Reasons why I’m learning English.

Nearly a month after starting up this blog, I wrote a post about all the

Reasons why I’m learning Welsh

and a year ago, I wrote a similar post concerning my

Swedish.

With each of them I felt like they got quite a bit of interest, so I’m going to continue it this year as well, and write about English. Let’s see how many reasons I can come up with

1.

Isn’t it obvious? English is obligatory in schools in most countries, I guess. Or at least in all countries in Europe. So, you could say I didn’t have much choice. 😀 Before I went to school though, I was already subjected to English thanks to my Godmother, whose English was on a pretty good level for a person growing up in the 80’s (communist period – learning Russian as a second language at school) and not needing English for professional purposes. I guess it’s more common for people about her age or older to learn English now even if you don’t need it for work, but I guess back then in early 2000’s there wasn’t as much pressure yet. I believe she started learning English around college and took private lessons and while she wasn’t and is not fluent, as I said, the degree to which she knew English could feel a bit unexpected, plus she’s very communicative by nature so such people don’t need a whole lot of vocabulary to be understood. Anyways, she taught me a lot of things before I went to school, and one of them was some very basic English vocabulary and a bit of fondness for English, which probably helped me more than I normally realise to remain positive about the language itself even when I started to see that English as a school subject is MEH, and pushed me to learn it anyway. So by the time I reached school, I remember I was actually euphoric when I heard on my first actual day of school that our next lesson is going to be English. I associated it with home and with fun things and I liked it as I said, so I was super happy that I would be able to learn it at school. Sadly, I didn’t have particularly much luck with good English teachers throughout my education. I’m not saying they weren’t competent or anything like that, probably some were more, and some were less, some were very nice, some were very unpleasant, some rather bland, but the great majority of them just didn’t do anything to me more than help me prepare for the necessary tests and exams. Of course I had to learn basics at school and I did, but after that, although I was learning English throughout my whole education, I feel like school didn’t give me much in that respect and I taught myself the most. Neither did school motivate me to learn English, in fact, my first English teacher wasn’t particularly likeable person and I don’t think she cared much if we liked her subject or not. I became disillusioned quite quickly and realised that, while English may be a cool language, the subject is just deadly boring. And my view on that became even stronger when I started to seriously learn on my own and became actively interested in learning English and not just ticking off exercises in the textbook. I don’t think it is solely that I just happened to have bad teachers. I think it’s the case with most people here, and that simply the way language learning and teaching is perceived in our country and the level of English education in our schools is terrible. Basically, unless someone has some extra English classes, or wants to learn on their own or something like that, most people go out of education being barely able to communicate. And since Polish language is way more complex than English, the problem cannot be with people”s brains. People get out of schools with the mentality that they are supposed to speak perfectly, with no grammar mistakes or otherwise someone will kill them, and if they can’t do that, they won’t speak at all, even if they do have enough vocabulary to speak decently. And English lessons are not interesting, or at least they are rarely as interesting and fun as language learning could be. My Sofi writes down tons of words and rules she doesn’t understand, and when someone in her class is thinking independently enough to ask the teacher for some explanation and say that they don’t understand something, the only thing she’ll say will typically be: “*sighs theatrically* Oh my, what do you still can’t understand? It’s easy. You have to practice more at home. How many more times am I going to have to explain it?”. Well, the majority of Sofi’s class go to extracurricular English at a language school. Those who do not, have very bad grades. And I assure you that Sofi’s school is not an exception. But OMG I could rant about education system and terrible attitudes of people towards language learning for ages. 😀 Anyway, I did get the basics of English at school and I’m grateful for that, but that’s all that any school or individual teacher did for my foreign language education. There also was that teacher who was having conversations with me for a year in preparation for my final exams, and admittedly he helped me to feel a bit more confident in speaking, and most certainly contributed to the fact that I got 100% from oral English,but not much else, although I hoped he would be able to teach me some new things. He was most keen on talking about himself though. 😀

2.

