Friday, December 13, 2013

Pre-X-mas prep.

I started today. Or actually yesterday when I went to do some Christmas groceries. And so now I'm cooking all the parts for barszcz that is out traditional soup eaten on Christmas Eve. You have to cook separately onions and beet roots with vegies and wild mushrooms. After that you combine all three stock and at the end you add some red wine, black pepper etc. I'm going to freeze those stock so that I don't stand in my apron on Christmas Eve. I'm also going to bake a cheese cake, actually not very Polish version, because it's going to be a New York cheese cake, but I love it and it is very festive cake. Oh, over the weekend I will have to make all the special dumplings stuffed with wild mushrooms and again freeze them. You serve them together with the barszcz. Then some more shopping, that is some herrings and other fish. My parents will bring some things from Poland. I have all decorations for the Christmas tree. The only thing which is missing is the snow. There is zero of it. Today the weather is more like pre-spring with a very heavy wind, blue sky and sun and plus 5C. I remember last year it was at least 20 centimeters snow and it was snowing every day. It was crazy moving around by car or pushing the stroller but it was also so beautiful. I wish the snow will come soon. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

What Christmas means?

Last Friday there was a  Christmas concert in our daughter day care. Tears in my eyes as always. Kids  so cute. Teachers so engaged. Nice evening. But what the whole concert was about? It was made as a music contest with many songs not at all associated with Christmas. Only seasonal songs were Santa is coming to town and Rudolf the red nose reindeer. But neither decoration nor songs nor anything in a speech was about the real reason we do celebrate Christmas. What is Christmas? Santa, the tree, presents of course, ginger bread. That's it. And this is a shame. Because if we do celebrate this holy holiday as Christmas and not just few days off with presents around, we should know and tell what is it for. I don't want to say that the teachers should be Christian priests talking about religion, especially that this is an international kindergarten with kids from India, Japan Etc. who have different religious background, but it is not the case. It would be just so simple and normal to talk about who was born on that special night, where and what happened there. Just like a story. Kids love this story about baby Jesus, about all those animals around him and his dedicated mom. Our daughter has an Indian book about god Ram Ramayana which we brought her from India! and this is just fine. She can learn something about different culture. She doesn't have to believe in any god. And so could be made about Christmas. I have to admit that me myself forgot a bit about it and what is really important for this very holiday. I started to play at home CDs with Polish Christmas carols, which are beautiful and make this special atmosphere. But than me and my husband realized that actually we didn't do much to tell our daughter about Christmas. And there are no good books or movies for kids. I asked my mom to send us a new book written by a Swedish author about believing in Santa. I wanted this book after I have read a very good review. And the book begins very nicely and I was very happy and Wanda was interested what's going to be next until the part when that Santa being very upset used his magic and turned a baby Jesus in a Christmas decoration (you know the barn saint Maria, Joseph, the three kings) into a sceleton. Well, for me it was too much. I think even more for the fact that changing a new born baby into a dead sceleton is scary and horrible than for the fact that we talked about a baby God for believers. I am not very much a believer, I doubt more often than I believe, but I was raised with the tradition of Christians Christmas and not with a tradition of shopping Christmas and I don't like the modern idea of forgetting about the beauty and real sense of this winter celebration. I think me and my husband have a lesson to learn. Our daughter is growing and we have to teach her our own culture. Living abroad, attending international schools makes it harder but not impossible I hope. Although when I asked her tonight that we should practice one of the carols for Christmas she said she likes most the Rudolf the red nose reindeer... 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December began

Our third winter is on its way. Our third Santa parade was by the end of November. For the third time we are waiting for the first snow. Oh, actually there was a bit of white yesterday evening, but it melted already. Now I am preoccupied with thoughts about Tomek's future day care, about Wanda's future school and about my eventual future work, oh, and of course as always, about our future moving apartment. For each of those things there is still time, but it runs fast and I need to make plans in advance. But in a meantime our little son started walking and is even more cute than before. So I enjoy as much as I can that precious time with him knowing it will be gone so soon and in two years he will be a full time kindergarten kid and never again this cute little toddler. This winter will be again so different from the last year and the two years before. Easier I hope, kids are bigger. I am more relaxed. Knowing the city even better. Knowing more and more people. Being busy. Yes, too busy with I don't know what that I still didn't get any Christmas decorations! Nor any gifts for my parents who are coming for the holidays. But I'm getting better with baking goodies. Recently I've made my first hallah. It was surprisingly easy. Thanks to my perfect food processor making a yeast dough is a piece of cake. And it was delicious and beautiful. I'm going to repeat it. I would give you a link to a web page, but it was in Polish, so not for all the readers. Anyway I'm going to repeat it. Best right from the oven when still warm. We ate it too fast and no pics were taken.