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...

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Surrealism in Australian politics

Honestly, I never thought I'd see the day.  But here it is:

Liberal party in Tasmania accusing the Labor government of promising ridiculous amounts of money in order to hold onto office:
Liberals target Labor 'Cash Splash'

And on the same day the National Labor party is accusing the Liberal party of planning a "Mega Tax!"
Mega Tax will fund Abbot's climate policy: Rudd

I'm not honestly surprised.  Liberal parties have been funding Labor excesses for generations.  (This statement by Kevin Rudd sounds like pure panic, somewhat akin to his deputy's attack on Mr Abbott last week)  I think the Australian populace has got used to this, and are getting ready for another change in leading political party at the next generation.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Half a Million!

It's seems to be the catch phrase today.  Here are two articles that caught my eye:

Half a million Poles disappear!

'Un-Australian bums' taking long weekends

Both articles mention that reports have found that around 500,000 people are not working where they said they would be.  Of course this is either 'Un-Australian' (whatever that means) or something akin to magic!

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Monthly Journal Jan 2010

Malcolm and Jola’s Monthly Journal

January 2010

“I lost myself in the summer rain…”
- U2

Sorry it’s taken a while, but welcome to our latest Monthly Journal.  I’m tempted to change the name of our regular newsletter to ‘Malcolm, Jola, Ela and Chris’s randomly ridiculous ramblings…’  I would like to say that the reason that we haven’t written a Journal for such a long time is that we have been too busy.  But that is simply not true;  instead I have just been too slack.  But having said that, so many interesting things have happened to us in the last three months that it will be difficult to list everything here.

At the time that we wrote our last Monthly Journal (back in October) we had both just started work again after the summer holidays.  Not much has changed on that front.  Jola is still teaching English in Pre-Schools during the week, going to Uni and working on her thesis over the weekends and teaching Sunday School once or twice a month.  I’m also still teaching English.  I have almost learnt all of my students names; and I know all of the English text books inside-out.  It’s not as interesting as it used to be, but now I am getting better at my job.  Soon I think I should ask for a pay-rise (funny joke).

Our kids are continuing to grow up.  We have been very fortunate that our kids have not suffered from colds and flu’s like they did at the same time last year (in-spite of the flu epidemic that swept through Poland in late October, early November.  Chris continues to improve his vocabulary, both in English and Polish, I think he is starting to understand both languages quite well now.  Ela likes to think that she is teaching all of the people that come to our house English.  Sometimes I am tempted to take her with me to school and get her to teach my students with me; but I think that I would have to pay her then…  They have been stuck inside for the past few weeks due to the weather and they are slowly learning how to play nicely together.  Chris likes to play by himself and Ela always wants to play with someone else, but not Chris.  But they are learning.

In November, thanks to a few comments made by our Monthly Journal readers, I entered a ‘Novel Writing Event.’  It was very interesting and I managed to type out a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.  It was the first time that I had ever written something that long.  It was an action/adventure novel about some guy called Bob, aptly entitled ‘Bob’s Big Day.’  Unfortunately after writing it I haven’t had the motivation to edit it (or even read it again), and so I don’t really know how readable it is.  But if any of you want to have a read, then send me an email and I’ll see what I can do to get a copy sent to you (by email, don’t expect it to be published) for your reading pleasure (or horror as the case may be).

We had a fantastic Christmas and New Year.  The kids loved getting presents from all over the world, and we loved eating Christmassy food.  We spent about a week with Jola’s parents.  It was great fun because Jola’s brother came with his partner and her son (who is 3) and so the kids spent most of the time playing together (I’d like to say nicely, but that would be a lie).

Now that Ela is almost five we have to start looking for a pre-school for her to join later in the year.  Fortunately for us, Jola knows the directors of all the local pre-schools so hopefully we will be able to find a place for our little ones later in the year.  She has also been asked to work in a new English language pre-school that my boss is starting up later in the year.  It’s all very interesting because we are slowly learning that Jelenia Góra is a lot like Tassie, in that everyone seems to know everyone else.  For example the director of the pre-school that Jola wants to send our kids to, knows that she has been offered a job by my boss.  Another example of this was the other week when some people from the local water authority came to inspect our pipes turned out to be students that I taught last year.

I understand that the weather in Europe has been in the news in Australia lately.  Well, just to put everyone’s mind at rest, our winter (so far) has been quite mild.  There is snow and ice and the river is frozen over in places, but not too much.  The temperature hasn’t dropped below minus 20 yet; certainly not bad enough to write home about.  Today when I went to the shops it was only minus 12.  We didn’t have a white christmas, which is something I am very grateful for.

In the next few months Jola is going to finish off her thesis and we will need to decide what to do next.  It will not be difficult for her to find a job in a pre-school, but we need to decide if that’s what we want to do.  I will need to start filling in forms for my permanent Polish visa and possibly apply for Polish citizenship.  We also need to find out about whether or not Jola can apply for Australian citizenship from Poland or whether we will have to go back to Australia.  And I will need to decide if I want to turn English teaching into a long term career, or whether I should try and find a job as an accountant in a local firm…

That’s probably enough for now.  In addition to the pictures we have here, you can also look at the pictures that we post on Facebook.


Malcolm, Jola, Ela and Christopher Guy

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Happy New Year

Welcome to 2010

2010 comes with all sorts of promises.  Unfortunately one of those promises is not reliable news coverage.

Examples that have caught my eye recently:

Thirty two percent live in poverty in Poland  Apparently "One-in-three live in absolute poverty in Poland. One-in-five can’t afford to adequately heat their homes, finds a new report launching a fight against economic and social exclusion throughout the European Union."

This is a classic case of either misread statistics or absurd statements.  How can one-in-three live in absolute poverty while only one in five can't afford to adequately heat their own homes?  Maybe my definition of 'absolute' is different to that of the journalist who wrote this article?
A closer look at the actual report will show that the actual poverty rate in Poland is is closer to 17%.  The 32% figure quoted as 'absolute poverty' is heavily skewed by people who cannot afford an annual one week holiday.  This is still a significant problem.  But certainly not as bad as the newspaper article seems to suggest.

But 2010 is promising to be a good year for Poland financially.  Let's just hope that the result is higher wages for the average Pole and not higher rent.