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. ๐Ÿ™ƒ 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? ๐Ÿ™‚

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? ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜€ 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? ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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? ๐Ÿ™‚

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? ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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. ๐Ÿ˜€ 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 ๐Ÿ˜€ ). 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. ๐Ÿ˜€ 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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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? ๐Ÿ™‚

Question of the day.

Hi people! ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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. ๐Ÿ˜€ 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? ๐Ÿ™‚

Question of the day (16th March).

Hey guys! ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜€ 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? ๐Ÿ™‚

Question of the day.

Hey people! ๐Ÿ™‚

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… ๐Ÿ˜€ 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. ๐Ÿ˜€ 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. ๐Ÿ˜Œ 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? ๐Ÿ™‚

Question of the day.

Hey people! ๐Ÿ™‚

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 dลผ), 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? ๐Ÿ™‚

The Human Life Of Misha Hhrrru? ep. 8.

Hhrrru? ๐Ÿ˜ป

Yay! Finally I’ve got to write another post. How are you all pets and peeps doing? Here’s another episode of my what-if human life. *****

March 9

I am Misha. I am 8. I just came back from school today. It was mostly a very boring day but the last lesson we had was plast plast –
that is how I call art. – I love plast plast! My Mum does it, and my plast plast teacher used to go to college with her, but she’s not very nice to me because my mum is her friend. It’s the opposite. She is very demanding. She wants more from me than all the other kids. When any other kid does something a bit wrong she says it’s okay as it is, but when I do even a very little mistake, she is very worried and wants me to try more. I used to be a bit sad about it and think I’m so very bad at plast plast, and I didn’t want to be bad at plast plast because I love it and my family always tells me I am a very good painter, but mum told me she does it because she wants me to develop my talent. I guess it’s very nice of her. I want to be a very good painter and now I’m happy when she tells me that something is wrong. But at the same time, she’s hardly ever satisfied. She constantly wants me to improve something and even mum says she’s a bit too harsh on me because I am just a little child. But guess what? Today she was very happy with me.

She wanted us to draw or paint or present in any possible way that suits us, our favourite season. My favourite season is autumn, because I love leaves. I like to think about them. But it makes me sad when I think about lonely leaves. When one fallen leaf is lying alone, or among leaves of a different kind, with no leaf of its own kind, or if there is only one leaf on a twig or the whole tree, it makes me so very sad. When I feel lonely, I often think that I feel like a lonely leaf. Some people say it’s stupid because leaves are never lonely, but I think they can be, very often. Whenever it’s autumn and leaves are falling and I come back from school, I try not to step on them. My mum says I’m too sensitive about leaves and that they have no feelings. But I just love them! I’ve always had. It makes me sad when someone says they don’t feel anything, I’m sure they do. But mum thinks I have such strange thoughts and ideas because I’m the only child and have no one to play with. But I have Feluล›, and when I don’t have Feluล› I have myself to play with. And even if I had many siblings and many friends, which would be very lovely, I guess I still would be myself, wouldn’t I? With my own thoughts and ideas. I would still have enough place in my heart to love leaves and care for them. And when it’s getting cold, I sometimes take a couple leaves home with me and put them close to my bed, so that they are warm and cosy and they have me and I have them. Mum says it’s unhygienic. But how can something as natural as leaves be unhygienic? Perhaps I’ll have to make a bath for them when I take them home next year before I put them in my bedroom. I wonder how they would feel about that. But I wanted to talk about plast plast. So of course I decided I will paint an autumn picture. An autumn forest with colourful trees and with lots of leaves, but no lonely leaves because I didn’t want to feel sad. I miss leaves because there are none at this time of year. They were all happy and with their leaf families, and leaves on the trees were happy too. i even managed to paint the wind moving the leaves, and light rain was falling. I painted birds and some other small animals, and a little grey cat rolling around among the leaves. I was so engrossed in this that I didn’t know what was going on around me and suddenly I felt someone elbowing me. It was Feluล›, he sits with me in class. “Hey, you, Misha, I’m speaking to you.” – he whispered. – “Hmmm what?” – I asked, looking up from my picture at him reluctantly. “I asked why do you painted a cat in this forest. Cats don’t live in the forest”. “This one does.” “Ahaa, and of course this cat is called Misha?” – he asked giggling. – I have a book series about a cat called Misha, and I myself often feel like I’d love to be a cat, and I often include a cat called Misha in my paintings. Feluล› thinks it’s weird, and that I am weird, but he likes me anyway. I nodded, and got back to my picture. I finished it, and had a lot of time to wait for all the others to finish. Finally the teacher said the time has passed and that she’d now like to see our works. She came to me and Feluล› in the end, and seeing my picture, she gasped.
“Oh, Misha! This is beautiful! Very simple, but you really have a knack for colour, I must admit that. There’s still a long way for you to go but I can say it now in front of the whole class that you are very talented and you need to develop it. But, why did you paint a cat here?” “It’s a cat called Misha.” “Ah, well, I assume this explains everything” – she laughed. – She didn’t understand and pretended she did, I don’t like it, but other than that I was sooooo very happy that she praised me. I got an A for this painting. I’m home now. My mum is abroad for a couple of days and grandma is here. She cooks us meals and all. It’s grandma from dad’s side, who lives nearby, not the one who gave me the books about Misha the cat. I’d prefer that grandma to come here and take care of me. This grandma is always irritated and grumpy and complains about everything and forces me to eat things I don’t like and is always asking what I’m doing and whether I did my homework, as if I never did, and when she’s not watching me she’s constantly watching very strange series on the telly. I’m not a baby, she doesn’t have to remind me of my school work. Today we had mushroom soup and liver for dinner, yuck! I guess grandma can cook better than mum, because mum often swears while cooking, cuts her fingers and does lots of strange unnecessary things and is always in a hurry, when she makes cereal for me she boils milk over most days so I’m late for school because she has to boil it twice or doesn’t remember to take out the cake in time from the oven, and grandma knows what she’s doing or at least she looks like she does, but at least mum doesn’t force me to eat what I don’t like, and grandma doesn’t even let me eat cereal. I had to eat scrambled eggs today for breakfast and I hate them. But actually I don’t like a lot of foods. I don’t even like bread, I never did. And grandma says it’s because I’m spoiled and don’t respect what other people do for me. No, I don’t if they do something I don’t like when they know I don’t like it, it’s malicious. But I actually haven’t done my homework today yet, so I better get to it now. Misha ๐Ÿ’œ ๐Ÿ’™ ๐Ÿ’š

