Question of the day.

Have you ever been to another country? Which?

My answer:

I’m not very well-travelled, but I have been to some countries a few times, although with most of them these were just day trips, so as you can guess most of these were our neighbouring countries (Lithuania, Slovakia and Czech Republic). My Mum’s family – namely my grandad – has some Lithuanian heritage, but we also have some distant family – from his side – in eastern Poland, mainly in Masuria. That is also where my Mum was born. Masuria is an amazing place to go for holidays to, because there are a lot of lakes and beautiful views and a lot of yummy food, and a lot of rural areas and tourism is quite a big thing there. So we would often go there to see our family and would often stay at their place and travel in the area or something, during summer holidays. One such year we decided to go a bit further, to Lithuania. Partly because of that family connection, although this is not something we know a lot about or have a strong emotional bond with because it’s just too distant, and partly because I’ve had a devotion to Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn, whose chapel is there, and I wanted to visit it, so my Dad had always promised me that we’d go on a pilgrimage there or something, and that’s what we eventually did. Zofijka was only a toddler then. She was also quite little on our next trip – to Slovakia – and often when we were driving somewhere that felt very far to her, she would keep asking: “Are we still in Poland?” which always made us laugh because it sounded as if she was such a globetrotter or a cosmopolitan that she can’t keep track of which country she’s in anymore. πŸ˜€

As for Slovakia, one year my Mum persuaded me to go on a summer camp that was organised by my school, and as a way of coaxing me into it she said that they – my family – would go there as well on their own. The whole trip was to the Tatra mountains, here in Poland, because my school had like its quarters there – that is, sort of a closely affiliate school in a village close to the mountains which was for primary school-aged children with some additional learning difficulties other than just blindness, so we were using that school as our base. – I would sometimes do stuff with my school, and sometimes with my family. Sometimes my family would join the school in doing what they had planned to do, and at other times they’d do something different. And my Dad was really keen on the idea of us going to Slovakia, because back when he was going to school, he once went to a school camp in Czechoslovakia and then later even was briefly penpalling with one of the girls from there, which is interesting because while Polish and Czech/Slovak are obviously in the same family of languages and are relatively well mutually intelligible, it’s not like you’ll understand each other all the time if you don’t have some background in the other language, at least that’s my experience, there are a LOT of “false friends” and their spelling also differs a fair bit, so I would never have thought that my Dad would be up for such a challenge and at school age, I’d think that would require some language consciousness that people, let alone school children, don’t always have. Then later on our trip to Czech Republic, to both my and Mum’s great surprise, it was my Dad who was the most communicative and understood people the best, my English was of less use than his Polish and plain ability to understand what people were saying. πŸ˜€ We’d never suspected him of a hidden linguistic talent like this. Anyway, because of having such memories with Czechoslovakia, and because of us being close to the Slovak borders and all being into the idea, we felt like it would be fun to go there. And because my Mum always wanted to visit some thermal aquapark or something like this, we were happy to find out that there is one quite close to the border, in Oravice. And, for me personally, that was the most fun day of the whole trip, which overall was, I believe, more exciting to my parents than my siblings and me. πŸ˜€ But we had a lot of fun in that thermal aquapark and have been thinking about going there again ever since, but never have so far.

Then, quite a lot later, as an adult already, I went to the Czech Republic only with my parents, because Sofi was on a swimming camp and Olek was working. Again, we were on longer holidays, this time in Silesia, and my Dad really wanted to cross the border. We went to Prague but weren’t really doing anything specific there, just walking around, taking everything in, people watching, listening to the language, trying random foods that we’d never seen before in our own country etc. That was a lot of fun. Then the next day we travelled to Czechia yet again but this time round to some villages and again weren’t doing anything specific. My Dad was chatting to people, me and Mum too but like I said before he was actually the most effective at that and could both be quite well understood and understand the most of us all, I remember we also went to some cemetery there.

