Reasons why I love Polish.

If any of you have been reading my blogfrom it’s early months, you might recall a post I wrote about all the

reasons why I’m learning Welsh

that I could come up with. It was a translated post from my previous, Polish blog, and I wrote it because pretty much every single person whom I mentioned it to would ask me this question as either the first, or the second one, right after “Isn’t it an English dialect?” 😀 and because, well, as you can see in that post, there are very many reasons.

I enjoyed writing that post and it got a lot more attention than I thought it would, so the next year I also wrote about

reasons why I’m learning Swedish

and last year

reasons why I’m learning English.

I haven’t started learning any new language since then (even though some people seem to believe that I start learning a new one every month, haha), and I think it’ll be a while yet until I do, but although my language bucket list is long, I’m not rushing anywhere. And, there’s still one language that I know that I think also deserves its own post, even though I’m not learning it. Well, I am technically, but since I’m a native, it’s a different kind of learning, of course. And obviously as you can figure out of the title, or even if you know about me, this language is Polish. I was a little hesitant about writing this post however, even though I was thinking from the beginning of this yearly language series that I should do it. Of course I love Polish, and in a way it’s a more special relationship than with any other of my languages, but, because it’s always been a part of my life and not really as a result of my own, conscious choice as is the case with the others, I thought it would be harder to come up with as many reasons. As someone who hates anything to do with math, I always tend to appreciate quality over quantity, but I wouldn’t like this post to stand out as the shortest of the whole series, that would be sad and unfair, even if just in my opinion.

I shared the dilemma with my Mum, who rightly noticed that it would be much more sad and unfair if I didn’t write it at all. And that perhaps the reasons as such will speak louder here than their amount would. That was a very fair point to me, so that’s why I am writing this post today, after all.

Here are all the reasons why I love Polish:

   1.

It is, like I said earlier, my mother tongue, so, in a way, I have even more of a connection with it than any other of my languages. It was the first language that sparked the love for language in my brain, I mean language in general, as a phenomenon, linguistics. It made me fall in love with words, my synaesthetic associations with them, it showed me how fun it is to play with words and expand your vocabulary. I love it because it’s the language in which I communicate with people I love – my family. – And because learning it made me more able and open to learn other languages later on.

   2.

Like all my languages. It is plain beautiful. While other Slavic languages aren’t among my most most most favourites (I do like them a lot, they are super cool and very charming but they aren’t in that MOST group), I strongly believe that even if it wasn’t my mother tongue, I’d still end up loving Polish, I don’t know how I could not.

   3.

While I’m not inclined to brag like some of us like to do that our language is the most difficult in the world (it depends on what you’re starting with, and there are much, much more complex languages out there), Polish does have a rather complex grammatical structure when compared to English, and – if you can ever be objective about such things – I’d say it’s also more complex phonetically than all the languages I’ve learnt so far. That makes me lucky, because the more difficult language you’re starting with, the easier you’ll likely find learning other languages, because you may be familiar with their trickier bits already from your mother tongue. I don’t have to be scared of languages with genuses or cases, for example, and arduously try to conceptualise them, because I already know what they are all about, now I just have to figure out how they apply to the language I’m learning and what differences there are compared to what I’m used to. And while picking up phonetics of foreign languages seems to be more of an individual trait, I think it does help me with it that, in my mother tongue, there are sounds which can hardly be differentiated from each other by a non-native even though they are different (see ś and sz, ć and cz etc.).

   4.

There is a lot of great Polish literature. I don’t know much about how much of it gets translated to other languages and which ones most often, but given that most countries are largely focused either on writing their own literature, or translating things from English, and the Anglophone world doesn’t seem to translate a lot, if I lived anywhere else and didn’t speak Polish, I probably wouldn’t get to know books by people who are now my favourite Polish authors.

   5.

Some of the swearwords and expletives are priceless. See my post

about gingerbread,

for example, if you want to learn more.

   6.

It has loads of amusing idioms. And lots of such that are very straightforward and to the point, and lots of such that I just love the sound of.

7.

The archaic Polish language. While I think it’s very true that a language is alive as long as it’s changing, because we are always changing and the times are always changing so it would be weird if the language wouldn’t, hence I don’t understand people who are all against slang, loanwords and other such things, I think it would be fun if we talked more like we used to, used more of that vocabulary we no longer do. Or, why the heck did we stop using initial stress in words to replace it with a paroxytone stress? I guess only highlanders speak with an initial syllable stress now, and I like that because it makes them sound like Finns. 😀 Or I hate that we stopped using long and short vowels because that makes the prosody of a language feel more interesting. I love love love reading older Polish books where there are words that we no longer use, some that I don’t even really get and I love learning what they mean and feeling them. People used to have such a delicious way of writing, even at the beginning of the 20th century, not to mention earlier. I feel like it often gets lost now. I say delicious because one of the synaesthesias I have is lexical-gustatory and while words almost always have some sort of a taste and it’s not like the modern Polish language doesn’t and like there aren’t any delicious words in it (far from it), it’s just that more archaic Polish language tends to have something very specific about its taste as a whole, that I really like. My Mum has also always loved reading books written in an archaic or obsolete language, so I guess it must be genetic. She especially has a lot of prayer books from like even before WWI I guess, when even the spelling was different and we used y instead of j, or my grandma has a cook book from the end of 19th century. I just love things like these!

8.

Dialects. You may perhaps remember from my post about English, that I wrote about Polish being a fairly unified language in terms of accent, especially when compared to English. However, there still are some slight variations to how people speak in different regions and it’s interesting to observe. There are also some dialects. I don’t necessarily have to love all of them as such in terms of whether they appeal to me aesthetically, but I love that the ones that exist still do, that we have some linguistic diversity (although I wish there was more or at least that it would be more pronounced), and although I myself don’t speak any dialect or don’t have a particularly distinguishable accent (despite being half-Kashub, and Kashubian is classified as a minority language but I can hardly understand it let alone speak it), I am very easily driven up the wall by people saying things like that it is not “elegant” to speak in a dialect, for example. I do think it’s a good skill to have to be able to speak your language in some universal, standard way that is often considered more formal, but being disapproving of someone speaking in a different way is not only discriminatory but also kind of smothering a person’s identity, and I guess that’s one of the reasons why it bothers me so much whenever I come across such an attitude.

   9.

Words that are untranslatable to other languages that I know. I am always interested in the concept of untranslatable words, in any language, and the ideas behind them, how you can express sometimes some incredibly complex ideas using one word in one language, but in another, one sentence may sometimes be too little. A very good example of a Polish word that is untranslatable to English is kombinować, which also happens to be a word that I really like and which, as many Poles think, reflects our resourcefulness as a nation. 😀 Yes, there is combine, and kombinować absolutely can mean combine, but it also has another definition. It is something you do when you have a problem that you need to resolve, but there’s no straight way out of it and it needs first a lot of thinking and then coming up with some unconventional work-around strategy, which sometimes may not be the most honest one. Both the thinking process and then carrying your idea out is what kombinować means. When it is dishonest, you could of course say it’s plain cheating but cheating feels a LOT more weighty and negative, and also kombinować is more colloquial, plus kombinować may, but doesn’t have to include, any cheating. It could be coming up with any creative, out-of-the-box solution or idea and then doing what you came up with. It is often translated as being up to something but it’s not the same.

   10.

Poglish, Ponglish, Pinglish or whatchamacallit. I’ve always said Ponglish, but a lot of people say Poglish and recently I came across Pinglish and I think Pinglish is best. Anyway, obviously you know what I’m talking about, the blend of Polish and English. It is often used by Polish diaspore in the US and the UK (like in Chicago I guess it’s quite a big thing) or by Polish young people in a slangy sort of way, or (voluntarily or not) by Polish speakers learning English/English speakers learning Polish when they’re dealing with language interference and/or nearly discharged/fried brains. It can be so freakishly amusing sometimes.

   11.

I often gravitate towards languages that are less popular and less heard off, if not obscure. Polish may not be as much as obscure, but, apart from Poland or places in other countries where there are a lot of Polish immigrants, you won’t hear it a lot, and there aren’t super many non-natives who would speak it. This small language factor is very appealing to me.

   12.

