An assortment of words and phrases as typed by me. It's not that I have anything to say, I just love the sound of my own typing...

Monday, 24 August 2009

Polish in Conversation

I was told yesterday that I should learn more Polish so that I can join in with conversations. I guess I'm not much of a conversationist, so I need a bit of encouragement at the best of times.

Can someone give me a bit of help with the following statements that I could include in most Polish conversations (These may or may not be my personal views, but it should be enough to start an argument between the other members of the conversation so that I can slip quietly away and have a coffee and biscuit). If you can give me some further suggestions, I would be very happy:

Mr Kaczynski is incompetent and Mr Tusk isn't doing anything.

Catholicism is a good religion, but I have trouble accepting the catholic traditions that are not Biblically based, especially as Jesus said in Matthew 15 that tradition nullifies the Word of God.

The main problem is that Poles don't trust other Poles. And most Bureaucrats are more worried about pieces of paper than actually getting something done.

Polish footballers are good, but they can't play as a team. Is this the fault of the coach? Maybe...

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Only four seasons?

I came across this article the other day. Apparently (in reality) Australia has six seasons, and the four season approach is based purely on the European model

But, is that true? Because here is another interesting blog/article talking about the six Polish seasons...

Maybe the thought of six seasons is in fact a global phenomenon?

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

August Monthly Journal


“That’s what you get for waking up in Vegas!”

- Kate Perry

Hello friends,

We’ve had an interesting month, full of ups and downs and sides to sides. As you may have read from the last journal, it is summer holidays at the moment, which means that we haven’t been teaching. I’m sure that most of you would jump at the chance to have a two month summer holiday in the centre of Europe. It sounded great to us too, until we realised that we didn’t have enough money to do anything exciting.

So we have been spending a lot of time with our kids. Jola’s parents have been to visit us a few times, we visited all the local playgrounds many times. You get the idea.

About two weeks into our ‘holiday’ I found a job on the net. A local firm was looking for someone to do work in an office that could speak English. So I asked a few questions, but because I didn’t get a response I assumed that they didn’t want to talk to me.

One of our friends found a job and needed a babysitter for her kids, so all of a sudden we had four extra kids in the house. It was great! Our neighbours thought that we had started a pre-school. So we spent a lot of time outside in the sun with the six kids (ranging in age from 2 to 12). I think it was good for our children to spend time with other children, but it was very tiring for them.

Out of the blue on a Tuesday afternoon, we received a call from the people that wanted the English-speaking office worker. Jola and I went for an interview the next day. It was the oddest job interview I have ever been to, and apparently they didn’t even read the questions I sent in my email. I should have realised then that would be some problems working there, but because I needed the money I accepted the job. On the Thursday I started work with an importer/exporter of dental and gynaecological supplies.

So, all of a sudden we were very busy. It was nice. I must admit that it took a bit for me to get used to working for eight hours again, and Jola enjoyed spending large amounts of time outside in the sun with six kids (not to mention cooking lots of food).

This month we bought Chris his first single bed (mostly because we were sick of him trying to get out of his cot). For the first two weeks it was very difficult to put him to bed. He kept getting out and going to where his cot used to be, or going into the lounge to watch TV with Mummy & Daddy. So we have stopped watching TV when the kids are going to sleep (the joys of a Hard Disk recorder – not that there’s anything on) and Chris helped us dismantle and pack away his old cot. Now Chris and Ela share the same bedroom so they can both learn to get on better with each other (plus our house is too small for us to do anything else).

My job was fun, but I had some problems. My boss seemed to care more about the Feng Shui of the office (including fish tanks) than the computer network (my computer took 20 minutes to load up each morning). There was no OH&S. We had to spend a great deal of time on the phone, but there weren’t enough phones to go around. There was no job description, no price-lists in English (funny because I was supposed to be selling stuff to the UK), no clear organisation. As an accountant and business consultant, you can understand how difficult this was for me; especially because the boss wouldn’t listen to what I had to say. And so after 3 weeks I was fired for ‘not working fast enough.’ And to add insult to injury, the boss wasn’t even brave enough to tell me himself, he had one of my colleagues tell me. However I’m grateful for the experience. It has taught me that you don’t have to be that good to run a business in Poland, and it has given me a few ideas for making some money on my own.

School holidays end in two weeks, so we are making the most of the sun and time with our kids. It’s a pity we don’t have a car for day trips, it just means that we spend more time walking and watching Ela ride her bike.

And that’s the end of the story!

Malcolm, Jola, Ela & Chris

Friday, 14 August 2009

Polish drivers

This is an article in my local newspaper

Apparently a new 'No Entry' sign was put up in the middle of my city and all of the drivers are ignoring it. This says two things:

1. Polish drivers do what they want to do/what they are used to and take little notice of road signs. I suspect that this is because there are far too many signs and not enough good roads and far too many imminent dangers (eg pedestrians stepping into the street in odd places, Polish drivers driving like Poles etc ...

2. Polish City Councils do not understand the first thing about communication. They think they can put up a heap of random signs and expect people to obey them immediately. In Australia whenever something changes there is always at least 3 big yellow warning signs saying 'changed traffic conditions ahead' or something similar. Or maybe someone in the office is paid on a sign commission. The more street signs he/she puts up, the more he/she gets paid...