Question of the day.

   What did you try and found out it’s not for you? 

   My answer: 

   Making music. I’ve already written on here how I used to sing a lot when I was little, and I’m pretty sure I must have liked it, though sometimes I wonder whether my love for it evolved naturally, or was it coaxed a bit by my well-meaning family, once they found out that Bibiel can hold a tune and that music is something that a lot of blind people are good at. But in any case, I at least thought that I liked it, and I was singing all the time and liked to show off my abilities, and whenever someone would ask me what I wanted to be when I grow up, I would always say either a singer or a musician or both, or that I wanted to “do a career”. I also used to take part in song contests for children from a very early age, but I already wrote not so long ago about that bad case of Bibiel propaganda in a school for intellectually disabled children where I was the only non-intellectually disabled kid from outside that school who took part in that contest and won it like three or four times in a row. I still feel sad for those children lol, I mean their teachers or whoever organised that stuff must have been quite dumb to let one single non-intellectually disabled child who hadn’t even reached school age yet take part in that contest just so no one from the actual school could ever win. 😀 I suppose though that perhaps it was someone in my family, like my grand who is a very sociable person and knows lots of people in her town where that school was, who must have had a good relationship with someone in that school and convinced them to do that.  

   Then when I went to school, or preschool at first, to be exact, it was a very musical environment as well so they encouraged me to continue singing as well. I also got to sing during many more contests, for example in the religious song contest twice, or various kinds of celebrations and such either within the whole blind centre thing or a bit larger stuff. 

   Speaking of the religious song contests, when I was taking part in the first one, I was prepared for it by the headmistress of the music school that was part of the whole blind centre thing. I wasn’t a member of the music school then as few preschool-aged kids were, she just must have learnt somehow that I’m into singing and figured that it would be a good idea to include me in that contest although I remember being ever so slightly intimidated that most of the children taking part in it, including the ones who sang some bits of my song, , were quite a lot older than me, like teenagers. But it was still all very exciting. The headmistress was quite a particular person in some regards and I’d heard that many students didn’t really like her or find her a bit intimidating, but while I do remember she was quite demanding, she was also very nice to me and I actually liked her a lot, though for Bibiel back then it didn’t take much to like someone a lot. I remember how she showed me all kinds of instruments that were in the room where we were rehearsing and how to play them, and when I think about it now, it seemed like the whole preparation time must have really taken quite a few weeks. The contest finally came, Bibiel came third in it, and then suddenly it was over. I guess it was a bit confusing for my Bibiel brain, and I was wondering why I no longer have those singing lessons. So finally one day I asked one of the preschool staff, but she had no idea and told me to ask our eurhythmics teacher when she comes, because she worked in the music school as well so might know better. ANd so I did ask the eurhythmics teacher. She asked me what instrument I used to play in there, which made me go dumbstruck for a while, because, umm, we weren’t really playing anything, just singing. But the headmistress was playing piano so eventually I said piano. The eurhythmics teacher said that it’s someone else who teaches piano and mentioned that teacher’s name and said she’ll talk to her. And that’s how, quite accidentally, Bibielz ended up in music school before Bibielz even realised it. 😀 

   I had a really fun, chatty and engaging piano teacher and like talking to her about all kinds of things, but I quickly learned that playing piano isn’t going to be quite as easy as singing. I did like it in general, but slowly felt more and more discouraged, because to play really well and the way I wanted to play in my mind, I had to have more coordination than I actually had. I knew what I should do in theory, but in practice my hands didn’t always cooperate with my brain too well and so I was progressing very slowly. 

   Once I started actual school, I continued learning piano and a lot of the other kids from my class and boarding school group were also in music school by then, I also sang more or less regularly, including occasionally psalms in church and stuff like that. Together with my other school friends, I also started having various theoretical activities as part of music school, like ear training and other stuff that I don’t even know how it’s called in English. But we’d learn scores, listen to classical music etc. etc. and as far as I remember we all found it rather boring at that point. 

   As I continued to struggle quite a lot with the piano, and my brain started to change quite a lot, both in a natural way as in developing and a more pathological way as in depression, which I only got diagnosed with at age 10 but had been feeling like that since I was 8, which I wrote about in that post I linked above, gradually, I started losing all the fun that I had with music and singing, and instead started to find it quite stressful and overwhelming. Then when I was ten, I changed schools and went to an inclusive school closer to home, which I was really happy about in general because I always wanted to be able to go to school closer to home so that I could be home every single day rather than go there once a few weeks. While being home was certainly a very welcome change, my brains grew more and more neurotic and depressive, which wasn’t helped by the Achilles tendon surgery I had to had in the meantime and then was recovering for long weeks without having much to do in the meantime, and obviously boredom only worsens shit like that. My being in the inclusive school was also not all as great as we originally hoped. Unlike in the blind school, where everything is prepared for children’s education beforehand, here, my Mum had to cover the costs of my school books. Printing books in Braille isn’t a cheap business, and if you want to order a particular book to be printed, you have to pay a small fortune. So my Mum wasn’t even able to pay for all my school books, only the ones for math which we figured would be the most necessary because other subjects would be easier for me to learn than math, and also the math teacher insisted that I have exactly the same books as the whole class. It didn’t work like that anyway, because as soon as the printing company sent one volume (Braille books typically have several volumes because they’re naturally larger than normal print books and Braille letters take up more space), my class was already further ahead in their book and the volume I had didn’t cover that yet. 😀 Also my Mum was expected to help me with school work a lot, again particularly with math which my Mum has little idea about. If the teacher didn’t have time to explain something to me during class, I’d have to do it with Mum, and she’d have to help me with homework from all subjects as well, because she had the books in normal print and would read to me what I was supposed to do etc. That was difficult because Mum had baby Sofi to take care of, and those schooling sessions could take ages. I was also totally not used to it, as I used to do all my school work totally independently and be done with it in no time, so having to wait for Mum to help me out was insanely frustrating. So after the second year of my stay at that school, even I could see that, academically, it would be a lot better for me if I went back to the blind school, and Mum convinced me to make that move, telling me that she’ll make my biggest dream come true in return, which at the time was meeting the Polish writer Małgorzata Musierowicz, and she did eventually make my dream come true. However, in the end she didn’t even have to use that bribe, because during holidays after that second school year, we got involved in a huge shit thanks to that inclusive school, which I wrote about here, and after that there was no way I could imagine seeing those people again. 

   But, going back to the actual topic of this post, during my whole stay at the inclusive school, I didn’t really sing all that much anymore. In fact not at all. And I didn’t really miss it one bit. On the contrary, when I thought about going back to the blind school, and doing all that music stuff all over again, it made me feel a bit sick. My Mum strongly encouraged me to take up the piano again though. All because, years earlier, I told her how I once imagined being a mummy of a huge family and how it would be neat if I could play the piano for all my children, which was an imagining I had based on a book I was reading at the time and the main character being like that. 😀 My Mum didn’t quite realise yet that I tend to have ALL kinds of daydreams, and the mere fact that I have daydreamed about something, doesn’t have to mean that I seriously want to do it in real life. And I didn’t realise yet that sometimes it’s better to keep your daydreams to yourself, or else there’s a risk that people might take you seriously. 😀 That’s, after all, a huge pro of daydreams, that you can switch between them whenever you want and don’t have to commit to one. When I imagine something, it definitely isn’t always something that I’d like experiencing for real, it’s just fun to imagine it for a while. So anyway, whenever I’d say that I want to quit the piano, she’d remind me of that daydream and said that I’d later regret my decision. The school people of course also encouraged me to take it up again. 

   This time round, my previous piano teacher was on maternity leave I believe, so I was assigned a different one – an older, very serious lady who had the patience of a saint, and as she once admitted, she graded me based on my good intentions, which I thought both very amusing and very kind of her, although I don’t think any good intentions for playing the piano were left in me by that point, so I guess I totally didn’t deserve the good grades I got Fromm her. 😀 Also as a way of compromise between me vs the school people and Mum, I wasn’t in music school anymore, but instead in something that would literally translate to musical fire or musical hearth from Polish, I don’t know what it’s called in English or if it’s called at all, anyway it was a sort of less demanding alternative to music school, where you could learn to play instrument but didn’t have to take so many exams or do theory and it was a lot less serious. I was very adamant though that I wouldn’t do singing anymore. And, thankfully, I didn’t even have to fight too much about it, because I think people realised that it’s no longer that Bibiel who liked singing so much, and I was very glad to be free at least of that. I did occasionally sing a psalm in church if they had to find someone quickly and no one else could do that, but that was it. And like I’ve already mentioned, some people seemed really disconsolate that I didn’t sing anymore, wording it sometimes in such a way that you could have thought I was my singing, and once I didn’t sing, I wasn’t really at all, or so it felt being on the receiving end of such comments. 😀 

   Eventually, I was able to break free from the piano as well. It turned out that I may need another feet surgery, and in order to try and prevent it from being a necessity, I had to have a lot of feet exercises and rehabilitation. So in order for that to fit into my schedule, I was more than happy to ditch the piano out of it. Theoretically, if I really wanted and was really motivated to do both, I’m sure I could, even if my schedule would be a bit packed, but I was elated to finally get rid of it out of my life, and this time round, my Mum didn’t oppose, as she understood that I didn’t want the surgery and neither did she. The piano was hardly a priority anymore. 

   Then later on, during some holidays, my friend and roommate was going to visit me at home. She played guitar, and I really wanted her to be able to play for me a bit, but I guess she either didn’t have her own guitar or couldn’t take it with her or something, don’t remember what exactly, in any case my Mum and me wanted to get hold of some guitar that she could play. And my Godmother had a friend who played the guitar, so we asked my Godmother to ask her friend if she could lend it to us for a few days, and she did. While my friend stayed with us, my Mum got an excellent idea that Bibiel could learn to play the guitar as well, and that this friend of my Godmother’s could teach me. The idea itself was not unappealing to me, but I was quite sure that if I wasn’t able to learn the piano very well for all those years, then the guitar would be even more difficult. You really have to be quite dextrous to play it, even if it’s not a super difficult instrument overall. But Mum was saying that, oh well, if I won’t like it or will find it too difficult, I won’t have to keep going, and I guess a part of me did indeed want to try in case it could work out. So she visited me every week during the remainder of the holidays and taught me some really basic things. It was very interesting, but again, practically, my brain-hand coordination or lack thereof made it very difficult and even when I thought that I have learned some chords or technique with her, when I tried to practice it by myself, I didn’t know how, or rather, I did know perfectly well on a cognitive level, but not on a manual level, if that even makes sense. 

   So, after the summer was over, my guitar playing was over too, and now I don’t even remember anything of that at all. 

   From my current perspective, even though all those years of various forms of musical education were mostly quite difficult for me, I am now grateful for that in a way. Because while I haven’t been making any music in any way more serious than singing Misha to sleep or playing a water bottle ever since quitting the guitar and I have no desire to do more (well theoretically I think I’d really like to be able to play the Celtic harp but I know that it’s either totally not doable for me, or even if it is, it would require a lot more effort than I’d be actually, seriously willing to put into something like that), I wouldn’t be able to get as much out of listening music as I do. I definitely think that my role is that of a listener rather than performer, but to be a good listener I think it’s also a good idea to be able to have a basic idea about performing, so that you can judge it more fairly. My understanding of music is definitely not as good as that of people who have actually graduated from music school or even can play an instrument well, I don’t have absolute pitch or anything like that, but still I think the many experiences of performing music and learning about it that I had make me a bit more of an attentive and analytical listener than people who have no such experiences at all. Also I think given that so many people can sing better or worse, and can be easily trained to sing even better than they do, it’s a good idea to give every child at least a taste of what it’s like to sing or play an instrument, ‘cause otherwise they’ll just have no idea if they like it or if they might actually be good at it. 

   People in my extended family still ask me on a regular basis if I still sing like I used to, or why I don’t anymore, even if they asked me precisely the same thing when we saw each other previously, and I usually tell people that I now do languages instead, which are kind of like a different form of music. Because I do think they are. So, who knows, if I didn’t have that early music education, maybe I wouldn’t take up languages either? I’m very curious what I’d do with my life then, but I doubt it would be anything interesting. 😀 

   How about you? What’s not for you? 🙂 

Question of the day (7th September).

   What’s your biggest high school regret? 