Because, whether it is the most difficult language in the world or not, it is viewed by many learners and natives as difficult, and I was lucky enough to not have to make a conscious effort of learning it. 😀 And the difficult factor is also appealing in itself. I like difficult languages, they are fascinating, kind of similarly to how complex human beings are.

What do you love your native language for, if you do, and if you don’t, why? 🙂

 

Question of the day.

What was the last book you read?

My answer:

I’ve just finished a great non-fiction Polish book “W Salonie I W Kuchni. Opowieść O Kulturze Materialnej Polskich Pałaców I Dworów W XIX Wieku” (In the Salon and Kitchen, the Story of Material Culture of Polish 19th Century Palaces and Manors). I like to read about how people used to live in terms of daily lives, and I just got this book a few days ago in our online library for the blind over here, it was just added I believe, so I grabbed it straight away. It was all about how those palaces and manors looked like, what all the rooms were for, what people did in each of them, what the furniture was like, how people started using different things in their households and how they were changing over the years, what people ate, when, in what way, how different customs of that time had evolved, how the cuisine was changing over time etc. etc. etc. It was written in quite an engaging way so that made it an easy read, and I read it in no time. There were also some interesting new words for me that I liked. 😀 I got also strongly convinced that 19th century Poland wouldn’t probably be a place where I’d like to live, or at least not in a palace/manor. 😀 For one very simple reason. Too many people everywhere! I’ve heard a lot about Slavic/Polish hospitality but only reading this book I ttruly realised to what kind of extends it went, how people had guests or were visiting someone ALL the fricken time, plus there were a lot of people in such households anyway – big families, servants, residents and the like. – I’d go crazy in a week.

How about you? 🙂

Question of the day.

If you could change three things about your country, what would you change?

My answer:

While I think that our current government (United Right) is way better than what we had for years with the previous party (Civic Platform) which was in power, it could still be a lot better and there is lots of room for improvement, and I feel quite sad that for now, there doesn’t seem to be any better option. Lately in particular, I’ve noticed that our foreign politics/diplomacy is totally crap and if only I could, I’d change that asap, somehow. I don’t know if it’s that we have no luck for ministers of foreign affairs or is this seriously intended but it’s really bad, if not ridiculous sometimes.

Another thing I would change is I’d improve the situation of disabled people, but in particular of those who are mentally ill or have some rare diseases. Not that other disabilities don’t need help or it’s less important or anything like that, as a blind person I know that there is a lot that could be done to the blind community, which I’m sure is true of any country, and other disabled communities also have their often more than fair share of problems, but also being mentally ill I feel like the mentally ill community has much less support, and there’s an awful lack of awareness. I’ve heard that there’s especially some huge problem with children with mental health issues and that they frequently don’t get the level of healthcare they need. I once had a conversation with someone – perhaps even here in the blogosphere, can’t remember –
about personality disorders and how they’re stigmatised. And I said that here in Poland they aren’t even stigmatised like they are in the US, because people don’t know enough about them to form some strong enough stereotypes or something. Yes, it is also a thing here that when doctors don’t know what to diagnose someone with, and a patient is somewhat “difficult”, they’ll happily go with BPD, it is overdiagnosed, but an average person who hasn’t had much to do with the field of mental health in their life won’t have much of an idea about what borderline personality disorder is in practice, unless they know someone with it and know they have such a diagnosis. People here don’t say they’re so “OCD”, because while OCD is certainly not unheard of, people aren’t familiar with it enough to just use the term casually like Americans do for example. Stigma is a huge problem, but I personally feel like lack of actual awareness is a bigger problem. Most people know something about mental health and mental illnesses in theory, but in practice not much. There aren’t a lot of resources for mentally ill people, online for example. Or communities, whether offline or online where people could receive some support, unless they’re in psychiatric institutions, or there’s also no support for their families. There are charities, or individuals who are trying to do something on their own, but their outreach is often limited so there’s only so much they can do. It would be great if there was more initiative higher up.

There even seems to be some lack of awareness among professionals, or so it seems to me as a mentally ill person and as a keen observer of people. Since I’ve joined Carol Anne’s of Therapy Bits email support group for people with DID, as a supporter, I’ve been wondering and trying to do some, any, research about the situation of people with dissociative identity disorder here in Poland. There are some basically informative pages on health-related websites geared at patients, some a little more indepth but theoretical articles on psychology-related blogs, but other than that… nothing really. The term “split identity/self” is familiar to people and some people say they have a split self when they are of two minds or feel kind of internally conflicted. When I dug deeper I found some trauma specialists touching very briefly on DID in their works or during lectures but I couldn’t even find someone who would specialise in this. Later on, I remember I found some sort of a map or something if I remember correctly, I’m not good with maps and diagrams but generally it was about in which countries this disorder is diagnosed and I did manage to figure out that Poland wasn’t on there. Later yet, I briefly mentioned it to my last therapist that I am part of such a mailing list and trying to support people somehow, and she immediately was all like: “But you know it’s not a real thing, DID? It’s only a sort of psychosis?” I said that it doesn’t seem so to me, but it’s her who is the professional here after all so she should know better, but I didn’t want to get into a discussion on this during my therapy session which should be about me, not DID. That was really sad and kind of upsetting to hear to me though.

Our country isn’t free from traumatic events occurring to little children. And so I feel for all those Poles who do have or might have DID and either don’t know about it or no one really cares, and I’d like it to be different.

Speaking about mental health that would also include the autistic/other neurodivergent people and making things easier for them in our society, especially adults and more “high functioning” children. I’m not autistic myself as you probably know but as you may also know I do have some connection to the autism world, having been assessed for it twice and “accused” of having it many more times, and have a bit of an idea what it looks like here with it. Similarly I feel like we need more awareness of rare diseases, as much as possible given that they’re rare, as I know a lot of rare disease patients here struggle with access to their medications and funding for them.

And lastly, culture, yay! We have such great, Polish culture. So many Polish artists who are undiscovered and often very poor. I’m not talking celebrities, who often got famous because their mummies or daddies had just the right views during the communist period, which helped them reach the fame in some area, or just get enough money, and then their children inherited the fame along with the surname, even if they aren’t all that talented at anything in particular. I am talking actually talented people who don’t get to promote themselves anywhere significant enough. One thing our government really did wrong was with the public media. I’d like to believe their intentions were originally good indeed, as they wanted, and still do, to repolonise our media (because the majority of media in Poland are owned by foreign companies). They concentrated their efforts on the public media at first, pretty much right away after they won the Parliament Election, and changed people in charge of Polish Television and Polish Radio. That’s pretty much all they did really, only now they are kinda, sorta trying to do more and repolonise the press, and it’s been five years since that election if I’m counting right. Anyway, what they did back then wasn’t really a gamechanger at all, because the people they chose to manage the public media are very incompetent for their roles, as it seems. Especially the chairman of TVP (Polish Television) has earned himself a very bad reputation, both from those on the left, and on the right. He’s a real king of cringe to put it shortly, but what saddens me the most is that his name is Jacek, and I really like Jaceks, and he is making a bad reputation for all the cool Jaceks out there, I’m afriaid. 😦 Well no, I’m just kidding obviously, I’m sure a cool Jacek can defend himself, but it’s just sad to see such a cringey guy and know his name is Jacek… The King of Cringe is particularly well-known for supporting disco polo artists and their music (disco polo is essentialy Polish disco, very cringey and trashy). One disco polo artist who is quite well-liked there in TVP once tweeted that disco polo is like new folk music. That Polish composers like Chopin or Moniuszko were once strongly inspired by folk music, so maybe there will be a time when future Polish composers will be inspired by disco polo. You can imagine that really made me – as a folklorophile – go nuts. Anyway, you can hardly see any higher culture in TVP now.

Now that we have Covid and artists all around the world have financial problems, I’ve heard that for example our Polish painters, or independent musicians, have been struggling a lot more than before. Meanwhile, our Minister of Culture and National Heritage had magnanimously decided to help out the artists financially via a culture support programme. It was quite controversial, because some of the beneficiaries were meant to receive absolutely huge amounts of money, and all of them were the famous celebrities, who, totally in my own opinion, aren’t really all that talented in their area as their fame, and even more so the compensations they were meant to get, would suggest. (There were four millions Polish zlotys in total in the whole support programme). People got ragin’, one singer guy – Kazik – who is quite known for strong views even said that he doesn’t want their stolen money, and the Ministry decided to “verify” the list of the beneficiaries. Don’t you verify such things in the first place before anything else?

