Tag Archives: poland

The Honeymoon: Warsaw #2

Grab a hot beverage, sit back and hope for the best of your bandwidth. I’ve got a cracking photo-heavy post for you today!

Ladies and gents, I present the final round-up of our Warsaw Honeymoon.

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I hope that these photos give you some indication of the weather we experienced. Barely a cloud in the sky, the entire time we were there. Now normally this would be something to celebrate, but on this occasion, relentless heat in combination with a scaredy-cat disposition did not work so well. We were too chicken to try to find somewhere to swim.

I think for the most part this was because we didn’t really just want to go to a rec centre for an indoor swim, we either wanted to go somewhere we could swim outside (which we couldn’t find in Warsaw) or in a hotel pool. There’s where we got too chicken – we weren’t sure whether you had to be staying at the hotel to swim, or if, not unlike some other countries, you can just pay to use the facilities and then leave. This is where some prior research would have been handy. Oh well! Onwards we went, in all our sweaty glory.

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These sandals deserve a special commendation. I wore them for about 8 out of the 10 days, and I can’t see any sign on wear on them! Hooray for great quality sandals! I did, however, have to wash three black stripes off my feet each evening. Just a tad dusty…

Warsaw 5 Hello Sam Goodbye SamanthaMr H and I did a little family history while we were out – this street is where my Polish Grandfather lived in the late 1930s. We now have reason to believe he was Jewish or his extended family was Jewish, so he was cutting it damn fine staying in Warsaw so late. A very lucky man!

On the Saturday, we hopped on the tram (yay, courage!) and ventured out to what we would describe as a Polish Boot Fair. This is right up our street, we love nothing more than a good rummage around other peoples’ belongings.

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You’re not allowed to take anything out of Poland that was made before 1945 without special permission, so this time we walked away empty-handed, not having seen anything we loved enough to go to extra effort for. Now that we’ve been once though, I think we’d have the confidence to go back again, for sure!

Warsaw 7 Hello Sam Goodbye SamanthaIn our second week we visited the Museum of Modern Art, which was currently showing an exhibition regarding the emancipation of African Nations. This display, which I find totally engaging and wonderfully delivered, was of the postage stamps created for African countries after Independence. It was very though provoking, especially for a couple of design nerds like us.

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While many of the meals we enjoyed were in the touristy Old Town, the meal that has really stayed with me was this sharing platter from Abyssinia, an Ethiopian restaurant in the New Town. Ethopian in Warsaw – strange, huh? Strangely delicious, you mean.

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It was served on a giant pancake, which you tore off, filled with some beef, lamb, chicken, beetroot or dhal, and then ceremoniously shovelled into your face! What’s not to like?

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Just looking at these photos makes me crave it again. We were served with some honey wine, which was spicy and delicious even though I’m usually a little reserved when it comes to unusual drinks. Evidently the wasps thought it was delicious too, and about 4 of them put my I’m-Australian-bugs-don’t-scare-me street cred to the test.

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Elephant Belgian Beer Pub was, without a doubt, our favourite bar in Warsaw. Generally, Mr Hello and I aren’t huge beer drinkers, that is to say we both like beer, but are not particularly snobbish about it. However we were very tempted by the craft beers on offer at Elephant, in fact over the ten days we visited about four or five times, sampling probably two varieties at least each time!

It didn’t hurt that the owner looked like he could be my Uncle, and when we accidentally left some shopping there, they held onto it for us. That sort of customer care when you’re in a foreign city really makes a huge difference!

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So many beers, so little time.

A couple of days later we ventured over the river to Praga, the former industrial district, which is now home to Hipsterland. This part of Warsaw survived the Nazis to a large extent, and so much of the architecture is representative of a pre-WWII Warsaw.

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From walking around, we could definitely see there was more of a creative twist to this part of Praga, compared to what we’d already seen in the main part of Warsaw.

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Excellent architecture, but even more excellent signage:

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Unfortunately the hipsters of Praga evidently don’t rise before nightfall, as most of the bars  looked to me a night-time thing only. Next time we head to Warsaw (and there will definitely be a next time), we’re going to make a night out in Praga the order of the…day.