Question of the day.

In childhood, did you ever have extra-curricular instruction (for sports, a musical instrument/singing, or participate in any arts and crafts classes or organisations)? This may or may not be related with school.

My answer:

While at the school for the blind, we all had a lot of extra-curricular activities which weren’t always associated with our schooling, but more with the rehabilitation thing. Like, all of us had some mobility training which we simply called “spatial orientation”, which involved learning some routes, using techniques for walking with and without white cane, but also some other life skills not necessarily always closely related to mobility. Many people, including me, had so called corrective gymnastics, I had that mostly for my shortened Achilles tendons. All of us went swimming twice a week after school. Things like that were sort of basic there. I remember I really didn’t like going to the swimming pool, it always stressed me out for some reason, so I looked for any way of skipping that, which was easy since I seemed to have some skin reaction to the chlorine and my Mum didn’t want me to absorb too much chlorine because she read somewhere that people with hypothyroidism (which I had) shouldn’t get too much of it. I really love being in the water, so it’s not that I am afraid of it or something. I love being in the sea or river, I just still have that crazy aversion to swimming pools which I don’t really understand, I would just never go to a swimming pool voluntarily, unless an open one, like Zofijka has. But I hate the in-door swimming pools.

When at the nursery, all of us had horse riding, which I wrote about earlier, that I was so scared of and then started to love to bits, haha. I also ended up getting into the music school, which was a bit accidental. As I wrote even in the last question of the day post, I did a lot of singing there, also on stage. I was taking part in some sort of contest and I had a lot of rehearsals and preparations for that. I guess, being at the age of 5 or 6, I must have been sort of confused whether it was a temporary thing or if I was to have those rehearsals regularl even after the contest, and at some point I asked one of the staff out of curiosity if I’ll be still having that. She was puzzled and said that I’d better ask our… OMG how do you call it in English…? rhythmicity teacher…? People make up really weird subjects, even for nursery children lol. Anyway, she told me to ask her, because she was working at music school, so she would know, or would get in touch with that tutor who was preparing me for that contest earlier. So I did, And the rhythmicity teacher asked me which instrument I was learning to play with that lady. I was very confused, I was just singing. But after a while, not knowing what I should say, I said piano, because she played piano, so I thought maybe that was what the teacher asked me about. And she was like: “Oh, but she doesn’t teach piano…” and she told me that she will talk to the teacher who did teach piano and get her to work with me. And, although I hadn’t ever think about learning to play piano,a week afterwards I met my teacher, who was a lovely and cheerful young woman, with whom I loved to chat with, especially about the Parpills (the creatures I made up), but the whole piano learning thing was super strenuous. I found it really difficult, technically, to repeat more complex things that she asked me or showed me to do. Then after a few years, when I was in primary, that nice teacher had to go on maternity leave and I never worked with her again, instead, I was assigned an older lady, who was very sophisticated and serious, and super calm and had the patience of a saint, which was probably life-saving for us both. Most of the girls in my group at the boarding school were in the music school and quite a few were very passionate and serious about that so I sort of felt like I should too, and once I very carelessly shared one of my dreams with my Mum. Not my real big dreams, you know, just a little, funny daydream I once had that didn’t mean anything, because I’ve had daydreams about being a hundred and one things in my life, and it doesn’t immediately mean that’s what I would seriously like to do for my whole life. Dreams are fun because you can pop in and out of them when you want. My daydream that I shared with my Mum was influenced by a book I read. For a while I wanted to be like the main character in that book – a 30-something sophisticated, elegant mummy with a big family of six children living in a mansion, who was very artistic and liked to play piano for her family’s entertainment. –
