“Penguins have not got any ears…”
- Elizabeth Guy
Warm greetings from cold, miserable Poland. I know it’s been a long time since our last journal, and for that we are sorry. The last three months or so have been very cold. This is my third Polish winter and even though I am starting to get used to the freezing temperatures, it doesn’t mean that I am enjoying them. I guess if I skied it might be more bearable, but I don’t. But having said that, I think I might prefer snow and ice to rain, mud and grey skies… But enough complaining about the weather.
We found out today that our children have been accepted into Pre-School here in Jelenia Góra. This is very exciting because it means that after September our children will not be stuck at home all day. We have enrolled our children into a regular Polish pre-school (http://www.puchatek.hg.pl/). We did have the option of sending them to an English speaking pre-school, but we decided that it would probably be better for them (and for our hip-pocket) if we sent them to the Polish school. Both Jola and I know some of the teachers there and so we are sure that our kids will have a great time.
Jola is still working on her Masters thesis and assignments for all of her other subjects. She is studying very hard but (unfortunately) her school is very disorganised, which means that she has been spending too much time dealing with bureaucracy and not enough time studying. I really want Jola to write something here, but she won’t. She says that she doesn’t have time.
We had a good Easter, it is always nice to catch up with our Polish friends from the UK who come back to Poland for the big holidays. It was also nice to spend some time with Jola’s family. It even snowed on the morning of Good Friday, which was quite exciting.
In the month or so before Easter, I led something like an Alpha course (basically an introduction of Christianity) which was very interesting (I was actually supposed to do the full Alpha course, but because it only ran for five weeks I had to heavily condense and modify it, so in the end it didn’t look much like Alpha at all). We discussed things like the meaning of life and the role of religion and law in society. It was very effective and all the participants seemed to enjoy coming to the meetings/lessons.
The kids are still growing, Chris is talking a lot more now (thankfully), Ela is starting to learn how to be responsible for things. In the past few months it has been her job to pick up all of the toys (usually by herself) before we eat dinner. It is a joy for us as parents when she actually does it without complaining (which is less common than you would expect).
I don’t think we can call Chris a baby anymore now. He has all of his teeth, feeds himself (most of the time - well, at least when he isn’t feeling lazy), has started toilet training in earnest and can talk in full sentences in two different languages. He doesn’t talk as much as Ela, but that is because she talks more than the rest of us combined.
Apart from that, we are all healthy and happy (especially when the sun shines). Both Jola and I are working a lot of hours (a lot of hours = a lot of money = tired parents) at our respective places of work. The other day Ela asked for a real pet, we said no.
On a sadder note, many of you would be aware that the Polish President and a very large number of other important people died in a plane crash last week. Indeed it is a sad time for Poland, and everywhere we go we see Polish flags flying with black ribbons signifying mourning. At churches there are piles of flowers and candles as people are praying for all the people that passed away so suddenly. It is very endearing watching how the Poles always seem forget their usual differences and come together when something very bad happens. Now the government has to somehow rebuild itself, which means we have a very interesting time ahead of us.
Have a lovely month (or three, depending on when we write the next MJMJ)
Malcolm, Jola, Ela & Chris
PS. Congratulations to everyone who’s got married, had babies and/or got engaged since the last MJMJ - you know who you are (if you’re not sure, then send us an email and we’ll tell you whether or not we mean you…)
Happy New Year
5 months ago