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Before we knew it, our time in Warsaw was coming to an end, and we capped off our last two nights with fabulous food and some delicious cocktails. I had a Muay Thai first, which was a little underwhelming (too much lime) but my Mojito was probably the best I’ve ever had (just enough lime!). For 20 złoty as well (about £4), I really couldn’t complain!

For those of you looking for an interesting city break, or a honeymoon where culture and relaxation are the order of the day, I really recommend Warsaw. Ten days was more than enough time to see what we wanted to see, but having said that, a little extra time there meant we were ready to come home, but felt refreshed and relaxed after the wedding.

What more could you ask of a Honeymoon?

The Honeymoon: The Apartment & Our First Meal

I wanted to write down my memories of the last ten days as soon as possible after returning, to share here on the blog. When I first started travelling I was a dedicated journal keeper, which means I have some great memories squirrelled away in my book cases! Many of them I have forgotten, so having an analogue version to read from time to time is a real treat.

When we first began thinking of our honeymoon, we were almost immediately sure that we wanted to leave shortly after the wedding. I wanted to preserve the ‘wedding bubble’ for as long as possible, and an immediate honeymoon seemed just the ticket.

Mr H had dreams of Greek beaches, or to be honest any beaches! He was happy with anything that wasn’t a city break. I think he’s forgotten that he said that, because we ended up going for a city break after all, and he was as happy as Larry!

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Warsaw 6 Hello Sam Goodbye SamanthaWe rented an apartment through AirBnB right in the Old Town in Warsaw. It was a studio, with a basic kitchen (although the only sink was in the bathroom – odd). It was really everything we needed, and was literally on the doorstep of the most beautiful part of the Polish capital city.

We arrived late on Monday afternoon, and caught a taxi from the airport’s official taxi rank (don’t go for the slightly sweaty men that approach you in the Arrivals terminal), we found our little love nest on Ulica Piwna. A beer and some food were in order, so we wandered out to the the bustling square, and braced ourselves to be brave and go to a restaurant.

A word here regarding our choices of restaurants – Warsaw Old Town is very touristy, and I daresay that the vast majority of the restaurants we went to were as well. This bothered us approximately 0%, because we always had excellent service, and they were very happy to speak English. Mr H and I both have the guilts about travelling and not speaking another language fluently, so we do tend to have to screw up our courage to venture out. I say, do what makes you happy. Don’t beat yourself up about not finding a tiny little restaurant where the locals eat – too stressful!

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We settled on Restaurant Bazylisek – it takes up nearly one whole side of the square, and was both very busy and very spacious.

Warsaw 2 Hello Sam Goodbye SamanthaOften at the start of a meal in Warsaw, we’d be given break, cream cheese that was often flavoured with dill, and some kind of meat pâte. Sometimes it was just lard, though, which I cannot in good faith claim to be a fan of. This was a kind of minced pork.

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We had a litre each (sue me, it was my honeymoon!) of Pilsner Urquell, a pilsner I am a fan of back home. These were about 18 złoty each, which is about £3.60. Occasionally they would be half price on special, so it was £1.80 for a litre of beer! Winning…

Warsaw 5 Hello Sam Goodbye SamanthaMr Hello made his way through a huge plate of sauerkraut and chicken livers (not remotely my thing) and I had schnitzel, sauerkraut and fries. Nothing groundbreaking, although Mr H was in bliss, as livers are among his favourite foods. Not for me, thanks…

For the rest of the evening we wandered around the Old Town, before heading back to the apartment with some beers from the Deli, snuggling up and reminiscing about the wonderful day that was our wedding!

More to come, so stay tuned!

 

The Everyday Rhythm

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Week 2 of my return to England is imminent, and so I thought a little catch up might be on the cards to let you know how I’m settling in. It’s been an up and down sort of a week to be honest, but let’s start with the positives because that makes us all feel better, no?