Aside from the unfairness of it all on average people, which another huge problem, does it really have to be so that it’s somehow decided at the top who should be famous/popular or not? Whose music we are supposed to like and listen to? Can’t it be just people who will choose what they like, rather than have shit shoved down their mouth and be told that they find it delicious? I think there should be more equal chances for artists to emerge, more support in times like these for those who are independent, either because they want to or because there isn’t any other option for them really. I want to hear more diverse Polish music, more young Polish musicians. I want to hear people talk about more ACTUALLY good Polish films. Or Polish visual artists who are actually alive and doing quality stuff. I want to hear about contemporary Polish composers, not because I had to hunt for their music myself, but in the media, or from other people (and for them not necessarily to be composers influenced by disco polo :D). I want a properly Polish talent show on the telly, I mean, we have The Voice (of Poland) and the like, but these are all practically foreign, which is not a bad thing in itself, but why can’t we have one of our own? It would be cool if the contestants, if they’d be making music, could share their own music rather than only cover what someone has already created which is the most common formula of such shows although I do realise there are exceptions, and then actually have some support, whether financial or in whatever way it’s needed for such newly emerged people, that would help them exist in their field in a substantial way, not just for a while after they release their debut album. It would also have to be something good quality, not necessarily somehow super sophisticated because it should be digestible for an average person but something where you could actually find some objectively aesthetically pleasing art of some sort. So yes, I would love to be able to promote Polish people who are talented in some way, but have some external obstacles which make it difficult for them to show it off in front of their nation more widely.

I know it’s all probably incredibly idealistic if not utopian, but oh well… why not?

So how about you? 🙂 You can dream big if you want like I did. And, aside from the main question: besides those three things you’d like to change about your country, do you like it overall, or do you feel like you’d be better living somewhere else? I definitely do love Poland! 🙂 Just felt like saying it because it was quite a negative post and I didn’t want anyone to think I’m dissatisfied with my country overall, there just always are things that could be better, some a lot better.

Chłopcy Kontra Basia – “Oj Tak” (Oh Yeah).

So today we – Polish people – are celebrating the 102nd anniversary of regaining our country’s independence, yay!🇵🇱🇵🇱🇵🇱🎉 And we need to celebrate it on My Inner Mishmash as well, with some Polish music. Especially that there is generally very little Polish music on here. Not because I don’t like Polish music, but just because I know rather little of it that I would truly love. I’m sure though that there is still a lot that I haven’t discovered and many musicians that just aren’t promoted enough so people don’t get to learn about them.

Previously as some of you may remember, on our major national holidays I had a habit of sharing some music by non-native Polish speakers singing in Polish, often something about Poland. I don’t think I have any more of such quirky findings for today but I’ll definitely keep looking as it’s always interesting both from a Pole’s and linguophile’s perspective. 😀

Today, it’s a native Polish band. Funnily enough, while I’m not a huge fan of jazz, as it happens, both the group performing the song for yesterday and for today make some sort of folk and jazz fusion. 😀 But it wasn’t planned. I mean yes, I did plan ahead to share them as I always do and in this particular order but I didn’t really realise when doing so that they have this in common, haha!

I discovered this band years ago, when sitting in the car and waiting for my Mum, and Polish Radio Programme 2 was on – they usually play classical music or jazz but you can also hear a fair bit of folk or even some kind of experimental music, I’m not really sure what genre exactly it should classify as, it’s generally considered a very sophisticated radio station by many. 😀 I was just at such a time where I was looking for some new Polish music, especially folk music, that I could like and listen to, and I heard this song I’m about to introduce to you. And I decided I liked it a lot. It was so very strongly folksy while at the same time with just as strong neo- feel because of the jazzy instrumentation, and I loved the lyrics.

This band’s name can be translated to The Boys vs Basia in English. The Basia in the band’s name is the leader, vocalist and frequently the lyricist Basia Derlak, while the boys are the other members.

I don’t think I’d be able to write a quality literal translation of this song, so I’ll try to simply explain to you what it’s all about.

It tells the story of a girl who is pasturing her mare by the water, and just at the same time God is sailing there in His boat, rowing with his leg. The girl tries to discourage Him from sailing closer to her, saying that she is young and likes to sin, and tells him to sail to the nearest village where there are good, married girls and not to look at her because He might yet see the devil, and she is not worth His Eyes. God tells her that he sailed from heaven and just wanted to look at her for a moment. But she insists for Him not to do so, because she is young and sin doesn’t hurt, and tells him to come back in ten years, and then he’ll be able to look at her to His Heart’s content. So ten years passed, the girl turned into a woman, but God isn’t coming. “Perhaps  something happened to the Divine boat?” Finally, even two hundred years passed by, and the girl turned into a crone. She is waiting and waiting for God, and pasturing her mare again. But God forgot about the crone, who was standing by the water, called His Name and stomped her foot at eternity.

I like how subtly pawky it is and how you can interpret it in a few different ways. I am Christian as you may know but once talked about it with someone who was atheist and we both understood it totally differently, it blew my mind. 😀

My first holiday/vacation.

As you guys know or may have noticed, I’ve recently been very big on all sorts of journaling prompts. Particularly in my private journal but on here as well. You also know that I know about most of my journaling prompts’ sources thanks to Astrid of A Multitude of Musings. One such source that I haven’t used for a blog post yet is an app for iOS called Paperblanks that I’ve been using for a while now in my personal writings and really like. So I thought I’d do a post loosely based on one of the prompts from this app on here today. It asks about the first vacation that you remember taking.

I said it’s going to be loosely based because I’m not sure what was exactly the first vacation I remember taking in my life, but one of the earliest holiday related memories that comes to my mind is about a little seaside village called Smołdzino, that we used to visit very regularly, pretty much every summer. I don’t remember the first time we went there and discovered that place, I don’t even know how we discovered it because it wasn’t a popular holiday destination then, and it all blends together in my brain, but I thought it could be fun to write a bit more in general about my memories from there and give you a feel of that very lovely place.

Smołdzino lies by the sea in Słowiński National Park, and is part of a nature reserve. So you can imagine it’s a very clean, quiet and peaceful place. I live in the north, and we have many more beaches closer to where we live, but since we’d discovered Smołdzino, for a long time, whenever we would have some more time on our hands, even a few days, we’d go there. It’s about 90 km (over 50 miles) from us, so it was always a longer trip than what me and Olek were used to going to the seaside. For me, that was both good and bad. I always found longer travels exciting, and the longer the better, but at the same time my vestibular system had a different view on this so I was generally rather ambivalent about the whole thing. 😀 I always looked forward to summer mostly for that particular reason, because I hoped we’d go to Smołdzino, as I really liked it there. After over an hour in the car, since it was a nature reserve, you had to leave it about four kilometres from the beach and walk the rest of the way with all your belongings, of which we usually took a lot with us, on foot. It was typically mid July or so, and thus could be very hot (one year I remember it being about 35 degrees C or 95 F which is considered unusually hot here) so it could be rather exhausting, dire and boring, especially for us kids, but when we finally got there it also felt so extremely rewarding! And over the years as we did it every year or almost every year, sometimes more than once every year, we all got used to it and considered it part of the overall unique Smołdzino experience.

From our first few times being there I remember me and Olek making sand mountains and sliding down from them. There were always hardly any people, if any at all except us. No madly screaming, splashing kids peeing in the sea and their parents shouting at them to get out of the water for now and possibly their dogs running around, no people selling pop corn and yelling about it through the whole beach, no stray bottle caps or cigarette stubs or other surprises – an ideal place for hermits! 😀 – As a child, I loved collecting seashells and these in Smołdzino were always particularly good quality so I loved doing it there. I grew to love Smmołdzino so much that after some time going to any other beach was just so blah and boring, only Smołdzino had real value for me. The sea was always so clear there. We – but especially our parents – were always marvelling how come people not know about this place, and how great that naturally is for us. – We often bragged about this summer hideout we’ve found to others or recommended it to them but somehow no one shared the degree of our enthusiasm, perhaps because people didn’t think it would pay off for them to drive for an hour to get to the sea when the nearest beach is 15 km away. The village itself though, with its inhabitants, made an impression of a very poor, socioeconomically neglected and kind of grim place. When I realised that when I was a bit older, I found that a very jarring contrast with all the beautiful nature and the sea and the idyllic associations of Smołdzino that I had. The people there lived mostly from fishing and tourism but I wonder what sort of tourism if there were so few people on the beach, and aside from the sea and beautiful nature and views, there wasn’t much more in Smołdzino so it wasn’t like the tourists had many more alternatives as for where to go, unless they used Smołdzino as their base and from there drove to bigger towns where there are more touristy beaches and more things happening, but because these towns are also by the sea they have a lot of accomodations for tourists of their own and they are much better from what I’ve noticed.