Because English is everywhere. That’s why I kind of feel for English natives. On one hand it’s so cool when you can go almost anywhere in the world, read almost anything you want and not have to make the effort of translating, understanding or learning another language. But on the other hand, people miss out on so much when they don’t learn a new language, and when everyone speaks your language, what motivation can you have to do that? So it’s a bit unfair on the English-speaking folks and only for their sake I wish we had some artificial or dead language to use internationally, rather than deprive a certain group of people – a large group of people – from the benefits of learning a language and developing their brains even more. Anyways, the rest of us does have to learn English if we want to have a somewhat broader perspective on the world. Internet is huge and you can read a lot in it, do a lot with it and learn a lot, but Polish-language part of the Internet seems so mini mini compared to English. I wouldn’t be able to do so many things that I do if I didn’t speak decent English. I wouldn’t be able to restore my synths, to give you a recent example, haha. My Mum tells me that about once a week “You’re so lucky that you speak English” or “I’d like to know half of your English”, so I am constantly reminded that I should be grateful for that, and that I was given enough determination to learn it myself, and, more than determination, just plain luck, because I don’t really feel like I made some huge effort with my English, from some point on it just came to me on its own, I guess via a lot of exposure. But perhaps not everyone can be that lucky, or not everyone can make use of it or realises it. Some people like my Mum constantly complain that they can’t speak English but when you actually confront them about it “So why won’t you try to learn it?” they will have tons of arguments, including that they are too old, too stupid, too busy, too lazy, don’t have a talent (there’s no such thing as talent for learning languages unless you want to have a native accent, you just have to find the right method for yourself and that can be tricky) to name a few.

3.

Because I plain like it. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I didn’t like English though. Would I still be so keen on learning it? My experiences with other languages show that not necessarily, because my effects at it seem to be strongly correlated with my feelings for it. I can’t quite imagine learning and being good at Esperanto for example, even if it was the international language. Of course I would learn it at school if need be, and would continue it if I really needed it, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be anything more than average. I was learning German at school (and I like German more than Esperanto, because I don’t like Esperanto at all) and, unless I put a lot of conscious effort into learning it, I was just having rather mediocre results, and forgot most of it very quickly after finishing my German education, even though I did have an ambitious plan to continue learning it on my own, but that just went out the window before it started properly.

But I do like English, and I do like the culture surrounding it, the diversity of its accents, which we don’t have in Polish, and – what I’ve mentioned in both Swedish and Welsh posts, I feel a kind of bond with the nations speaking my favourite languages. English is also the most boring of my languages because it’s so mainstream-y and it’s everywhere and it spoils the experience massively, but still, it’s so cool and so rich!

4.

Because it can serve as a bridge to the whole Celtic world for me. Of course English is used in Britain and all its Celtic regions, and as a Celtophile it’s very important to me. It helps me to develop my Celtic passions and discover more about all the Celtic stuff, the folklore, the languages, the people…

5.

Because it enables me to meet interesting people whom I wouldn’t be able to meet otherwise. As well as like-minded people. Actually, the most development of my English skills is largely due to all of my pen pals. With some of them I’d onnly written for a while, more or less short, but with some I have developed great connections and friendships and I am so thankful for that.

6.

Because it helps me with blogging, and generally expressing myself. I used to blog in Polish for years but it wasn’t quite as fun as it is now. I feel like I can be more candid about a lot of things on my English blog and that it was one of my better ideas in my whole life to start an English blog. It works both ways – my English learning makes my blogging better, and my blogging stimulates my English learning in an incredibly effective way. – As for expressing myself, since my English skills have improved so dramatically over the last few years due to a lot of exposure, penpalling and blogging, I also write my diary mostly in English. I’ve written frequently about that I find each language useful for different kind of writing, and that it also corresponds with different kinds of emotions for me. I will write about the specific emotions of English in a while, but first, I want to say more generally that I find it much easier nowadays to express myself emotionally in English. Where feelings are concerned, but also more specifically, any kind of mental health difficulties, especially more complex stuff, somehow it’s much easier to put it in English. I’ve come to the point where sometimes it’s easier for me to find words describing some things in English, rather than in Polish, and what I want to say sounds more clunky in Polish. 😀 The emotions that in my synaesthetic view correspond particularly strongly with English are especially love, pain, sarcasm, playfulness, sadness, emptiness, anxiety, comfort, passion, euphoria and loneliness.

7.

