Question of the day.

Today, my question for you guys is:

How often do you read? Where do you get your books? How do you decide what to read, next?

My answer:

I read ALL THE TIME. Well whenever it’s physically possible while doing other things. As I’m blind, I read (or some of you would probably prefer to say listen to) books usually on a specialised device called Plextalk Linio Pocket (I may post a picture of it just for fun sometime later as although it’s nothing very unusual, I’m sure not many of you could ever see it before ๐Ÿ˜€ ). It’s small and portable and I can either have audiobooks or talking books in a special format called Daisy on it or I can read ebooks or any other text files with speech synthesis and that’s how I do it most often. I also can read on another device called Braille-Sense which is basically a Braille notetaker with a Braille display, you can read and write in it and it has some APPS and if you write in it you can save it to a text file so it’s not like you have it only written in Braille. I like to read on my own, I don’t do it as often as I listen to books, but I like it even more ’cause I just simply prefer to read than listen usualy, especially if I read in another language, other than Polish I mean.

So when I have time, I read in bed in the morning before I get up, then I read from time to time throughout the day, I read when I’m waiting for something or someone or am bored and have PlexTalk with me and can do it. I always read before falling asleep in bed, very often in the car, and almost always when I can’t sleep at night. So there are lots of opportunities to read, I think.

As for where I get books, it can be problematic at times. Usually, the first place where I go to if I want to read a speciffic book is the website of the library for the blind that we have here, the main library, they have an option that you can simply download any book that is in their collection if you have sent them the proof of disability, speciffically blindness, and if you live in Poland. These are accessible books, but of course not all books are there, and books in other languages aren’t there, well only a few, and certainly not in Swedish or Welsh. ๐Ÿ˜€ So if something isn’t there and it is in Polish, I usually will need to either just buy it as an ebook if it is available in such form and if it’s in an accessible format, or would have to get a physical book and then scan it, which I just genuinely hate as it’s a bit of a sisyphean task, especially if you’re totally blind like I am, ’cause apparently people with some sight have it a bit easier. So I only scan books that I really really want to read. With English books, I use Audible and Bookshare and have just started with both this year. With Swedish books, an immense help was my Swedish teacher, who borrowed me a lot of books when he was teaching me and I have scanned them, but as I don’t know any blind Swedish people I don’t know how they really get books, well I know they have some organisation like NFB is in US or RNIB in the UK or PZN in Poland and they can have books from their library, but not people from outside the country, so, it sucks a bit. With Welsh books it’s just a pure luck if I get one and I always appreciate it even if it’s not my level yet. There’s so few Welsh books overall so I’m always extremely happy if I succeed to get something or if someone is so nice to help me. I recently got Mabinogion in Welsh, but I’m far behind with the vocabulary yet, so it’s waiting for me.

The way I decide what to read next, is very simple. I have quite a lot of books on SD cards, which I use with my devices, and usually I just read them in alphabetical order, unless I need or really want to read something speciffic at a certain time. And as I still get new books, I never run out of them. As for how I choose books I want to read, I use either our Polish site called BiblioNetka, which is basically like your GoodReads, or I use GoodReads and then check the original title in BiblioNetka whether it’s translated into Polish and if the book is available anywhere for me, then I get it. Also I regularly check new books in our library and get what sounds like I might like it or what I’ve been waiting for, and sometimes I’ll read what my friends or other people I know read if we have similar tastes.

How about you? ๐Ÿ™‚

New gem stones in my collection.

I’m really starting to wonder about taking photos of all the stones in my collection and putting them here. It would take a lot of time and obviously I would need someone else to involve in it and take the pictures, but I think it could be a good idea. What do you think?

My Mum wanted to make me a surprise and bought me some more stones which are really beautiful. They are standing on my window and everyone says they look brilliant in the sun. It’s very snowy here recently, but also the sun is shining a lot so they have great conditions to present themselves. I am really happy I got so many new stones recently. I plan to go to the Festival Of Minerals which will be sometime in August in Silesia. I’d love someone acquainted to take a look at my collection and tell me whether all of these stones are really natural and I’d love to take a look at some minerals I’ve never seen before.

As for other things, yesterday I had an intensive Welsh day, well I’ve heard of people having much more intensive days, but it was the most intensive Welsh day I’ve ever had, because I did 5 challenges during one day. My brain felt drained, but, in contrast to the brain drainage I always get when I have Maths, that one felt really good and I felt glad and proud of myself, not depressed and tired as I usually am after my Maths lessons, simply because my achievements were much much bigger. I decided to praise myself for that and when we were going for a walk with my Mum, we also went to the grocery shop as she needed some vegs and I bought myself a chocolate with nuts which is really yummy. We had a really long walk which I definitely needed after all that brain fitness and which felt very refreshing, and my leg didn’t go as crazy as it did recently, I think it’s healing and going better, slowly, but surely. I can’t wait when I’ll be able to go horse riding finally, gosh I didn’t ride for TWO MONTHS! My horse will forget me! ๐Ÿ˜€ No, seriously I don’t think he will, I had a few years break time years ago and he seemed like he remembered me. ๐Ÿ˜€

Today I went to my GP in the morning, as he finally came back from vacation. I decided I will listen to my therapist’s suggestion and will ask him to prescribe me Afobam again. Also I asked him for some more Hydroxizinum as I was running out of it and then picked my prescription along with that from the dermatologist I got on Thursday.