That year when it was so extremely hot and Sofi was already part of our family and starting to speak her first words, my aunt and uncle expressed an interest in tagging along with us and Mum somehow got in touch with a woman who lived there and had one big room for rent, so we decided we’ll stay there for a few days rather than just go for a day trip. I thought it was a brilliant idea but I didn’t end up liking it quite as much as I did the day trips, perhaps because of the heat, which was particularly aggravating in our room, and that when we weren’t at the beach, I was deadly bored in there with not much to do. The woman at whose house we lived was extremely chatty and sociable and would make barbecues for us almost every day or want us to spend a lot of time with her family which was very nice and friendly but rather annoying and obtrusive long-term for all of us, and I just didn’t feel as comfortable there with my Dad’s family around as I did when there were just us. I remember one night particularly clearly. Usually when we were there, we the kids would be sent to beds much earlier than the adults, and my circadian rhythm was cooperating for a few first days. But one day, when we were already in beds, I couldn’t fall asleep and the adults decided to go to some local party that was taking place there and see what it’s like. I was still not asleep by the time they came back which was about 1 AM. They all went to sleep and fell asleep pretty quickly as it seemed, but not me. And then suddenly my uncle started snoring, and it was SO freakishly dramatically spectacular and loud! 😀 I was used to unbelievably loudly snoring people (not like used to in the sense that it just didn’t phase me, but more like I was very familiar with the phenomenon from an early age and accepting of that sometimes it just happens and you may end up having a rotten night as a result if you don’t fall asleep before the snorer does 😀 ) because my Dad is a super loud and passionate snorer and when me and Olek were younger we didn’t have our own rooms but rather one huge bedroom where our beds were in one corner and our parents’ bed in another. But I’d never heard before –
and haven’t afterwards either – someone snore THAT loud, like my uncle did, and I wondered how everyone else managed to sleep in such conditions. In the past, when Dad’s snoring would go crazy before I fell asleep, I would cover my head with a pillow or something, but it was way too hot for that then. I found the situation kind of hilarious at first but over time I grew more and more frustrated to the point where it became rather dangerous and I was starting to have some homicidal ideations. I think I finally did manage to fall asleep some time before everyone else woke up, but was the most frustrating night ever for me, hahahaha. I didn’t tell anyone about that, until years later, when it was a great source of amusement for everyone including the snorer and myself.

Also when Sofi was already with us, I spent a lot of time in my Brainworld which was my most powerful coping strategy with life which was yucky at the time. I always had a very rich brainlife but at that time my Brainworld became much larger and more developed. Among other stuff, I made up a sort of submarine or generally aquatic world with sea people ruling it. The king’s name was Akrofil back then (it wasn’t supposed to mean anything specific, it was just a name I made up and liked the sound of but I later changed it to Magnus when someone told me that Akrofil sounds like some kind of pervert and I looked it up and acrophilia apparently is a real thing, a paraphilia, that is 😀 ), and I don’t remember what was his wife’s original name, something sort of oriental, but currently her name is Nerissa, and they had two children and a lot of subjects and they all lived in a castle under the sea but they also felt at home in any other body of water and not necessarily deep down. You could call Magnus or anyone else of them up if you knew how and they would appear if they would consider it necessary, and they could help people with a lot of things. Naturally they always helped people who had something to do with the sea in the first place but they were also very eager to help people who were struggling with anything else a lot and just unhappy. You could talk to them and typically they would take you down to their castle and you could spend some time there in their happy world and just relax and have a lot of fun. They always had a lot of feasts and led a very sumptuous life. But you couldn’t stay there indefinitely so after some time Magnus would send you back on to the land, but he would give you some magical things that could help you cope with the situation that made you call them in the first place, for example such items would enable you to call upon them wherever you were so they would help you in a specific situation, or he would give you a drink that would make you feel better or a special vehicle that could transport you wherever you wanted etc. etc. etc. Sometimes though, when he decided he couldn’t help you practically, he’d just let you stay in there forever, and you could just become one of the sea people. They make up just one section of my Brainworld and aren’t as important a part of it as they were back then, but I still love hanging out with them. And back then when I did that a lot, it made me feel especially close to them and like they were real when I was by the sea. I wasn’t particularly eager then to share things like these with people, but funnily enough, for some reason I did share the whole Akrofil thing with my Dad, and although he’s generally not particularly imaginative and not very flexible-minded, he seemed to love the whole idea almost as much as I did. Perhaps because he loves the sea so it spoke to him somehow. So in Smołdzino I taught him how to call Akrofil/Magnus and we would play sea people together. 😀 Or I would do by myself. Either way was super fun and very nourishing for my escapist brain.

After some time, somehow we stopped going there. I guess life just went in a different direction and we always wanted but never really did. Until last year, when my parents decided to go there for a quick day trip, this time with another aunt and uncle from my Dad’s side of the family. I decided not to go for a mix of different reasons, and turned out that it was a good idea. They arrived there about noon and were hugely surprised to see a long line of cars, all waiting to be let in. And because there are limits on how many people can be at the beach because it’s a nature reserve, only some portion of them were allowed and my parents who were quite late to the party weren’t among them, so they came back. The guy who let people in told them that things have changed a bit over the last couple of years and more people come there regularly, and from what they’d seen the village seemed in a better state now and there were more people. It also had a more touristy feel apparently, with more shops and other such scattered around, which I found worrying when I heard about it, but it’s apparently not very bad and it’s not obnoxiously touristy,, it couldn’t be when it’s a nature reserve, so that’s a good thing, in the grand scheme of things, and for the village it’s good that it’s more prosperous, as it really made a rather sad impression on me all those years ago. Good for them that they are developing.

So there you have – my one of the first and the most favourite holiday destination. – What are your earliest holiday memories? 🙂

Karliene – “Jack’s Lament”.

Hi people! 🙂

Yay!!! I’ve been waiting all year to share this song with you, and finally the right time has come! 🙂 This is a song about Halloween. Those of you who know me may be wondering now what happened to me that I’ve been dying all year to share with you a song about Halloween when I’m Catholic and do not celebrate Halloween. But if you know me you’ve also noticed that there’s Jack in the title and you know that I’m a Jackophile. So there you have it, that’s exactly the reason. 😀

But seriously, to be more specific, I absolutely love this song because to me, it proves that even Jack-o’lantern doesn’t really like Halloween. It’s so heartwrenching and I truly feel for him! Any time I’m listening to it it makes me want to call out to all the Jack-o’lanterns of the world “Hey! Come to me! You want to have to play creepy here! I promise I won’t be scared of you, you all will have different, better lives”. Actually, as someone who doesn’t celebrate Halloween, I wonder, what do people do with their poor Jacks after Halloween? Perhaps I could become some sort of a Jack-o’lantern collector and people would drop them off or send here for me and I would transform their lives from crappy to happy, from yucky to lucky. I wonder are Jack-o’lanterns edible? Uncle Google says yes but not particularly delicious for purees. Well, I was thinking that my Mum could make a soup out of all them Jacks because she likes pumpkin soup but if they’re not good for it that’s even better because I hate pumpkin, it’s so pulpy and mashy and it tastes gross, so it would be sad to have them all lost in my Mum’s soup, and she wouldn’t eat so much of it anyway so it would also be a huge waste. But I love pumpkin seeds! And My Mum has mentioned to me many times around Halloween how she thinks the Jack-o’lanterns are very decorative and before the Halloween boom came here to the point it is now (not that it’s anywhere near to how much people celebrate it in the US, it’s still seen a rather new tradition) she often thought that she’d like to have a pumpkin candlestick, but now everyone would think she’s a Halloweener too. If I was her, I would do it anyway, but at a different time of the year. And yeah, someone may think I am celebrating Halloween in February but so what? 😀 I’m all for celebrating things in an unusual way as it’s so eccentric and out of the box. I love it since when I once called my former long-term therapist in the middle of April (we mostly had phone contact because that was often the only option because of me being in the boarding school) and when I called her there was a lot of chaos and people talking in her house, so she apologised to me and said she’d call me back later because she forgot to let me know earlier that they were celebrating New Year’s Eve today. I was of course like: “But… New Year’s Eve? In April?!” “Yes, why not? We’re just weird like that”. And I love doing things this way since then when I realised that you actually can! 😀 My family is very conventional so it usually isn’t an option with festivities but I can practice my eccentricity in other ways, too. And now, I could have Jack-o’lanterns all around the house as candlesticks all year round except for Halloween. They wouldn’t be creepy. They would be warm, cosy and inviting and if someone would scream at their first sight it would be in awe of their amount and how beautiful they look. I’m sure with very many of them it wouldn’t be possible or safe to transform them all into candlesticks and it wouldn’t be practical either, but over time I’d become more inventive I’m sure. Oh, I was just about to publish this post when another potentially superb idea creeped into my brains! We, in Poland, have All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days on November 1 and 2. And we have a custom, which as far as I know isn’t a thing anywhere else, of lighting candlelights on the graves of our loved ones. I suppose it would be controversial for many people to place Jacks-o’lanterns on graves, but if it was with the right intentions, perhaps with Jacks having been exorcised or somehow consecrated beforehand if need be, it could be a good idea.