Because it has enabled me to build a more stable support network and become both more aware of my mental health struggles, as well as deal better with them. Again blogosphere and penpalling have helped me immensely with that. Previously, I couldn’t really say I felt free to talk to anyone about what I was experiencing. Partly because I didn’t really understand it myself but also because I simply either didn’t feel like I could trust them, or I knew they wouldn’t understand. Now, thanks to my English, I have found a lot of people who have similar experiences to me or even if they don’t, they are still very supportive and I want to support them as well, and I feel like I’ve made more meaningful connections with people even though they are just online. All this keeps me motivated to develop my English further, and actually makes it develop on its own because obviously the more you use a language, the more it develops.

8.

Because there’s lots of great music in English and I want to know what it’s about.

9.

Because then I can be helpful to my immediate family who are all practical monoglots and sometimes need to translate something from English. Especially my Dad who is a tanker driver, and it’s hard to be a tanker driver and often supply foreign ships with fuel and speak no English. I often don’t have the vocabulary that he needs anyway, but some vocabulary is better than none. At least I can help him how to describe the word he needs to use and then because they are oriented in the field, they understand quickly what he wants to say, unless their English is poor too. 😀

10.

Because there are so many cool accents. I’ve already said that, but it deserves a separate mention. I LOVE that feature of English that it’s so rich in dialects and accents! You can tell where someone’s from just by their accent, and here we can’t really do that, or at least not to such an extend as you! Polish language is much more universal. There are several major dialects that are commonly recognisable, but they aren’t many and not many people choose to speak them on a daily basis, and our dialects are mostly different because of specific words that we use in different regions, rather than accents as in pronunciation differences. That doesn’t mean there are none, but an average person who is not a language geek and has no interest in such things will not hear those subtle differences or at least certainly won’t be able to tell someone’s location by them, unless someone’s accent is really super strong and very commonly associated with a specific area which mainly concerns eastern accents that are influenced by languages like Russian or Belarussian or Ukrainian or perhaps Lithuanian. My grandma has roots in all of the above mentioned countries and despite living in the north for years people can usually hear her long and soft vowels and identify correctly and always ask if she’s from the east or something. But that’s a rare case. I consider myself a language geek and the only things I can recognise are those Eastern accents, some subtle things that are specific to Silesia or Lublin area, and some stuff specific to the highlands and that’s it pretty much. This is due to the fact that after WWII people were massively migrating from countryside to towns and moving around different regions, so the accent has unified a lot. I think it’s such a pity. That’s why for some people the whole concept of an accent is a bit out there and they don’t really know what it is in terms of English. For example my Dad asked me not long ago what that whole accent thing is in English, is it about word stress (because that’s what we call akcent in Polish), or that people have some speech deffects or what, hahaha. And for a long time I didn’t get that either. Like how can you hear that someone is from Sheffield or New York or Glasgow or wherever unless they tell you? 😀 I didn’t hear those differences for a long time either. Only at some point one of my earliest English online friends started to teach me about accents and then one day something clicked in my brain and I started to gradually hear them and now I think for a non native I’m pretty good at distinguishing at least the British ones and of course between which one is British, which Australian and which American, though I have a very hard time distinguishing American accents from each other or I can barely recognise English US from Canadian or New Zealand from Australian. With understanding it really depends on how out there someone’s accent is and how quickly they are speaking. I also like to think that my own accent is very good for a non native, and that’s what people have been telling me, both natives and non natives, though I’m sure I do have to have still at least a bit of Polish accent, not that I can hear it myself (I can’t, but you can’t be a good judge of your own accent I suppose), but because I don’t know many people who have just gotten rid of their accent, and also it is not something I am aiming to in itself, because I guess it would feel weird if people couldn’t tell at all that I’m Polish, as if I was a bit less Polish or something and I don’t want that, and I like to imitate different English accents though, while I can speak some kind of US English (or so I believe) I am much better and more comfortable at British and I have more clue about how to imitate different British accents than American ones, especially the of more or less general southern-ish/Rp and more or less general northern-ish. The only British accents that I know that I cannot imitate convincingly are Geordie and Scottish. But being able to fake different accents has come to me much later on and after a lot of immersion and listening, before than my accent was just kind of Ponglish. Now the only Ponglish I can make is the very extreme one, I believe I can’t speak sort of in-between any longer like I used to – with not overly strong but definitely audible Polish accent – it’s either hardcore Ponglish or normal English (with a possible little bit of Polish as I said), and the extreme Ponglish one I use either for making fun of some kind or with Poles who can’t understand my normal, English English otherwise like Sofi. 😀 Playing with accents is so fun.

