when I need it. Also music in general as it’s really so beneficial for my brain in so many respects.

3. Books. They make me happy largely in the same way as music. Also literary crushes. Well that’s not quite as intense a thing, not for me, not as important and long lasting, but it came to my mind because I am just having a literary crush at the moment and it’s oh such a cool feeling, and a weird one, because the guy is very weird. I could go on and on about it right now but I’ll probably be over it once I finish my current read and it’s not relevant for you, so I won’t, people say I’m overwhelming with my crushes, but I’ll only say that I am reading a Norwegian saga at the moment (no, not in Norwegian, my Mum thinks I’m that educated, but it’s a Polish translation). It’s by May Grethe Lerum, the original title is “Livets Doetre” and it consists of 35 books (I know, sounds scary and/or ridiculous) and it’s happening in 17th-18th century. I’ve heard about it ages ago from my friend Jacek from Helsinki, he was reading it and was like “You have to read it, you’ll love it!”, but I was quite sceptical because of the amount of books, it kinda didn’t sound good to me, and usually Jacek’s taste and mine weren’t very similar at all in terms of books, apart from myths and legends and the vikings and language stuff. He sent me all of it and it was sitting somewhere on my drive with no interest from me, then I wanted to even just see what it’s about recently, but it turned out it’s this weird kind of a PDF file that is not accessible or something, but I got the books from our library for the blind and seems like now it’s a good time for me to read it. I’ve read loads of much better books but this lady is pretty good at describing people’s characters which I always appreciate, and now there is that guy I’m having a crush or something on, and now I want to live in 1740’s Norway.

4. Relaxing baths with bath balls! I had one today. Was so lovely. And Misha was with me.

5. Sleep. When I get some good sleep, anyway, or some fantastic and vivid happy dream. Oh, by the way, does someone of my regular readers who’s been sticking along for a while perhaps still remember Sasha? The cat we had for a while last October and then had to find a new home for him? I recently dreamt of him, and that I visited him in his current house. It was so bittersweet. I know I haven’t told you, not on the blog anyway, but the funny thing is that Sasha is now the cat of one of the children’s books’ writers I read as a kid. ๐Ÿ˜€ Seriously! It turns out she lives quite close, and she and her family were the people who took Sasha from us. I learnt who she was much later on, when my Mum got one of her books and a letter from her in the mail and I heard what her name was! It was a shock! But that means he probably has a good and happy life now with her, if you can conclude anything about an author from their books she sounds like a nice and decent person.

6. Kefir, kefir, I love kefir!

7. Blogging and writing in my diary. I am so happy and grateful that I have my blog, and so happy that I have my readers! I also love that I have my private diary as well where I can write what I can’t anywhere else, and where I can take a look at different things that have happened in my life to get a perspective, which sometimes may be a comforting thing to do if I get too irrational about what’s currently happening in my life.

8. Zofijka. And that we always have so much fun together and laugh a lot. We don’t always get along well and not about everything, but she is often the one who lifts up my mood the most effectively, just her laughter is infectious.

9. Jocky. I don’t hang out that much with him and he can be annoying, but I like him and he is always so sweet with me, everyone says he seems to like me the most in a way because he’s always so clingy when I am with him that he’s apparently not like that with anyone else. I am happy he loves me so much, although I have no flamin idea why is that.

10. All my online friends. I’ve mentioned my readers but I am also always very happy with all my other online friends, especially my pen pals. It goes a bit in waves when you regularly engage in pen palling, since you don’t stay regular long term penfriends with everyone you try it with, it’s actually a difficult business, but currently I have a lot of luck with penfriends and I have an abundance of them. Each of them adds something different to my life, and I hope I am able to add something to theirs as well. We’ve recently decided with one of my pen pals that we’re going to exchange some recipes, and yesterday she sent me a recipe for Scottish shortbread! Well I love Scottish stuff so I am excited to try it out with Mum as soon as possible, as I’ve never eaten shortbread.

11. Horse riding. I haven’t done it for almost a year, as my instructor has had a hiatus mostly due to health issues, but I love it, and I am likely going to go back to it in September.

12. Having long walks with Mum. As I say, they clear up your brain so well. I’ve been having a lot of overthinking stuff going on and worse generalised anxiety lately and walks have helped me a lot. A change of scenery is good sometimes too, to change your thought patterns, haha.