I think I shared something by Karliene Reynolds on here before as I like her a lot and she’s such a prolific singer, but even if I didn’t, here’s Jack’s Lament.

Question of the day.

Is there a place you like visiting that isn’t very popular with people?

My answer:

Yes, but not because it’s so unlikeable, only because (thankfully) few people still know about it. It’s a beach in Smołdzino in north-west Poland, in Słowiński National Park. Smołdzino is a very small village, but it’s really beautiful, quiet, peaceful and clean and not quite as touristy as in most other seasides location I know. These days it’s a bit more popular with people than back when we discovered it and used to go there for holidays very regularly, and when on the beach there were literally no other people except for us a lot of the time, but it will never become crowded or touristy as much as other beaches are, because it’s within a nature reserve. So even to get there, you have to park your car quite far away and then go two kilometres to the beach on foot, which not everyone would be keen on.

How about you?

Question of the day.

Hey people! 🙂

Is there a food everyone hates, that you like?

My answer:

Oh yes! I love olives, and a lot of people seem to hate them. It seems to be definitely one of those things you either love or hate. I can well understand why people would hate them as they have such very strong and characteristic taste, which is also quite different and unlike anything else. I also love capers, and even more people hate them. Admittedly their taste is even more unusual and even people who love them like me can’t eat a lot of them at once. I normally do not like things which taste vinegary but capers are definitely an exception. I also looooove love love kefir and people hate kefir. Especially people who aren’t Polish/Slavic/Balkan as they aren’t used to it, and even many of these people who are Slavic or Balkan hate kefir anyway because as far as I’m aware even though it’s a common or even traditional drink in many countries it’s not something everyone grows up with and drinks every day since childhood, a lot of Polish people I know have never tasted kefir. Similar situation is with buttermilk, although I guess buttermilk is a bit easier to like.

I’ve no idea if this is more international a thing or not – I only know people around the globe hate Brussels sprouts and so do I, they are absolutely gross – but here in Poland loads of people hate spinach. And there’s actually an interesting sociohistorical reason for that. In the 80’s, and I guess 70’s too, Polish nurseries/kindergartens were really obsessed about spinach. I don’t know what the exact reason was, but suddenly there was one big boom on stuffing kids with vegetables, and probably because spinach was easily available, they would eat spinach all the time. It can be really yucky and tasteless when not seasoned properly so, there’s like a bit of a collective trauma around that. And it doesn’t only affect millennials/gen X, because they pass it on to their offspring, and I’ve also heard older people saying very unfavourable things about spinach for no apparent reason and not being able to give some real arguments why they thought it’s so bad. So it’s a bit like everyone hates spinach by default and spinach is evil. But when you ask an average person if they ever ate spinach, they will either say that they did in nursery, or not at all, because, duh, it’s yuck and everyone knows it so why would anyone want to eat it. When you ask them why it’s so bad, chances are great that everyone will tell you only that it’s bad when unseasoned or overcooked or that it’s difficult to make it right. Fair enough, but so is also with lots of other food. Who likes unseasoned meat? How about overcooked pasta? Yet no one is screaming that they are evil just because they can be unseasoned or overcooked. And who says you have to cook spinach? It seems like not many people realise that there actually was such a spinach propaganda around the country and not just in their nursery. There especially is a default opinion in people’s minds that children hate spinach, even though children these days aren’t bombarded with it like their parents were, but they still do hate spinach because everyone sort of tells them they should. Recently it’s a bit better, people are more conscious and of course there’s the whole fit lifestyle trend going on, all the different diets, more and more people are vegetarians or vegans, others want to lose weight, so spinach is slowly gaining some more favour and positive attention.

I also was one of those kids thinking I hate spinach just because. And indeed I remember hearing a lot about how all children hate spinach. I think the first time I ate spinach was at my aunt – who wasn’t exactly my relative at all, but I always called her aunt and she was extremely helpful to me, she lived near my school and I often visited her in her house. – She once had spinach with some meat and rice for lunch and I was like: “What? Spinach? Why would anyone normal want to eat spinach?” She told me that it’s really good when it’s well-seasoned and that most people don’t know how to cook it well and that’s why they don’t like it. I tried it but wasn’t impressed, not because of it’s taste, which as far as I remember wasn’t bad, but I didn’t like the texture of it particularly much. Then we had quite regularly lasagna with spinach at school, and I actually really liked it, perhaps because you couldn’t really feel the spinach in it very much. And some years later, my Mum has become a proper lifestyle geek, she’s always had such tendencies but it was then that it really progressed, at the same time she had just started to wear braces and wasn’t able to eat a lot of hard food and one of her obsessions at the time were veg smoothies, and she often added spinach to them. I hate veg smoothies, but since due to that, we had plenty of spinach at home, I tried how it tastes raw and… surprise, or not, I thought it was really cool. I usually tend to like raw vegetables more than cooked, baked etc. These days I often eat even sandwiches with spinach instead of lettuce. These days my Mum no longer makes those veg smoothies, as they make her feel very bloated, but we have spinach in our garden here where we live now and we still eat it raw. But even the texture of cooked spinach doesn’t bother me that much anymore and I like for example pierogi with spinach. I mean, I’m certainly not a spinach lover or a die hard fan, as I am with kefir, olives or capers, but I just like it, I don’t see anything wrong with it, I think people are being very unfair to spinach.

What is such food for you? 🙂

Question of the day (2nd June).

Hey people! 🙂

Do you prefer pie or cake? What kind?

My answer:

I’ve asked that question on my blog some two years ago and answered it so in case you haven’t seen that post, I’ll copy my response.

It really really depends on what cake or pie it is. Plus, for me this difference isn’t really that important, because in Polish we usually call both the same name, which is ciasto. Of course, you can call a pie placek, but it’s rather rarely heard nowadays, placek is actually in some regions more like a pancake, so just no one cares what is a cake, and what is a pie. 😀 How about you? And what are your favourites? 🙂

Question of the day.

Do you follow your country’s politics? What do you think about the current political climate?

My answer:

I do have an interest in it and it matters to me, although it’s not like one of my main interests or something that I’d give a lot of thought to every single day or be regularly very worried about the state of things like some people are. I like to be up to date and oriented in the most important things or those that matter to me particularly strongly, and I like to be able to have concrete views on them, but I don’t get FOMO if I sometimes am not up to date and I don’t like to overwhelm my brain with too much news or political speculations every single day because I generally tend to overthink things, and politics is not something I’d have a direct impact on so it’s pointless to ruminate on that overly. My Mum and grandma tend to care about politics so very much which is great in a way, because it’s important to care about your country I think, but on the other hand it’s awful to stress so much over things you cannot really change and catastrophise like my grandma does. I don’t like though when people go for the other extreme – are not involved at all in what’s going on saying that they no have any influence over it, don’t vote and have no real views of their own, but still complain about all that’s going wrong in their country according to them, and selfishly take for granted all that is positive.