11.

Because English is so rich in colourful phrases, idioms, sayings and words. I believe that must come from the very wide variety of influences on this language. Polish is a very rich language in this too, but English seems much more than any of the languages I’ve learnt and sometimes it overwhelms me how many brilliant and fascinating words I don’t know how to use yet. Every language has its words that are untranslatable, but English has just so many! Or maybe it’s just my impression? It’s so flexible and you can do so much with it. Swedish is also flexible and you can make a lot with it, but I guess not to such an extent. I really lack some of the English expressions in Polish these days, especially when talking to someone who speaks only Polish. 😀

12.

Because it lets me read more books, and because reading in English is fun. And because I want to read even more in English. I already read most of stuff on the Internet in English, but with books so far the majority of what I read is still Polish, even thoughh there are more and more English ones thrown into the mix.

13.

Because it lets me learn more about my music crushes/fazas. Even if they aren’t English natives. Usually, especially at the beginning of a faza, it’s easiest for me to find info on my crush in English.

14.

Because, apart from helping me to develop my already existing interests, it helps me to build new ones.

15.

Because I can learn other languages through it. Like I do with Welsh right now. It has its upsides and downsides, but if not my English skills, I wouldn’t be able to access Welsh resources that I can.

16.

Because it shares a lot of similarities with other languages. Swedish for example – when I first started it, I was told it’s just a blend of English and German. – It’s very simply put but it’s true to a large degree, and my English and Swedish definitely help each other. Also while English is a Germanic language and Welsh is Celtic, they influence each other so that helps to some extent as well. And I’m going to learn some more Germanic and Celtic languages in the future, so I am sure English is going to be helpful with those too. Both because I am most likely going to learn them through the medium of English, as well as because they share more or less similarities.

17.

To develop my brain. I’ve written on my brain paranoia and wanting to avoid cognitive issues especially in the Welsh post. It’s hugely important to me.

18.

So I can talk to Misha in English or to myself. If you want to read about my experiments with Misha and foreign languages, I recommend you reading the above mentioned posts. Of all the foreign languages, my English is the best, and so I can communicate with Misha the most easily, if I want to talk to him in a language other than Polish. I also think he responds to it the best except for Polish of course, but that could be due to many reasons, including my autosuggestion.

19.

Every language makes your perspective broader, and kind of adds you a new personality. This is just interesting to observe, but is also great in some self-development, or just self-discovery. It’s interesting to see your thinking pathways in Polish vs in English vs in Swedish, for example. It’s interesting to see in which moments and in what kind of situations my thinking switches from Polish to English or back to Polish or to Swedish, or when it’s a mix of all that plus Welsh. I definitely tend to think about more emotional stuff in English, the same as with writing. Recently I’ve even started automatically praying in English. 😀 The first time when that happened, I only realised that I’m praying in English a few minutes after I’ve started, and that was so hilarious. But obviously God is very multilingual so I let my soul and brain pray in whichever language it’s convenient as long as that doesn’t get in the way of prayer itself because for example I think more of how I should put things rather than focus on praying itself and on God. My dreams have been a linguistic mix for years now.

20.

Because it’s fun to have more than one language to swear in. Even though Welsh or Finnish is better for that than English, English is quite bland and cliche I don’t know why, and most people here know the basic words like fuck or shit so it doesn’t feel the same.

 

21.

Because it can help me with anxiety, as well as with depression, see the posts above for details.

22.

To be able to understand at least some slangs to whatever extent possible, as well as dialects and other such interesting language creations.

23.

To have access to English-language media, like radiostations, and actually understand what they are saying, and not just immerse myself in the language as I’d been doing for years.

24.

To challenge my social anxiety. See the posts above for details.

25.

Because it’s easy. So why not?

26.

Because people wouldn’t treat me seriously if I only were learning some endangered, minority languages. I wrote more on that in the Swedish post. But also, even if I spoke Swedish, I guess that still wouldn’t look as serious if I didn’t speak any English. 😀

27.

Because, just like with Swedish, I hope it will be also useful in a more practical way, occupational for example. Who knows.

Yay! I thought there will be less reasons for English because it’s so obvious but there are even more!

If you are a native speaker of English, what do you like it for, or why do you not like it? If you are an English learner, what are your reasons for learning it? 🙂

 

Ten Things Of Thankful.