And last, but not least, my most adventurous trip abroad so far was to Sweden, but I think most of you know a fair bit about it already. I went to Stockholm and nearby areas, again just with my parents because Sofi was on another swimming camp. This was quite spontaneous, even though my Dad was promising me every year that we’d go. I never believed it because we never ended up going. But that year he also kept saying we’d go to Sweden and then, quite unexpectedly for everyone, we actually ended up doing it. I felt really ambivalent about this trip. It was absolutely awesome, and I loved being immersed in the language and how it improved so incredibly muchh for me in this single week, how I got some real experience of talking to natives, which I had almost none of in Swedish before, or at least certainly not in person. And I heard so much positive feedback about my Swedish, although at the same time whenever I let it show in any way that it’s not my first language people would instantly switch to English so I was often wondering whether my Swedish is really that bad, haha, but I guess people just do it like this in Sweden regardless of your fluency level. It is frustrating from a learner’s perspective, but in fact I’m only starting to understand this phenomenon now that I’ve been helping some people who are learning my language, and I’ve realised that it’s really tempting to just switch to English, which we both know well, because this way we could communicate more quickly and also a bit more clearly, and I wouldn’t have to be mindful all the time of what and how I’m saying so that they could understand me more easily if they’re a beginner, which in turn feels less free and natural. Plus for me it’s probably also that I write much more in English these days than I do in Polish. πŸ˜€ But there were even people in Sweden who were surprised when they eventually realised that I’m only learning Swedish, which felt really flattering because I didn’t, and still don’t, feel all that confident in it at all, not as much as in English, my Swedish still feels a little clunky to me and not as comfy to use. But I guess what may be making this initial impressioon on people is that I pick up the phonetics and language prosody easily and perhaps I do a really good job at this one thing in Swedish, that’s what I heard from my Swedish teacher but he wasn’t objective, πŸ˜€ which maybe is what to people makes me sound more like a Swede even if I make grammatical/syntax mistakes and use sometimes not the right vocabulary than if it was the other way around – if I were speaking perfectly grammatically but with a weird accent. – If it really works like this, it’s funny that an accent can create such illusions. I loved just listening to people on the streets and observing them. One of the highlights of that trip for me was when we went to the cemetery where there is Cornelis Vreeswijk’s (one of my fazas) grave. I had always dreamt of visiting him there and bringing him some flowers. We had the yummiest Swedish chocolate and ice-cream, there were so many beautiful views that my Mum was in love with, I got lots of children’s books to scan, and, on the last day of our trip, we found a minerals shop, where I got some lovely new gem stones to my collection. I loved the shop owner, who seemed to like me too or perhaps was impressed with my interest with stones or something because he was incredibly nice and talked to me a lot about his stones and how he got them, and showed me lots of them even though initially he wasn’t too happy to let me touch them. The whole trip was extremely exhausting for me though in a lot of ways, and on that last day, I was feeling totally knackered, and when I’m very tired or sleepy or have drank alcohol or something like that, I have a strong tendency for mixing languages, especially if I happened to switch them a lot or was learning one of them intensely earlier that day. My thoughts are a jumble of different languages and sometimes I won’t be able to filter things out and will say something in a different language than I wanted. That can be quite funny, if a bit embarrassing for me or confusing for the other side, although my family are used to it and just ask me what language that was, and my family are who I mostly interact with in person. πŸ˜€ Anyways, that was the state of my brain on that day, and at some point, in the middle of my conversation in Swedish with that guy (which was rather challenging in itself because he was speaking super fast and with a rather strong Scanian accent, and Scanian accent is not something I can understand very well, it’s almost like Danish πŸ˜€ ), my Mum told me – in Polish of course – that there’s also a huge sapphire there and that it’s soooo very expensive. Instead of replying her in Polish, I did it in English, and was all like oh my I love sapphires I wish I could have it!!! or something along these lines. My Mum, who can’t speak English, didn’t get it, but the shop owner did, and was quite amused. He said he can’t sell that sapphire to me at any significantly lower price, but instead could give me a smaller one for free. And that’s how I got a lovely mini sapphire ball. That’s always something to start with, and I was quite euphoric over getting a sapphire – even if very small – to my collection. But I also bought a lot of other beautiful stones there.

The worse part of the trip was that it was really quite challenging overall, it was absolutely exhausting! First we had to do all the travelling, and my vestibular system went crazy on the ferry, I was freakishly dizzy and it was scary. Most of the trip I was going on a lot higher doses of my anti-anxiety medication than what I normally take, which is probably why a lot of my memories of that time are rather foggy and feel more like a dream or something. My parents don’t speak either English or Swedish, which means I had to do the talking for three people, when I normally struggle doing it just for myself. While my linguistic curiosity was higher than my anxiety, it didn’t make it any less difficult and all the interactioons with people, even though mostly very positive, were really wearing me out. So I was just as super happy leaving as I was going there, and I have the same very ambivalent feelings when thinking about going there again. I’d love it, but when I start to think practically about going through all that socialising and travelling shit again, it makes me feel sick. πŸ˜€

How about you. πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Are you a light packer, or do you usually have an overstuffed suitcase?

My answer:

I like to pack a lot of things just in case, or such that make me feel more cosy at a strange place if I’m going to sleep there, so it often happens to be overstuffed I think. I always have a lot of chargers with me, and generally quite a lot of things that not everyone would consider necessary when going for a trip, but I definitely do. It’s not like I am petty though, I just like to have things that I’m used to with me especially when it comes to sleep, often I’ll even pack my little pillow ’cause you never know if I’ll like the pillows at the place where I’m going to sleep, or maybe I’ll still need one more pillow, haha.