I had to hear about that little dream of mine for the next three years until I finally couldn’t take it anymore, my extended family seriously thought I could play the piano, and I felt like an imposter, and I was just frustrated with it and with myself and I quit. The more that that year I had to get my corrective gymnastics hours increased because the creepy shadow of Grice-Green’s surgery was hanging over my feet and the last thing I felt like focusing on was freaking piano. ๐Ÿ˜€ Some time afterwards I quit the singing thing for good as well, for a mixture of reasons but I guess mostly because it wasn’t my thing any longer. I only sing in the shower now or for Misha’s entertainment who seems to like it for some reason. I later tried learning guitar at home during holidays with my aunt’s acquaintance, mostly to please my Mummy but also because I had a glimmer of hope it could get better this time. Piano felt like a very sophisticated instrument, but I’d heard from lots of people that guitar is easy, and knew people without much talent for music who learned to play some tunes by heart, so I thought if it’s so easy, and since I did have an ear for music, perhaps I could master it too. It didn’t work like that. After four months I was definitely getting it at the brain level pretty well,but couldn’t repeat any of the chords completely on my own properly without at least some instructions or assistance. I wasn’t too disappointed though, just came to the conclusion that being a listener is much more fit for me than being a creator of music. If we all only made our own music, no one would listen to it, I guess. I also had other classes as part of my musical education for a while, which lasted for too short to give me very much knowledge, but I appreciate that experience because I did get some knowledge or understanding of music that I would probably never get otherwise, so while I don’t know nearly as much as someone who completed music school, I also guess I have a bit more insight than an average person would. And later on I was taking part in music therapy which was extremely helpful and relaxing for my brain which was one big nervous wreck at the time haha.

When I left that school to try the integration school out, my Mum made me a surprise organising horse riding lessons for me, which was scary like hell at first for me, but as you know I discovered very soon how much I in fact love horse riding. During my second year there, at 4th grade, I somehow ended up in a theatre club. I really don’t remember how I got in there. I guess it must have been something like that everyone had to pick an after school activity or something? And my Polish teacher was running it so I guess I got in there thanks to her. I really didn’t like it here. Neither did Olek, who also took part in it, well I suppose he must have disliked it even more, I had at least some experience with such things so could grit my teeth and get on with it, but when you’re new to it and not into it… sucks. I’ve had people telling me that I have some acting skills, which at first made me snort out with laughter, but when even my Mum said that I started to think about this more seriously. I like to play pretend with Zofijka, I am good at mimicking accents, I guess, and that’s what people say, but it’s been mostly Polish people saying that to me about English accents so they might as well have no idea, the more that Polish people usually have nasty accents in English, even if they are fluent. And I like to mimic people and how they act too. The thing is, I have to be really chilled and comfortable to do that. Every time I took part in a play on stage, I was stiff as a stick. And while I have mostly very good memory, I don’t do well with absorbing stuff like learning a poem by heart, or a word list in another language in specific order, or lines for a play. I always struggled a bit with that. I remember standing on a stage for hours after school, which always made me dizzy because it was so high and I was like “What if I fall from these stairs?!”, ravenously hungry and stressed, and I know so was Olek. We were doing a nativity play that year, and I was Mary, and hated it with my every brain cell. When we were finally performing in front of the whole school and parents and all, the power was out and mics weren’t working, and we all had to yell our lines, which I remember clearly because I had a bit of a cold that day and my throat was aching so that wasn’t fun. ๐Ÿ˜€ And I remember having high-heel shoes (did Mary seriously go all the way to Bethlehem pregnant in high-heel shoes), which was a really bad idea because I felt even more unsteady and panicky. ๐Ÿ˜€ But the whole thing seems rather hilarious to me now.