   My answer: 

   That would definitely have to be that I went along with my Mum’s idea that I should pass my finals in a school for the blind. I went to a mainstream high school, so called high school for adults which meant we had classes only some days a week and in the evenings, and it was generally a lot less demanding than a regular high school, you didn’t pick your main subjects or anything like that. I didn’t have to go there and could pick just a regular high school, because I was just nineteen at the time and I was going there straight from secondary/junior high school/whatever other equivalent  you have in your country before high school, and it was very unambitious of me, but I went this route thinking it would be a lot less difficult for me practically and less stressful in general, with all the peopling and other stuff that I didn’t really feel I needed. In the end it went even better because some teachers were so scared of me that they embraced my suggestion that I would just homeschool myself at home and they would send me control assignment topics and exam dates and I would send them control assignments and only come to school for exams every half-term. That worked really well for me also because a lot of what my classmates did was based either on slides or textbooks, and I obviously couldn’t see the former and didn’t have the latter in an accessible format, so it felt like a huge waste of time. This way I was also able to have more hours with my math tutor, who was a special ed teacher for the blind and deaf, since as you all probably know by now I sucked at math and my school teacher had no clue how to teach the subject to a blind student, especially one like me hehe, despite her best intentions. Despite loads of hours of tutoring that I had, lots of homework that I got from my tutor and my desperate and mostly fruitless hours of trying to learn it myself somehow, I was pretty sure that I was going to fail my math finals pretty miserably and my Mum was worried about it too. So she thought that perhaps it would be easier for me if I could do them at a blind school. Not the one that I used to go to, but one a bit closer to us. I knew that when you have to have an official school exam and have some special educational needs, then it has to be adapted for your needs, but we were slightly worried if it’s going to be the case because when at some point the deputy head asked me if I’m going to take the finals and I just casually mentioned that I’ll need to have them adapted, in Braille and all that, she was absolutely flabbergasted. Plus, I thought I’d generally feel safer with the math exam specifically when I had competent people in the committee, even though they obviously wouldn’t be able to help me with the exam itself or anything like that.

   We were even more enthusiastic about it when it turned out that, in that school, unlike my previous blind school, each student writes their exams in a separate room. It can feel awkward, especially if you’re like me and always finish exams super fast, whether you’ve done it really well or really badly, because if I know everything, why would I need to take an eternity writing it, and if I don’t know anything, why would I sit around wasting everyone’s time pretending to do something? It’s even more awkward, because, very unfortunately for me, when you have special educational needs, you have more time for doing the exams. So whenever I had some official exam and said I was finished, everyone was all like: “Already?! Are you sure?” sounding extremely surprised and kind of suspicious. But if I sat with it for longer just to seem like I’m still writing, checking it for the 30th time in a row, the time flows agonisingly slow. Especially if you have a zombie day like I had on the day of my Polish final, or when you get a migraine like I got on my math final. 😀 But, overall, having a room and a committee just for yourself can also feel better than being in a room with loads of other people, especially if everyone writes on a Brailler and these tend to be loud-ish. I just generally had a good feeling about it, or perhaps I decided to trust Mum’s feeling, despite I actually had quite a bad experience with that school from a couple years earlier. Namely, after I left the blind school that I went to for most of my education, there was a few months of limbo that I had and we didn’t really know what to do with my education further except that I wouldn’t go back there. So my Mum got an idea that we would go ask in this blind school closer to us if they’d perhaps be able to help somehow, though we weren’t even sure how, but perhaps a bit naively thought that something along the lines of letting me use their educational resources or sending a teacher at least once in a while to help me with schoolwork. They said that, hm no, this isn’t something we do, and then the situation had a yucky twist because they all suddenly started to persuade me that I should join their boarding school. Well, I certainly didn’t leave one boarding school to replace it with another, that generally has worse reputation among blind people from what I know of, so I was absolutely adamant that I was not going to do this, but they kept trying to convince me and before I knew it there was a whole team of people of all kinds of professions surrounding me and telling me how I need their school but just don’t know it yet, and I was feeling increasingly like I was about to go crazy. It’s a frequent theme in my nightmares, both regular and sleep paralysis ones, that someone tries to convince me to do something or wants to do something to me and I keep telling them that no, for fuck’s sake, I don’t want it, yet they keep shoving it in my face and then end up either doing what they want or forcing me to do something, so it always makes me feel kind of threatened or something when this happens in real life, let alone a situation like that, I seriously thought I was in a dream. 😀 What was worse was that they ended up almost convincing my parents, and I still had a few months until turning eighteen so when we finally left, they were feeling very much that I should go there. Rescue came to me from the most unexpected direction I could imagine, and my grandad also deserves some credit, but that’s a different and unrelated story. 

   Going back to my finals, in the end, I donn’t think it made a substantial enough difference for me that you could really call it a difference at all that I took the exams in that school. Especially that I ended up failing math anyway. And it was all extremely stressful not only for me but also my parents, who had to drive several times back and forth, as this school is several hours drive away. I guess only Sofi enjoyed it and whenever the topic comes up, she always says how she’d like to go back there again because she has nice associations with that time and enjoyed sleeping in a hotel when we decided to stay in that town one night. Some bits about that experience were kind of triggering for me and in particular dealing with their “amazing” headmistress, I don’t think I’ve ever had to do with an equally or more toxic and just all round unpleasant being in my life, almost like an embodiment of Maggie my inner critic, even their names are etymologically related. Ever since then I always hear Maggie speak in her voice. 😀 If she’s like that with her regular students, I feel extremely sorry for each one of them and wonder how much counselling they’ll need later on in life, they should get compensations or something. 

   How about your high school regrets? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   Hey all you people! 🙂 

   What are things that are seemingly easy for others but are very hard for you? 

   My answer: 

   Oh my flip, do I really have to list all of them now? 😀 It would have to be like a whole series of posts – “Things That Other People Can Do, But Bibielz Don’t Have a Clue How, in 50 parts. – 😀 Well I think I’ll just mention a few, I’ve just had a migraine and my brain’s still a bit spacey from that so I don’t feel like writing a series, plus really who needs a whole series of all the things Bibielz can’t do. 😀 

   So yeah, the obvious thing would be peopling. I’ve no idea how people do that and know what to say when and have the right emotional reactions to things and all that and how it’s not utterly draining for them. Logically, I’d think that if they can do peopling better than me, then they should be all the more drained by it, perhaps except for people like my Sofi who really are extreme extroverts and simply love being around people and talking to anyone and stuff, but most people are somewhere in the middle I guess, so it’s weird for me that their brain batteries have so much capacity. But yeah, I’m really quite clueless about how to engage with people, and so if I want to do that well, I often ask my Mum for advice, and while she can be very helpful, it often blows her mind that someone has such weird dilemmas around peopling as I do. And no, it’s not just with some random stranger people, it’s with all people really. Which is one part of why I find it rather difficult to form closer relationships that go beyond some rather superficial level. 

   Then there’s math. Although, after a lot of fighting, particularly on my Mum’s side, I did get a certificate or whatever that would be called in English saying that I have dyscalculia, for some reason it’s generally not a thing to diagnose blind people with dyscalculia and I don’t really understand why. I mean yes, a lot of blind people struggle with math and one reason why that might be is a lack/some degree of impairment of spatial imagination due to blindness, so perhaps someone figured that all blind people must struggle with math due to this so no point to diagnose them with dyscalculia on top of that if it’s blindness that’s responsible for their math difficulties. Except I also know some congenitally blind people who are really good at math, so it’s definitely not a rule and people who are better at it can’t be classified as exceptions from the rule because it seems to be a lot of such people. Plus, if there really is such a strict correlation between blindness and math difficulties that diagnosing people with dyscalculia makes no sense, then blind people should automatically have lowered requirements on all sorts of official math exams, just like dyscalculics/acalculics do, which is not a thing. Or we need some sort of additional criteria that would help in telling which blind people need those and which do not. Anyways, even though I got that certificate, and even though I often call my math difficulties dyscalculia because it’s kinda easier especially for other folks to understand, it doesn’t really look exactly like dyscalculia I think. It’s not like I can’t do counting at all or can’t understand stuff like time and such which is common among people with dyscalculia from what I’ve been told. I have no problem counting backwards, or doing some easy math in my brain, I even know the times tables to 100, which our 15-year-old Sofi still does not despite a lot of effort on her part so she laughs at me that I’m a total math geek compared to her lol. I usually had no problem learning theoretical math stuff at school and it seemed like I was able to understand it, but still applying it in practice was always difficult for me. With more complex calculations that have a couple steps or involve larger numbers, I’ve usually no clue what operations I actually have to do to get the result I need. I have that weird problem that when I read a digit, I read it right, but at the same time think of a completely different one, and it all gets really meddled in my brain. Same when someone dictates some digits to me, be it a mathematical operation, a code or whatever else really, I’ll hear the numbers right, but often end up writing different ones, and only realise that I did when something goes wrong later on. Or when I was at school we often had to read our homework aloud, and even though a boarding school staff would often spend several hours helping me do it the evening before and I had it done well, I would still often get a bad grade from it because I would read different numbers than the ones I actually wrote. It’s quite weird. I also have a problem using a calculator, not just because I often don’t know what operations to do to get the result I need, but also again because the numbers and all the plus minus etc. Keys get mixed up in my brain. Same even about digit keys on the computer, I have to really think when typing digits, especially in a string, because I usually make some mistake in there and then have to proofread and figure out if I did indeed and where exactly. 😀 So it’s funny actually that formally my job at my Dad’s includes making bank transfers. I wonder what would happen if he actually let me do that. 😀 I don’t even do my own transfers myself, I always ask my Mum, because I’m scared I’ll do something wrong and, like, send someone 3000 dollars instead of 300. Generally shopping is always a more or less stressful thing to me. I can deal with my own PIN codes and stuff like that because God bless Braille and the fact that digits in it are based on letters. What I mean is, if you want to write numbers in Braille, you have to precede them with a number sign so that it’s clear that these are numbers and not letters, and then numbers from 1 to 9 are letters from A to I, and 0 is J. So if I have to use a PIN code or something similar, I choose words from my various languages that can be written in Braille as digits, which makes them a lot easier to remember and type in. For example the Polish word babcia (granny) changes into 212391 if preceded by the number sign in Braille. This is helpful even if I don’t type in Braille but just any other keyboard or anything because I simply have to memorise the word and then it’s no problem to know what the numbers are. I also struggle with estimating numbers, like prices and stuff like that. One annoying problem that I also had with math at school was that I could do pretty well with it if I had someone sitting next to me and telling me what to do next and generally guiding me. I’d think for myself, but they’d just sort of help me figure out what to do next. And then I would often do everything really well and people would wonder what the problem really is with me and math when there’s no problem. But, as soon as the person would disappear, I’d have no clue what to do. It was super frustrating for me when I worked with my math tutor while at the mainstream high school, and she would often give me some homework to do. So in order to not forget how to do what we’d just been doing during our lesson, I’d sit down to my homework as soon as we were finished with the lesson, except my brain no longer knew how to do it. Perhaps if she’d given me the exact same math problem that we did during the lesson, maybe I’d be able to do it on my own, with the emphasis on maybe. 😀 So I’d be confused as to which operations to do when, and something would always go wrong. Especially if I ended up mixing up some numbers in the meantime as well, and as a result I could rarely get the right result. Interestingly enough, Sofi has exactly the same problem now, and for her it’s also similar to how it’s been for me inn that it’s gotten a lot worse around fourth grade. Sofi’s actually a preemie, and my aforementioned tutor also worked with her. She specialises in working with special needs students, especially blind and deaf but also more generally, and Sofi has no diagnosed special needs, but when my Mum asked her if she could help Sofi out she was willing to do it and taught both of us. So she spent like two hours with me (because I was preparing for finals at that time as well) and an hour with Sofi and we both marvelled at how she has so much patience and joked that this is why she gets ill so often, because she really got very ill with some sinus stuff or other such every few weeks. And quite soon after she started working with Sofi she said that it seems like Sofi might have some mild learning disability due to being born prematurely and suggested that she should be evaluated or something, but Mum didn’t go deeper into that as she didn’t think it could actually be practically helpful even if she was diagnoseable with something, because Sofi doesn’t have any academic ambitions really so she doesn’t even have to do the normal high school but can go to vocation school or something like that if she wants. Indeed, Sofi now says that she would like to be a plumber, or should I say a plumbress, lol, but still I think perhaps that would have been useful for her anyway. Now Sofi has a “mainstream” tutor and she – Sofi, not the tutor – tells me that she’s really struggling with her, because the tutor seems to think that Sofi’s just lazy or stupid or something, when actually she understands everything quite well during the lessons, it’s just when she has to do something completely on her own with no guiding that she has no clue how to actually apply what she knows in practice and just writes nonsense. 

