Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I’ve got everything I need…

…well, except for maybe another car and an all-English-all-the time book store. Oh, and my parents close-by would nice. And my sister and her family too. A girl can dream.

I’ve got everything I need. I’ve got my Misiu and my two adorable miśki. We’ve got jobs – knock on wood. Miśki have a nice school within walking distance. We’ve got our city haven, a little small, but it’s all paid for and all ours. We’ve got our village housek, needs some work and is a bit empty, but it’s all paid for and all ours.

I’ve got my friends, my BFF’s, my acquaintances. I’ve got my hairdresser, my doctor, my dentist and my OB-GYN…who by the way promised to learn English…I’ve had 2 kids since then. I’ve got my favorite places, my butcher Pan Sławek, my favorite bakery, my favorite shoe shop. I know 10 different ways to get to the center from here. I know that if you want to turn left there, you should change lanes here. I can get you to airport in a heartbeat. I can tell you where the best places to park are.

We got all the shops we could dream of –all the major supermarket brands, the Polish and international clothing brands. We’ve even got a new Gap in the city, I’m certain, put here expressly for me…to make me feel more at home. Thanks, I appreciate it.

Starbucks 2011 (1021) big Buck and little Buck –no worries, it’s milk

The supermarkets have got all the stuff I want to buy. They’ve got the good Polish bread, the dark brown sugar, the Philly’s cream cheese, even Oreo’s if you are so inclined. I’ve got my Tide (Vizir), my Dawn (Fairy) and my Secret antiperspirant. I’m ready to go.

I can cook pretty much the same stuff that I cooked in America although I hate recipes that start with “a box of…, a packet of…” when I don’t have those things. But I can adapt.

My motto is

da się…

…bo się da.

Image005a (769) banana bread cake with cream cheese icing

Image005a (745)pizza ala Kryśka

Image005a (722)sugar cookies

Image005a (833)   chocolate chip cookies here in Poland called “Amerykańskie”

Image005a (998)a “Zebra”cake from some time ago

 SDC13548Valentine’s Day cupcakes

 02142010(001)Valentine’s Day pastries


Pickled eggs 2011 (991)an Easter accent

 Easter cake 2011 (992)

SDC13381pumpkin pie

SDC12883 blueberry muffins

SDC12419 Lizzie’s “Spiderman” cake from last year

SDC12341 very sweet cookies for a very sweet Rosie on her birthday last year

autumn 2010 094 a family tradition – green bean casserole

Image005a (850)another family tradition – cinnamon rolls

Image005a (732)a stack of American pancakes –maple syrup on the side

 Image005a (756)homemade vanilla extract and vanilla sugar

  SDC13322 a Polish accent – ogórkowa

Image005a (757)Babka ala Kryśka

and now prepare to be amazed…

 Image005a (760) pierogi ruskie that I made with my own hands!

English is everywhere. My miśki will grow up bi-lingual, if not tri-lingual.




SDC13326 SDC13558

We were so sorry when they changed “Sex on the beach” for “Sun on the beach”. It was my whole Sunday morning fun to go to the bakery and listen to the babcia’s order 2 scoops of “Sex on the beach” after mass.



Friday, March 22, 2013

Pusta głowa

According to Rosie, our neighbor has a “pusta głowa”.

Maybe so, but he’s also bald.

pełna głowa

ciekawa głowa

polityczna głowa

pusta głowa

According to Rosie, Kaja her friend at school was cold today because she had “puste nogi”. Her legs were bare.

According to Rosie, she doesn’t want to wear the polka-dotted scarf but the “pusty” one, without dots.

Lizzie says not to worry about the mess. She’ll clean it up z wet-wipe-m.

Lizzie asks each day if we are going to school on foot czy z car-em.

Both girls enjoy a sandwich z Nutellą but even better is z peanut butter-em.

Rosie doesn’t like to go do wandy in the evening. We don’t have a friend named Wanda. She doesn’t want to take a bath. (do wanny)

SDC12486Rosie and “Wanda”

Rosie is very good at dressing herself. She’s even learned how to tie her shoe laces and for the life of me, I can’t figure out who taught her. Rosie is a big and brave girl but she still sometimes asks me to “zap her jacket”. (zapnij)

Rosia doesn’t like “ziolo angielskie” (should be ziele angielski –allspice in English). She says she doesn’t need it in her soup at school because she already knows English.

To be fair…

I say, rozmawiam do ciebie.

I always forget to add się.

Kasia and kasza sound exactly the same to me.

I tried to buy a backpack and asked for a placek.

I used to shout idź at the other drivers instead of jedź.

I have been known to say nie jest when I should say nie ma.

In my deep past you most certainly would have heard such gems as deszczuje or perhaps śnieguje.

I used the ty form while talking to a police officer who had stopped me.

I thought the boxes of sand (piasek) for the sidewalks in winter was in fact a box to keep a dog (piesek).

I used to say z dzieciami instead of z dziećmi.

There was a time when szampon (shampoo) and szampan (champagne) were identical to my ear.

I now know not to ask for products which are preservative-free (bez prezerwatywy which means without condoms) but rather bez konsewantów.

And many, many more that I can’t find right now in my pusta głowa.