I haven’t participated in

Ten Things Of Thankful

in ages, I saw the post by Astrid of A Multitude Of Musings last weekend and only realised I haven’t linked up in a long time or so it feels. So I’m very happy that I’ve managed to do that this week, although I doubted I will be able to do it in time. I’ve been feeling rather crappy emotionally and moodwise the last few days so a bit of gratitude will be a good thing.

  • Because it is Independence Day in Poland, the first thing on my list is just that – our independence! That we have been an independent country for 101 years now, that we have had such difficult history yet are thriving, and in the recent years it’s visible more than ever. I’m grateful to and for all those people who sacrificed their lives for it to happen, who went through all sorts of horrific experiences or personal losses during WWI. As I said in the song of the day post I think we so often tend to take it all for granted. I’m also so extremely grateful that I’m Polish. I love many countries, and even more languages to pieces, but I often feel like I wouldn’t like to be born any other nationality than Polish, and it would be such a flippin shame if I wouldn’t speak Polish. I probably would never learn it because it would be too difficult, so my brain would be so much poorer, and would I want to learn languages as I do know, my start with it could have not been as easy with a less complex mother tongue. 😀 Living in Poland has its downsides just as anywhere else, but there are so many things that are just non-existent in all other countries and that are absolutely great.
  • That I won’t have to pay for the repair of my new computer. As you may remember, it got damaged during the delivery, so the company through which I bought it appealed to the delivery company so that they would cover the cost of the repair, because it was actually not working at all. In the end they said they’ll cover the cost of a new one. I’m also grateful for that somehow my laptop is still functioning. I really don’t know what’s going on with the drive, it’s not working properly and I really don’t like this limbo phase lingering on forever, especially that getting used to a new one will be even more stressful, but at least I do have a (more or less) working computer. Otherwise my brain would stop working. 😀 Okay, maybe not straight away, but not long afterwards. So I hope I can keep it (the computer) alive as long as it’s necessary. And I’m doing something on it most of the time so I bet it’s exhausted.
  • That my airways are doing better. This time of the year is allergy time, and then it’s very easy for me to get my seasonal bronchitis. It felt like I was going to get it very soon but to my relief I’m feeling much better, and hope that doesn’t mean the bronchitis thing is just going to be delayed, but that it won’t come this year.
  • (mentioning self harm and other stuff, nothing graphic. Please skip if you feel it could be triggering) My bed. I spent all morning in bed and got out of there long after noon. I’ve been in a shithole and just didn’t have the mental energy to drag myself out of bed whatsoever, and the perspective of having to interact with people was overwhelming. So, when you can’t get out of bed, it’s good when you have a comfy, double bed like I do. I’m still rather shitty though more functional, generally that doesn’t happen often to me that I seriously can’t get myself to do things, I often struggle with it but can do it in the end, so today was pretty hard. I’m just feeling emotionally overloaded lately and my inner critic Maggie is having a hyperactive phase or something, she’s hyperactive most of the time but sometimes more than ever and then I feel like annihilating us both. Oh and another thing I’m thankful for that is related, I’m thankful for not cutting at all lately! I’ve managed to go no cutting since July which is not my life record but at some point this weekend I was sure I’m gonna do this but I didn’t. I guess apart from my will-power what held me back was that now I have that weird sore thing on my leg I’ll have more than enough scars on my legs, and I usually cut my legs because it’s not very likely to be noticed. I guess the cutting crisis is over for now so that’s good. I’m not sure why I’m having this overload thing right now, I guess just because I haven’t had for quite long so my brain decided it’ll be the right time, and I suppose a lot of small things triggered it.
  • painkillers. I’ve had a bit of a headache today, not a strong one but annoying enough for me to decide to take something for it as I had a hard time focusing on my writing. Luckily it helped as now it’s lessened and hopefully will go away completely soon.
  • My Inner MishMash Readership Award. I’m so excited about making it. It’s a long weekend now but hopefully tomorrow I can get the last things I need for it and then will be sending it out and revealing the winners.
  • Misha. Misha is such a tremendous support for me. For the last few days he’s been very moody, but he has his cuddly moments now as well when he wants me to cuddle him for like 15 minutes and is so cute then. It is rare for him so the more I appreciate it.
  • my Dad. I’ve been having a bit hellish times with him but that makes me feel like the more I should include him. I’m very grateful that he employs me, and helps me in a lot of practical ways, though being around him is a real test for my patience more and more, gradually and when I’m having those emotional overloads and all that self-loathing stuff I’m particularly easy to get angry with people as well.
  • my mum. Just like my Dad, she is very practically supportive of me so I wouldn’t manage without her, especially that she is my proxy when dealing with people, which I appreciate hugely and can’t imagine what my life would be like without a “peopling” proxy hahaha.
  • All my blogosphere friends and penfriends. They make it a bit lighter in the shithole. As I said, my family is brilliant but I can’t really talk to them about most of the stuff that is going on in my brain, except for with Mum about some of it that she can relate to in any way, and it’s also extremely hard to reach out to people when I’m feeling like I do right now. So it’s good that I have people online these days. Even when I can’t or don’t know how to talk about my mental health struggles it feels good to just be able to chat with someone who thinks similarly, and it makes a difference when you know you’re not alone.