   Other than math, Bibielz also can’t do a lot of seemingly simple manual things. Like how the flip do people even tie their shoe laces?! I’d been taught that in preschool, then at school, then my Dad tried his luck and I still don’t know how to do it. It’s kinda like with math, I know in theory what you have to do in order to do it, but I still don’t know how to do it in practice anyway. Not that I care, I can just wear shoes without laces, but yeah, that’s just another thing that Bibielz can’t do and that’s a mystery for me how other peoplez do it. And a lot of other things like that, like how do people do it that they can cut their food into even pieces, well generally cut either with a knife or with scissors properly? In my blind school, we had to eat with a knife and fork, one of the staff even said that we should eat vegetables that we would eat alongside sandwiches for breakfast with a knife and fork rather than just with our fingers as I guess most normal people do, though noone actually did it, and while I can eat with a knife and fork no problem, cutting food is another thing, so someone always either had to help me do it, or do it for me. We had such subject at school which I have no idea how to translate it to English, we learned how to do artsy things there (or as Sofi says “plast plast”) but also things like cooking or sewing or such. I had great luck that pretty much all the people who went to this particular class with me also struggled with it and most were intellectually disabled, and it was a pretty small group of just four people most of the time so our teacher was able to give everyone quite a lot of attention and make sure that no one would make too much of a mess during their crafty endeavours, wouldn’t ruin a Mother’s Day card or other clay figurine for their mummy so much that it would actually show that they did it totally independently, or chop their whole finger off and mix into the salad. 😀 I was also super lucky that this teacher actually really liked me despite  my shortcomings at her subject, and as soon as she discovered that I am decent at writing, we’d made an unspoken deal that I would make up lovely little poems for various cards that my classmates were making for various occasions, or for school events or stuff like that, while she would do most of the manual labour for me, which I was super grateful for. Or whenever she would learn about any art competitions for her students to take part in that also accepted literary forms, she would encourage me to take part in them and I would work at some short stories or stuff like that during our lessons. When I came back home from that school, I mean for good, I really wanted to learn at least some basic cooking or something like that, and wanted to help my Mum make dinner, so she told me to cut up vegetables. It went fairly decent for a while, even though my vegetable pieces were in all sorts of shapes, but then at some point I cut my finger pretty badly and there was so much blood that my poor Mum got really scared, and now she’s very reluctant to let me do anything more serious in the kitchen. 😀 

   Yeah, so these are a few example things that Bibielz can’t do. 🙂 

   Now your turn. 🙂 

Question of the day.

   Who was the worst teacher you’d ever had? 

   My answer: 

   I guess I’ve had both some teachers that were pretty damn good, as well as such that were really awful. Either at teaching or generally dealing with students. But it’s really hard to pick the ultimate worst. My class teacher at the inclusion/integration school that I went to for two years is someone whom I don’t have particularly good memories of. Thankfully she wasn’t my class teacher for those two years, only the second year. At the same time, she happened to be our math teacher. She was very weird and moodswingy, and clearly had some mental problem with my being blind, but wouldn’t show it in an explicit way ‘cause… well, inclusion school. Instead she just acted really awkward not only with me, but also with my Mum. She was very happy to throw as much of her teaching responsibility off her shoulders onto my Mum, so my Mum didn’t have the best relationship with her either. And overall she just wasn’t a particularly likeable person, creating a lot of unnecessary tension and stressful atmosphere around her. 

   I then also happened to have a math teacher as my class teacher when I came back to the blind school, and she got on my nerves all the time, but I suppose that was more because of my whole math situation rather than her being a bad teacher in general, even though a lot of other students didn’t like her either. She wasn’t a very engaging or particularly pleasant person, seemed kind of dry and emotionless to me, but I don’t think it would be fair to say that she was a bad teacher no matter how eagerly I disliked her. 

   I had some pretty bad luck with English teachers. Some of them were lovely people, but not very good teachers, while others were I guess decent teachers, but unpleasant people who could easily discourage you from liking their subject, but thankfully none managed to discourage me from liking the language itself. 

   Oh yeah, and my history teacher in high school/college, he was absolutely hilarious and annoying, I don’t know which he was more. It was a mainstream school and I don’t think he had to do with a blind individual before ‘cause he seemed to be utterly scared of me. It was really ffunny on one hand, because, huh, I didn’t know I was this creepy, and me and one of my classmates had a lot of laughs about it and wondered what would happen if I did something weird in his lesson, like started laughing like a freak or yelling in Swedish or pretended to be spectacularly sick like have a heart attack or a seizure, or whatever, how he would react, and my classmate highly encouraged me to try, but on the other hand it was really inconvenient because being a sociophobic myself, I didn’t really know how to interact with him, and I did have to occasionally. He was even absolutely terrified of my Mum. I originally thought that perhaps he also has social anxiety or something like that and felt for him, but since his interactions with everyone else other than my Mum and me were totally normal I quickly figured out that he’s just probably scared of contracting blindness.  I later on decided that I will do most of my school work from home and just send them control assignments and come for half-term exams, because my sitting in class for eight hours often felt like a total waste of time when they did some textbook-based stuff or looked at slideshows, and when I came to school with my Mum to ask the teachers if that was okay, my Mum said that he looked very visibly relieved. He still had to deal with the creepy Bibielz during exams, which you’d think would be  all the worse because it was one-on-one interaction and he couldn’t just pretend I wasn’t there, so I thought it would be very problematic, but he actually seemed to deal with that better. 

   How about your worst teacher(s)? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   Which part of the stereotypical teenager experience did you not relate to? 

   My answer: 

   Probably more than what I did relate to, and more than what I can think of right now. I guess most people think of teenagers as being rebellious, loud, having an attitude (this is such a weird, vague-sounding expression, everyone has some sort of attitude) and stuff like that. I wouldn’t say I was those things. I never really felt the need to rebel in some ostentatious way. Well, I guess you may say that I sort of did in my late teens when I turned away from Christianity and pretended mostly for my own sake that I was an atheist or agnostic, then later tried playing with Wicca, because my school was Catholic and I wanted to reject everything to do with it. I also identified and liked to present myself as a Goth, and I think there was also a sort of rebellious element to it because it doesn’t really get along very well with Christian values. I would also do stuff like I-dosing (using such binaural beats which work sort of like drugs and simulate various mental states) or lucid dreaming, which was primarily a way of escapism for me, but in a way I think a sort of rebellion as well. But while I really regret all of that now and have not only got a chance from God to re-convert but also found my place in the traditional Catholic community and now attend exclusively traditional Latin Mass, which is kind of funny when I think of it more, I don’t think people around me perceived me as particularly rebellious in a typical teenager way. 

   I definitely wasn’t impulsive or into risk. I certainly was emotional like a proper teenager, but I was a huge fan of bottling things up and apparently very good at it so I came across as the opposite of that to many people.

   I’ve always felt that most fictional teenagers – and most of the real ones that I knew while being a teenager myself, for that matter – seem to have a lot of friends, or at the very least one best friend that they share stuff with and are really close to each other. This is also not really an experience I had. As I wrote on here before, I think I was liked at school and unlike your stereotypical friendless teenager I didn’t have any enemies either and was never bullied or anything like that. I got along well with most people and had some common ground with a handful, I even called some of them friends, but wasn’t particularly close with anyone. The girls I particularly enjoyed hanging out with were already a very tightly-knit circle of friends to each other, and while I think they liked me and my company and we had a lot of common ground, they clearly didn’t see me as part of that circle and were most happy to spend time without additional people, as they had their insider things that they liked to do together and that they weren’t keen on introducing to anyone else, so I spent most of the time alone. I mostly didn’t mind that, though I often felt that life would be a lot easier in a lot of ways for me at school if I had someone that I could be closer with and with whom we could be best friends for each other, and while I wasn’t desperate for a friendship, the lack thereof contributed to my already strong feelings of inadequacy. There were also two girls that I met online about whom I really liked to think as my best friends, we met in a blind online network that was a thing back then. We had a lot of fun times and one of them introduced me to my first two faza people which she also had fazas on. But we only talked online, and I only had access to the Internet when I was at home, which was only either when there was some school break, or on an occasional weekend, or when I was sick or something so not too often, which doesn’t help with maintaining a relationship. Later on, when I was still deep in my teens, I met my now late friend Jacek from Helsinki which was quite a close yet also very turbulent friendship, but I don’t think it fits in with your stereotypical teenage friendships because I didn’t meet him at school, except on a forum for translators where I shared my Vreeswijk’s translations. 

   As regulars ón here know, I didn’t fall in love, date, or have sex either. Still, for some reason, some girls really liked to come to me for relationship advice. It sometimes felt a little awkward being practically the only one not going out with someone, except for those girls who had some mild intellectual deficits, but I didn’t really have any desire to that just because that was what everyone else was doing, and, more importantly, there was just absolutely no one sufficiently interesting that I could go out with, and just the mere idea felt slightly intimidating. 

   I didn’t go to parties. Well, I did, if I had to, but these were mostly stuff like school balls/proms or people’s birthday parties also held at school, and obviously parties within my family. No teen house parties, discos or clubbing or whatever else people might do. I never had any desire to do that sort of thing either. I hated even the school balls and always dreaded them and did whatever I could to avoid them. 

   I didn’t have much of an interest in make-up, doing my nails and stuff like that. Which I suppose is the typical teenage girl thing because it is very much Sofi’s thing and Sofi is, for the most, very typical of her age group. It just seemed like a lot of hassle to deal with being blind, and I had very little motivation. I became more interested in it once I became a Goth, but it was still rather half-hearted. 

   I was lucky enough that I almost didn’t have acne. I did get some occasional  pimple, especially before Jack the Ripper’s visits whenn he started coming, but for the most part I don’t seem to have a particularly oily skin. My Mum says that it also could be because I usually didn’t pop the pimples unless the more gross-looking or painful ones in more visible locations. 

   I didn’t try to desperately follow my peers in what I did or was interested in. Sometimes like I’ve already said it contributed to me feeling more inadequate, but even so I wasn’t interested in fitting in more. On the other hand though, I also liked not being into everything that happened to be trendy at the moment either worldwide or in my immediate surroundings and having my own taste in things and thinking a bit more independently rather than blending in with the crowd for all costs. Sure, there were things that the majority did that I did as well, it wasn’t like I would reject something just because everyone else did it so I wanted to be different for all means. I just took what I liked from what they did. 

   I didn’t look up to my peers more than my parents and I didn’t have any major generational issues with my parents. If I did, they never led to any huge conflicts or arguments or anything like that. A huge part of that was definitely the fact that I spent most of the time in the boarding school and I really didn’t like it and didn’t want it to have any influence on me, I also missed my Mum a lot so she was the strongest authority figure for me. But also my Mum is a very flexible-minded person so it’s easy to get along with her and make a compromise if needed even if we have different ideas about something, she’s also very loyal so even if my siblings or I did something wrong at school or anywhere else outside of home or were in trouble or something, she would always be on our side rather than, say, the teacher’s or whoever was accusing us, while at the same time acknowledging that what we did was wrong and not being happy about it, but she just thinks that if you’re a parent, you should be in your child’s corner so that they’re not alone even if they did something bad or stupid. She was also always very interested in our lives and we knew we could talkk to her about anything freely if we wanted, unlike what seems to be the case with many teenagers and their parents. In fact, as a teenager, often when I was witnessing a class- or groupmate having some trouble I’d be surprised when they didn’t think of talking about it with their parents first so that they could help, but instead tried to unsuccessfully deal with it on their own or talked to the staff who were often rather biased, or other kids who could often comiserate but not necessarily always help in a real way. I also didn’t understand regular teenagers living with their parents on a daily basis how they could be often so rude to their parents or argue with them all the time or almost not talk with them at all. So whenever I needed some advice, had some questions of vital importance, or decided to let a little bit of that bottled up stuff out, I would most often call my Mum. And I think I must have achieved some school record in calling my family , as from what I could observe, no one did it as often as I did, which was often multiple times during the day. 

   I guess it’s also a common stereotype among people that teenagers really want to become adults so that they can finally do what they want. Well, I didn’t. I always dreaded adulthood, even at preschool age, which I’m pretty sure I’ve already written about here how I had some sort of dream or vision or whatever that was of myself being an adult surrounded by little kids and having totally no idea what I’m supposed to do. If anything, when I was a teenager, I often felt a very strong sense of a sort of emotional/mental weariness, probably due to depression, and I sometimes thought how cool it would be to be a baby again and not have much of an idea about anything. That probably says something about my emotional maturity. 😀 I also often felt really confused when facing various life responsibilities. 

   How about you? 🙂 

Question of the day (13th May).

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   I meant to post some question for you all yesterday, but since I didn’t, after all, we’ll have two today, yay! 😀 

   You have fifteen minutes to prepare a lecture to 5000 people about anything. What would your topic be? Why? 

   My answer: 

   Goodness me, I have lots of ideas for what I could give a lecture to people about that I guess could be of decent enough quality, but, fifteen minutes… that probably wouldn’t go to well, whatever topic I’d choose, and I wouldn’t even be able to think of all the things that could go wrong to prepare for them as well! 😀 What I know for sure is that I would make people aware that someone organising this whole lecture thing is a very realistic thinker because I’ve only learned fifteen minutes ago that I’m supposed to be giving this lecture, so it’s not me who’s to blame if it’ll end up sounding like I prepared it last minute, the more that I’ve never given a real lecture, let alone to this many people. Oh yeah, and that I am no expert or authority on anything, just some random Bibiel who’s into a lot of weird things. 