UP:

  • Actually making it through Customs at Heathrow. Despite the fact I am doing absolutely nothing illegal, somehow the powerful stares of the Border Agency staff make me regret every decision I have ever made, particularly in the lead up to the moment when I’m asked to plonk my passport on their tiny desks. I made it through, as you may have guessed, and it was a GREAT MOMENT.
  • Home. Bed. Cats.
  • Wandering around Rochester and feeling both the foreigner and the local. An odd yet pleasing sensation.
  • Picking up long awaited packages from the Post Office. Hello engagement present vouchers and Liz Earle Skincare. Nice to meet you.
  • Having time to make dinner in the evening. I love to cook, so this is fun for me!
  • Catching up with dear friends and feeling as if nothing has changed. Em, I adore you.
  • Snuggling with Mr Hello in the morning for five more minutes before walking him into work.
  • Getting excited for phase 2 of Operation Finish The House Before the Wedding. The phase where we freak out, that is.
  • Exciting meetings with exciting people about future potentially exciting jobs. I may very well soon be an employed teacher! EXCITING.
  • Catching up with Mr Hello’s folks. They are totally delightful and indulged my loves of their son, eating lots of delicious food, and looking at old photos. A Sunday well spent.
  • Sitting in our study (above) and watching people walk past our house as I type.

DOWN:

  • Turns out it’s not that much fun not having a job. On the one hand, there is more time for Parks and Recreation viewing, but on the other there is more time for getting the guilts about being a burden on society, and more to the point a burden on Mr H. Plus it’s a bit boring.
  • No Polish passport as yet, which means no working until it arrives. A couple more weeks, but then hopefully I will have that burgundy booklet it my hot little hand!
  • Missing my family. Goddamn it, why do I have to feel the feelings?
  • Extreme hair has arrived. Something in the British water takes a while for me to adjust to, and in the meantime my hair freaks out in an unmanageable way, making me feel more self conscious than I already was. Thanks Life!
  • To top it off, I am having a particularly bad skin phase, hence the timely arrival of the Liz Earle goodies.
  • I have a wedding to co-plan in six months. How, where and why did that happen? Last time I checked, it was over a year away. God preserve me.
  • It’s effing cold here and I am a delicate flower who has become accustomed to a certain level of UV radiation every day.
  • This may well be the most boring thing in the world to approximately everyone, but last night I had a dream that Hannibal Lector (yep, that one) was showing me his latest victim, and opened up a hole in the ground to reveal a naked and screaming Jodie Foster within. I was subsequently stabbed. Got a bit freaked out by that one, I must admit, and it was only worsened by the fact that when I checked the time it was only……11:57 pm. Not even midnight, shamefully. I then had to calm myself down by reading blogs and looking at silly gifs on Tumblr until 2am. Whoops.

Hope all is well in your lives. Seeing as I am currently a member of the unemployed, I suspect I will be dropping in to HSGS Headquarters on a semi regular basis. Here’s to seeing a bit more of you!

9 Superficial Things I’m Looking Forward to in England

Rochester Cathedral 2013 Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Rochester Castle 2013 Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha
Rochester Cathedral & Castle in January 2013

You may or may not have suspected there are some rather important reasons why I can’t wait to get back to England. I’ve built a life there, and there are lots of lovely people I’ve missed hugely while I’ve been back in Australia. But I thought today, I’d focus on the trivial things, those little stupid things you notice are different when you move to a different country. So without further ado, here are the 9 Superficial Things I’m Looking Forward to in England:

  • Buying wine in the supermarket – Look, rumour has it this is possible Over East in Australia, but it hasn’t caught on yet in ye olde Perth. It’s just so darn convenient to pick up a bottle when you’re getting your week’s veg as well. This is definitely a plus point of English Supermarkets
  • Having a bazillion supermarkets to choose from – In Australia we have Coles, Woolworths and IGA as the three biggest food markets. Even then, I’d go so far as to say that IGA is more like the UK Co-op, usually smaller stalls and can be a tad more expensive. It is a co-operative of smaller outlets though, so you don’t feel too bad spending the extra $$$. In England, you’ve got your M&S, Sainsbury, Morrison, Waitress, and Tesco, not to mention online shopping through Ocado. I just love the variety. What can I say, I’m just interesting like that
  • Boots – Oh my god Boots. Not the footwear kind, but this kind. There is no equivalent in Australia. Let that just sink in for a moment. There is no equivalent in Australia. I would say that Priceline would be the nearest, but it’s nowhere near the ‘institution’ level that Boots has reached in the UK, plus it’s a lot less common and much smaller stores. I’m looking forward to having several aimless wanders around my local, contemplating all of the many potions and lotions they stock. Oh yes.
  • Getting post on Saturdays – I’m pretty sure getting post is quite exciting for most people these days, even if a lot of the letters I get aren’t handwritten letters. But it’s definitely handy having that 6th day to receive mail. It means if one is a bit slack on the old card sending side of things, one has an extra day’s leeway that one simply wouldn’t have out in the Colonies!
  • Netflix – Oh my god Netflix. I do know you can get it by some strange hocus pocus in Australia if you are into that sort of thing, but in my lovely Kentish house, it’s hooked up through our Apple TV and my god if that isn’t dashed convenient. I’m looking forward to awkwardly draping myself over Mr Hello on the sofa while we watch some BBC Drama (preferably a period piece ploise) when I get back.
  • TK Maxx – What more can I say? If you’ve never been to TK Maxx you haven’t lived. It’s an outlet shop for a wide variety of brands, but I mostly go there for the homewares. The best way to describe it is like an Op Shop/Charity Shop, but filled with new things. You aren’t guaranteed to come out with anything useful every time, but some times you may stumble across an Orla Kiely bedspread for a third of the price. Just saying’.
  • Jacket Potatoes in every single café – Evidently if you don’t serve jacket potatoes on your lunch menu in England you can GTFO. As a potato loving Pole, I see no problem with this. No delicious cheesy potatoey problem at all
  • Tuna & Sundried Tomato Baguettes from Tony Lorenzo – Now this is particular to my little neck of the woods in Medway, but I have to say, this is the best sandwich ever. I always get this when I visit. It’s just the tastiest, most satisfying thing. Apart from jacket potatoes of course. 
  • John Lewis – It really is the stupidest thing, but I truly believe John Lewis is my happy place. I feel so much more calm walking around the store, and it’s homewares section makes me feel like all is right with the world. I very rarely actually buy anything there, if I’m honest, but it’s calming white walls have an exquisite effect on me. See I told you it was superficial.

There are many reasons to celebrate returning to the UK. Sometimes it’s easy to forget the stupid things that make you happy though. This list is definitely going to make the transition from 40 degree summer madness in Perth to a nippy 4 degree England a little bit smoother.

I’ll be posting my list of trivial things I’ll miss about Australia very soon, so if this kind of thing is your jam, stay tuned!

My Weekend Has Been Spent #6

Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha Sydney 1

Sydney Townhouse

Brighton Street Sydney

Museum Station Sydney

MOCA The One Hour Laugh2

Sydney Opera House and Seagull

Sydney Harbour Bridge Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha in Sydney