13. Toffifee! Who doesn’t like Toffifee? It is not a rhetorical question. I seriously wonder if there is something who hates Toffifee!.

14. Milka icecream. There are such icecream in our local shop, they’re cones, and they’re very yummy. And they’re called Milka so they’re probably from that Milka brand. So this is kinda like me, some people do call me Milka at times as it’s one of our Polish diminutives of Emilia. There are better icecream out there but Milka is the best of those you can get right here without having to go too far for something more sophisticated.

15. Learning Welsh. There are ups and downs. And there are periods of stagnation even. But then it makes me even happier when finally things go smoothly again.

16. Listening to any of my favourite languages. It’s brainmelting! A bit like an antidote in its own right as well.

17. Talking to my Mum, going out with her and doing stuff together. Finally we can catch up on all that to our hearts’ content.

18. Helping people in any way I can. Doesn’t it make us all a bit happier?

19. Bein by the sea. Especially in the sea. Even though I can’t swim too well. It always is so soothing and nourishing for my imagination. I made up some imaginary people/human-like beings who live under the sea when I was a kid and I still love to imagine that I am with them when I am by the sea.

19. Yummy sweets, as well as spicy food.

20. Doing some guided imageries when I am stressed.

What things make you happy? ๐Ÿ™‚

My gratitude list. #TToT.

I recently wrote a gratitude list and I thought I’d do this again, but this time I’m linking up with

Ten Things Of Thankful.

So without further ado, here’s my list.

ย ย  1.

Eating my Mum’s meringue with whipped cream, raspberries, strawberries and peaches. We had a bonfire today, and while I didn’t took part in it, Mum left some yummy food for me, including the meringue. We all like it most with blueberries, but blueberries seem to be very expensive at the moment and Mum didn’t want to make it with blueberries for all the guests not knowing if they will actually eat it. But it was still very good. And as we are at it, I appreciated that I didn’t have to be there too, I could hear all the noise from my room well enough. ๐Ÿ˜€

2.

Spending a lot of time with Misha. He wasn’t keen on sleeping with me every night, but still, we spent a lot of time together this week, and as especially the second part of it has been difficult for me, it’s greatly valued.

ย ย  3.

Green tea. Perhaps you recall my recent coffee dilemmas. It seems like I have the solution. I’ve been trying different kinds of green teas and other drinks like that that could get me going, but wasn’t particularly convinced as they either weren’t working much or I didn’t like the taste. Now I found the right green tea for me as it seems and I use xylitol with it to make it taste better.

4.

(Slightly) cooler weather. It’s still rather hot, but it’s manageable and cooling down which I am very happy about and desperately hopeful that this tendency will keep for a while.

5.

My family. Yesterday was the funeral of my Mum’s acquaintance’s daughter who died tragically in an accident. It was shocking, and made me feel grateful that I do have my whole family.

6.

Long walks with Mum and Jocky. That always helps me to clear out the brain a bit.

7.

Crisps. I’ve got a lot this week and liked them a lot.

8.

Music. I’ve been listening to plenty of fabulous music this week, including right now. Music helps me greatly in so many aspects of life and I can’t imagine my life without it.

9.

Eating pasta with broccoli sauce yesterday for dinner. This is such a ridiculously minimalistic meal we usually have it when there isn’t much time or not many things to eat at the moment or lack of creativity. But we all love it anyway.

ย ย  10.

Sleep. It hasn’t always been the best for me this week, but I did have some very restful sleep and I appreciated it very much, and I’m soon going off to sleep as it’s already past midnight and hope tonight I can also be grateful for good sleep.

What are you grateful for this week? ๐Ÿ™‚

My little gratitude list.

I’ve just thought I’ll do one so here goes:

A very warm weather in the morning. I woke up quite early, ate breakfast and then sat in the living room with Mum enjoying our drinks, with the balcony door open, and the sun was shining and it felt almost hot there, but not too hot. It felt very nice. In the afternoon it started to rain heavily and was stormy though.

Having a nice, low key day. Which I really appreciate today, as I’ve been having a headache all day long, so don’t feel particularly energised and am happy I don’t have to go out anywhere or do anything very important or stressful or whatever. It is not the kind of headache that would put me to bed and that I’d be completely non functional, but still it’s quite disturbing and painkiller doesn’t seem to work, but it doesn’t feel strong enough for me to take the stronger one for more migraine-ish stuff. I’ve had this kind of headaches prety often in the last couples of week. Oh but I’m digressing.