   But, let’s think… well, I think the idea I like most out of those I’ve come up with so far is a very ranty lecture about all the shortcomings of the education system, because everyone who knows me knows I love to rant about this topic and find all things possible that are wrong with it ‘cause it’s just evil. But I’d try to make this lecture something productive rather than just ranting for the sake of it as it usually is, hoping that it would give people some food for thought. I’d really like to see a wise, carefully thought through, maybe even radical reform of how schooling works, I think such an investment in people’s minds would be really worth it and I guess I don’t have to convince anyone why. But because I am just one little Bibiel who has no experience working in the field of education, parenting or the like, I wouldn’t feel competent talking on my own about how the changes would exactly need to be made, just share some ideas and  raise some issues due to which I think changes would be worth considering by those who actually have more of an idea about it. I chose this topic over all the others that came to my brain when thinking of this question because, unlike the others, it’s based on my opinions rather than facts, which would be less demanding to prepare for in fifteen minutes and so more likely to be successful.

   I’d try to keep it as unniversal as possible because I think a lot of these shortcomings are a thing regardless of which country we’re speaking about, but of course I myself only have first-hand experience of schooling in Poland and more second-hand idea about it than about other countries so I’d refer to that a lot. I would probably go with the flow and get a lot of stuff covered spontaneously depending on how much time I’d have for this lecture, but some things I’d like to put some particular emphasis on would be the following: 

   individual approach (or lack thereof) to students in schools. Even in schools with small-sized classes where a teacher may have a closer contact with their students and be able to devote more time to each of them, there’s rarely any real focus on a specific individual’s particular needs, strengths and difficulties, academical first and foremost but also social, physical, emotional etc. Since everyone says that school is not just about academic learning. Special schools, inclusion schools, schools for gifted children and other such are probably a bit better at this than the rest, as they have IEP’s and all that, but still as someone who’s actually been in a special school, an inclusion school and then individual education for a while, I feel it’s largely just theoretical. I think what most smaller schools really do better than large/public schools is put more effort in making every student fit somehow into the curriculum, if not vertically, then horizontally, if not horizontally,  then whatever way goes so that they can finish school, pass what they have to and who cares if they actually retain any of the knowledge well enough that they’ll be able to recall and use it in practice in daily life, if they even know what they want to do with their life after school or if what they’d learned is all useful and valuable stuff. I’m sure it’s not because of anyone’s bad intentions, but we seem to forget that things (like schools, curricula (or is it curriculums? The more I think on either the weirder it sounds and looks 😀 ) grading systems etc. ) are for people, not people for things. Then there’s the problem with slower-learning children vs gifted children and how their potential is usually measured compared with the class overall, so if a kid does all he can to do well at school but is not doing as well as the class does on average, he’s being stretched beyond his limits and his self-esteem is being systematically ruined. Or if a kid is so-called gifted and does better than the class, he’s  bored to death at school seeing how his peers painstakingly deal with something he’s figured out on his own two years ago, which may be just as discouraging in the end. Let alone a child who, for whatever reason, whether “special” in any way or not, doesn’t develop very evenly and is exceptionally brilliant at some subject(s), but just as exceptionally lame at some others. Yeah, there are gifted schools, extra tutoring for struggling students, and all sorts of extra-curricular activities/interest-based clubs or however they’re called in English for those who are very good at some specific things. But not all schools have that, and not everyone can send their child to a school that does. So I think there really should be a lot more focus on working individually with each child by default, in that the teachers would actually take the time to sit one on one with a student and work on their individual skills, or at least we should have some better system of assigning children to specific classes rather than just based on their age. 

   Second language education. I’ve written a lot about that here already so won’t be repeating myself. Thankfully I believe it’s not an ever-present problem, I can clearly see for myself that the quality of language education is mostly very low here, but it doesn’t seem to be the case everywhere. 

   And last, but not least… yeah, homeschooling! Have I told you guys that when I was a kid it was my biggest dream to be homeschooled ever since I first heard of it? Sadly it never came true (it would be a huge thing if it did given my disability, the fact that my Mum doesn’t read Braille etc.), but I did get to sort of homeschool myself when going to the mainstream high school/college for adults as it made more sense for me than to sit in class while they were looking at slideshows and working with textbooks which I didn’t have in an accessible format so I only went there for term exams and emailed assignments to them. I’m still a big fan of homeschooling. But at the same time I realise that it is something really, really, REALLy difficult and daring and not every parent is able to do it for all sorts of reasons. I guess we all can think of some reasons for why it is so difficult and, as it is, not doable for many people, even if they really want it and even if their kids would really benefit from it. But one of the problems I see here is that homeschooling is seenn as some sort of last resort, when all else fails, and there’s very little support for parents who are brave enough to decide to do it. If someone does it even if nothing has failed in their child’s case, or there could be other options to explore, they’re seen as kind of eccentric. So I guess many parents may not even know that it’s a possibility, or if they know and are willing and theoretically could be able to do it, they don’t know how to go about it, because it’s not something you hear a lot about. I think it should just be one of the default options. You can send your children to school, or you can homeschool them, or flexi-school them (do some days at school and some days at home/somewhere outside like a museum), and there should be resources or places widely available that would give people all the info and help that they might need to make either of those three things happen. My Mum has really wanted to homeschool Sofi, which obviously didn’t work out, and that was one of her difficulties as well, that she didn’t know how one actually makes it happen. Like, can you just pull your kid out of school and say “I’m teaching her at home now?” I think it would be a lot easier if there was some sort of department at schools or separate places that would be there to help parents to make it easier to coordinate it all – helping the parents to make a plan of children’s education that they would stick to, make sure that the parents have all the materials they’ll need, assess the progress of the children with exams and what not organise time for children to  spend  together and socialise and have group activities, organising additional tutoring for children who are struggling in some subjects and whose parents aren’t able to help them adequately, just generally support such families. Perhaps they even should get some sort of benefits or however you’d call that in English, for homeschooling, so that one parent wouldn’t need to work and could stay with the children and teach them. I’ve heard that such families often stick together a lot because it’s naturally a lot easier for them to homeschool if they help each other out. Not every parent is good at every single subject, not every parent will find the motivation for taking their children for educational trips on a regular basis, but it’s easier when there’s a group of families who goes together so they don’t have to be alone with coming up with and preparing everything, so such parents share the responsibilities, plus the kids get to spend a lot of time with their peers, unlike what a lot of people think is the case with homeschooled children. There’s also flexi-schooling. Someone may want their children to develop their particular talents first and foremost, but obviously they also want them to learn everything and anything else that might be useful, except they don’t have a clue about physics, so the kid goes to school for physics. Or someone wants their child to be homeschooled but realistically can only take certain days of the week off work, and the rest of the week the child would go to school. 

   That’s, more or less, what I would give my lecture about. 

   How about you? 🙂 

My most cherished childhood memory.

   I thought that I would write another journal prompt-inspired post, this time based on a prompt from a book called 412 Journaling Exercises and Prompts for Personal Growth by Meredith Lane. I’ve actually already sort of used this prompt in my private diary in the past, but thought I’d also write about it on here, and the prompt goes as follows: 

   Describe your most cherished childhood memory. 

   When I was writing about this prompt in my diary, I found it more difficult than I would have thought it could be to think about the one, MOST cherished memory from my childhood. I could think of a lot of happy and pleasant and all sorts of positive moments from my childhood, but it wasn’t like right when I saw this question something would spring to my mind as being the MOST. I of course eventually did come up with something that felt like it could come up this criterion, but I assumed that the fact it took me so long was due to my brain being at fault, because apparently our brains are a lot better at retaining and remembering the yucky stuff that happened to us – provided it’s not so very yucky that the brain would rather get rid of it and suppress it – rather than the good stuff. Before I wrote this post, I decided to ask my Mum about her happy childhood memories. Partly because that’s what I very often do before or during writing posts like this, because we usually end up having long discussions on the topics of my posts and I end up seeing it from an additional angle, but also because I was just curious. My Mum has often told me that she feels like she doesn’t remember a whole lot out of her childhood and has a lot of gaps, and while I don’t think she would call her childhood unhappy and I don’t think one could call it so objectively, most of what she has shared with me about it sounds just a little bit unpleasant to me. The times in which her childhood happened to be – communism – her extreme timidity and anxiousness as a child, and her dad, who in all her stories, especially the ones she told me when I was a child, sounded extremely stern and even a bit scary to me – an ever-looming presence of someone who is physically present most of the time yet hardly speaking to his children at all, and if so, usually to scold or punish them. – It was all the more scary for me that he is so different now as a grandfather, and a better father to his adult children as well, and that extreme difference was unfathomable for me. So when I asked her this, she ended up having the same problem and couldn’t come up with anything specific for a long time. So I asked her whether she thinks it’s because she doesn’t have a lot of happy memories from her childhood. She said that no, it’s probably just that she doesn’t really dwell on her memories so much and has always lived in the moment for the most part, and also that while she has many nice memories from her childhood and remembers it fondly as a whole, she couldn’t really think of anything that would particularly stand out. So I told her that I had the same problem when trying to answer that question in my diary and that it took me a long time to come up with something, to which she reacted with: “Oh, but what sort of childhood you had, it was a nightmare!” Well, I don’t think so at all. I definitely couldn’t call it happy if I were to be truthful, but I think a nightmare would be not only a huge overstatement and taking all the good things for granted. And that was when it dawned on me that the reason why we find it so difficult to think about the best memories from our childhoods is exactly this – that our childhoods weren’t a nightmare. – If they were, it would be easier to think of the few situations that stood out as a lot better than what we’d be used to our life being like as a whole. From what I’ve noticed, people who have gone through extreme poverty, extreme trauma or other major adverse experiences in childhood, often tend to have a handful or even just one memory from their childhood that stands out in their minds as being a lot better than everything else what they’ve been used to. Having a full, warm meal, or someone treating them better than what they’re used to at home, or having a fun outing at school etc. For us, most people these are normal things! Still much appreciated, but absolutely normal. So even though we have many experiences of happy times in our childhood, they naturally don’t stand out so much, because it was normal to have a lot of yummy food, presents for every birthday, playing silly games etc. Etc. Whatever an average kid does. My Mum agreed with me and said that rather than having any particular memories that would stand out very much, when she looks back at her childhood she just collectively remembers all the fun she had with her siblings, the constant presence of her mum at home and how cosy it was, spending time with her best friend etc. Nothing spectacular. It’s quite similar for me, and I wonder how it is for you. 

   Nevertheless, as I said, I did manage to come up with a memory, well, a few memories, that I guess kind of do stand out, or at least based on some things I’ve later experienced and little cues I’ve had in relation to them I believe that they must really stand out for my subconscious for some reason, and in this post, I’ll reminisce a bit about them. 

   They are memories of  the few times when I got to ride home from school in my Dad’s tanker lorry. That was not something that happened often or regularly,  because  generally tanker drivers are not supposed to have passengers, unless it’s a fellow driver and they work shifts. Or at least that’s the case with delivering fuel which is what my Dad does. Officially, anyone who is to ride a tanker has to go through some kind of training so that they’ll know what to do should there be an explosion or something. However, the hours and days of my Dad’s work were always rather unpredictable, and he couldn’t always organise it so that he’d be off work to pick me up from school together with Mum the, hm, conventional way. Especially if something unexpected came up like I was sick or whatever. And Mum was back then too chicken to drive four hours to my school and back on her own. So what they’d sometimes do was they’d take me from school a bit earlier when it fit Dad. Or other times Mum would ask someone from our extended family to go with her and drive, and people often very kindly did it. But there were a couple times when the most viable option was for Dad to take me in the lorry, when he happened to be working somewhere in the area or driving nearby anyway and could logistically squeeze in picking me up. I also think that the restrictions around that must have been a bit different when I was a young child, or perhaps for some reason there was a difference between how different companies where he worked handled it, because when Olek and me were little it would happen slightly more often that he would take us and/or Mum for rides when he had to go somewhere nearby and one time he even took Mum and Olek for quite a long trip. 