You? πŸ™‚

Question of the day (7th April).

Hey people! πŸ™‚

DO you usually drive or fly when going on a holiday?

My answer:

I’ve never flew by plane in my whole life, and we usually go on holidays in the country so we drive most of the time. I am quite scared of the prospect of flying, mostly because I have balance issues because of something being wrong with my vestibular system, I don’t really know what exactly is wrong with it and why, I can only suspect that it could be somehow vaguely related to my blindness but then not all blind people have vestibular system issues, and diagnosis and labyrinth examination in the blind seems rather tricky. Anyway, some of the things I deal with because of it are quite odd and I can feel unwell just riding in the car, which is not just being car sick – although that’s how I usually compare that to people and how I refer to it when talking to other people who are unfamiliar and unlikely to get it for lack of a better, official and descriptive word, though I do get normal motion sickness sometimes too but it’s not quite as often and not quite as bad at all –
it’s like when a road is particularly bumpy, or very winding, or there is a hill, or someone is driving really fast, or I just have a bad day balance wise, because some days are definitely better and some are definitely worse, and it also seems to depend quite a bit on a kind of vehicle I’m riding, but in the wrong circumstances I can get all dizzy and feel generally strange sensations in my body and it’s also just plain scary. I have no idea if it would be the same on the plane or not, but trying it out feels quite creepy to me since I wouldn’t be able to just stop or go back or anything. When going to Sweden a while ago, we travelled by ferry to Karlskrona, and that was quite an exception from our normal, I was really determined to do it, but the travel was really difficult for me.

How about you? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

When was the last time you went on a family holiday? Was it good? Bad? Ugly?

My answer:

We don’t go on holidays that very often. The last proper family holiday we had, I mean a really long and faraway one, was the trip to Stockholm a few years ago and that was terrific albeit exhausting. If you can call something much smaller a family holiday as well, I’d say that my last one was last July. We went to Masuria – me and my parents –
quite spontaneously, it was my Dad’s idea. Due to many things, including poor planning and that my Dad is a really bad travel companion, and my Mum and me feel just as well, if not better, at home, this trip was ultra short and most of it was spent in the car, going back and forth, and then Dad looking around for a battery for his camera, which he never used in the end. πŸ˜€ He was also super irritable and irritating all that time. Oh well! I don’t feel the need to go for a holiday every year, I don’t think I lack anything particularly much where I am, and those things I do feel lack of in my life, I won’t suddenly get just because of the change of location most likely.

You? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Hi guys! πŸ™‚

If you had to pack one bag and leave for anywhere in the world other than home, where would you go?

My answer:

I guess it would be really hard right now with the coronavirus spreading everywhere, both to travel safely and to make a sensible decision. But if I really had to, since pretty much the whole world is affected, I guess I’d choose one of the countries where they speak my favourite languages, if I would travel with my family, and it’s hard to imagine it otherwise, I would aim for the one that is less affected, though right now I don’t know which one it is. And even without the virus I’d certainly decide on one of my favourite countries.

How about you? πŸ™‚

Question of the day (7th February).

Hiya people! πŸ™‚

Sorry for the delay with this one, I was down with a migraine yesterday and couldn’t post.

Would you rather go camping or stay in a hotel?

My answer:

I’d stay home haha. But seriously, if I was travelling, I’d definitely go for a hotel. Camping is not my thing whatsoever, I believe it’s one of those things you either love or hate and I’m in the latter category. Travelling can be fun, but it’s also quite a bit stressful for me especially going somewhere further and for longer, and it’s always nicer when you can sleep in a more comfy place.

What would you go for? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Hi guys. πŸ™‚

Today, my question for you is:

What would be your dream holiday/vacation? πŸ™‚

My answer:

I think it would be visiting all of my favourite countries, which I have mentioned many times here, along with what I’d like to see/do there and why I’d like to go there so I won’t do that again now. The only thing is that it would probably also be extremely draining for me to squeeze all of them into one holiday, and I’m not sure I’d like it to be this way.

How about you? πŸ™‚

Question of the day (18th October).

Hi guys. πŸ™‚

Let’s have some holiday/travel related questions of the day for a while.

What is the furthest you’ve ever been from home?

My answer:

Stockholm, Sweden. And the nearby areas. That was such an awesome holiday! I stayed there for a week.

You? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Hi people. πŸ™‚

My question for you today is:

Where have you been?

My answer:

I’ve been to Dreamland last night, finally. It wasn’t a very restful night for some reason but I did get some sleep and am not a Zombie anymore.