All my friends – penfriends, in the blogosphere, etc. all of them. I’m really grateful for having so many great people around me online!

A long, hot shower I had a while ago. Sometimes a long, warm bath or shower helps me with a headache or a migraine, which today didn’t happen, but it was cool anyway. It’s getting warmer, so my skin is not as dry, so I feel more daring with soaking in the water, no having to regret it later because of feeling dry and itchy.

Yummy food I’ve had today, and a lot of veggies. For breakfast I had sandwiches with my Mum’s baked pork chop, I guess that’s how you’d call it, and lettuce, parsley, spinach, cress, tomatoes, radishes and chive. We have loads of vegetables right now, thanks to my Dad’s gardening hobby, which my Mum looks down upon and laughs at, but I think it’s really good for him that he has some constructive hobby, and also that it’s so useful, as it’s nice to have your own vegetables. For lunch we had chicken soup with noodles, and also a lot of parsley – we can’t imagine a chicken soup without parsley, not a good one at least. And for supper my Dad made his artsy sandwiches especially for me. ๐Ÿ˜€ My Dad’s sandwiches are very special ones, because he always puts so much effort into them, making sandwiches for himself or anyone else is a bit like a ritual for him I guess, or looks so. A characteristic of them is that they are full of everything, especially when it comes to spices, his view is that the more you put on your sandwich, or to any dish actually, the better it is. I don’t always agree with this view but I really liked his sandwiches today, and it was cool that he made them especially for me cus he needed company while eating supper and everyone else were either sleeping or immersed in the TV/smartphone/observing the fish tank. ๐Ÿ˜€

Misha. I’m grateful for Misha every day. Recently I tried to think back what it was like back when I didn’t have Misha, or didn’t even know him, which wasn’t so long ago after all, but it was kind of difficult to even imagine, Misha feels like an essential part of my life, and I call him my personal bundle of happiness. He wasn’t particularly convinced when I asked him to go sleep with me last night, but instead he spent a good part of the day sleeping in my room during the day, first in the morning, and then in the afternoon, when I was doing my Welsh, and then watching the rain falling outside at my window. Nowadays, when I learn Welsh, it’s mostly listening, and today I had my 2,5 hours weekly marathon, so then I don’t do anything else but listen and read. So, as I felt exhausted because of the headache, I just laid beside him and we held each other’s upper limbs for moral support – I suppose the moral support was mostly for me as I was really frustrated with myself ’cause I still can’t make sense of what I’m hearing, and kept distracting. Perhaps doing the Welsh marathon with a headache wasn’t the best idea in the first place, but I doubt it’d be much different otherwise, and I had enough free time on my hands so I knew I would regret it if I wouldn’t use it when I had it ’cause 2,5 hours without external distractions doesn’t happen often to most of us.

My Plextalk, and that it is so small so I can actually lie on the bed with it and plug the headphones in and listen. And generally, I’m grateful for it because it saves me from boredom, silence anxiety as I call it, and so many other things. I’m also grateful for my laptop as otherwise I wouldn’t be able to do most of the things I do, and for my Braille-Sense, ’cause even though it is falling apart I’m still using it a lot and life would be harder without it.

That I slept quite well last night. Not very well, because I have blocked nose since a few days because of allergy to something I have yet to find out what it is, but reasonably well. And I am also grateful that it’s already evening so I can soon go to bed and hopefully will wake up tomorrow and will feel better physically.

That I feel pretty much on the baseline emotionally and moodwise. That’s of course my baseline, not like for most people haha, but I am glad it is like this anyway.

Blogging, writing, journaling. As I’ve said multiple times, it always helps me with expressing myself so is always very therapeutical, and just pleasant.

Reading a lot of interesting things lately.

That I am able to learn my languages, and, even if there is such a bit of a low like with my Welsh lately, i am mostly really good at it, and am lucky not to have to put as much effort into it as many other people. I’m also very grateful that I could do my Welsh learning today, and hopeful that I’ll soon see some progress.

What are things you are grateful for? ๐Ÿ™‚

What did I do for my Easter weekend?