Mr Tumnus Hyde Park Garden Sydney

Belvoir St Theatre Sydney A Christmas Carol

Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha Polish Consulate Sydney

German Shepherd Mask Melbourne

  • Technically starting the weekend on Wednesday morning, when I hopped on a plane at an ungodly hour and flew to Melbourne.
  • Being greeted by my Mum at the airport
  • Seeing my Mum’s new fancy house – they’ve just bought it and it’s magazine worthy. Think modern with a Scandinavian mid century twist. Yeah. That’s good, isn’t it?
  • Scraping a couple of hours’ kip in Mum’s spare bedroom. Ugh. There’s a difference between early starts and early starts.
  • Trying not to get carsick on the way to the airport
  • Boarding a teeny tiny plane to Sydney.
  • Reaffirming my feelings that flying is not scary for me, just incredibly dull.
  • Landing in Sydney and heading to my friend’s work to drop off my suitcase
  • Realising that Sydney was ridiculously humid. Oh my god, was definitely not expecting that after the mildness in Melbourne.
  • Realising that hair products do actually work. Normally my hair would end up like Marge Simpson’s at the tiniest whiff of humidity, but it stayed perfect until I got drenched later in the day.
  • Having pizza and wine time with a dear friend that I haven’t seen for ages. (Love you K!)
  • Waking up and wandering into central Sydney.
  • Spending a couple of hours in David Jones, my favourite department store in the world. It’s like an Australian version on John Lewis, and believe it or not they do the best sushi I have ever tasted. It’s slightly better in the Perth store though!
  • Realising that a lot of Sydney is modelled on an English style of architecture. Think terraced housing, the Museum station above and big Selfridges style department stores. It was quite comforting in a way.
  • Heading the Museum of Contemporary Art. I was a little bit…underwhelmed I have to say, which is a real shame. One thing I adored though was a digital installation called The One Hour Laugh, which was simply a video of four women in somewhat ridiculous get up, trying to make each other laugh. I found myself grinning like a loon and giggling along with them. Very cheering.
  • Despairing of the fact that coffee is cheaper in Sydney than it is in Perth. :-/
  • Wandering around the Docklands, and catching views of the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. Heading inside the Opera House, but just missing out on a tour.
  • Catching a view of a statue I have hereby named Mr Tumnus in Hyde Park.
  • Popping back to Surry Hills to see Belvoir St Theatre’s charming show A Christmas Carol. 5 Stars, would recommend. It was the most delightful reimagining of the story. Let me tell you, I get LOADS of Dickens in England where I live, which I rarely enjoy, but this was something truly heartwarming.
  • Catching some zzz’s back at my friend’s house.
  • At last completing my Sydney mission – putting in my application for my first ever Polish Passport at the Consulate. This is the only place in Australia where you can do it, which is a bit annoying for us west-siders! I was expecting it to be difficult, but the assistant was totally lovely and helped me out when my non-existent Polish became an issue!
  • Flying back to Melbourne to spend the actual  weekend with my Mum’s family. There was a German Shepherd mask involved, but I don’t think I could explain that even if I tried.
  • Catching another plane back to ol’ Perth.
  • Praising everyone who could possibly be praised for the fact I could lie down in my own bed.

 

I was incredibly lucky to have left Sydney before the terrible events in the Lindt cafe unfolded. It was a tragic event and my heart goes out to all those touched by the cruel actions of a deluded man. 

For The Love of Cake

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Time for some totally unrelated snaps and another round up of dubious interest to you all. The scale of this weekend has been quietly epic, and I find myself reeling from the emotional highs and lows, that is, I would if reeling consisted of 90 minutes’ semi-inebriated blog reading.

DOWN:

My father was rushed to hospital earlier in the week and while he appears to be thankfully on the mend, I just about lost my shit thinking terrible thoughts waiting in the emergency department at 6:30am Saturday morning. Parents aren’t supposed to feel pain. They’re supposed to be mercifully invincible, at least I’m pretty sure that’s what it said on the tin. A big DOWNer for this weekend, that’s for sure.

I am one week away from qualifying as a teacher, and whilst in itself this is an UP, I am so enormously fatigued by the whole experience that my enthusiasm for having any career that does not involve laying in bed is at an all time low. This is really a dreary post, I do apologise.

The requisite teenager type whinge: because my Dad has been unwell, I haven’t had the opportunity to drive anywhere as I need someone with a license to accompany me as a condition of my learner’s permit. This is a serious drag, I was just getting the hang of the whole ‘driving’ thing, and I confess I am rather less willing to put up with general public transport goings on. My life is dragging before my eyes.

I have to fly to the other side of the GD country (Sydney) to submit my application for a Polish passport. Quite inconvenient, given the size of Australia, and also quite expensive. A nice little surprise too, don’t you just love it. I wish my agent had mentioned it at some point, you know, in the whole freaking year we’ve been working together.