I’ve been living here where I live for almost 4 years now. Unbelievable! And what is more unbelievable when I look back at it is how quickly I adapted to living in this house. I’m very happy that I no longer live on the same backyard with my Mum’s family, and that we live in such a lovely place. In a town, where everywhere is near and you’re anonymous, but almost like in the countryside – on the outskirts and a lot of people are actually farming here so it doesn’t feel like a real town, not in our area of it anyway. –

I’ve been to four foreign countries in my life, not that many I guess. Lithuania, Slovakia, Czech and Sweden. All apart from Sweden were only day trips, but I enjoyed staying in all of those.

I’ve been to loads of wonderful and scary places in my brain world, and I’m sure there are still many that I haven’t discovered yet.

How about you? πŸ™‚ Feel free to answer this question in whatever way you like. πŸ™‚

Question of the day (26th March).

If you had to stay in your hometown forever, or leave it forever and never return, which would you choose?

My answer:

I like travelling, despite it being quite anxiety provoking for me for lots of reasons, but I think I appreciate having my own place much more, and I really dislike such major changes, so I think I’d rather stay. I just recently noticed that I’ve started to sort of rebuild my sense of belonging, or maybe build should I say, I’m not sure I have much to rebuild really, and I don’t think that would help me. It would suck not to be able to travel anywhere, but still, I don’t do much of it nowadays anyway so, yeah, guess that would be a bit better.

Which would you choose? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

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

My answer:

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

How about you? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

When was the last time you went on vacation? Where did you go?

My answer:

Oh, that was soo so brilliant! It was last year. Last summer, in July. I went to Stockholm. It was something that I dreamt of for years, and my Dad promised me many times that this time we’ll go to Sweden in summer for sure, and finally it came true last year. Sweden is among my favourite countries and I love Swedish language and Swedish people and so I’m always happy to speak Swedish to someone if I can practice, so I always wanted to go to Sweden. However, when it finally became a real and very close possibility, it started to feel also very scary. ‘Cause, you know, I’d have to be a translator for three people, in a way I’d have to be in charge of things ’cause I am the one in our family who speaks Swedish and English. And if you’re a sociophobic, it’s quite a scary prospect. Plus, I was also terrified about how we’re gonna get there. Because of my other anxieties, my labyrinthum not always working as it should and othere stuff, flying or sailing feels rather challenging, I get dizy and motion sickand stuff and it’s just tough. So, I think I was twice as scared as I was happy. What if it won’t go well? I wouldn’t like to have bad memories from one of my favourite places in the world. I felt like if my dreams are going to turn into a disappointment, if my anxieties will kick in, I’d better not go anywhere and just leave Sweden and all in the sphere of my dreams. But I still knew I’m gonna go there, because it felt even more awful if I missed on such a chance. And, yeah, it was tough. Very tough and exhausting. But it also was brilliant, as I said. And very, very rewarding. Sometimes as I think about it I wonder how I actually did it – all that talking and smalltalking to people, even very random people, but somehow I did. I’ve improved my Swedish, was able to use some English, and even my little rusty bits of Finnish, and get in some more Finnish, as I’ve met a woman from Finland. I’ve also fully realised something I’d only supposed before, that I’m that little bit more confident and comfortable talking to people when I do it in other languages, I guess because my willing to use it, to improve it and have contact with it is that little bit stronger than my anxiety. That’s weird, the more that Polish is also one of my favourite tongues obviously, but there’s nothing you can work on with your mother tongue, is there? And I’ve read somewhere recently that it’s common that people are more extroverted in their second, third, etc. language just because if they want to develop it, they need to communicate more.

I visited my crush Cornelis Vreeswijk’s grave, which was a very emotional event for me, we visited his park, we’d seen lots of beautiful views and historical places in the old town, ate yummy food, even tried salted caramel, which we didn’t like, but which was a funny experience. And man I’ve never eaten even half as yummy icecream as I did in the old town. I also visited a shop with minerals and extended my collection of gem stones with quite a few new ones from different countries around the world, and had a chat with the shop owner, even though he was from Scania, and I’m usually not that good at understanding the Scanian, but there’s always English, and somehow we got along. And I also have lots of other lovely souvenirs from Stockholm, like many books for children in Swedish – oh gosh I had so much scanning, I will think twice next time before I’ll ever again have a desire to buy a half of a bookshop. And the only thing I regret – well apart from those loads of scanning afterwards – is that we haven’t seen more of Sweden during that time, just Stockholm and nearby areas, and still not the whole Stockholm, we’d been there just for a week. I just enjoyed it so much. And, guess what? There is a slight chance I’ll go to Sweden this year too. There are always discounts on ferries to Sweden in summer so lots of people go even just for a little ferry trip to Karlskrona if nothing more. My feelings about that are very, very mixed, but deep down I know I’d love it.

How about your last vacation? Did you like it? πŸ™‚