That’s also where my saga of my math compensatory classes (is that how you call it?) started.

At some point during my education at that school, my Mum found a teacher for me, via some local newspaper, with whom I had Swedish, as I always wanted. I loved that to pieces!

I had to go back to the “blind” school in the end, so all my jolly horse riding and Swedish adventures took a backseat because I wasn’t able to take part in them as often anymore, and then they finally all completely disappeared leaving me in a lot of distress (especially the fact that I couldn’t have Swedish) that I managed to sort of suppress and not think about but any time something reminded me about Swedish language I was enormously frustrated.

Instead there was some project funded by EU at our school in which I was chosen to take part and learn English via Callan method, together with some of my groupmates. I guess all of us disliked it because it was really boring, and looking at it now, I really wonder where that decision came from and why they chose Callan method, because I guess it’s the most ridiculous language learning method on the Earth. I mean, it certainly must have been of use in the circumstances in which it was created – for soldiers, to quickly learn the language, I guess soldiers do not need to be incredibly fluent, but just say what they need to say and learn as much as possible as fast as possible. – It’s basically that you memorise loads of grammar rules and learn loads of artificial sentences from the textbooks, no flexibility or anything like that. ANd I don’t think it gave me anything special, was just a waste of our time, and waste of the precious funds of the EU. We really liked to skip those classes if that was possible for any of us, but they emphasised it very much that we shouldn’t because they were paid in advance, so I guess it’s a pity they weren’t a bit more useful.

Basically as you can see we were able to have lots of extra activities there so it’s possible there was something else that I don’t remember now.

When I got out of there I could finally breathe with relief and restart my Swedish and horse riding after my depression got more manageable (the horse riding I still have even though I’m not in school anymore, though I’m having a hiatus again). I also had extra English classes at home for a while, I felt like I needed them to be as well prepared for my English finals as I could, and I happened to get a really really chatty teacher so I really got to talk a lot with him in English, which I liked and which probably helped me to get that 100% result at oral English, not even because I learned that very much from him but because I gained more confidence in that and could speak even more freely. Oh and I also had my poor math tutor, who was courageously teaching me all the stuff we had at college plus helping me immensely with exam preparations. I liked her as a person, but those lessons with her I sometimes still get in my dreams – that I am sitting there and don’t know how to resolve some ridiculously weird equation or something and we both get more and more frustrated and hours are passing and I feel like punching and throwing everything around – really stupid topic for a dream isn’t it?

So that’s it from me, phew, quite a lot, as I can now see. ๐Ÿ˜€ I really appreciate it now that I can decide on it myself what I want to invest my time in, although some of those experiences were really interesting.

How about you? ๐Ÿ™‚

Question of the day (25th August).

Hi guys. ๐Ÿ™‚

I was feeling shitty all day yesterday so didn’t even write anything, so here’s the overdue question for you, another childhood related one.

Did you like school? Are there reasons that you liked/disliked it?

My answer:

Who likes school? Not me anyway. Okay, at the beginning of my education I liked school somewhat, just except having to stay at the boarding school and except all the stressful stuff. It was stressful and challenging but I guess I liked learning. But it didn’t last long. Things were becoming more and more stressful, and I realised that, at least most of the time, creativity isn’t very well seen, and that most of the time it’s just either boring or freakishly abstractive for my brain, and that it was becoming more and more rare that what I learned at school would be either interesting or significantly beneficial/useful to me and bring something new into my life. I much preferred to learn things myself, things that I found interesting, although that wasn’t always possible, or not to a big degree. I didn’t do socialising literally at all at the beginning, then with years I learned to engage with people a bit more but it was very superficial. At the beginning of primary I remember I loved learning Polish and especially English, with English I stopped loving it as a subject very quickly because we happened to have a teacher that no one of us really liked who wasn’t too approachable or likeable, and then for the next year or two we had in turn a very meek teacher who was a lovely person but couldn’t even have much control over the class, and wasn’t demanding at all so things were either boring or chaotic on her lessons. And most of the time I didn’t have luck with English teachers, no matter in which school I was, I had only a few pretty good ones, and I’ve had fair few of them haha. Polish I loved for longer, as long as I was allowed to write elaborate stuff on topics I liked or that I felt comfortable with and could read at least mostly what I liked or stuff that we were reading for school was interesting. I think I started to get seriously disheartened by Polish in 4th grade but still was fairly good at it, and still there were things I liked about it. But, as you hopefully know, at least if you’ve been here for a while, neither English or Polish as a subject has ever discouraged me from liking those languages as such, although it was very close to it with English at some point and I had to rediscover it for myself a bit and, in a way, relearn it in my own way. I never cared much for grades, neither good nor bad, and I was not a perfectionist at school matters whatsoever, though the bigger tests usually really scared me and with time I did started to feel slightly inferior because of my math dilemmas, but only a bit. I hated that they wanted me to be good at everything (thankfully my Mum didn’t and was pissed off with that approach when she found out there is such so I didn’t want to be good at everything either). I guess I must have some sort of ability to learn things reasonably quickly, which was a bit weird but which really saved me at school, because I didn’t like studying hard, I mean repeating what we had at school and just spending more time than necessary with school stuff, I only did homework and repeated things very superficially before tests if I felt like I could fail spectacularly or if I needed to do reasonably good. I just never like to spend too much time doing boring things that I don’t have much interest in. I had to change that approach when preparing to my finals and spend horrendous amounts of time preparing to my math exam, but, as it seems, even studying really hard can’t always save you. ๐Ÿ˜€ So, especially as time went by, there were less and less things I liked at school. I was constantly stressed and depressed, having trouble engaging with people and doing a lot of daily prosaic stuff because of various things that I was struggling with, I was awfully neurotic and just hated school with a passion. Somehow I guess though that most of the time I at least managed to keep the impression that I’m doing well, unless someone was a bit more perceptive but I didn’t want people to see, or see as little as possible. I’ve also always been scared of changes, and at school you get a whole lot of them sometimes.