I’m a little late to the show, but I wanted to give you a bit of a life update on my Easter, as I haven’t posted any proper one in quite a while, and I saw this question on Carol Anne’s blog,

so I thought I’d answer the question and write the update in one go. ๐Ÿ˜€

So, my Easter? Nothing too unusual. We were invited for two dinners, on Sunday and Monday, to my Dad’s family. I was very nervous about that but some time before the holidays I decided that I’m not going to any of them and no one will make me go there, especially that Olek wasn’t going either. I’m so glad I didn’t go. Gatherings with my Dad’s family always feel even more boring than any others, with my Mum’s family I have at least a little bit of common ground and they are more communicative. Also, on Tuesday it was my grandad’s name day, my maternal grandad, I only have one grandad anyway, and if I had to choose I’d definitely prefer to go to him rather than to those yucky dinners, and I felt like that would be impossible for me to do to go for three days in a row socialising (especially that it turned out that there was fourth in stock for me too, but that’s another story). But other than my personal feelings, there is currently very bad atmosphere at my Dad’s family. The uncle who invited us on Sunday is freshly after divorce, and the uncle to whom we were invited on Monday has been drinking even since before Easter, he’s an alcoholic. And apparently both those dinners were quite unpleasant. Besides I’m feeling depressed lately and just not into that, even more than usual.

I don’t know if there is such a tradition in any other countries, but in Poland, on Easter Sunday, we have a resurrection mass very early in the morning. I’d never been to one prior to this year, we’d usually go for the Easter eve service at night or however it’s called, as it’s nowadays usually celebrated together with the Easter liturgy in the end. But my Mum really wanted to go, and I was curious too how it feels. Only that I got very little sleep that night. I usually get very little sleep at night or none at all if I know that I have to be somewhere early. This time, I fell asleep like a baby, quickly and early, but woke up at 1 AM and was wide awake since then. My sleep cycle is in a messed up phase since almost two weeks now though. We were meant to get up at about 4:30. So at least the only advantage to the situation was that I wasn’t groggy in the morning, while my whole family were all yawning and one brain hemisphere still far away in Dreamland, while the other having to face the brutal harshness of the real world, yes waking up at such early hours especially if you have to go out is a yucky state to be in. But it’s just a few minutes and then everything’s OK. So we went to the mass and it was really beautiful, I always like the late night services like the midnight mass on Christmas more, but in the early morning it’s also very atmospheric. We had a yum yum yummilicious Easter breakfast. I wanted to get Zofijka Flips for Easter (Flips, or Flipsy actually, are a kind of vintage, unflavoured Polish crisps that Zofijka likes, there are flavoured too, but for some reason our usually fussy Zofijka prefers unflavoured), but she expressed her wish very late and I didn’t manage to get hold of them before Easter. I also got perfumes for Mum but they haven’t arrived yet. I got some sweets from Mum and Zofijka.

A while after breakfast, Mum, me, Zofijka and Jocky went for a long walk which was very nice and helped to clear out my brain a bit and I felt a little better emotionally. The most of the rest of the day I spent just with Misha, and Olek in his room, and we all were just chilling out and stuffing ourselves with food and sweets.

Easter Monday is a weird day in Poland, because people pour water on each other. Or in practice, anything they can put their hands on. Just a tradition. So I was woken up by Mum, splashing the water from a bottle at me. At least Mum is more human-like, when Zofijka came in with her bottle, my whole duvet got soaked, not to mention myself. I’ll have to use Olek’s strategy next year. Before he went to sleep, he got himself a big bottle and placed it beside him. And whenever anyone even opened the door to his rom, he’d splash the water at them immediately. Dad and Zofijka tried to outsmart him, Zofijka opened the door quietly and Dad wanted to quickly pour him over, but Olek was quicker. And everyone was shrieking and screaming and the water was all over Olek’s walls, bed, TV, all over Zofijka and Dad. And believe me, at our house it’s really low key and decent, my Mum is actually afraid of going out on the streets on Easter Monday, because people don’t always seem to know where good-humoured fun ends, and stupidity begins, or my aunt likes to greet all her visitors on Easter Monday by soaking them from head to toes. ๐Ÿ˜€ We only have a bit of splashing around in the morning and then it’s over.

So the rest of the day was calm for me. After we came back from the church I was sitting on the terrace with Mum and we were chatting about lots of things. It was very sunny. They weren’t long at that other dinner, probably because of my uncle being, hm, poorly. I was feeling pretty blah emotionally most of the day but tried to distract myself by catching up on the correspondence with my penfriends.