   I don’t remember now how many times exactly I rode with him from school in the lorry, maybe three or four, but each time it happened I remember being extremely excited and euphoric about it. In my mind, it had a whole lot of pros to it, though I’m pretty sure that if I had to ride back to school with him in the lorry, I wouldn’t have quite so exciting memories from it, as that would likely mean that we wouldn’t even be able to say goodbye to each other properly and he wouldn’t be able to stay there at all and would have to leave right away. As it was, it was absolutely thrilling. It was usually something that was organised last minute so was a total surprise for me, and while I generally am not a fan of surprises, I was always happy to hear about one like this. Most of the time, particularly if you left school for some official holiday break rather than for a weekend or some personal reasons, the whole procedure of leaving could take really long and I really didn’t like it. Sometimes there were parent-teacher meetings, or parent-group staff meetings or other stuff like that, sometimes if it was something like the end of school year or Christmas break or something like that there would be a school play, and loads of talking and peopling and what not. Especially that my Mum often did feel the need to talk with my staff or teachers a lot, even without a special opportunity, and it was very much mutual because most people really like my Mum and could talk for hours with her. But if I left with my Dad in his lorry, it didn’t matter if it was the end of a school year or whatever, my Dad had a schedule that he had to stick to, so I had to pack in advance, he would usually inform everyone, including myself, at very short notice that he’s going to pick me up and I was to be waiting for him and as soon as he arrived we’d leave. Even if he didn’t have to count his minutes at work, he values his time very much and is a rather impatient person, and he doesn’t have the gift of the gab like my Mum does, nor the gift to listen. And it was just so unusual. No other kid, at least of those that I knew, had a dad who would pick them up in a lorry. So I felt super proud. 

   The first time it happened, I was in the nursery/preschool/whatever you’d call it, so I could have been around six or seven (yes, that blind nursery worked a bit differently and children there were older than you’d normally expect in a nursery, otherwise you’d have to send three-year-olds to a boarding school 😀 ). I believe I had to have an endocrinologist’s appointment and the easier way for my parents to organise transportation home for me was for Dad to pick me up in the lorry on his way back from work, so he didn’t have any fuel in there anymore, as he was meant to go through Warsaw anyway and my school was near Warsaw. He was only able to do this at night though, so I was to wait for him to come. I was usually excited at the mere thought of going home, but being able to stay up very late (which was something I was very much used to doing at home but not really able to do at preschool) and then drive through half of the country in the middle of the night had me properly thrilled. As a kid, I really loved riding long distances, learning about names of different towns and villages, the funnier the better, and, most of all, finding out what different radio stations were out there in different parts of the country. I remember that it all felt very unusual, when I was allowed to stay up, even after our regular staff left and the nightshift lady came  and all the other children fell asleep. I was quietly playing on my bed, with all my bags already packed, and listening to something on headphones and the wait felt really long, but at some point the nightshift lady came in and told me that my Dad had arrived. To my surprise, there was also some other guy there who turned out to be his colleague whom I didn’t know before, and I got a feeling that he ended up really liking me. I also remember that he gave me loads of oranges along the way and kept asking me if I wasn’t sleepy, as I suppose he found that weird that a kid my age wouldn’t be at such time. My Dad was driving, his colleague was sitting in the passenger seat, and I was on the bed. I kept chatting to them about all sorts of things that happened to me at school and whatever my weird Bibiel brain made up and they were laughing. At some point Dad told me that he had a surprise for me and gave me a chocolate bar called Jacek, this is a Polish chocolate bar which I believe is no longer even produced, but as far as I remember it was a type of nougat-flavoured bar. That was the first time I had it and before that I didn’t even know that  such a chocolate bar called Jacek existed and after that I only had it twice. Anyway, those of you who know about my Jackophilia can probably imagine that my euphoria was sky high at that point. I was all like: “WOw, world, people, hear me! There’s a chocolate bar called Jacek, have you ever heard anything more interesting than this?!” At some point though I guess I did end up feeling sleepy ‘cause the next thing I remember my Dad’s colleague had magically disappeared and we were quite close to home. We arrived very early in the morning and Mum was still asleep. Dad told me that it’s a surprise for Mum and that she doesn’t know I’m coming, which I’m pretty sure wasn’t the case but he just wanted to make it fun or something. So he went to load our furnace and told me to ring the doorbell so that Mum would think I came home by myself, and initially she was indeed quite surprised to see me there. 

   The second time I don’t really remember much about, other than I rode with my Dad alone and I think I was in primary by then and I sat next to him for some part of the journey and we were listening to Radio Bis. One incident from that journey that I remember clearly was that at some point the police were checking Dad’s car and I had to hide under blankets and duvets so that they wouldn’t see me. I found that extremely exciting and fun, far more than my Dad for sure, and I remember that it reminded me of how my gran told me that her siblings hid her in some sort of a container full of potatoes during WWII when she was four so that a German soldier wouldn’t see her and when they ended up not seeing me I felt like some sort of great hero. 

   The third time happened much later, I think when I was in my early teens. I remember I was having a properly rotten time at school in all sorts of ways for several weeks as well as a lot of anxiety and when I was coming back to the boarding part, or  however it’s called in English, after classes, and was thinking how could it would be if my Mum could make me a surprise and visit me this weekend or something. Well, then I had lunch, went to my room and was about to start doing my homework but looked at my phone before that and saw that I had several missed calls from Mum. When I called back she said that she and Dad are in his lorry and that I should pack my most essential things because they’d be for me shortly and take me home for the weekend. For a while I really couldn’t believe it. But they did come and I went home with them, despite there wasn’t really such need as there weren’t any holidays approaching and I didn’t have any pressing reason to come home like a medical appointment or something. That trip home was a bit less unusual and surreal because there was Mum, but still, I really enjoyed it as a whole. 

   And the last time that I remember riding back from school in Dad’s lorry was almmost at the end of my stay in that school, I guess I could be around sixteen or something. I can’t remember what was exactly the reason for that, but it had to be something important because I stayed home for a really long time. It was March-April time so it could be Easter, but our Easter breaks weren’t normally particularly long so perhaps I got sick or something, but I don’t remember getting sick during that break and I certainly wasn’t sick with anything when going home. I just remember that, again, I was having a really shitty day at school, though I don’t remember why exactly. I only know that there was some goalball tournament going on  that day or other sport event (goalball is a team sport for the blind) which I didn’t take part in myself but everyone was watching it anyway, and I was quite bored and it was dragging on for ages, and I was making use of all that time by ruminating on whatever shitty stuff was going on. Then I come back and go with my life as normal and at some point when I was in my room talking to my roommate my Dad called me. It was rather unusual for him to call me on his own accord because it was me who had free unlimited calling time set up with him so me calling him paid off more, and we rarely talked in the middle of the day like that unless I was either really bored or had some difficult Geography assignment. So I answered, a little surprised, and he said he’s going to be here literally in five minutes so I better get ready. I was absolutely euphoric. I went to one of our group staff to share the good news and asked her to help me pack but she wouldn’t even believe me. 😀 But I somehow managed to convince her that I was not making it up so she helped me and as soon as I was packed, my Dad was waiting downstairs. AFter the boring and extremely understimulating morning at school, now I was all super giddy and jittery and extremely happy. I could sit next to my Dad high up in the lorry and we chatted about all sorts of stuff. It was already after our relationship has started gradually straining more and more so we weren’t getting along anymore as well as we did when I was younger, but we could still chat about a lot of stuff and still can despite the strain and stuff. I was at first a bit stressed when he told me that we’ll actually need to sleep in the lorry overnight, as I didn’t know how I’d manage with stuff like showering and the like, but in the end I decided, oh well, I don’t even have to do it, I’ll shower when I’ll get home. I would much rather go home straight away than sleep in the car and wait SO long to get to my beautiful little Bibiel room, but in a way sleeping there was also kind of exciting. Dad slept on the passenger’s seat and left his bed for me. But while his sleeping conditions were probably even less enviable, at least he was sleeping, because I guess my Dad can fall asleep anywhere if he’s sufficiently tired. I meanwhile, couldn’t sleep almost at all. I kept wondering how anyone can manage to sleep on such narrow, small bed, if I, being fairly small and thin myself, felt like I was being squeezed between the bed and the ceiling and could barely move comfortably. I wondered how my Dad’s current shift colleague, who is quite obese, can get in and out of here and doesn’t get stuck. All sorts of vehicles were either driving past us, or standing near us with their engines running and once in a while people would be yelling something to each other. And, of course, my Dad was snoring, as if he was competing with all those engines or something. I’ve always liked some background noise while sleeping, but perhaps not SO much. I was also stilll fulll of beans and excitement. So rather than sleeping, I was reading Emily of New Moon, or just thinking about all sorts of things and generally feeling quite happy about life at that very moment. I think I did eventually get some sleep but felt very zombified when Dad woke me up. Which, with help of a few coffees, didn’t last long. (Gosh, I wish I could still have a few coffees in the morning and feel normal afterwards, I miss coffee so much!) We had some quick breakfast and then drove homeward, but first Dad had to tank a barge (it’s entirely possible that I’m using wrong English words here in relation to the whole fuel delivery stuff btw, I’m clueless about it even in Polish). So once we got there, he took me inside of it, and I got to wait for him in a room while he was filling it up and what not. I had my Braille-Sense with me and was reading something on it, and one guy who was working on the barge came over and started chatting to me and wanted to know what this thing was and how it worked, so I kindly explained to him the workings of a Braille-Sense for like half an hour, surprised that he has so much time on his hands at work, and ever so slightly annoyed that he won’t leave me alone to read in peace. He seemed quite impressed though. And then when my Dad was done we drove to where Mum was supposed to pick us up and she picked us up and we rode home. 

   I also rode many more times in my Dad’s various lorries for much shorter distances, but still long enough to feel thrilling. Now however I haven’t done it in years, despite he sometimes asks me, I guess just for the sake of asking, whether I’d like to, when it’s possible for him to do so. But I never do it, as we no longer really have the sort of relationship we had when I was a small kid. Things have changed a lot, and both of us have changed a lot, and the prospect of it no longer feels exciting at all. 

   When thinking about home rides from school with my Dad, however, one more thing always springs to my mind, despite it has nothing to do with lorries, but is a nearly equally pleasant memory. Namely, there was one such time in our family history when my Dad came to take me home from school by train. Unfortunately I no longer remember why exactly he had to do it by train, why not by car. Perhaps it was broken or something? What I do know is that my Mum had to have kidney stones removed and was in hospital, and that was why she, or they both, couldn’t take me home. That was a year before Sofi was born so I must have been nine years old. Ironically, it was Mother’s Day, and our boarding school group staff was planning some sort of meeting with parents and some sort of Mother’s Day celebration I suppose as well. I knew about it in advance that my Dad would come for me on his own and I found the whole idea hilarious that he would be sitting there in a chair, eating cake (he hates cakes and almost everything sweet), watching some sort of Mummy’s Day play and listening to ALL the stuff our boarding school staff had to say, when normally he could barely keep track of in which grades me and Olek were and how old we were and stuff. 😀 Also the idea of my Dad picking me up on his own by train and me coming back home with him by train felt absolutely weird and kind of funny, as I’d always only seen him as the driver, the one who is in charge of things, and you’re hardly in charge of things on a train. So he came, and I’m pretty sure that his patience was put to a great test, because, at least as far as I can tell, that whole meeting thing was really long. Until the last minute, I – who, as you already know, also don’t like such long-winded stuff – was hoping for his temper to break and for him to have a mini meltdown like he often does when Mum’s around and sulkily grumpily leave with me because he ain’t got all day or at least hastily explain to someone that he has to go to be in time for his train, but no. He sat there like a proper daddy, or should we rather say mummy, perfectly calm and collected. I was really relieved when we finally got to go, and I’m sure so was he. The journey wasn’t as very exciting as all the lorry ones, but it was really fun nonetheless. I just remember feeling very excited and happy about it and that I could travel by train with Dad, but no clearer details really. The only thing I remember more clearly was that at some point there was a guy going round selling light beer and I asked my Dad if light beer is anything different than just beer and if not than why call it light beer, and we ended up having a whole discussion about beers, not just light beer, and how different beers are called, and then for some weird reasons we went on to cheeses and their names, but I have no recollection of how the transition from beers to cheeses took place. 😀 Sadly, Dad was not able to provide me much information on what the differences between all them cheeses were in taste. 

   So that’s it, these are my most cherished childhood memories, at least those that I remember and that came to my mind first. 

   How about yours? Do you have any that stand out, or is it also difficult for you to come up with anything? Do you agree with my theory that people with more or less normal or at least not extremely traumatic childhoods have less of an ability or perhaps need to cherish good childhood memories because they have loads of them compared with people with very traumatising childhoods? Would love to hear thoughts, and memories. 🙂 

Question of the day.

What’s difficult to explain, but easy to understand?