When I was 17, I got out of the school for the blind permanently and for a year that I had left until starting college, or however else you’d call it in your country, I was having individual education at my local school, where my brother was going to. My dream was always to be homeschooled, but I knew that was hardly possible, so I was happy that the psychiatrist who saw me at the time agreed with my Mum and therapist and the headmaster of that school who felt I could benefit from doing that year in individual education. And my poor teachers would benefit too, they weren’t really prepared for me appearing suddenly and I know most of them were deadly scared of the prospect of teaching a blind student. So I think it was easier for them doing it just with me than in the class, if it felt so challenging for them. And that year was the best year at school for me. I am sure that had I been at that school all the time it wouldn’t be a good decision, but I sort of regretted I didn’t come there earlier. I discovered that – while I was reasonably good at most subjects before – I was doing much better when learning one to one, and also I liked that I could really get to know my teachers well and they could get to know me well. I had exams at the end of that year, before going to college, but I don’t remember being very stressed about them. I was, a bit, for sure, but not quite as much as I was before previous or later major exams. I only remember finishing the syllabus for most of the subjects ridiculously quickly and reading my Vreeswijk’s poems translations or my short stories to my Polish teacher during our lessons and such. They really liked me there and I liked them. Sometimes I came to Olek’s classroom and had had lessons with the class (we were in the same class even though he’s two years younger than me because I had two years delay) and I kinda got along with a few girls in there even though they didn’t even know where people speak Finnish but oh well, never mind. I had a whole big classroom just to myself where I had all the lessons, and I remember passionately reading “Outsider” by Colin Wilson during most breaks while listening to music on the headphones so, if you know me, you’d figure out I was pretty chilled there, as for my standards. ๐Ÿ˜€ So yeah, that school I did like.

Then I went to that weekend school for adults, which was just boring. I also found it hard to socialise with people, especially with most of the teachers, those who seemed to be plain scared of me or something like that. I was really struggling with math stuff, and the rest was usually quite boring. I had one good friend who was helping me with things like getting around which made it all much easier for me, and I had some other fun people in the class too though a lot of people were dropping out or coming as they pleased since it was a college for adults so no one could pressure them to do anything really, and many folks got some benefits at work or something like this when they were learning at the same time so they enrolled often just for the sake of it. It all felt a bit artificial for me but then school is generally one big faking in so many ways for me so I was just trying to get through that period as best I could. At some point my Mum got tired of driving me back and forth and I was tired of sitting in the class while they were looking at slideshows or doing something from a textbook that I didn’t have and we collaboratively decided to ask my teachers if I could do the learning at home and just come in for exams and such. They all agreed with great relief, and promised profusely to send me what they are doing in class and the topics of the assignments and dates of the exams, but then I had to send them countless emails asking for that and that was rather yucky and resulted in a couple situations where I knew just last minute that I had an exam coming up or wrote an assignment a day before the due date. I hated that and it annoyed me like shit but overall when I stopped having to go to school every weekend life became a bit easier practically, and even more so for my Mum.