As for the political climate, I am really happy that, since the 2015, the party I’ve been supporting ever since I’ve gotten some clearer idea about politics (PiS, or Law and Justice in English), has been in majority government, and that our current President (Andrzej Duda) is of the same political option, as, to put it shortly and simply, since the fall of communism until the above mentioned 2015 Poland has been ruled by “former” communists (from parties like Civic Platform or Polish People’s Party or Democratic Left ALliance), or their children or close relatives. Actually, the first Polish president after the communist period – Lech Wałęsa – who was given Nobel Peace Prize and whom people glorified and authentically perceived as a true statesman and someone who was going to make a real change, was a pawn in hands of the communist government and spied for them, but of course that came up officially only recently. Our current government is far from flawless, as is the situation in Poland, but I don’t think there are flawless politicians anywhere in the world, just as there are no flawless people in general, and, at least for now, I don’t think there is a better option, and they do a whole lot of good, and actually visible, change, even though it’s going slowly, because it takes time to rebuild the country after so many years of inefficient reigns, and some people are complaining about that, including those who actually have voted on them, like my Dad for example, because they seem to think it’s such an effortless process.

How about you? 🙂

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? 🙂

Hungarica – “Burzliwe Stulecia / Viharos Szazadok” (Stormy Centuries).

Hi guys! 🙂

You know it’s Independence Day today in Poland? Yaaay! It’s 101 years since Poland regained its Independence, and, while you can hear so much about it in the media, especially on a special occasion like this, I have a feeling like we still so often take it for granted a bit, and that so many people had to die and suffer their personal losses for it to happen. Sofi is having a concert tomorrow at her school because of that, and she is going to sing solo one verse of a song, as she is in a choir. I’ve always thought that, while she loves to sing, her ability to sing in tune is very questionable, but it seems like her music teacher’s opinion is different, so hopefully it goes well for her, she’s very stressed now so any and all crossed fingers will be appreciated! 🙂

Last year on this day I shared with you a song “40:1” by a Swedish band called Sabaton, sung in Polish, about the Battle of Wizna. You know I’m into language so I like to kinda incorporate this holiday into the overal feel of my blog. So, there is such a radio programme on Polish Radio Programme 3, called “Strefa Rokendrola Wolna Od Angola” (Rock&roll Zone Free of English), where you can hear a lot of good rock music and some related more or less closely genres, and it’s in all possible languages but not English. Not because anyone has any problem with English, but because English in music is definitely overrated and it’s unfair for all the other languages. Polish is also rarely heard, because you can hear Polish music in Polish media on a daily basis. The only times you can hear Polish in this programme is when it’s on air on Independence Day, or on May 3, when we celebrate the anniversary of proclaiming the Constitution of May 3, which was the first modern constitution in Europe. I really like to listen to it then, because you can hear foreign bands and musicians singing in Polish, or making any kind of Poland-themed music, it’s very interesting. And the song I have for you today is from there as well.

Hungarica is a (surprise!) Hungarian national rock band, whose songs usually are on the topic of Hungarian history, and from what I’ve read they are one of the most popular Hungarian rock groups. They had a concert in Katowice in Poland some years ago and from the band’s history it seems like they feel a strong bond with Poland, which is not much of a surprise, as Poland and Hungary have a history of quite close relationship, and have a lot of similarities in our histories. And one of this manifestos of their bond with Poland is the song “Burzliwe Stulecia”, “Viharos Szazadok” in Hungarian, which means Stormy Centuries. The group’s vocalist sings it entirely in Polish and does it really wel. Better even than Joakim Broden from Sabaton, who said he struggled with Polish very much and needed frequent breaks throughout the recording, but suppose Hugarian (as weird and enigmatic as it sounds to Poles, and not belonging to the same language family) has paradoxically more in common with Polish phonetically than Swedish. Though you can see that the word accents work much differently in Hungarian, as he does them rather funnily in Polish sometimes.

The song is great. It is a short retelling of Polish history, accentuating what a brave and strong nation Polish people are, despite, or maybe thanks to, all we have been through over the ages.

I managed to write a very rough translation, I don’t think it’s very good this time round, but it’s just so you know what it is about.

   Since a thousand of stormy years
Courageous people are lasting by the Vistula river
Misery and glory
Partitions and occupation
Fake transformation
Despite the storms, Poland has survived
Hey, hey, forward!
So brave for centuries
Hey, hey, forward, Poles!
Hey, hey, forward!
So brave for centuries
Hey, hey, forward, Poles!
We didn’t disown our motherland
We raised the banner of Poland
Though our freedom was taken away from us
We were sold out at Yalta
But we have survived that too
We ended communism
Hey, hey, forward!
So brave for centuries
Hey, hey, forward, Poles!
Hey, hey, forward!
So brave for centuries
Hey, hey, forward, Poles!

If We Were Having Coffee… a midweek coffee share.

Anyone up for a cuppa coffee at 9 PM? Or probably it will be even later by the time I finish this post. But perhaps it’s earlier where you are so if you want a coffee, grab a cup of it and join in. Or drink whatever you feel like. I can offer you a coffee, or an iced coffee, green tea, black tea, some herbal teas, or raspberry tea, kefir, Pepsi, or water. Or you can bring something yourself so that it’ll be more diverse.

I have a lot of snacks this time that I can share with you, I’ve made a big big shopping last week, thinking I’ll be alone for a week so will need a lot of yummy stuff to munch on. A lot of sweets, like biscuits, chocolate, some hard candy, gummybears, lots of stuff that it’ll probably take me weeks or months to deal with myself so I’ll need people to help me out! But you can still bring in your own food. We don’t have much serious food here right now, no yummy dishes or anything like that, as Mum is the one who cooks those and she’s just come back from my uncle’s funeral, but I’ve also stocked the house with instant soups, pasta sauces and all sorts of cereal and yoghurts and such.

I won’t be eating anything this time, actually I only ate a little today, a late breakfast and some cookies with Zofijka, I feel kinda weird physically and don’t even have an idea why, I’m tired and a bit nauseous and lousy and I felt like not doing this coffee share today, but I need to catch up with you and tell you about an idea I had, so I don’t want to delay it all the time.

So, grab something you feel like drinking and eating, find yourself a cosy and comfy place to sit, and let’s start our coffee share properly.

If we were having coffee I’d ask all of you how are you doing and how has the last week and this week so far been for you?… 🙂

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I was on a very unexpected trip to Masuria last week. my Dad just got kind of a suden idea that he’d like to go to Masuria because he’s on holidays for over two weeks now. Masuria is a sort of go-to, traditional place for some longer holidays for us. My Mum has family there, and my Dad is very much into WWII stuff so there’s a lot to explore for him. The food is heavenly there, and so are the views and just the general atmosphere. We didn’t have much time to spend there, as they were supposed to go on another trip with my Mum’s family to the Bieszczady mountains, so we left on… Thursday, I guess, and were meant to go back home on Saturday if not earlier. We didn’t do much there though, because the plans regarding their other trip were changing constantly, and my Dad got cross about it, so in the end we were home on Friday early evening. Still, I mostly liked the trip, despite my Dad’s constant irritability getting on my nerves and my own moods shifting quite a bit which was difficult to contain but I think I succeeded at it very much. It helped me to sort of get away from my anxieties, clear my mind a little, and, while the depression was still echoing somewhere in the background, my anxiety and rumination had significantly lessened while I was away, which was actually surprising, normally I’m one big nervous wreck when travelling for longer than a day and sleeping in a stranger place and all.