My answer:

A lot of language stuff, imo, is fairly easy to apply in practice but freakishly difficult to explain in theory. I know I am terrible at explaining language, or so it seems, and so it always irks me when people assume that just because you know a language, you can teach it to other people. I think knowing/being able to do something doesn’t automatically mean you’re able to teach it to others. It shows particularly well if you try to help someone learn your native language when you actually have no experience of how to teach it to non-natives. It seems easy because, well, you know the language, but it’s not. It’s freakishly difficult to explain things to someone for whom it’s just not intuitive yet how your language works. I suppose it might particularly be a problem for me because I tend to learn a bit differently than people do in conventional language schools and stuff. I learn my own way and I comprehend things my own way, which doesn’t have to be right for everyone and which is difficult to explain to other people who are outside of my mind. By my own way, I mostly mean that I don’t really focus on theory so much. Like, in normal schools and many language schools, there’s so much emphasis on grammar, and more often than not, it’s done in a very theoretical way, like rather than just learning grammar through practice and exposure and noticing different patterns in it and stuff, there’s all the notetaking about what present simple is and how it’s used and then memorising it along with example sentences, and then doing exercises in a textbook which consist of filling the blanks in sentences with correct grammar forms or place the words in the right order to make a logical-looking sentence. To me, that’s quite boring. Also, when I was going to school, I seriously struggled with all these theoretical definitions. And it made me a bit concerned that perhaps something is wrong with me and that I’m not doing something right. After learning some grammar structure at school, I usually didn’t have huge problems using it properly, though of course I’d make mistakes sometimes like any non-native and I still do, but remembering the whole theory thing… nah, it was always rather abstractive to me. Even now, if you asked me about what is, say, a subjunctive, or even how articles work in English, I may have a problem explaining it, but if it’s some structure that I’ve become sufficiently familiar with, I’ll be able to apply it in practice anyway. I used to think it’s weird and perhaps just another example of how quirky my brain is and how it so often doesn’t do things the normal way. It was only when I started to try and help non-natives learn Polish language when I realised that, in a way, perhaps my way of perceiving and learning/absorbing grammar is better, because it looks a bit more like how natives perceive their language and thus I guess is a bit more natural. Inn Polish, we have something called reflexive verbs, and one guy who was learning Polish and with whom I was penpalling asked me if I could help him figure out how that works. Well, except… I don’t know… I just use them, and I know that I use them right, because it feels right, and any other way would feel wrong. I tried my best to help him out but writing all that down in theory seemed so infinitely more complicated than it actually is. I don’t need to know the definition of a reflexive verb in the Polish language to be able to use one and know when to use one etc. I highly doubt that there are many people in Poland who aren’t linguists, teachers or real huge language geeks or something like that who’d know what reflexive verbs are at all, let alone be able to clearly explain to someone how they work, just like people in the Anglophone countries don’t memorise all the irregular verbs because they just know how to use them. Because, of course, we acquire our native languages through constant exposure to them, rather than studying textbooks and memorising definitions. By that, I’m not saying that studying textbooks when learning a foreign language is total bullshit, I do it too (assuming I have access to such things as textbooks in a specific language, I don’t have any Welsh ones for example and I don’t really feel the need to) just that, if you base solely on a textbook, it’ll never become natural. Also, unfortunately you can’t just acquire a new language as an adult, or not nearly as easily as a small child would, even with a lot of exposure and practice, but for me personally, observing how the language is used and thus getting concrete examples, is more intuitive, and far more interesting, than basing primarily on dry, often long-winded and full of exceptions to the rules textbook definitions, and it clearly gives me more than the dry learning, given how insanely fast my English started progressing as soon as I started self-teaching and distanced myself a bit from the way I was being taught at school. I also often try to help Sofi with her English homework, but I always end up exasperated at all the boring theory in there they have to digest and all the silly exercises. No wonder that the poor kid hates English. 😀

What is such thing in your opinion? 🙂

Question of the day.

I am putting off…

My answer:

…helping Sofi with her school work. Since it turned out after all that BOTH of my parents have Covid (which wasn’t really much of a surprise as they have very typical symptoms so I don’t really know how come my Dad’s first test was negative and the doctor said it was bronchitis) we’ve been in quarantine. Sofi has been really mad about it because of course she’s bored and most of the time she quite likes going to school and she wants to, but she obviously can’t now. She’s also a little stressed about having to catch up with school work, which is a little out of character for her, she never used to worry about such things, but well, maybe it’s because she has exams in April. She left most of her notebooks and stuff in her school locker and today finally someone from her class had mercy on her and brought them to her. Someone is also sending her what they’re doing at school over SnapChat. So finally she can catch up but Sofi doesn’t like working alone, and also probably genuinely needs help with some stuff, and asked me to assist her or something, though I don’t really know what it is that they’re doing at school right now and she didn’t tell me, so I’ve no idea how much help I’ll be. I think mostly it’s just that she doesn’t want to be alone and wants to have audience as always. Also the way it works with Sofi, if she has something to do that she really doesn’t like, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on that because more often than not she’ll do it for five minutes and then go back to doing something more fun. So it’s possible that if no one helps her, she’ll never end up doing her entire school work because she’ll be distracted by a gazillion things. Except, to be honest, I’m getting a bit tired. I spent almost the whole day with Sofi yesterday, and the day before, and it’s fun, but my social battery is quite low at this point. 😀 Sofi’s really absorbing, and man does she have moodswings! She’s not as absorbing as she used to be when she was younger, but she still is. Normally I’d ask Mum to help so I could have time to recharge, but Mum’s sick and not doing very well and I’m sure the last thing anyone would want while being sick is to listen to Sofi’s incessant chatter and have to answer the neverending stream of questions. So I told Sofi that I will help her today so that she can at least start catching up on what her class has done so far this week, at least I could surely help her with English or something, but I so don’t feel like it, so I’ve been putting it off. I guess for now Sofi’s satisfied with it and, rather than trying to do something by herself, is procrastinating on her phone, because if it was otherwise she’d be coming to me every five minutes and asking me when I’ll help her. 😀 As much as I often feel kind of envious of Sofi, because I often have a feeling it is so fun and uncomplicated to be Sofi, I really don’t envy her that huge need she has for near constant human presence around her, it must be difficult.

You? 🙂

Question of the day.

What are three things you just learned?

My answer:

That on Tuesdays Sofi’s going to be at school from 8 AM to 5 PM. :O Quite crazy imo and definitely hadn’t been the case for her in previous years, and it’s not like she’s started some completely new education stage or something, she’s in 8th grade. I definitely didn’t spend as much time at school at her age, unless in some exceptional situations.

That apparently if you live in Norway, you can have your child taken away from you if he has lost a tooth. 🙃 Not that it was the first time I’ve heard some pretty wild stuff about their Barnevernet (the child protection service).

That the Welsh word cynhwysol means inclusive in English.

You? 🙂

Question of the day.

What was the greatest pleasure you ever felt?

My answer:

It’s really hard to pick just one thing, since there were several experiences in my life that I felt great pleasure from, and now after some time has passed it’s difficult to say which one was actually the strongest. But I often have a whole lot of pleasure from hearing “my” languages. Sometimes it’s to the point where it goes beyond just being aesthetically pleasing or even synaesthetically pleasing and I feel it like on a physical level, especially right before I fall asleep or when I wake up but haven’t yet woken up fully, and when I hadn’t heard the language in question in a long time and the speaker has an interesting accent or uses some word that I like the sound of and that is new to me or something like that, it’s absolute bliss when it happens. The same thing can sometimes happen to me when listening to music when something really really really really really resonates with me on, like, a sensory level, I don’t know how to put it. Just like there is music which can give me sensory heebiejeebies, so there can be music which works in the opposite way, except the latter phenomenon is sadly less frequent. It’s kinda like frisson except more intense because I get frisson a lot and it’s not quite the same.

Another thing that stands out to me is the intense relief I felt after my final exams were over. I guess it was only then that I fully realised how much of a strain on my brain the whole year has been, especially with all the preparations for the math part. At that point I didn’t have the results yet, except for oral exams and I got 100% from both oral Polish and oral English (with oral Polish it was mostly just a stroke of luck that I got the best question I possibly could), and while from the beginning I knew that it’s entirely possible that I won’t pass the math (and I didn’t, as you may know) for the time being between passing all the exams and getting the results I decided not to think about it at all. And I can still quite clearly remember the feeling I got after all the exams were over and when I came back home (I wasn’t taking them in my actual school but a special school for the blind a few hours’ drive away, but a different one to the one I used to attend earlier, which from perspective I can say wasn’t a good idea because it only ended up being way more stressful and didn’t give me any benefit over taking them in my actual, local mainstream school). I came into my room and it was like I got hit by a wave of euphoria and relief and like my brain was flying, it felt so good not having anything to do with the screwed education system anymore haha, and not having to deal with all the math stuff or travelling to that fricken school anymore. It was like all the stress I’d been feeling for the past year suddenly left me all at once.

Also when I have some real cool dreams, the first seconds after waking up feel priceless. It feels a bit sad because you know the dream is over, but you’re still stuck in the dream with one foot and you can still experience the great feel of it while being almost awake, I just totally love it.

What was such a thing for you? 🙂

Question of the day.

What did your school teach you that turned out to be a complete lie?

My answer:

That you absolutely HAVE to pronounce the -ing endings in English with the standard English ng sound, or the velar nasal consonant linguistically speaking, as opposed to the way most Polish people with little practice in English pronunciation/accents tend to do.

When I was in my later years of primary and then early secondary, we had an English teacher who was generally quite demanding and also nitpicky in some respects and seemed to genuinely like creating the sort of image of a very stern and not particularly connected to her students teacher. Understandably, a lot of people who didn’t do very well at English were very stressed of having lessons with her, and even many who did well at English were still stressed. I did well at English for my class’ standards and didn’t like neither her nor English as a subject at all and found it extremely boring most of the time, yet I didn’t find it very stressful for some reason, guess because I generally didn’t overly care about grades. She had a habit of choosing a few people at the beginning of the lesson whom she would question from the previous material, and people usually dreaded it very much. One of the things she was particularly nitpicky for some reason were the -ings. Which would be absolutely okay with me as an accent freak (although I definitely didn’t have a normal English accent back then yet) if not the fact that it was very hypocritical, because she herself said them wrong half the time and lots of people noticed it and were annoyed about it, and generally looking back from my current perspective she didn’t seem to have the best accent. Neither did most of her students, thanks to this method, including, like I mentioned, myself. It was frustrating because, as is always the case in schools, there were children who learned slower than others, and still lacked some vocabulary or didn’t understand some grammar and she would also overwhelm them with such tiny details. Or on the other hand there were quite a lot of people who were good at English, especially in writing, but were shy when speaking because of stuff like this.

Years later I was learning English by myself, having a lot of fun with it, and immersing myself in a lot of different accents, discovering a lot of dialects, especially British ones, and their weird vocab etc. and trying to imitate all these accents and dialects and stuff and learn to tell one from another. And I grew quite fond of northern England accents, though frankly I love all of the British accents, when people ask me which one I love most I always say the one I’m currently hearing, because I can never decide. Yet I do prefer the northern ones slightly because they’re less ever-present and I like the rusticality I guess. 😀 And I started to notice that people from like York or Sheffield, I guess also some people in Manchester and Liverpool areas, would say their -ings “wrong”. The first couple times I figured I must have misheard it or something, you don’t say -ing like that, after all, but then I found it stated somewhere explicitly that people in the north of England do pronounce ing with the g. It IS different than the way Polish people typically do, because it’s still softer and more nasal, but still, it reminded me of that teacher and it made me laugh. I’m too used to saying my -ings “right” at this point, but I sometimes say it the northern way when I feel like it.

I personally pay A LOT of attention to things like accent in a language, because it’s freakishly interesting for me as someone whose native language has developed to be very universal across the country, and because at this point I can’t not pay the attention. But generally I agree with most of language teachers and mentors and learners and what not that accent isn’t the primary thing to be paid attention to when teaching/learning a language. Pronunciation and language melody and being understandable to natives as much as possible – yes – but purely accent not necessarily. I guess it seriously can affect the self-esteem and create a lot of mental blocks for people, who not only have to focus on a load of grammar rules (usually dryly memorised by heart because some people just like tormenting others and/or themselves like that), but also on the mini details like the -ings, and then when they actually get to talk to someone in their target language they can’t because they’re scared that the other person will laugh at them or kill them because they said one word wrong. Not to mention when we’re talking children. And especially when the teacher herself can’t show how to say something properly, so that people maybe don’t even realise how it should sound actually. From what I know, a lot of people, not just me, are a bit puzzled why foreign language classes aren’t taught in the target language altogether. I think that would make it way easier for students to learn to pronounce these -ings. As it is, a single individual hardly gets to say more than a handful of example sentences they’ve learnt from the textbook, and the majority of the lesson, all the real teacher-students interaction, happens in Polish, in most schools anyway. When people don’t talk or listen, but instead fill in the gaps in the book and memorise useless crap, how can they learn the fun stuff like accents, or whatever really? And, most of all, I wonder why it’s not solely native speakers who teach their native languages. They do have a different perspective than someone who’s just learning this language, for sure, and may not understand some mistakes they make due to their first language’s structure, but overall I think the upsides outweigh the downsides here. And then there are also some people who just don’t hear mini differences like that in a foreign language, like our Sofi.

How about your school? 🙂

Question of the day.

Is there something that you understand why other people like it, and wish you enjoyed it like they did, but just don’t?