So that’s it, my experience with school, quite eventful, but mostly miserable, and made me feel really spiteful towards the whole education system, so that if someone wants to rant about it, I am always open and happy to chime in, just for the sake of it. Though Mum claims I am intoxicating Zofijka with my spite when doing it with her. I’m not sure I even care, is that awful of me? Zofijka mostly thinks what I do anyway, and comes with her school troubles to me a lot of the time, and I have to get my shit out somewhere finally too.

How much did you hate school? ๐Ÿ™‚

Question of the day.

Hey people! ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s today’s question for you from me. ๐Ÿ™‚

Who taught you to write a CV/resume?

My answer:

I had classes at my last school, don’t know in which other countries something like this exists and how you call it but we in Poland call it a bit pompously basics of entrepreneurship, I guess I had it for two or perhaps three years, I don’t even remember now, anyway you learn different things to do with economy, business, having your own business, employment, just all sorts of things to do with entrepreneurship. And I remember very vaguely we were learning to write CV during those classes too. But, actually, by the time we had that writing a CV thing in our syllabus, I was already learning largely by myself, that is, many of my teachers seemed awfully scared of contracting blindness from me I guess, some were actually treating me like an air, which wasn’t making things easier for me with the anxiety and communication difficulties, one seemed actually even more sociophobic than me, or rather Emiliophobic, as his social phobia would only come up in contact with me and he was like almost literally tip-toeing around me as if he thought I’ll kill him if he’ll make me angry, ๐Ÿ˜€ and that attitude was really making me very pissed off whenever I saw him. Oh and he was scared of my Mum like hell too. Besides, the vast majority of them were using slideshows a lot or other things that weren’t really accessible for me. So at some point I just came up with an idea that I will teach myself and they’ll send me what they’re doing, the topics of control assignments and such and I’ll be sending the assignments to them and coming to exams. And they very happily agreed to it, as my Mum said it, with great relief, especially my poor Emiphobic history teacher. But that was relief to me too as you can imagine given the above circumstances, even though I did have some really awesome teachers there too. So, going back to that CV thing, I was supposed to tackle this on my own, which was tricky as I had no idea about CV’s whatsoever, those things still confuse me a lot. So I asked my Dad for help, as he’s had a lot of experience, and, practically, it was him who taught me that. But, actually, even though it’s been maybe three years since then, I doubt I’d be able to write a serious CV applying for job without any guidance. I still find all those things rather confusing. But I do have the basic idea at least of what it should be like, haha.

How was it with you? ๐Ÿ™‚

Question of the day.

Who taught you to read?

My answer:

Since despite multiple attempts and good will my parents have never learnt Braille, moreover, doubted I’ll be able to learn it when I was little, I learnt to read at school, as I think the vast majority of blind people would. In spite their doubts, it really didn’t take me that much time to master it. I didn’t like reading at the beginning, but once I’ve become more fluent at it I grew to love it and my teacher was actually saying I read way too quickly and too much (no idea where the boundary between enough and too much lies in this case ๐Ÿ˜€ ). Nevertheless, when she found out that I feel slightly bored with the stuff we had to read at school, for some time she wrote little stories for me that I could practice reading during longer school breaks when I was at home, they were all – just as I wanted it – about a little boy named Jacek. These weren’t hard to read either, especially that I would tell the whole plot to her earlier so she’d know what to write, and I was actually the one making them up, but at least that was fun and not boring and felt quite special to me. ๐Ÿ˜€ I guess though that with time it became a bit of a pain in the neck for her, haha, so I had to move on and start writing stories myself which turned out to be even more fun as no one would understand my ideas as well as I do!

How about you? ๐Ÿ™‚

My most beautiful memory from last year.

A few days ago, there was a nice question at

Pointless Overthinking

: “Which is the most beautiful memory you have from last year?”. So in this post, I’m going to answer it.

From the top of my brain, what I can think of is the feeling when I finished my Polish oral exam last year. Overall, my finals were very difficult for me, not only because finals are always stressful, but also because I had quite a triggering situation happening to me on the first day, so it was all very tense and I can’t think of the exams overall without feeling my brain shuddering. I’m not going to go into details right now, but if you’d like to read about it, you can go

here.

The post is protected so just drop me a line if you’d like the password.

With the Polish oral exam though, it was a little bit different.

I came to the school just as stressed and sick as on all the previous days, mostly because of that scary situation, not the exam itself, although I was a bit jittery about the exam too. At Polish oral finals people usually are asked about obligatory readings. I found most of them rather boring, so only read detailed summaries of most of them, and did some online tests to see how much I know with that, but I was still a little afraid what if I get a very detailed question plus I get stressed and won’t know what to say. I may fail maths, and I did as you probably know, but failing Polish would be a real shame. I rationally don’t think I would, but I was so anxious then all the time that I didn’t think very rationally.