Care to share any gems from your language past?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Chorość nie radość

I know, I know, the original is starość nie radość which in English is old age is no joy but today I feel more sick than old. I know, I know chorość isn’t a word. It should be chorowanie but chorowanie nie radość (sickness is no joy) doesn’t sound as cool.

Chory, chorszy, trup (sick, sicker, dead) is another good one. I just recently found out why it is so funny. I had always concentrated on the trup part (trup actually means corpse) as the funny bit because I was unaware that chorszy is the wrong form. It should be bardziej chory. I’m pretty sure I have told the doctor that one of my children was bardziej chorza than the other, thus creating a new and even more interesting form. Feel free to incorporate it into your everyday speech. No charge.

All I need are books and tea and a new upper respiratory system and I’ll be fine.

Do you see the guy in the cartoon above? He’s my student and that’s why I’m sick. Or maybe not. It could be from the bus, or school, or the grocery store. Who knows? I will blame it on my student anyhow. I will get better faster if I can place the blame on his sick face. I really should not be taking any time off. I can’t really afford it. I guess that would put me in the 55% group above. I’m going to stuff myself with some OTC drugs and see if I can make it to my afternoon classes…and be like the guy in the cartoon- generously spreading my illness around the city.

In the meantime, I am going to drink some tea and try on dresses. No, that’s not what girls do when they are feeling down. It’s just one of the benefits of teaching a dress maker (the company, not the seamstresses). I get a lot of dresses every couple of months to take home and try on and then if I want I can buy them for a steal. They are all a bit short though. And I never wear dresses, but who cares? The chocolate factory never gave me free chocolate. The cosmetics company never gave me free make-up. The pharmaceutical company never gave me free drugs. I have to take it while they are giving it.

I’m off to make the tea. Take care and stay healthy!


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Bite your tongue!

From time to time I look back over my blog posts and try to view them from an outsider’s perspective. It is difficult to do. I personally find my blog to be clever and funny (ha, ha) and to represent what it is like to be an American living in Poland. However, my posts may give the impression that I am a sensitive person, or let’s say oversensitive to some issues. I assure you, I am not. I’m pretty laid back, lately even blasé.

But you probably wouldn’t read a blog about an American lady who got up, went to work, came home, went to work and didn’t get riled up about anything, ever. Right?

Our story starts out pretty mundane. I picked up my kids from school on foot as usual. We don’t drive to school because it is close, I have to perform a few left turns against massive traffic to get in there and the school is located on a dead-end. If you manage to drive in there somehow, good luck getting back out. So yesterday with the sun shining, we strolled back home and decided to stop at our local greengrocer on the way.

I was hoping that the owner was working and not the lady who works there. I know that she means no harm, but she says something offensive just about every time we go in there. Once she informed me that she preferred Polish to English. I know, I know -  that is not offensive. My girls prefer Polish to English too. I prefer English to Polish. No problem. But she prefers Polish to English not because it is her mother tongue but because English sounds awful. Cool.

On another visit after learning that we are American and not British, she shared with us that it is not worth vacationing in America because it is a “garbage” country. Cool.

And yesterday. Hello. Hello. Some compliments of my Polish. Some compliments of my English. Super. Great. Some compliments of my daughter. Nice. Some compliments of my son.


I have 2 daughters. My eldest is often mistaken for a boy. Spiderman hat, Spiderman backpack, camouflage pants, a big hole where her front tooth used to be. I understand. I never get angry. Lizzie isn’t upset. All is cool. And that’s what I told the lady, but she apologized profusely anyway. So much so, that I was afraid she was going to take my hand and kiss it and beg for forgiveness. Still as was cool.

But then,

Greengrocer Lady: Umm, you know, Pani,  maybe I shouldn’t say anything.

Mama Bear: You are right. You shouldn’t.

Greengrocer lady who obviously cannot take a hint: But umm, you know Pani, don’t get me wrong, umm, not everyone is so tolerant and aren’t you worried…

Mama Bear: I’m not worried.

Greengrocer Lady who obviously has a death wish: But umm, you know, don’t get me wrong, aren’t you afraid that she’ll grow up to be some kind of freak (dziwoląg!)–you know not a boy but not a girl.

Mama Bear who understands that violence cannot cure stupidity: I’m not worried. Good bye.

Luckily Lizzie was too busy goofing off with Rosie to take any notice, so I didn’t have to explain away the lady’s comments. It’s bad enough I had to explain Passover this week. I’m spent.

I know this lady is not malicious. She’s probably just bored and is lacking in some social finesse. And it just goes to show that I am not oversensitive. I know which battles to fight and I know when to bite my tongue.  Some other people however do not…

A little Lech Walesa in English:

Lech Walesa: No apology for anti-gay comments

Or if you prefer, in Polish. It’s better in Polish.

Wałesa: Homoseksualiści w Sejmie powinni siedzieć za murem


And you can judge for yourself about my beautiful children.

SDC13555 The plan was to take pictures with ducks in the background but Lizzie stepped into action and scared away all the ducks. Her motto is ‘tread loudly and carry a big stick’.



PS Don’t forget that Friday is Women’s Day. I plan to buy something nice for the 2 little ladies in my life.

Catch you later.