My answer:

I’m sure there are many such things, but one such thing I can think of now is classical and early music. We’d call it “serious music” in Polish collectively but that’s just such an incredibly daft way to call it, ’cause it either implies that other kinds of music aren’t serious, or that this “serious” music can’t just be lighthearted and happy.

I do quite like it, but it wasn’t always the case, and even now that it is I feel like I don’t really have the understanding of it that some people do who truly like it a lot, and I’d like to because I think it’s quite enriching to be able to understand it better. Part of it I think is that I got a bit of an aversion to this kind of music at school, where we’d for example be taken to the filharmony once in a while and I always found it excruciatingly boring. I vividly remember several occasions when I had some fun plans for the weekend and then it turned out we’d be going to the filharmony and spend there half of the day, and there was no extricating yourself out of it. Like there was once a girl that I met who volunteered at our school for a short while, it was quite common that there were volunteers at our school helping with some things, she was just 17, and while she stayed there we realised that we were very much on the same wavelength or something, we also were able to hang out a lot because she was only volunteering in our group and that was only for the weekend so there were less people in the group than normal and more time. Then, although we both promised each other to stay in touch after she’d leave, our contact stopped at some point as life was happening to both of us, and then, after about a year or so, she came back for a weekend again and was put in another group. As it happened, I was the only one in my group who was staying at the school for that weekend. We still got to meet up, only it was already late Saturday evening. A filharmony visit was arranged for the next day for a few groups including mine, but since I was the only one in my group for that day and had what I thought was a valid excuse not to go – hanging up with J. until she leaves Sunday afternoon – I thought there wouldn’t be any problem if I wouldn’t go. Well, there was a problem, ’cause well, it’s already arranged, so, hmm, no way out. 😀

I DO understand that it’s important to introduce young people to all sorts of things, including all sorts of music, but I’m not sure that was the good way to do it. I was absolutely not the only one who sniffed at it.

But even when I used to genuinely think that early/classical music is boring, I still strongly respected people who actually saw something in it and enjoyed it. Now I don’t think at all that it’s boring and I’ll often listen to it, and of course with all kinds of harp being my favourite instruments, I enjoy any music where harp is very present, I also appreciate the huge influence those early music styles have had on my favourite music genres. but I still can’t really connect with it, or rarely can, and I sort of envy people who have the necessary sensitivity to experience it more deeply. I guess though that it often comes with maturity. Like, I’ve frequently heard that people who have really liked rock, blues and/or metal in their youth and didn’t really understand early music or didn’t even like it often come to hugely appreciate and enjoy it, and especially often medieval music, later on in life. Actually, speaking of medieval music, out of all those early time periods I feel like it resonates with me most. Since I love many shades of rock, won’t sneeze at a good piece of blues and had my (Gothic) metal phase as well, maybe I’ll get there too with the other early music periods too, who knows.

How about you? 🙂

Question of the day.

How old were you when you learned to read? Did you learn by sight memorisation, or sounding out letters?

My answer:

I wrote a post answering a similar question before, so I won’t write a lot in detail here. If I remember correctly, I was about 7-8 when I learned to read and it was through memorisation.

How was it with you? 🙂

Question of the day.

Do you like to cook and/or bake?

My answer:

I thought I’d do a bit of a rambly post of this. Just so you know. 😀

Whether I like is one thing, whether I can is another, lol. Because my dexterity is out of kilter – mildly but enough that it does affect some areas of my life and functioning – I never really had any spectacular achievements in the culinary field, in fact it often was exactly the opposite but at least the perk of it is that it can get interesting. 😀 When we had such class at school which involved cooking or baking among other things (I’ll write about that a bit more in detail later) I always preferred to have a bit of distance to my lack of abilities in this field so would tell people that I’d rather allow my creativity to flow freely rather than have some damn recipe rule my brain and tell me what I’m supposed to do. Who cares if it comes out inedible, lumpy or something? It’s a piece of art so it would be a sacrilege if you tried to eat it anyway. And esspecially when baking, I would openly show my weird creations around the class to the great amusement of the other kids. It’s always been one of my coping strategies that I’ll either laugh at myself or things that are happening, or distract people from something I don’t want them to talk about/notice by making them laugh, but in this case I didn’t really have a huge problem with my lack of culinary abilities, I don’t think they’re necessary these days in the age of caterings, though are certainly extremely useful. Probably a factor influencing this was that these classes were generally not very competitive as the few other kids who took part in them with me had some form of learning disability, which for most of them didn’t affect their dexterity or coordination so that they didn’t have exactly the same problems as me and with the same activities, but had others, often more challenging ones, instead, and so if they were laughing that was not really in a mean way, and I even sort of liked entertaining them. I had also a very good relationship with the teacher, she was in fact one of those adults there with whom I had quite a good relationship and liked them, I know she liked me a lot as well, and she was often very supportive of me.

I do not either cook or bake independently and never have, but when I do get enough individual support and guidance with that, the results can be tolerable, but then again, I feel like it’s not really exactly my merrit then, but rather the person’s helping me. This is quite an interesting and to a degree even fascinating field (maybe not hugely fascinating like to a degree my languages are to me or some other things but it’s interesting for me to observe how people cook or bake especially when they’re particularly talented and how something they’ve had in mind or some recipe on a piece of paper develops into something very specific it’s a little bit black magic to me 😀 ). My Mum says cooking is all about chemistry and physics, which I think is very true, but might be just another reason why I find it as tricky and a bit abstractive as I do, also with all the proportions in recipes and all that.

Going back to that class thing, what it was in fact was a sort of fusion of art class with stuff like knitting, cooking, baking and other manually focused activities. I have no clue how you call it in English if at all, but in mainstream schools here in Poland, children have class which is called the same but they learn things like calligraphy or how to pass a bike licence or such. In our blind school, that class probably wouldn’t work out or even have much sense in its mainstream point, so I guess they must have adapted it to be something more suitable to our abilities and useful at the same time. It was more like what people my parents’ age had at schools during the communism period which was called practical and technical activities, or something like that.

So as you can imagine knowing the above about my coordination and culinary skills already, I was generally super lame at that subject, but the teacher was always very understanding of me and I always got B’s at the end of the year, though wondered for what. 😀 I liked the cooking and baking because we typically did some very yummy things but at the same time felt useless because rather than contributing to it as much as everyone else did, I was more likely to screw something up, possibly ruining everyone else’s efforts as well, or at least come out with bleeding fingers or something unless I got a lot of help, and even if the other kids wouldn’t have additional difficulties, they were still blind, and blind people even when they’re only blind, do need to at least be shown individually how to do some things if they’ve never done them before, so she couldn’t focus all her attention on me even in such a small class where there were only like 4 people or so. So even if I didn’t have particular problems with the sole fact that I wasn’t able to cook or bake, it was still quite distressing in that class, at first.

Until somehow one day, I guess it was Mother’s Day, we were making cards for our mums, and I wanted to include a poem on mine, and I came up with it myself and the teacher wrote it on my card. I’ve always considered myself much better at prose than poetry and I do like writing prose much more thann poetry, but she decided that my poem was great and witty and long and to my huge embarrassment showed it to my class teacher and everyone else who was in the teachers’ room must have heard it as well although it was just for my Mum, and she couldn’t get over it as if I wrote God knows what a masterpiece. And since then, we’d developed an unwritten agreement of sorts with her. She would help me greatly with all the technical stuff – not just cooking and baking but anything that I found more challenging to do by myself so basically almost anything in that class – or would do the whole job for me if it needed to be done well and quickly, or I wouldn’t have to do it at all if there was something else I could do, and instead I would do a lot of writing if there was any need, especially for poems because these were typically writings on cards or other occasional stuff. For example there was one boy in the class for whom I wrote poems for his aunt who was his main carer I believe and he always seemed to like it so much. Or I would write for school – Teacher’s Day, enf of school year, Christmas etc. – I can’t say it was something I liked a lot, because just like I said I don’t really feel very comfortable in the world of poetry either as a writer or reader (except of Vreeswijk and a few other poets), and I found especially the school poems quite an annoying chore, but at least I could rhyme well and make even verses which were even a bit witty sometimes which seemed to be enough for everyone so I was glad there was something I could do better than cooking and make myself kinda sorta useful. The only type of poetry I enjoyed writing, for myself, were some spontaneous, weird, long-winded, full of wordplay, immature- or black-humoured poems whose topics I found hilarious and which made my roommates laugh. I guess though what must have been most funny about them was the language, the way I wrote them, rather than what I was writing about, that’s at least how I see it now, the plots themselves were mostly rather immature just like I said.

The good thing about that whole writing thing though was that sometimes there were art competitions organised somewhere in the country, and our school often took part in such thiings, especially if they were for people with disability. And since art competitions are often also literary competitions at the same time and you can choose which form you prefer, and my teacher knew I’m better at literature than art, she would always encourage me to take part in such things and then I could do a bit of prose. While everyone else was making their artworks, I would be making up some short story and then dictating it to the teacher (as they had to be in normal print typically). I didn’t like the dictating part really because, well, you often change your mind about stuff while writing, and with dictation there isn’t really as much room for that, you have to form your sentences well from the start, know what you want to be happening next in the plotline so that the other person doesn’t have to wait for ages until your creativity strikes, and at the same time it also requires a lot of spontaneity and is a bit like stream of consciousness writing in my view, only more stressful because you have to be mindful of the quality. I don’t know why I simply didn’t write these things on the computer or something, but I guess there must have been a reason. But overall it was always an exciting experience and one such time my dictated short story must have actually turned out quite good quality to the judges, because it got a first place – it was a Bible-inspired contest and I wrote a story inspired by the parable of the prodigal son and based on a real life story from my family. –

When I was out of school, I asked Mum to teach me some basic culinary stuff. I also thought I’d like to be able to help her a bit, because my Mum is the only person who cooks and bakes in our house –
Zofijka now does some occasional cooking or baking but only when she’s in the mood really, although she’s extremely good at it when she does do something. – And I thought it could be interesting and that maybe now that I’d have my Mum’s undivided attention it would be easier for me to learn and practice and for her to actually teach me things than for my teacher. It wasn’t really as good an idea as I expected though, because having to instruct me and often help me with more complex things made meal preparations longer and actually my input didn’t help at all, but instead contributed to Mum having to spend more time in the kitchen. Plus she didn’t really have the patience or the skills to teach, which I guess is a common thing with people who are self-taught at something. Finally one beautiful day I was grating vegetables and cut my finger really badly, and that was the end of my cooking adventures practically. 😀

Still, because I feel a bit sorry for Mum, even though she hardly ever complains, I traditionally ask her whether she wants help when she’s making some food but that’s more of politeness or something rather than I actually expect her to need/want my help or think I could be helpful, she’ll always say no but I ask anyway I guess to show her that I appreciate her efforts and would help if I could, in case she needed it. Sometimes she does say yes and then we do something together but that’s when she’s really got the time and energy to spare.

Given all that I wrote above, I don’t really know which of these activities I like more as I have very limited experience of them, but if I really had to choose I think I’d go with baking, there’s something atmospheric about it.

Okay, your turn now. 🙂

Question of the day (21st September).

Did you have foreign language classes in your school?

My answer:

I had English classes from the beginning of primary until the end of my formal education, and German kind of on and off since fourth grade in primary until the end of secondary. But I don’t feel like the classes gave me much beyond teaching me the very beginnings of English which could perhaps be hard if I didn’t have them at school.

How was it with you? If you did have language classes, do you feel like you actually benefitted from them in any way? Or maybe quite the opposite? 🙂

Question of the day.

Hi people! 🙂

What’s the hardest you’ve ever worked?

My answer:

What comes to my mind is my final year of college/high school, before my final exams. As you may know, all things math are quite challenging for me, so that I even got the diagnosis of dyscalculia, albeit very late in my schooling as I was already 17, and it was a bit weird because technically for some reason blind people cannot be diagnosed with dyscalculia, really don’t get why, but I did have an assessment and the psychologist evaluating me decided I have it, perhaps because my then math teacher was her friend and this diagnosis would make things easier for both me and her. I’m not 100% sure whether my difficulties indeed could be classified as dyscalculia, assuming dyscalculia was normally diagnosed in blind people, because while I do struggle with a whole lot of mathematical concepts and operations to the point that even calculator isn’t helping much, if at all, since using it the right way feels like a challenge just as well, and I also often misread numbers, like when I’m reading aloud or rewriting some math operation I will recognise the numbers properly and have them right in my head but read or write down completely different ones, and I have a lot of trouble with remembering numbers, especially if there’s no meaning or stronger association with them for me, I don’t think I really do match ALL of the criteria, for example I do not have big problems with very basic operations, or have quite a good concept of time, I typically have no problem counting things either unless it’s something more abstract and complex like money or similar then I often need some help or at least much more time than most people I know to figure things out. Anyways, I don’t even feel particularly remorseful if it’s not exactly dyscalculia that I have because this label had been somewhat helpful in my last years of education, although still not substantially helpful and in the grand scheme of things didn’t really change much. Just that my teachers were more understanding than they were previously in the blind school, though they were also more clueless as for how to teach me, that I started having much better math grades and it was a little less frustrating, and that I could make a few more mistakes on the math final exam, which in the end didn’t mean anything as I didn’t pass it anyway.