The thing with that being my most beautiful memory is that I had extreme luck that day, and could show all my potential and my possibilities. When I went to the class, one of the committee members very pompously led me to the desk, where I had a Brailler and a ton of paper, ’cause you know they assume you’d have to prepare for the oral exam and write some notes, which in other circumstances I’d probably find very merciful, ’cause I always prefer to write something down before I have to speak and be eloquent. I had to draw a question, and, despite all the anxiety, and how devastated I’d been feeling, at that moment, I felt just a wave of euphoria rushing through my brain. I’d imagine like when you just get to know that you are a billionaire, but not as intense of course. Because, it felt like that question was waiting right there, especially for me! My exam question was something like that, can’t quote exactly – describe the changes that have happened in the Polish language over the years, how has colloquial language evolved, what are some things that have influenced this change. – My notes were really, really, really laconic, it took me maybe a few lines, and a few minutes, definitely less than the time provided, especially that disabled students have that time lengthened (I hated it, it was always only problematic for me). So when I told the committee that I’m ready, they were quite clearly sceptical. But when I started talking, it wasย  a real logorrhea and their scepticism quickly vanished. ๐Ÿ˜€ I really don’t remember most of what I was saying, I know I was saying something about social media, and mentioning my favourite Polish book series “Jeลผycjada” as a literary example, but it had to be much more. So when I got out of there, I was over the moon. Most of the other poor people there got indeed questions about obligatory readings and didn’t seem as happy.I was really relieved and very appreciative and grateful of my stroke of luck, that was far more than I could imagine, my Mum couldn’t believe that. Well I’ve always had my brain set up for all stuff linguistic, so there couldn’t be many easier things they could ask me about.

So when they were announcing the results, not very surprisingly, I got 100% of it. Was even more over the moon, especially that it was that jerky lady (who was earlier insulting me and all that and triggered me as I wrote in that post I linked to) saying that, so she could clearly see it herself, and my Mum was very happy about it. That same woman had to ruin the experience to me, saying to me in a very sweet tone of voice that it’ll be interesting to see what my math results will be like, which immediately activated my Inner Critic Monkey Maggie again, and indeed, later on it did turn out that I failed maths – I knew it could happen so it wasn’t a shock to me and din’t have to hear that woman’s opinion anymore – but still, overall, I felt like it really was a triumph for me. Especially that then I got 100% at English as well. And then another great thing was the euphoria I felt when finally my exams were over, never mind that I was pretty sure I failed that math thing.

So, while it wasn’t exactly beautiful, with all that intense stuff going on, and I wouldn’t like to go through it all again, the thing with the Polish oral itself clearly showed that I’m actually damn lucky sometimes.

I’ve had lots of nice and beautiful memories last year, but that was simply what came to my mind first. ๐Ÿ™‚

Question of the day.

What are you remembering?

My answer:

Recently lots of things have been reminding me about one of my close friends, with whom I am no longer in touch with, and it’s kind of bittersweet I’d say. I am thinking a lot about him recently somehow and it is both very nice and hurts at the same time ’cause I’ve been missing him a lot. Also, I had a bad dream last night, not like a full blown nightmare or sleep paralysis, but just not a pleasant dream, nothing more, and it involved some school stuff. I had to be up very early today, and that fact, of being up so early, and having that bad dream, it together reminded me that oh wow, today a year has passed since my finals. And, ugh, I’m so glad all that havoc is over. Both with the preparations and the finals. Last year was so devastating for me because of that, and then the finals themselves were absolutely scary for me, or rather accompanying events, not the actual finals, I guess that was kind of traumatising, or re-traumatising maybe I should say, I don’t know, that’s what my Mum says too. Grrrr scary! And then my Mum reminded me of that horror again. So glad it’s over and I don’t have to see those people from there anymore. I’m having a good day generally today, but my Monkey Maggie the Inner Critic is very active today and wants to constantly remind me that what happened then was only because of me, and, well, I guess at this point I’m no longer sure of anything. As if I ever was. ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s hard to stay rational when dealing with her really.

What are YOU remembering? ๐Ÿ™‚

Question of the day (1st April).

What’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for you?