Mr Hello is STILL IN ENGLAND which is entirely expected, but becoming rather less acceptable every day. For god’s sake if you ever want to have some kind of pleasant life, do NOT for the LOVE OF CAKE get into a long distance relationship. Your perception of everything becomes skewed by constantly looking through god-this-is-boring coloured glasses. Three weeks and three days. Come at me bro.

UP:

3 WEEKS AND THREE DAYS.

ONE WEEK until I have a bonafide career. Soon the whole “gizza job” debacle will commence, but ho, delightfully not a problem for a few more weeks.

I haven’t looked at my bank balance for a few days so let’s pretend I am rich! Huzzah! Cake for everyone.

I went for a drink with A, my mentor teacher on prac and had rather a nice glass o’ wine. It really is pleasant meeting new people and getting to know them. I really enjoyed myself and the show was wonderful. It was Those Who Fall In Love Like Anchors Dropped Upon The Ocean Floor at The Blue Room Theatre in Northbridge. Utterly charming, a lovely and innovative set and delightful performances by all. Definite thumbs up.

Another pleasant thing happened that night, come to think of it. I had been telling A at school that my favourite play of all time is in fact The Crucible by Arthur Miller, and that I’d seen a wonderful production of it at the now-demolished Playhouse Theatre in Perth. I also saw the production starring Richard Armitage at The Old Vic in London earlier this year – production in the round, totally delightful – and lo and behold, A’s friend who was with us was Mary Warren in the Perth production, alongside on of the stars of Those Who Fall in Love! How weird is that? Spooksville if you ask me.

On that note, this is where I leave you. I am not at my finest right now, but if I can eke out the last of my motivation to last this week, I will make it. Time for a cuppa.

Dual Citizenship Baby!

Yesterday I received the happy news that my application for Polish citizenship has come through at last. I was lucky to be eligible through my heritage, as my grandparents were Polish refugees before they settled in Australia permanently. I pursued this route because I wanted to stay in the UK, where I’d built a life for myself, but I also wanted to be there on my own two feet so to speak, with the same responsibilities and rights as a British citizen. No immigration issues means that my marriage is focussed on the love I share with my partner, not my need to get a slip of paper from the government. This news also means that I can start to work in time for the UK Term 2, which will be fantastic and gives me the opportunity to settle into a job properly before the wedding.

Getting the news gave rise to some really profound emotions. Over this year, while back in Australia in my Grandmother’s house, I’ve reconnected to their history and the story of their journey. My great aunt wrote a memoir about their time in Russia, Kazakhstan, Iran and Uganda, which was incredibly insightful and made me realise how different my life could have been if my family had not been so resilient. It was hard enough choosing to become an immigrant when I knew I could always return home if I wanted: I can hardly imagine how difficult it must have been to realise you could never go home. Even if you did, the country you loved was no longer the same.

I feel so proud, lucky and grateful to call myself Polish. I feel as though I don’t really deserve it. I feel as though this is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I’m looking forward to spending some more time in Poland once I’ve settled back in Europe.

Now for some photos of the people I have to thank for this great day:

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My grandparents, Henryk and Halina.

 

 

Bon Fête des Pères!

Sam and Steve
A little blurry film photo, but you get the idea

  We went for a walk this morning, and somehow ended up in Karrakatta cemetery. “Let’s have a look,” I said, “maybe we can find your Dad!”. Having never met the man nor seen the grave, I was perhaps a little enthusiastic. We walked amongst the headstones, as he wasn’t quite sure where it was after all these years. After a few semi-confident expressions of “I think this is the place”, at last a name, in a language I can’t understand, jumped out at me. Despite the barrier, it was intensely familiar, and I silently sounded out the syllables. A moment spent in silence, he brushed the end of the tomb with his hand. We walked home, taking the long way. He told me all about native flowers, and I listened. Happy Father’s Day Papa, I couldn’t be more grateful for you.