If this list feels a bit forced to you it’s because it was, haha. But I just felt I needed to write something and I guess we should be grateful for even the smallest things, shouldn’t we? 🙂

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. 😉 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!  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! 🙂
  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? 🙂

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! 😀 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. 😀 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? 🙂

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.

   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. 😀

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.

   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.

   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? 🙂

Question of the day.

What are five things you’re grateful for this week so far?

My answer:

1. A very nice meeting we had on Tuesday that was organised by Zofijka’s friend’s mum, I wrote about it in the coffee share post, would give the link but I’m posting via email so don’t have it at hand. It was a very interesting meeting and a very nice one.

2. My anti-anxiety medication. The meeting wouldn’t be quite as good for me without it, and even with it it was still a bit of a challenge socially.

3. My exquisitely Scottish dreams that I had the night before the last. I just don’t know what happened, but I assume it’s also my anti-anxiety med that I should thank for that, to some degree at least, that it made me sleep so deeply and for so long. When we came back from the meeting, I felt a bit tired, like sleepy, and I thought it was because of the med, as it sometimes works like that for me. So I went to bed really quickly and early and was knocked out in a minute, or not much longer really. And then, I had one absolutely crazy, gloomy, sad and awful dream to do more or less with my past, but then I had loads and loads of Scottish-themed dreams, it was incredible! As if I had some calling from Scotland or whatever! Like I had one dream about being on holidays in Edinburgh, then another about a gig I went to with my Dad, of a harpist and I even remember her name – she was Aileen or Eileen MACHamish – beautiful name (especially that Hamish is one of my recent fastest rising personal boy name favourites, how did my brain know that?!), and she was also a fabulous harpist. But sadly it doesn’t seem like Aileen/Eileen MACHamish even exists! Then I had a dream involving Julie Fowlis (a Scottish singer who sings in Scottish Gaelic, and whose songs I’ve shared here some time ago and am certainly going to share more over time). I remember that there was a BBQ at my gran’s, we were all sitting in her garden, my family that is, and I was sitting on a swing that my gran has in there, with Julie Fowlis, and I remember we were chatting about something and both very absorbed in it and laughing a lot and hugging each other, and we had both crazily heavy Scottish accents, even Julie doesn’t normally have an accent like that, not to mention me! 😀 It was a bit comical. I also watched “Brave” with Zofijka, you know, that Disney movie about Merida and her mum who was transformed into a bear, the only Disney movie I actually care about at all. We did watch it with Zofijka loads of times and by the way Julie Fowlis sang in there. And I even dreamt about my potential boss, or the one I hoped would be my boss. You might remember that I was looking into another job opportunity about two months ago. So that company I so wanted to work with was Scottish, and I dreamt about the guy who’d be my boss there if I’d get that job. 😀 But while in our email exchange he was reasonably nice, in my dream he was very grumpy and not at all likeable. And I had other Scottish-themed dreams too but I don’t remember enough of them to have any very specific recollections. Anyway, that was cool, and funny and I really enjoyed all those dreams. I guess that must be some sort of a sign that I seriously should do Scots as my next language! 😀

4. The fan in my room. And that even though it’s really hot this week again, and I’ve had a lot of headaches thanks to this, I didn’t get another migraine.

5. Audible, Audible credits, and interesting books in ENglish.

What would be your five things? 🙂

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. 😀 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. 😀

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? 🙂