My answer:

Hm, there were lots of very nice things that people have done for me… I don’t know whether nice is an appropriate word for that, it sounds a bit like an understatement, but one particular thing comes to my mind right now. When I left the school for the blind at the age of 17 which was quite a sudden thing, I was sure that I’m not going there again, but since I was still a minor I had to go to school somewhere, which was hard not only because of my blindness and lack of preparation of mainstream teachers for teaching blind students here, but also because of my additional difficulties, at that time especially emotional which were quite significant, so, honestly, there weren’t many other options, if any, and it looked like I’d have to either come back there anyway or take a risk and just wait until I’ll be 18 when I won’t have to go to school anymore. Because of my awful depression at that time and my brain being a mess, as well as that would be just practically easier for everyone, I got an opinion from the psychiatrist that I need individual education at least for the time being until I’ll be doing some higher education. But yeah my Mum and me had a real trouble finding an actual school that would be willing to accept me and that would be doable for me. After weeks of fruitless looking around and research my Mum went to some meeting for parents in my brother’s school, and after that, completely out of the blue, my brother’s class teacher asked Mum how is her eldest daughter doing. Maybe it wouldn’t be that strange but actually Mum could have sworn that she had never told him anything about me or even my existence, quite unlikely that Olek would do it, so it felt a bit like paranormal. ๐Ÿ˜€ So Mum told him everything about my situation, and he was the sort of guy who was full of enthusiasm, to the point that he was slightly naive, and when Mum told him everything he dragged her to the headmaster’s office and told her that he’ll certainly agree for me to go to their school as well, especially that, if not my blindness, that would be my sort of default school because it’s nearest in the area so would I choose them they’d have a duty to approve me. And, indeed, with a lot of help from Olek’s teacher (who ended up being my teacher too because although I’mtwo years older than him, I was two years behind with school stuff) and willingness from the headmaster, who unfortunately got fired before I even started going there because of some nasty drama or intrigue or whatever that was going on there and in which he got unfortunately involved in, I started going to Olek’s school. I was in the same class as him although I had individual education just twice a week so only interacted with his class occasionally. I was lucky because despite a rather low educational level and complete lack of knowledge about people with disabilities in that school, my previous school’s educational level was high, and the year when I changed schools was the year when I had exams before choosing further education, so it was a lot of rush, but I had a lot of knowledge from previous years so it went very smoothly, especially that I was doing much better in individual education than I earlier did in class and finished the year with great results, better than ever before. And despite those exams being ahead of me I completely didn’t feel any pressure or even much stress, I was just very laid back and didn’t have to care too much. Because of individual education, I had a more sort of personal contact with teachers, they knew me well and I knew them, one teacher was fascinated by my fascination with Vreeswijk so in the last months of school when we had practically all the syllabus done I read my translations of his poems to her. As I said, people didn’t have the slightest idea about blindness and possibilities that blind people might have, so I experienced some rather condescending attitudes from them and I could see that they were absolutely gobsmacked that I could even write, and the same teacher who would a few months later be delighted with my Vreeswijk’s translations, was close to passing out at my first day of school when she learnt that she’ll be teaching a blind student, while the art teacher gave me an A just because I knew who Leonardo DaVinci was (while my brother who did a whole presentation as it was required of the rest only got an equivalent of a C), but because other than that they were nice to me, and because I was and still am incredibly grateful to them, I could distance myself from it and not take it personally or something. I think in my whole education it was the happiest year for me in many regards, and I regretted that I didn’t know it could be like that some two years before I changed schools, so I could go there earlier. Though I’m glad I didn’t go only there, because if I did, I would probably not learn much of neither academical knowledge (Olek’s classmates didn’t know in which country Finnish is spoken ๐Ÿ˜ฑ ), nor any other skills, so I guess all experiences we have are for a reason. I really don’t know though where I could be now if not that Olek’s teacher, I’m not sure I would even like to know as that certainly wouldn’t be the nicest place unless some other miracle would happen. He was an utterly weird guy, the kind that people always make fun of, and they did, like all the time, but at the same time he really cared about people. So yeah, that would be probably the nicest thing.

How about you? ๐Ÿ™‚

Question of the day (25th March).

If you could disinvent one thing, what would it be?

My answer:

School. I’d disinvent it, and then invent it again so that it would have a completely different structure and would stop being brainwashing, as well as, among other things, it would also be optional for parents to send their children to school, home/flexi schooling would be highly encouraged, school would be more of an alternative for those children whose parents can’t or really don’t want to homeschool them, or to gain some additional skills that parents can teach their children but would like them to know, like some stuff that is of a special interest for the child or that they would like to base their career on in future. Schools would also be more of a place where the children could meet and play so that people wouldn’t complain that they don’t grow up together with their peers, and parents would be taught there on how to homeschool their children and just learn about parenting. But in fact I’d rather have someone else do that than do it myself, I don’t fancy dealing with this rotten system. ๐Ÿ˜€

How about you? ๐Ÿ™‚