So, nothing unusual, as you see. But overall, even with me feeling low, it wasn’t as bad as Easter last year was for me, with my very grumpy Daddy not being satisfied with anything. Most of all I’m glad I didn’t go to those flippin dinners.

How about your Easter? ๐Ÿ™‚

Bedecking the house.

Hi people. ๐Ÿ™‚

How are your Christmas preparations going? Do you have much left?

Our house has been fully bedeckedย  today. Most of our decorations have been prepared earlier already, but today finally our house has a totally Christmassy feel, as we have the Christmas tree in the living room. It’s a pine, and our Christmas tree decorations haven’t changed much since years. There are some small baubles, but other than that, all the decorations are hand-made by my Mum, including red, heart-shaped sort of pillows that we have on Christmas tree every year, and which always cause a lot of excitement in Misha. He would always draw them down from the tree and then play with them all over the living room, losing them everywhere, biting them dragging them around the house. We usually don’t do anything about it now though, because it’s pointless. He’s got a mind of his own obviously and he knows what he wants, and no one will tell him to do the opposite unless they’d manage to convince him that it’s truly better, and since he’s a big thinker, that takes time. And actually, does it matter? I think it doesn’t. He always looks so cute and funny with those pillow hearts in his mouth, and he never seriously damaged them, they’re still perfectly usable, so I don’t think we should bother, he actually isn’t very playful and I personally always try to encourage him to play when he feels like it rather than turn his attention away from it if he’s not doing any damage, and he does it very rarely, it amazes me continuously how gentle he always (well, almost always) is. Only sometimes he loses control over himself and then things can get a bit messy, but not for too long. ๐Ÿ˜€

And I should say that Christmas tree in general is of a great, great interest for Misha. Mmmmm this smell, he loves all the natural smells – leaves, feathers, branches, flowers, all the forest smells, he’s maybe not so keen on animals, but plants, ground and such, he loves it all – he adores the smell of the Christmas tree so much that he smells it as much as he can, picks the branches, pats them with his paws in pure adoration and awe. Sometimes when he’s in an even more romantic mood, he climbs up the tree, or tries, as long as someone won’t stop him, and even happily eats the needles when noone sees, which last year contributed to him being very, very sick, at least for Misha’s standards, as he’s normally very healthy.

And so now as we have the Christmas tree put up and decorated, and pierogi in the freezer, Christmas has begun!

 

Share Your Merry World.

I haven’t participated in Share Your World for a quite long while, so time to change it! It’s hosted by Melanie at Sparks From A Combustible Mind,ย  so if you’d like to join in the fun, come over to her blog. ๐Ÿ™‚ Here are Melanie’s questions and my answers to them.

 

Whatโ€™s the worst topping you could put on popcorn?ย ย  (credit to Teresa for this one)

Semolina, mashed potatoes with gravy, or anything pulpy and mashy like that, in my opinion. ๐Ÿ˜€

In what country did Silent Night originate?

Ha! I always read some of other participants’ answers before I write mine, so, even if I wouldn’t know the answer before, I know it now. But as I said I already knew before that the answer is Austria, and i find the story behind this Christmas carol really intriguing, and I like that you can sing it in so many languages. When I’ll learn all of mine, I’d like to be able to sing it in all of them (assuming there is a Sami or Manx version of “Silent Night”, I’m not sure and somehow doubt it), I already know the English, Swedish and, more or less, Welsh version, and obviously Polish too.

(WARNING! The following question is NOT meant to start a fuss.ย  Itโ€™s merely a good discussion question in my opinion.ย  Most everyone knows where I stand on this. If you feel like arguing about it, please give it a pass.) Weโ€™re all adults and sensible ones at that.ย  We can be mature about such things, right?

How would you react if there was irrefutable proof that God doesnโ€™t exist?ย ย ย ย ย ย  I think first I would be very sceptical. Because there is loads of research on both sides, and both sides are equally obstinate that they are right, so I’d probably just think, as a practicing Christian, that this is another theory made up by another atheist who, although declares being atheist, seems to be strongly interested in religion. You know, it’s always hard for anyone when their beliefs, like pretty much basic beliefs I think, are proven to be not true. I’ve never been in such situation before but I think it has to be a very hard experience. So, after i’d go through the phase of denial, I’d probably feel very disappointed, probably left alone, like my life is meaningless. I don’t think I would change my behaviour much, other than I would stop practicing my religion, but it could be very depressing. Or maybe I’m wrong? Maybe it would be like after a loss of a loved one? I’d go through denial, then grief, and then would just carry on, but just feeling some sort of a gap in my life, as you always do after a loss, that is usually gradually lessening with time? Hard to say. I feel though it could be hard. As someone who struggles with depression, or dysthymia more exactly, if it makes any difference in the grand scheme of things, I often feel my life is pointless and meaningless already, so I suspect it would be only worse after something like this.

