Monday, March 31, 2014

Cleaning up?

I'm preparing myself (still only mentally) to some spring cleanings and tidy-ups. When the strong rays of sun make our apartment so sharply bright I can see very sharply that here lives a family. And the family lives here for a pretty long time. I can see the signs on the cupboards in our kitchen, in the corners of every room, on the white sofa, on the windows. We do clean, of course, but usually you don't make those cleanings that orderly so to remove every dirt and dust from every nook and cranny and so after some time the place looks worn out. Especially if you have those lovely two pairs of little hands mailing their stamps wherever it's possible. So yes, it would be nice to make the place clean, but on the other hand I like so much better to spend some funny time with the owners of those little hands constructing from duplo blocks some colorful houses, trucks and whatever the imagination brings. Yes, like now, the little hands just brought me some blocks and want to play with me. I'm coming, honey! 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Sad kids

I've read a letter from a Reader published  in a Polish magazine. The Reader was a woman, staff psychologist in an elementary school. She wrote about her every day encounters with pupils and their parents. And it was sad. It was about a lack of love. About loneliness. About acute longing to be loved, to be accepted, to be hugged. She wrote about a little boy, who very ofen is very sad because he knows his mother would never hug him, never kiss him. He is not allowed to play with his sister, because he is said he would always make a mess. His mother yells at him whenever he doesn't behave as she wished him to behave. He is scared. Another boy is sad, because he has heard from his mother several times that she's going to put him to a orphanage because he doesn't behave.
Every time I get mad because my kids do something stupid or not listen or whatever, I feel guilty. Whenever I do yell at them, especially my daughter, my son is still very little, I feel terrible. I know how wrong was I. I know how scared it was for my little girl. The angry mom is like an angry monster. The kid is scared and is vulnerable. As a mother I am learning every day a lot about being patient, about having tons of smiles and hugs to give, about not getting irritated and instead to laugh, about the unconditional love I do have for those two little kiddos and about how amazingly this love is growing every day. And still even with this love I do have bad days. I know it is normal, it is OK so far as we still give our kids love and appreciation and awareness and smiles and hugs and giggles. It is sad that not all parents know it and not all children are lucky to be nourished that way.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I was once in Crimea...

It was in May 2001. The world was so much different then it is today. It was still before 9/11. It was before the war on terror. It was also before some borders in Eastern Europe were forcefully changed. It was in May 2001 when me with few crazy and funny friends traveled by train (several trains) to Odessa and to Crimea. I remember that trip so well. It was a crazy trip with lots of laugh and chats, oh, and Ukrainian vodka of course. I remember trying to communicate with the locals in Russian, but it turned out I remembered just few words. I remember how the people were pointing that they speak Ukrainian not Russian and that it is a distinct language. Yes, we were aware of it. Crimea was so beautiful. So warm, full of blooming flowers, the sea so blue and people so friendly.
Yes. Crimea. What is going on in the mind of that mad man in Russia? I am not political person. I am not interested in politics. But sometimes I get mad. Because although I rarely say my political opinions out loud, I do have opinions. For many weeks now the news about our eastern neighbor are not at all optimistic. They are scary. Scary because of  that guy, who seems to be insane in his imaginations and how well we know it from not so far history, how dangerous those could be for the humanity.
But there is another thing I am wondering recently. I have a Russian friend. There are some Russians in my daughter's day care. Here in Helsinki you see so many Russians everywhere. I wonder what just an average Russian thinks about it. Do they feel ashamed? Do they feel it was fair to get "back" their "own" piece of land, beautiful piece of land, nice new place for spending summer. I don't know and of course I would feel more than awkward asking such a question to any one. But apparently I didn't read in the news anything about what's the public opinion in Russia about the whole issue, what the people of Russia think about it. If they are still allow to think of course. It is so sad in a way, that out there nothing has been changed for centuries. There are only new faces in new political roles of that old, scary czar. Always one person who knows everything best, who doesn't dispute, who doesn't care, who makes whatever he wants no matter of costs and people. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

First spring day

It's spring. And not only according to the calendar, but it really came to Helsinki. I've already spotted some early spring flowers. This year they came up so early because of no snow. And today is so warm and sunny. Warm, I mean, it depends on what you expect of course. For me it means something like +5C and sun and no wind. I spent with Tomek the whole morning outside. After we left Wanda in a day care we went to our favorite park. Tomek feels there at home because we go there for so many months already. And there are plenty of other small kids from serounding day cares. It's funny, because you can hear there many languages. There are kids from Finnish kindergartens, from a Swedish one, from a French place, from Wanda's place, that is English speakers. But it's nice. And after that we walked along the shore, passed Ruoholahti harbor and went towards Eira and the park at the sea side. You can walk there following the now biking/walking path, previously probably some industrial road. And you get strait to the beach. Yes, there is a tiny sandy beach. I missed it so much. I feel such comfort when I listen to the sound of waves, to the scream of sea guls. When I can look at the sea. The powerful nature. Calming and energizing in a same time. And my little boy was so amazed by the sea. He run strait to the water. I had to keep him tight. We were throwing rocks to the water and chased the waves. So much fun.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Upcoming spring's resolutions