I did some more Welsh today too.

I just had a very yummy dinner, pasta with Napoli sauce. Dad and Olek are both at work, so we don’t necessarily have to have some meat. They must always have meat for dinner, but not me and my Mum, so always when they’re not at home, we have something we like and Zofijka usually likes it too, or she eats at school.

Today I also helped Zofijka with her English homework a bit, but it only led to both of us being frustrated. Zofijka is very hard to teach, it is difficult for her to focus and she hardly ever listens what you tell her and doesn’t really get English and I am not really good at explaining language stuff to people and the last thing I’m good at is teaching anyone anything, but since as for now she doesn’t have any English lessons besides school as she used to have, I try to help her as it’s at least something.

Some random survey for you and me.

I’ve found some random get to know me kind of questions on the web and thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea to share them with all of you, my readers, so that we could answer them and you could get to know me more and I could get to know you.
So if you like this idea, please give me your answers in the comments, or if you prefer you can pingback. Keep your answers as short or long as you want, as there’s nothing that could be too long in terms of writing and I myself always like to hear about other people, their likes, dislikes etc. 1. If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
I often feel like I am much more creative at night if I don’t sleep, and beautiful things seem to move me more, so I think it be something creative, like writing. I am sure I would read loads of books and other interesting things and would dedicate this time for discovering as many beautiful things in the world as possible. 2. What would your perfect bedroom look like?
Mm, my current one is great, very cosy and pleasant and very much like me. What’s sure, I would ask my Mum to make it beautiful, I find my Mum an expert in interior design and everything house related. I would like my bedroom to be classy, cosy, rather not too modern, I would like to keep my current bed which is definitely too big for one person, but very comfy and I am very happy I don’t need to share it with anyone. I would like to have a place for all my gem stones and stone figurines, have some flowers and I would like it to be in harmony with my personality. as for colours I wouldn’t like to have anything red and I’d prefer colours like black, white, grey, blue and green. My current bedroom is dominated by green and I like that. 3. What fictional place would you most like to go?
Avalon, Valhalla or Asgard.
4. When was the last time you went for a walk?
On Wednesday, we went with my Mum for a long walk almost across our whole town. Now I don’t think it will be very soon I’ll go out for a longer walk because of my current issues with the leg. 5. What songs have you completely memorised?
When I get a musical crush, and I am always having some musical crush since 2009, I tend to listen to his/her music over and over and over and over again, with some breaks, but still very frequently, so I can memorise a lot of their music. I know Enya’s “Evacuee” and “Exile” by heart, some songs by Cornelis Vreeswijk, especially those that i’ve translated or tried to translate into Polish, I knew a lot of Declan Galbraith’s songs quite well, but now I forgot a lot of it. It’s different with Gwilym now, my current crush, because I am still not very efficient in Welsh language so it’s hard for me to memorise songs if I don’t put a conscious effort into it. However before I started my Welsh course, I tried different methods of learning vocab and my Swedish teacher recommended me to memorise a lot of songs, poems and everything rhyming or that is easy to remember. So I know quite a few traditional Welsh songs like “Calon Lรขn”, “Gwydr Glas”, “Lisa Lรขn” or “Arhyd Y Nos” etc. Oh and some Zofijka’s stupid songs she plays over and over so everyone at home knows them and there are things ranging from One Direction to kids songs to disco polo. 6. What are some small things that make your day better?
Misha (oops, I think he wouldn’t be happy if he saw I called him a “small thing”, but oh well, he’s not here, anyway, Misha’s affection and all he does for me, just his presence), beautiful things, like if I hear some beautiful words in any of my languages that I’ve never heard before, great music, an interesting book, a good laugh with Zofijka, delicious food, and so on and so on. A lot of things really. 7. How often do you people watch?
Honestly? All the time. You may think it’s hard or impossible if you’re blind, but I love to observe people’s behaviours, personalities, reactions, emotions, what they do and how they talk and about what. Just of curiosity. I like to imagine different things about them. My Mum and Zofijka are the same, just total, compulsive people watchers, but about looks. They will tell you all the details about a person they’ve seen even if it was just for a while – how she was dressed, how she walked, how she looked at people, etc. etc. It’s a bit like addiction. Sometimes it annoys me I pay so much attention to other people especially if things they do are in any way annoying for me. 8. What have you only recently formed an opinion about?
Hm, not sure. I like to have opinions about many things, but once I form them, I always internalise them and think about them a lot, so I get used to having them quickly, but although I don’t remember now any of my recent opinions, I’m sure I formed at least one new recently. 9. What is the most annoying question people ask you?