We went to one small town called Mikołajki and were just wandering aimlessly around it, I bought myself a cat figurine made of porcelain, it’s blue, as in the Russian blue Misha. 😀 Oh yeah and I mised Misha terribly! I guess I’ll always have that messed up in my brain, when longing for someone, it feels like I’m never going to see them anymore or will have to lose them again very soon, it feels much more of a loss than it is, no matter what I tell myself, no matter that I know I’ll see Misha in 2 days, which is ridiculously short, it’s so stupid and shitty, I hate it. My Dad really wanted to take a ship there, around the lake in Mikołajki, but I flat out refused because it was very windy and I was afraid my vestibular system won’t cooperate, so he was enraged, but couldn’t have any discussion with me. The next day Mum wanted to go somewhere by ship, and it wasn’t that windy so I gritted my teeth and said OK, but to my surprise Dad said we don’t have to and he doesn’t want to force me. Not quite like him, but while I would deal with that, after all we’ve sailed to Sweden and such and I dealt with it, I was happy I didn’t have to go through it again without a sound reason. 😀

After we’ve seen almost the entire Mikołajki, we went to Ełk where we very supposed to sleep, but my Dad – always planning ahead and even a bit stiff – went all wild and spontaneous this time and hadn’t booked us a place anywhere. He doesn’t have a debit/credit card, I left mine at home and Mum was almost skint so couldn’t pay for us, while all the online booking stuff only accepts cards obviously. So he was all raging, until we finally found a hotel that he could plain phone and pay them directly with cash. 😀 I was starting to think that we might end up going back home at night, so fumin he was.

I had really weird, like really weird and rather creepy dreams, some in a cool creepy way and very creative, one was gloomy-creepy and even more odd, and involved me having ECT. Only that if ECT really looked like that… it was even worse than in “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”. I don’t know what I had that for, was it depression or whatever, I just know I was seeing a very authoritarian doctor there who said something is definitely very wrong with my brain and I need ECT to get it working properly, he was the kind of person who knows everything about you before you even get a chance to say anything. It was a really gloomy and awfully depressing hospital, I felt sick just being there, and I guess it was quite a long distance from my home, because when he announced to me that I’d have to come there I guess every month me and my Mum were very unsatisfied. He first wanted me to sit there and wait for my turn while there were like a dozen of odd, metal beds with people on them, who had all something wrong with their brains, they had some stuff connected to their brains, I don’t know, wires or electrodes or whatever it was, something was beeping all the time like in a trashy medical thriller movie, the doctors were doing something to their brains, like manipulating with them with their hands, they were bound to their beds, and they had awful, like horrible, horrifying seizures, it looked gross, heart-wrenching and creepy and their dignity was taken away from them. I guess they weren’t unconscious but in some altered state of consciousness. And then I had all that stuff too, only that I didn’t have the seizures, instead I felt awful and woke up with no memory. And I know I talked with some of those people who were there, one of them was very much like my friend Jacek from Helsinki, and he told me he’s been having that for 5 years every month and he feels less and less like himself and that I should run away from there. I came back home and my whole extended family came to me to wish me speedy recovery but I didn’t even care about anything and it felt really strenuous to think. And then slowly, life would just go back to normal, and as soon as I’d start regaining my colourful brain, feeling OK, getting back my memories and was less scared of what happened, it was time to go back to that prick. It was weird that I couldn’t even just refuse, everyone was saying I have to, they were very sad about it but were saying it will help me in the end. I often have dreams when people force me to do things and no matter how hard I refuse or fight, or how diplomatically I’d try to persuade them out of it, they have to have it their way. I wonder does that mean something? 😀 So yeah, that was my dream, in a nutshell, I was going back and forth from there and seeing all those people and having it done to myself and recovering, until finally when I came there and he put me on the bed I just woke up. First I was creeped out and wondered why the hell I had such a gross dream, and it haunted me for a while, but then I started laughing at how creative my brain is. Guess I really could write thrillers based on my dreams, only I don’t like thrillers! 😀 Would like to have a talk with my brain and ask it where it got it from, during your average jolly family trip. Maybe something was wrong with that hotel! 😀

Anyway, as I told you, the next day we had to go back home, but before we did that, we visited Augustów and I had the yummiest iced latte there. And both on our way to Masuria and back home we stopped for a dinner in a lovely restaurant where I had absolutely scrumptious pierogi. Apart from my Mum’s and perhaps my grandma’s, I don’t think I’ve eaten better. Not in a restaurant for sure, and most often we eat frozen which are rather dull, so it was a great surprise! But pierogi in Masuria usually tend to be very good. So as I said my parents were supposed to go for another trip on Sunday, and they did, but had to go back, because my uncle died that same day from cancer. They normally probably wouldn’t go back, but grandma was going with them and she wanted to take part in the funeral. Coincidentally, my uncle lived in Masuria, so yesterday in the morning my family were heading back there and have just come back. I was at home with Zofijka and Misha, and Olek, but Olek’s mostly at work. For those of you who read my “Some Random Questions” post, if you’re curious, no, our house didn’t catch fire, Misha didn’t choke and Zofijka didn’t bring a norovirus home from her swimming camp, although I’m feeling really interestingly today so actually who knows… (no, brain, don’t think about that now!), instead, Zofijka came home sobbing hysterically, but didn’t want to talk so I asked Mum as for how I should handle it and Mum said I should ignore it and that means she really enjoyed the camp… Yeah, I see… No, seriously, I get it. There’s a whole long school year until another camp. I hated camps but still, I know the feeling. She’s better now, and has been out with her mates for most of the day. But my parents are going for another trip yet (my Dad’s determination to challenge the  fate is pretty admirable) only not to Bieszczady but somewhere nearer, so hopefully the smaller distance will help in making it a success finally. 😀

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that Misha is being really sweet to me lately, which helps me a lot every day. I suspect it’s my little secret bottle of Mish ice cream (his favourite thick sauce) that I’ve got that made him feel so amicably towards me. Those sauces come in little tubes, so you squeeze them out and if we want to have fun Misha can lick it like ice-cream, but it gets messy and I don’t wfind those tubes very user-friendly. So Mum came up with an idea that for the time when they’ll be away she’ll put a few sauces into a bottle so I’ll have it easier to give it to him and dose properly, it’s like an oil bottle. The thing is you of course have to store those sauces in the fridge, or at least in a dark place, so I had to use up that bottle quick. I used up most of it, but sadly, some of the sauce had turned sour, I was afraid not to overfeed him. I still have his normal snacks, but the sauce effect hasn’t worn out yet and Misha graciously spends most of his very precious time with me and sleeps in his bed next to me at night, as well as has his longest day nap always here. It’s really so lovely! 🙂

If we were having coffee, I’d share my idea with you, which I think is great, but I need your feedback, as it has to do with my blog and with you as my readers! I’ve been thinking about it loads and it’s not a very new idea, but, as is most often the case with me, I needed to thoroughly think it through. The idea is such – I’ve been thinking about doing something like a yearly My Inner MishMash reader award – don’t know what its actual name could be yet but that’s a secondary thing. – There are tons of awards in the blogosphere, some people like them and find them nice, for some they’re annoying, so I wasn’t thinking a blog award, like write a post and nominate people etc. Especially that, as far as I am aware, those awards tend to be connected with badges, or other banners or pics, as a way to emphasise and show that someone’s blog has been awarded and I have no idea about that. My idea is more about expressing my gratitude to my readers, having fun blogging, and just connecting with people in a fun way, and also it’d be like a small giveaway. Every year, I would pick three readers of My Inner MishMash that I think have been most involved, that come here regularly, comment etc. and that I feel particularly grateful for having them around. That would be based on my own judgment and feelings, but also on the comments stats. Then I would send out small packages to those folks, with mini things like some typically Polish yummies, T-Shirts with Misha, Mish-themed Christmas cards (as that would be sometime around Christmas and New Year) and such, I’m open for suggestions here. I’d also make an official post announcing the “winners” (although it’s not about winning and losing, obviously I’m grateful for all my engaged/reglar readers who enjoy being here at My Inner MishMash, whether you comment a lot or just read my posts, but I can’t send gratitude packages to all of you every year 😀 ). Or maybe that post would go before I’d send the packages, and it could have a bit of an award form, that part needs deeper thinking. But what I need most at the moment is for you to say what you think, if you like the idea, are you up for it? Any ideas for a name for this invention? Right now I’m considering My Inner Mishmash Involvement Award (MIMIA) or My Inner MishMash Readership Award (MIMRA), it’s not really an award but it looks better in the acronyms than giveaway, but that feels a little stiff, or maybe it’s just me. My other idea is just simple EMisha’s Christmas Mini Care Package. Yeah, could use some feedback… I love baby names, but titles and such aren’t my ground as much.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’m getting lots of new equipment soon! I’m happy not happy. I’ve got the maximum funding for my new Braille-Sense and Plextalk, so I really don’t have to pay much myself compared with the original price especially of Braille-Sense, which is good. I also decided to get a new computer, the one I have right now is about 5 and just seems to feel like retiring soon. My current computer is a laptop, but the one I’m going to get is a desktop, simply because it seems more logical for me, I almost only use my laptop in my room anyway. I’m happy because the change is really needed, especially re Braille-Sense, which is a geriatric, but I’m not happy and all anxious and fidgety because I hate hate hate changes and seem to have some internal problem with tech stuff and changing it, arrrghhhh. It’s not because of the sentiment, I just hate change, I’m afraid something will go wrong, or I won’t be able to transition and adjust, I won’t learn to handle the different things, which is quite unlikely. I guess I’d never had that strong anxiety with tech related transitions before, I guess before most of them I was very happy most of all, I don’t like the intensity of it at all. I’m gonna have my new stuff in the end of August.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that, although I’m not sleepy, because I woke up at about 11:30 AM today, I feel very tired for some reason and kind of weird so I’m going to bed soon.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee? 🙂

 

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. 😀

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. 😀 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? 🙂

Question of the day.

