Tuesday, March 31, 2015

My kids


My kids.

Wanda. So big already. So clever, intelligent. Loves to learn. Can already read in Polish and in English, but the latter is quite tricky for her. She can write and she writes. Her homeworks in English and just for fun in Polish. She has written in my notebook, I love you the most mommy in Polish. Tears in my eyes. She wants to be nice, to be kind, to please me and my husband, but of course she fights with her little brother. Obvious. But she loves him so so much and to be true she forgives him quite a lot. I love to watch them play together, discuss stuff, make deals, agree or disagree, but eventually get to the point. She still continues her book of short stories. It goes like last year. She tells the story and I write it down, without my corrections, just how she likes to have it. After we are done, she makes a picture. Creative. I don't know if this is this age, this development stage, but she loves rules and fairness. Everything must be fair. "It's not fair!" Is her favorite exclamation recently. And also recently she agreed voluntarily to the rule she would only watch and play on iPad or watch movies on the weekends. And it is so good for all of us. Since that rule was established we read much more, she draw much more and plays and do different interesting things.
Tomek. Changing a lot every day. Now almost without a diaper. Big step to becoming a boy not a baby anymore, big step to independence. Oh yes, he loves being independent, do things by himself. He is talking a lot and he can really speak quite good already. Full sentences, describing what someone or something is doing, what he wish do do or have, what are we going to do etc. He loves to emulate his sister, but also he likes to bother her. He is such a smart boy, playing games with us, making funny jokes and pretending. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Back to the winter - taka talvi



When everyone thought the winter is gone, the end of March brings us some white surprise. They call it here "taka talvi". That means after some pre-spring days, warm and sunny snow-less weather, suddenly in March or even April comes snow again. And so this is what we experience right now. It is snowing from early morning today. Unfortunately it is slightly above zero, so the snow looks very wet and there is already this yucky snowy goo on the streets. But kids are happy. Me too. It's nice, for a change...

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Prespring remarks about myself


This last month past fast and I don't know how it's possible, but in a few days we will have April. I was sick, kids were sick, many days at home, mix of nice, sunny spring weather and awful grey, cold and wet condition, but somehow day after day, with no special events, went by. I was quite busy because of planing my future work. I went to pass a Finnish language test to determine what level am I. Not high, it is A1.3 exactly what I should be after those two semesters of my course, but at least not lower. It means I have learned what I was suppose to. Not bad. I started to search the Internet to look for job for myself. Not sure what I would like to do though. Big corporations? Some ngo's or some smaller companies? Maybe. I don't have a very precise idea, what kind of job I could do here. Still lots of mind work for myself. And actually because of that I am again, after years of denying it to myself, more and more eager to go back to writing, to journalism. Whenever I think about me working, I see myself it that role. I always liked my profession, I used to be good in it, so why changing my career path? And actually being quite independent, not having the strict office hours is good for me in our current family situation. Well, I don't know, I will try to apply to some selected places in Helsinki, where I feel I could fit and maybe will try again with Polish media. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Emigrant or expat?


The main Polish weekly women's magazine "Wysokie Obcasy" started a readers' contest about how is it to be an emigrant, to live abroad or to come back to Poland after living somewhere for a long time. Experiences, feelings, insights. Funny, but I never thought about myself as of an emigrant. I'm just not living in Poland, but... well, an emigrant? I don't think in our modern world, global village, open societies, internet, skype, low cost airlines etc. we can still talking about being emigrants. It still can be true for people coming from non-democratic countries, for those who actually have only a one way ticket, for those who had to leave their home place. But for us in Europe, if we choose to move to another european country or even to the US or Canada or even maybe down under, but still staying within the comfort zone of living in our western democratic and open culture, we are just switching countries. Are we really emigrants? Maybe some of us could think about ourselves this way, maybe it is the very personal feeling. I think I don't. But I could say I am an expat. Yes, this is much more accurate word for my status. And there is a difference in a definition of being an emigrant and an expat. The latter is one who lives outside his own country. The first one leaves his own country in order to settle down somewhere else.
When I count all the years of living outside of Poland, there is quite many. First in 1999 one year in Germany as an au-pair. Later in 2002 six months of a crazy trip to the US. Then only three months in Ireland. Right after that from 2005 six years in the US. And from there we came to Finland and this will be soon four years.
Anyway, I've read some of the stories written by those expat girls or emigrant girls living in different parts of the world and they were really thoughtful. About different lifestyle, culture, about homesick or the contrary of it, about love to the new place, about what's bad and what's good, about how their own point of view has changed by living abroad - how they see Poland, how they see themselves.

Very inspiring series. It makes me think about my own path. How do I feel living abroad? How have I changed? How's my own view about my home country? Where do I belong? Where do belong my children, both born abroad and each one in a different country? 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Cherish the moment



Today is Wednesday and it means a family club day. This is my and my son's weekly ritual. After two days in a day care there comes Wednesday and my son knows and reminds me that this is our club day. So, after we say bye to Wanda in her day care, we walk few blocks away to a family club Betania, located in Punavuori and pictured above, in the yellow building with round windows. It's a very nice, cosy and really family and kids oriented place. Inside there is one room for playing, usually there are some activities like arts and crafts available for kids, so you can paint, draw, cut, glue etc. My son usually is not interested in putting his hands in it and he prefers to play with cars and trucks and airplanes. So we sit on a floor and play. There is a kitchen and they bake their own pullas there, so sometimes it smells of cinnamon and fresh baked rolls. That is our other ritual - to go and buy the goodies and eat together. If the weather allows we stay outside in a park, like today, enjoying first spring sun. And after such a long morning we are going to the metro and back home. I like it too, I like our routine, the precious time spent together. I do cherish those moments, because I know already they won't last forever.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Spring is in the air


This morning they started to remove all that gravels out off sidewalks and all the pedestrians ways in our neighborhood. The first signs of spring. It means we do not expect any snow fall before the next winter. And so the thick layer of hard gravel can be remove and keep for the next winter season. I don't know if this year's winter was so short or just the time is going so fast, but somehow I feel like it just started and now is the end. OK, there was almost no snow this year, similar to last one, very bad, grey, wet winter. I have an impression there were too little time for ice-skating and now they are closing all the rinks. We hardly used our sledge with the kids. The bad thing about Helsinki winter is that actually quite often the season looks like the passing one. And another bad news is that still the spring comes in May. So, now we can expect about two months of again grey and wet weather. OK, any optimistic news? Well, my experience of Finnish seasons is only four years and as long as I remember the green leaves comes in May and actually its second half... but maybe this year will be different? But today after a week of cloudy sky the sun appeared and you could really and truly feel the spring in the air. Positive. And days are suddenly so long again! I wake up at 7 and it is light and it is light up to almost 7 in the evening. Energizing. And birds are singing all day long. Love it.
What else has March brought us? My birthday, again. Less and less to celebrate and I was sick, very sick with high fever, terrible headache and stuffed nose for a week, so even less to celebrate.
I guess our final decision about us moving to Espoo.
My final internal decision about going back to work. What kind of? That's still among many questions including taking some courses or studies (for updating my brain resources) or internships (to check if I am able to become a part of a team again) or going back to writing (and prove I can still do this) - but again question for whom, what kind of writing etc.