My Weekend Has Been Spent #4

Photo on 4-04-2014 at 12.16 pm

  • Dearly hoping there is a hell of a lot more to the story of Baby Gammy than we’re hearing. Too horrid to think otherwise.
  • Spending a ridiculous amount of time on A Practical Wedding. Yup, I’m getting hitched next year, and APW is the wedding website I never knew I always wanted. It has spreadsheet templates for everything wedding related you could ever imagine needing a spreadsheet for. It talks about feminism, motherhood, reclaiming (or claiming) the word wife, and even better it has a gay-wedding photographer advertised, who is called Pretty Witty and Gay. LOVE THIS.
  • Working on a Squarespace wedding website. As a friend said the other day, I’m ‘bride-ing like a boss’ at the moment, but it’s not because I’m going all Bridezilla on you, it’s because we’ve got international flights to co-ordinate and I want to know how much booze I can afford. Christ this wedding shenanigan is going to cost me a fortune.
  • Celebrating an anniversary (yay!)
  • Wishing I hadn’t let jet lag get me into a sleep-at-2am habit. It’s ruining my non-routine, but at least it’s easy to keep…
  • Staying up late watching the Commonwealth Games. Never been so enthusiastic before, but it’s made me go a bit funny this time!
  • Starting a couch to 5k. Here we go then, right?
  • Thinking about the Colette Hawthorn top I want to make. I’ve got some navy blue poplin and some wood effect buttons raring to go! All I’ve got to do now is clean the whole house so I can find the pattern. I put it in a safe place, ok?
  • Enjoying spending time with my 91 year old Grandmother. She’s been through some tough times, but I have never met anyone who is so filled with joy at being alive. She truly delights me.
  • Reflecting on Once My Mother. Helen’s journey from Russian occupied Poland, through Kazakhstan, Persia, Africa to Australia almost exactly mimics that of my grandparents. I can barely comprehend how lucky I am to be a migrant by choice. I’ve got it bloody good. I found the voice over a little dramatic and sincere, which was a bit distracting, but it was fascinating to see the story I was raised on up there on the big screen. Cue sobbing.

Hope you had great weekends. Thanks as always to Love Audrey for the post inspiration.

Krak up in Krakow

 
Mmm lard on toast. Get it in ya.
You shall all be thrilled to hear I have returned from my travels to the depths of Krakow, Poland, and have many a story to tell. However, before I relay my tales of the far east, I’ve decided to return to regular and daily blogging via a challenge shamelessly stolen from my favourite blog, Belgian Waffle.
By way of introduction, each post for the next month will be a summary of my (positively thrilling) thoughts through the medium of Down/Up. So, without further ado, mesdames et monsieurs, I present: Krakow.
DOWN:
I cannot speak a word of Polish. Nay I tell a lie, I can say dziekuje which I am told means ‘thank you’. My only means for remembering this over the period of my four day stay was to give myself a semi permanent tattoo of ballpoint ink on my arm spelling the damn word out phonetically. I still got it wrong.
I appear to have gained about eleventy kilos and am reaping the rewards of the traditionally heavy Polish food. That is to say, there is no need to fear my getting remotely cold this winter, as I have many layers to protect my vital organs, and more to the point even the non vital organs are rather cosy following my carb binge.
Auschwitz and the Ghetto. Not much to add to this conversation already, except for holy hell they were bad times for humanity. I loves me the vintage times, and as we are all aware I am rather fond of pretending to be a cabaret singer but I have absolutely no regrets about living in the twentieth century.
UP:
It is now possible and wholly appropriate to inform you that I have done karaoke in Krakow. Say that out ten times quickly, it’s the best. Not only that but I have embodied both Dolly Parton and Stevie Nicks in Krakow. Say no more.
 
I now know the joys of my Motherland, which will please the Father no end. I felt a familiar swell of patriotism when visiting Wawel Castle and hearing of how the identity of Poland has remained despite being battered from pillar to post over several hundred years.
I am also now home. Nothing beats going on holiday like coming home and sleeping in your own bed. Heaven.