I didn't make many New Year's resolutions, I never do. At that part of a year I am not really in a mood to change the world and even my simple life. So I usually just go by and wait for some better moment closer to spring - sun and new energy, to plan something ahead. Anyway, I guess this moment is approaching. And it is thanks to my friends and very inspiring chats we always have and it is also to the upcoming spring. Days are suddenly so long. Today Tomek woke me up just twenty past six (ugh...) and it was light and sunny already! When I take kids to the bath at around seven it is still quite light. Yes, all in all I can feel and smell the change in the weather and in my mind.
My foremost spring resolution is to start working on my English. I wish I could one day be as good in it as to could write a newspaper or magazine article. I still lack those skills but it is simply because I was never trained to do so and never tried even for myself. I should start now. I need more proficient vocabulary, better grammar and advanced structure. I know, everyone can read and understand this blog, but I'm sure for all English natives it sounds 'simple English' kind of with plenty funny errors. So what's the plan? To study as much as I manage from home (now you know the answer: in a meantime and in a nap time after or between cooking and running errands there is not much time left, but my will is still big). And after summer, when our son will go to a day care I could do more, maybe even take some classes.
My second best resolution is to start (finally!!!) working on my Finnish. Hahah!!!! "My Finnish" sounds quite proud. In fact so far, during those more than two and a half years of living in Helsinki I did literally zero do learn something. But now I feel the time came for a good start. So my plan is to start a regular and quite intensive course at the autumn, again when Tomek starts his day care. Talking about studying Finnish. Recently I started to feel almost guilty for not knowing it at all. Sometimes someone asks me how old is my baby or says something like what a cute child, you know, those small things and I don't understand, don't even guess what he or she just said. It is embarrassing for I live here quite a long time and have a permanent resident status. I remember from the past when I still lived in Poland and whenever I met or heard about any expat I wondered why the heck they don't speak Polish. My reasoning was that if they chose to live in Poland, they have a good job and money in that country so why they do not bother to learn the language of that country. I know Polish is not easy but everyone can at least try. And so now, after many years I am myself in this expat situation and I behave exactly as they. And it is not because I don't want to learn, it is because it's quite hard to arrange everything having two small kids, one at home.
Last but not least, I'm going to find a job. Nice job. Interesting job. Paid job. There is no rush here. I'm still at home for the next half a year and after that for another half of the year I'd prefer to have my little boy only part time in a day care unless a great job offer appears. But yes, all of the above is going to help me in my future job hunting. Maybe I could write for Helsinki Times? Maybe I could work in a communication department in any big company? Maybe I could do some other work for any institution which has English speaking environment.

Where do you come from?

I've just read a nice and inspiring post on my friend's blog Halituli.She was wondering about her answer to a seemingly simple question: where are you from? Funny, because not long ago I myself was thinking about my own answer. And it is not that obvious. I am Polish, was born in Poland and lived there for most of my life. But since 2005 I've been living abroad. I spent six years in the US. I went there with my boyfriend who became there my fiancĂ© and my husband. It was the USA where our daughter was born and made her first steps and said her first words. And it was the US where I finally have discovered what I want to do professionally. I mean, I was a journalist before, but only there I started to write about science. But then came Finland and it is now for two and a half years and quite a few to go or who knows, maybe more than we think. This is here where our son was born, where we have our first home in a sense that we have truly invested in nice furniture and decoration and quite have settled down. Our family is very much complete. This is here where our kids get the early education. And when we were traveling to some other country for vacation and one asked where were we from it was a confusing question. Because, well, we are Polish but we came from Finland because this is where our home is. I think this is the best answer. Because I can not say I am from Finland. It would implicate I am Finnish and I am not. For our daughter it is even harder. She knows very well that she was born in the US and has an American passport. Often she says, what sounds so hilarious, that she is American. But of course she is Polish because of us, her parents, although she has never lived in Poland. And now the only country she knows as her home is Finland, cause we left the States when she was too small to have any memories. And for our son? Good question. Anyway, thanks Karolina, for inspiration!