What I’m about to say though is that one period when I was working very hard was studying for that math final. I had a math teacher at school, but while she was an amazing person and most helpful and accomodating, she was quite clueless about how to teach blind people math, so my Mum also found a tutor for me, who was a surdo- and typhlopedagogist, which simply meant she was specialised in teaching deaf and blind, or deaf-blind, people, and in her particular case her subject was maths. She was also a really great person and I really liked her as her, though just thinking of her these days makes me feel a bit sick ’cause we spent sooo much time together during these three years of my high school, and our time together was filled with so much pent-up frustration on both sides that with time it felt like there was no room for other, more pleasant feelings so that I automatically started to feel ragin’ inside upon just seeing her which I’m pretty sure was mutual. She had it worse, though, because after dealing with me every week for at least 1,5 hour, she had also Sofi, who isn’t blind or deaf but my Mum decided that my tutor was so valuable both as a teacher and as a person – which she undoubtedly was – that she’d like her to help Sofi out as well. Sofi perhaps doesn’t have dyscalculia or whatever it is that I do, but she does have a lot of trouble with concentration and just doesn’t like exerting her brain too much which she was very openly manifesting so working with her wasn’t too easy for our tutor either, because she often just wasn’t collaborating and preferred to chat with her about other things, or often didn’t do the homework that she gave her and then blamed her if she had a low mark on a test. Not that the tutor was unable to manage it, but it’s difficult to work in such challenging circumstances for so long at a time and so I don’t blame our tutor for not wanting to work any more with Sofi right after I had my finals.

We were meeting throughout the three years at least once a week for at least one hour and a half, during the last year it was longer and more often. And the last year of our collaboration was particularly draining. Of course on top of that I also had plenty of work she gave me to do on my own, which usually I happened to totally screw up so I wasn’t particularly motivated to do it but at least she wasn’t nasty if I did something, even everything, wrong, so I didn’t skip my homework like Sofi did or much less often, also Sofi wasn’t having her exams in a few months’ time so she could allow herself for that, but not so much me. Since the second year of high school I also did most of my schooling by myself at home, as the majority of my teachers weren’t as accomodating as the math teacher and based their lessons on slideshows which of course I couldn’t see, or totally ignored me/seemed to be utterly scared of me, so I figured I’d learn more doing the school work on my own, it’d be less stress for everyone and would be so much more productive. They agreed to this idea very happily, and I was happy too, as I like learning things on my own if only I am capable of it, but it all at once with math felt like quite a load of learning.

The whole final year was totally draining and I was feeling pretty badly mentally overwhelmed most of the time and had very high anxiety, not just about the finals and related stuff, and as a result my sleep cycle and quality that year was particularly all over the place, which didn’t help with my math focus. I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to pass the math final, or at least couldn’t imagine passing it unless with some huge stroke of luck like the one I happened to have in secondary. I had even no real motivation for learning or even writing the finals because I had no realistic idea what I would like to do with myself afterwards, and it didn’t feel like I had a whole lot of realistic options that I felt would be something for me. I wanted to do Celtic studies online in Wales, but the uni’s “learning environment” turned out inaccessible and when I contacted them about it they never got back to me about it, or Scandinavian studies at the local university but my Swedish teacher strongly discouraged me from it saying that I wouldn’t get anything from it, my language level certainly wouldn’t go up from where it already was and other subjects in there were mostly just for the uni to get as much of the faculty financially as possible, and few of them were actually useful. Since the only reason I wanted to study Scandinavian studies was Swedish, when I learned that and then read some more about it I lost my interest in it. I suspected I was going to wait a year after finals with making the ultimate decision about what I wanted to do or study. But I thought that even if I’m not going to pursue any higher education afterwards, it still would be good to have the finals passed just in case I wanted to do something later and just for self-satisfaction. And I decided to take it as a challenge, just to see if I can surprise myself and pass the math. I thought if so, I’d be euphoric and it would just be another situation where my defensive pessimism worked wonders, but if not, nothing bad will happen, I have no immediate academic plans for the future anyway and I know what I can expect from myself. I decided that in such case, I would not rewrite it. At least not until I find some real reason that would require me/make me want to do it again. I also told my family about it and they agreed it’s a good idea not to be too worked up about it. A lot of them are intellectual people but they’re not crazy about education being the first priority in life so they understood where I was coming from. I may feel insecure about most things in myself, but all of my brains are not one of them so essentially I wouldn’t need a piece of paper to confirm my intellectual abilities or knowledge for myself, and since it seemed unlikely for everyone who knew me well anyway that I would be able to find any serious employment, unless in some really unusually fortunate circumstances or in a situation like the one I’m in now with my Dad, that is when someone knows my strengths and limitations well, it felt like even if I did pass the math, probably the only thing I would be able to do with the paper confirming it would be making use of it in the loo, would I ever happen to be deprived of that so unloved, yet so useful thing called toilet paper, as a result of unemployment. 😀

And so, despite math was not my extended subject, I spent a whole lot of time studying for it, and didn’t really feel like I was getting much more of a clue over time, only felt more hopeless and anxious about the thing and everything was getting more and more mixed up in my brain. Sometimes after the brain draining sessions I had strong self harm urges or just went to sleep for the next couple hours which of course meant that then I didn’t sleep at night or slept very little, so if I had another brain drain marathon the next day I was even more clueless, and often I could barely hold my shit inside and not flip out at my poor tutor, just as she seemed to have a very similar problem. 😀 My tutor had some health problems and would often catch infections or feel poorly, and some of these times she felt unable to come to us, which was a feast for Sofi if it was on a day she was also supposed to have her lesson, and a relief for me in some way, though that also meant I had more stuff to do on my own.

And so as most of you know if you have been following me for some time, or perhaps even from the beginnings of this blog which has started out the same year when I had my finals, I didn’t pass the math and so far haven’t tried to do it again, especially that my score was quite spectacularly low so I don’t know how I could get suddenly a high enough one when I couldn’t get there after three years. Also at the time of exams my circadian rhythm was upside down, and in the school where I was passing them (which wasn’t the school I attended but a special school for the blind closest to my home) I got super triggered by one jerky, stinking headmistress with too much testosterone, I wrote about that on my blog at the time though the post is currently password protected so I’m not linking. And so my motivation for repeating the experience is currently zilch.

My family, despite their initial support and despite they were aware of what my plans were, at least those people I felt needed to be aware, in the end were totally shell shocked when they learned about my results, both that I got such very high results from languages and so low from maths, and even more so when I told people again that, just as I said earlier, I am not going to rewrite the math unless I see the need. The only person who stood by me loyally, and uncritically, as always, was my grandad, who paradoxically is the most intellectually and academically-minded person in our family. And most of them have accepted my choice over time, though I have to admit I initially felt sort of guilty and not sure if I was doing the right thing, seeing their extremely shocked reactions.

So yeah, that whole year was definitely a time of hard, but at the same time pretty fruitless work, which made it feel all the harder, so I’m pretty sure I can say it was the time of hardest work for me. But I’m so glad the damn thing is over and that I don’t have to have anything to do with maths anymore or not to such an extend, anyway! It’s possible I had situations when I worked harder, especially mentally, but when you have more motivation or when it feels more meaningful it’s all the easier to do, even if objectively it may require more effort.

What was such a situation for you? Did your hard work pay off? 🙂

Question of the day (16th March).

Hey guys! 🙂

Did you like doing science projects, as a kid?

My answer:

I think it depended what it was about. Some of them were interesting, some not at all. But overall I think I couldn’t say I either loved them, or particularly hated, as I was rather neutral about science subjects in general, except for physics which involved too much math for me to be able to like it. Olek really liked science projects though, and he still has a whole book about chemical experiments that he got as a child. He’s no longer as wildly into it, but he used to, especially if it involved explosions or gross smells of any kind, or stuff like that. 😀 That sounds rather geeky, but overall, apart from that one thing, you couldn’t describe him as a geek or nerd, haha.

How about you? 🙂

Question of the day.

Hey people! 🙂

When it comes to having any sort of job/profession, do you prefer working with other people, or independently?

My answer:

Generally, I’m a loner so I’d say I prefer to do things on my own and I really dislike group activities, I really hated them at school. I think I’ve written about that a couple times already that I’ve always been quite individualistic and it became only more pronounced in my personality, probably to a bit unhealthy levels, because of living in the boarding school, and in all those kinds of institutions there’s such a pressure for community in my view, for unity, for doing things together, even thinking similarly or being expected in quite an intrusive way to share your feelings, impressions and all with everyone around, playing with everyone, I hope you get it… Anyway, I gues it’s running on both sides of my family that people have a strong sense of their individuality, a need for their own territory and space and lack of will to blend in completely, so that approach clashed with me big time. My sense of belonging to my family got quite screwed up too because while I didn’t feel at home at school whatsoever and didn’t feel like I belonged there, I couldn’t say I did at my family home either, because I was there rarely and treated more like a guest most of the time rather than a family member like everyone else, which was of course nice, but not really normal. And I developed a strong dislike even just to some words that still make me cringe, like group, team, community, unity, together, everybody, common… 😀 I know it’s weird but I’ll probably never get rid of that fully, even though I know now at least rationally and theoretically if nothing more that it is good to belong and I do enjoy being part of some communities and groups of people and often take pride in it.

If I had to do group activities, that was often very confusing for me in a way, what I was actually supposed to do. If I was a group leader (which I was quite often for example at Polish classes because I was good at it so one of my Polish teachers would frequently team up me with a few people who had a lot of problems with the subject), and if I had a good idea about what we were supposed to do and felt confident about it, I’d usually do the whole work for the whole team because that was easiest for me, because I have very low tolerance and patience for ignorance and lack of independent thinking so I preferred to do it myself and thus faster, so that no one would get stressed overly, rather than wait for everyone, explain the most stupid things to people or whatever, and they were happy to if I just told them what to do and think for them. 😀 On the other hand if I wasn’t a leader I was usually quite passive and generally found group work kind of overwhelming, I’m so glad I don’t have to do that anymore. 😌 So, based on that I think I’d be the same when working in a team professionally. I’m usually much happier and more efficient when I can do things on my own, but also I can imagine situations where it would be much better for me to work with someone else, because I can do well working on my own only as long as I am confident in the field and know what to do and how I should do it, and it’s simply something I am able to do on my own. I can imagine there could be jobs, perhaps quite a few, where it would be actually better for me to work with someone else – I don’t know if a whole group necessarily – but one other person perhaps, for example because I cannot do many things independently or can’t do them well enough. So it really depends on what I would be supposed to do and what kind of profession.

How about you? 🙂

Question of the day.

Hey people! 🙂

Which of your former classmates had the most interesting or unusual names?

My answer:

I hadn’t had very many with unusual names really. Zofijka is being much more lucky with that hahaha. One that comes to mind is a girl called Luiza, which name has always been somewhere among my most favourites for girls. It’s certainly not unheard of, but not very popular at all. Also, one of my groupmates – not classmates – at the boarding school had a very unusual name, and I’ve never encountered or even heard of anyone with the same name neither before I’d met her, not afterwards, her name was Arnika, as in arnica – the plant. – In my college/high school there was a woman called Adela, which is a classic and vintage name that I love, that has probably never been highly popular as far as I know, although is now enjoying some more attention from parents and was a little below the top 100 last year, but still would rather be associated with an elderly lady by most people. Meanwhile my classmate certainly wasn’t older than in her mid 30’s or something (it was a weekend school for adults in case you didn’t know or remember). Also, through my education, I’d had plenty of classmates with so called “seasonal”, or in any case quite modern names, that is ones that were popular only about the time when they/we were born, were hardly used before, or not for a long time, and felt unusual for some, or fresher than more classic names, and people might have not been as used to them as they are now, but that now feel very much associated with the generation. For example names like Klaudia (I had quite a bunch of classmates with this name throughout my schooling at different stages and in different schools), Angelika (I went to college with two, one spelt with a g and another with a dż), Krystian, Olaf, Oliwia, Nikola (it’s a girl’s name in Poland, unlike in many other Slavic countries), Or some had names that maybe weren’t super popular back when they were born, so might have felt a little more unexpected, but are very high for babies right now, like Kornelia, Marcelina, Nadia and Oliwier. So overall very normal. It’s possible that I don’t remember someone right now, because one year while going to school I had individual education, and was only going to school twice a week, and while in college, there was a lot of rotation, people were dropping out, new people were coming, many were absent for weeks and later on I started to do most of the material remotely and saw my classmates less.

So, how about you? 🙂