What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever been?

My answer:

The most beautiful? Hmmm… I’m sure I’ve been to many beautiful places, although it’s hard to recall them now. I consider Stockholm very beautiful, because I just love Sweden, even that little piece of Sweden I’ve been to. Also when I think of beautiful places I think about one of the beaches we’ve been to, it’s in one of national parks and it’s really beautiful there. The village is called Smołdzino, and it is a very small, poor village, but very clean and quiet, and the sea and the beach seems cleaner than anywhere else I’ve been to, even though it’s the same sea as anywhere else in Poland. It was a very nice place. I also consider my room a beautiful place simply because it’s a safe space for me. It’s a bit messy though so I guess I’m not objective. 😀

How about you? 🙂

Sabaton – “40:1”.

Hi guys! 🙂

Today is Independence Day in Poland, and it’s a special one because it’s 100th anniversary of Polish Independence. So as you can imagine we’re having a lot of celebrations, both on a national, as well as personal/familial level, and all the others in between.

I wanted to make something special on my blog because of this, like something in connection with Poland, but somehow I was very short on ideas, thought about making a little q&a like on 1 August, but thought it doesn’t really make sense now as my blog is private.

Well, turns out that even if I came up with something, I probably wouldn’t do it, because I spent most of the day in bed with a nasty headache and stuff, and then when I finally dragged out we watched the INdependence March or parade or however you call it on TV, and I had that yucky headache until a few hours ago.

Anyway, instead, I decided to celebrate this day with music. And I wanted it to be particularly interesting, so I chose one of the songs that I know that are sung in Polish, but not by Polish people or Polish speakers.

I know quite a lot of such songs because there is such an awesome programme on Polish Radio called “Strefa Rokendrola Wolna Od Angola” which I’ve already mentioned a couple of times, via which I got to know lots and lots of music, particularly rock music, in other languages than English, sometimes really bizarre, but really cool stuff. And once in a while in this programme there is a separate one for music in Polish, but by non Polish people, and another one for music made by Polish people but in other languages than Polish, and than English of course. And oh my God there are so many brilliant songs by non Polish people in Polish! And I admire their courage so so much, and it is just interesting to hear!

But this one that I want to show you is absolutely particular.

Sabaton is a Swedish metal band, which is fairly popular here, which is no wonder because they are fascinated by Polish history, and very often sing about it. I am not particularly crazy about them (even though they are Swedish 😀 ), but I do like them, and I love the fact that they are so fascinated by our country and history!

This song is called “40:1”, and has two language versions, one is in English, and one is in Polish, and I’ll show you both.

It is not connected with Polish Independence as such, it tells the story of battle of Wizna in 1939, but still I think it has the feel that is appropriate for this occasion.

The thing is: the vocalist of Sabaton doesn’t speak Polish, I guess at all. Swedish is generally an easy language for Poles, but definitely NOT vice versa! I wouldn’t exaggerate, as many Polish people like to, that Polish language is so very difficult, even the most difficult in the world as some say – no, or at least, not as very very much, I suppose, but for Swedes, it may be a bit tricky. All those z’s, ź’s, ż’s, rz’s, and so on and so forth… Swedes do not have the letter Z in their language, I mean they do but only in some loanwords or surnames and now it seems to become trendy in baby names when you’ll look at rankings. But even in the words that they do have Z, it’s very difficult for them, usually, and they pronounce it like S. Even in English Swedes very often tend to say “amasing”, “lasy”, “crasy”, which, in my opinion, is SOOOOOO cute. I have a Swedish friend, she currently lives in Poland and has married a Polish guy a while back, she has been almost always interested in Poland and has been learning Polish since years, longer than I am learning Swedish, and she has still some difficulty with those sounds. And there are other sounds, or combinations of sounds, that are incredibly hard for Swedes too.

And this guy did it! I mean of course he sounds very Swedish, and there are parts that Polish vocalists are singing, but still, he did it, and he did it really really well! I’ve heard that apparently it was very exhausting for him to sing this song in Polish, and when they were recording it they had to take multiple breaks and eventually put together small bits of it together, or something like this, because it was too hard for him to do in one piece! I was just in awe when I first heard this song, and I still am, no less. So yeah, chapeau bas
for him! And, as we are at it, even more so for all those who fought for Polish Independence!

Here are the two songs. 🙂

Ask me anything about Poland.

Today is the anniversary of Warsaw Uprising during the WWII, which is quite an important date for Polish people.

Because of this, I thought I should celebrate it on here as well, in a way that could be both fun and educating.

Is there anything, important or just trivial, or in between, that you’d like to know about Poland, or Polish people, or Polish language?

Ask me in the comments, and I will be happy to answer your questions. I can’t promise you I know everything about Poland, Polish people and language, because I don’t, but I am Polish, so I know a lot, plus being Polish I know very many Polish people I can ask, so that way I’ll be learning too.

If there will be any questions that I’ll think deserve some more in depth answer, or that would be particularly interesting for me, I might do a separate post with the answer, we’ll just see how it goes.

So yeah, don’t be shy, just ask me. 🙂


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Question of the day.

What was the last book you purchased/borrowed from the library?

My answer:

I wanted to read a book by the Polish positivist writer Eliza Orzeszkowa called “Marta”, so I downloaded it from our online library for the blind. Actually, some of the books of Orzeszkowa are compulsory readings at Polish schools, so I’ve never had particularly warm feelings to her works as I found most of compulsory readings unbelievably boring, but I wanted to read that particular book, not for anything particular, just because I thought it could be interesting and thought provoking. It was, I read it in two days. It describes fate of women in Poland at the time of positivism, their occupational situation, how all the fields were dominated by men, to put it very basically. It is described on the example of a woman called Marta, who has been just widowed at the beginning of the book, and although her financial situation in her marriage was very good and stable, and she led a happy life, from now on she becomes poor and is forced to look for a job for herself to be able to feed her little daughter. She is an educated gentrywoman but her education turns out to be not enough to find a job just anywhere, it’s just what usually young ladies were taught, a bit of everything, but nothing deep enough to be really useful in life long term. It is a very dramatic book and it describes how Marta is slowly forced by life to beg to provide at least basic things for her daughter, and finally when her daughter becomes ill with severe bronchitis because of the incredibly poor life conditions and Marta isn’t able to give her what she needs to recover, she commits suicide. So as I said it’s very dramatic, but also incredibly thought-provoking, and Orzeszkowa has definitely a talent for describing people, their emotions and stuff, which made it even more pleasant to read, as I really like detailed descriptions, if skillfully written. So I devoured the book much quicker than I thought I would. I supposed it can be very interesting as I said, but I thought it also can be much harder to actually get through, so was quite surprised.

How about you? 🙂

Question of the day.

Do you prefer cake or pie?

My answer:

It really really depends on what cake or pie it is. Plus, for me this difference isn’t really that important, because in Polish we usually call both the same name, which is ciasto. Of course, you can call a pie placek, but it’s rather rarely heard nowadays, placek is actually in some regions more like a pancake, so just no one cares what is a cake, and what is a pie. 😀

How about you? And what are your favourites, btw? My Mum is just making mole cake, I’m curious what it will be like, as she has never made it before. She is making it with blueberries, not bananas, as most people, because all of us absolutely hate bananas, well maybe except for Dad, but he doesn’t like cakes at all hahaha.