As much as I like to educate people about my blindness and answer their constructive questions about it, it always annoys me when people ask about things that are completely unrelated to my blindness, but people think that because I am blind, I can’t do them. For instance people ask me horribly often how can I have dreams if I can’t see. Where do you have a connection between dreams and sight? I don’t believe sighted people’s dreams are only visual and all the other senses are completely not involved. The absolute hit was when I was on a pilgrimage with my family and one elderly lady asked my gramma with total amazement: “How does she walk if she can’t see?”. ๐Ÿ˜€ Also, some members of my Dad’s family annoy me greatly asking me every time they see me (so once a month or more often) how many languages do I speak already. ๐Ÿ˜€ I don’t know if they really think I am such a genius that I can learn a language in a month or if it is ironic or something. But most probably they just feel obliged to talk to me and confused about what to talk about, as we don’t have much in common. 10. What is the best thing that happened to you this week?
That I finally got a confirmation that I can pass my final exam in a school for the blind, not in the school I’m at right now. It will be much easier, because my school isn’t really adjusted for the blind and it would be very hard for me (and for them) technically to take the exams here. The exam stress alone is definitely enough. 11. What are some things you’ve had to unlearn?
Ooooh quite a few. Most of them I’m still unlearning. Bitting my nails and lips, suppressing emotions, self harming when I’m very emotional, panicky avoiding anxiety provoking situations or things, thinking in Polish while speaking/writing in another language, judging people too quickly sometimes just because I have a good instinct and can “feel” them easily. 12. What takes up too much of your time?
Overthinking.
13. What kind of art do you enjoy the most?
Literature and music. I’ve had a friend who was a great sculpturer and he introduced the world of sculpture a little bit to me and I like to look at some beautiful sculptures, but I don’t feel like I know much about that and like I can really appreciate it. 14. What dumb accomplishment are you most proud of?
Dumb accomplishment? I assume it is the kind of accomplishment that isn’t very big and seems easy, but still is an accomplishment? If so… hm, let’s think. Managing Misha’s food, so that I can feed him on my own even if no one else is around. 15. What stereotype do you completely live up to?
I guess there can be many of such stereotypes. It’s hard to think about one in particular though… Well I am half Kashubian (it is an ethnic minority living here in the north of Poland in case you didn’t know) and although I don’t feel very much of a Kashubian myself and am not close to their culture, they say Kashubians are phlegmatic and at least a half of me is surely phlegmatic too. I think I may fit some stereotypes about the blind people too, but not that many. 16. What’s something horrible that everyone should try, at least once?
Fall from the horse. Definitely unforgettable experience. And not that scary after all, at least if you have someone to catch you or you are in the forest or anywhere where the ground is possibly soft and safe, brain concussion is definitely not worthy experiencing. 17. Do you have any scars, or birthmarks?
Unfortunately birthmarks are common thing in my family and as I have a very white complexion I have them quite a few, luckily they are rather small, but I would remove all of them most willingly. I have some scars after self harming mainly in boarding school, but since I didn’t want anyone to see, you wouldn’t see them at a first or even third glance, I think, or at least most of them. I had achilles tendons surgery and I have little scars after it and two scars on my calves after skin infections I had that were very hard to heal. 18. What is the last thing you created that you are proud of?
I am working on translating another Vreeswijk’s poem into Polish. If I’ll succeed and if it will really be a good translation, not a parody, I’ll be extremely proud. I am always so hyper every time I translate something by Vreeswijk. I’d love to translate his poems into Polish and show them to people. I don’t know if this makes sense because some people say only Swedes can get him fully as he wrote in Sweden and in Swedish, but I feel like I need to try for some reason, after all he was Dutch, not Swedish, so I am sure his poetry can be more accessible. 19. What is the most immature thing that you do?
The same as I’ve always had a tendency to act more mature that I was, I’ve always had some pretty immature habits or behaviours, so it’s hard to pick something that’s “the most”. I can laugh at very silly things with Zofijka, like toilet humour or very primitive word games or what other people do or say that we find funny, we play very silly games, everyday when we play with Zofijka we pretend Misha can talk and I talk for him, I still bit my nails sometimes, it’s often hard for me to be responsible for many things, I definitely hate changes, which many kids also do I think, especially that my hatred for changes can be really big sometimes, I can make laugh of pretty much anything, of course there are things I am serious about because they matter a lot to me or things like values etc. but it is never hard for me to find something funny about things or be sarcastic about serious things, sometimes it happens a bit involuntarily, that I have quite odd, sarcastic thoughts about things that I think I definitely should stay serious about.
20. What incredibly strong opinion or belief do you have that is completely unimportant in the grand scheme of things?
Nothing comes to mind right now, but I am more than sure I might have a few such opinions.
OK, that’s all from me. I can’t wait to see your answers. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you enjoy it.