How about if there was irrefutable proof that God does exist?

I think it would make me happy, like comforted. Everyone who believes in any God has their doubts once in a while, and then we wouldn’t have them suddenly, wouldn’t it be brilliant? I think it could help me make a stronger connection with God, and just strengthen my faith. What I wonder about though, is would the picture of God I have in my mind cover with what God is really like? Would be it Christian God, or Muslim, or Jewish, or Buddha, or maybe Zeus or Jupiter or Odin or Perun or Lugh or goddess Ilmatar? Maybe there would be many gods, or goddesses, or other deities? Or everyone would have their own God, like it already is in a way, ’cause even within one religion, we all actually have a different picture of God, so maybe it would be like this? Or maybe there would be one God, but as some people say, different religions and ethnicities just call and understand Him differently, but it actually doesn’t matter because there is one God for everyone? That’s interesting, I think.

And last question:

What is the scariest non banned item you could take on to a plane?

Hmm, it’s hard for me to think of anything, even just because I haven’t been on a plane before. My brain is quite scary, but I don’t think others would appreciate and realise it hahaha. So it would probably be my sis Zofijka, she can be really scary if she wants. ๐Ÿ˜€

Traditions

Which version of the holiday celebration do you and your family enjoy?ย  By this I mean do you follow Jewish traditions with Hanukkah; Christian celebrations with Christmas and (for those over the pond) Boxing Day; or some other festivities that Iโ€™ve overlooked?ย ย  Please do share with everyone!ย  I truly feel that this sort of question lets us know a little more about our fellow bloggers without getting too personal (i.e. revealing too much of private lives, which some folks prefer to keep private.)

We are Christians so we celebrate Christmas in a Christian, Catholic way, and we are Polish so our traditions are Polish/European. We have a festive dinner on christmas Eve, and this is actually the most important point of the celebrations for us. Well maybe not most important but most festive. We always start it with a short prayer, then one of us reads a fragment of the Gospel about Jesus’ birth, and then we share Christmas wafer with each other. Each of us has a piece of Christmas wafer and everyone breaks of a piece from each other’s Christmas wafer and eats it and we wish each other merry Christmas and generally all the best, it’s the best when the wishes are personalised, like, you know, you show the person that you really care about them and that whatever happened during the year, your relationship is still good and there are no old conflicts between you.

Then we have the meal, which for most people contains a lot of fish but for us it’s moderate since neither me nor my siblings like fish very much, but there are pierogi with cabbage and mushrooms, borsch – borsch is normally a soup, but during Christmas Eve dinner most people make it pure so that you can drink it, or with a special type of noodles, that resemble ears in their shape. – There are also lots of salads, and some cakes. The dishes vary between the regions though. The Christmas Eve dinner is usually meatless, and it is said that traditionally you should have twelve dishes and you should taste each of them, but since there is only five of us plus Misha who is picky and will only eat a bit of fish we don’t have so much food, we usually still have some leftovers until New Year’s Eve anyway haha. There is also another tradition, setting an additional tableware “for the guest” so for anyone who might come to the house, be them a homeless person, or a traveller, or someone in need, or from the family, or a friend, whoever, and they should be invited to the dinner. Another tradition is to put some hay under the tablecloth, and we do it too.

After the meal we usually go to my Mum’s family and again share the Christmas wafer with them, exchange gifts, have some cake or other sweet things and sing carols and generally spend time together, often playing scrabble.

And at midnight we usually go to Midnight Mass.

Our fairly new family tradition is that it’s only after the Midnight Mass that we come home and unwrap the presents under our own Christmas tree. And I think it’s cool, although Zofijka can barely wait until then, because of course as every child she loves presents so much.

Christmas day, and the second Christmas day are less festive, and more leisurely, there is a lot of food, not meatless – we also have things like turkey, or salads with meat, or my Dad’s smoked meat, or paszteciki, which are sort of breadrolls with meat stuffing in them. And we either just chill out, or have some outings, or visit family. So, there you have it, Polish Christmas traditions.