November 30, 2006

A million cupcakes later

It seems that when I wasn't looking I turned into a teacher that does crazy things 'for the kids'. Today I baked over 100 cupcakes. I made double chocolate with peanut butter icing, I made lemon and poppy seed with lemon icing. I made chocolate and banana muffins and the whole corridor smelled of butter and sugar this morning. I love baking and began imagining myself as a child watching Mum in the big kitchen in our house in Scorton, I could have spent the whole day making cakes and giving them all out around the school.

The children are sat quietly watching the old version of Charlie and the Chocolate factory. They have written book reviews, drawn pictures and iced the cakes that I came into work at 6.30 to make. They are quiet, and love the part where Violet blows up like a blueberry. They have sticky fingers and chocolate all around their mouths. Chocolate day has been exhausting.

November 29, 2006

The mists of time

Every one is grouchy at work and we have an inspection that is due next week so add a double dose of craziness into the staffroom. Me, I know the real reason for all this itching anger bubbling below the surface. Look out of my window and you will see nothing. There has been heavy fog over the whole city for four days now.

The fog is oppressive, it gives you a headache and makes it seem as though it is never going to be light again. The fog sends you to bed and bids that you stay there, doing nothing but drinking cocoa and reading books. When you live in Poland you get used to the weather sending everyone a bit loopy, but I think that they have forgotten how this can do things to you. I have not forgotten, I remember too well how this season affects me.

Two weeks and three days before I leave to go back to England. She is cold and misty too, but as Christmas is waiting there for me I don't think I will mind. Do I have a job yet? Of course I don't.

November 28, 2006

The weekend is not for sleep

I had a busy weekend this weekend and was left so tired that I couldn't even be bothered to blog about how tired I was so I put a superhero quiz on my blog instead. Nice to know that I am wonderwoman though.

S and her husband came to Krakow for a break and so J and I went down on saturday to meet them for a coffee and do some Christmas shopping. There has been much money spent and although it seemed like a great idea to get up at 6.00 on a Saturday, turns out my school wearied body was not that amused by the whole thing. I got a chance to gaze out of the train window though for a couple of hours, and that is one of my favourite things to do.

S and the hubby then came to Warsaw on Sunday so I turned from shopper to tour guide, but I have to say that I really enjoyed this too. We went up the Palace of Culture and went to look at the buildings on Constitution Place. I ate Gypsy pie in Zgoda, and we chatted about what it will be like when I am home at Christmas. S is an old friend, one that I see not nearly enough.

So I ended the weekend double tired but shopped out, chatted out and happy. I missed my weekly call to Ally, next weekend for that. All that was left was for me to randomly buy all three Lord of the Rings DVDs, which I have loved watching all over again.

November 27, 2006

Another weird way to waste five minutes

Your results:
You are Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman
Green Lantern
The Flash
Iron Man
You are a beautiful princess
with great strength of character.

Click here to take the "Which Superhero are you?" quiz...

November 24, 2006

20 things about me

Thanks to Kinuk for nicking this meme and then letting me nick it.
1. Explain what ended your last relationship? That would be my crazy desire to live in different places.

2. When was the last time you shaved? Too long ago to remember.personal.

3. What were you doing this morning at 8 a.m.? It is only 7.41 at the moment.

4. What were you doing 15 minutes ago? Gossiping in the staffroom while making a cup of tea.

5. Some things you are excited about? Payday, and seeing my friend S in Krakow tomorrow.

6. What is your favorite flavor of JELL-O? Watermelon.

7. Your prom night, what do you remember about it? There was no Prom night. English, remember?

8. Do you have any famous ancestors?According to my Dad a member of rock group 'The Cult'. Do I believe him?

9. Last thing received in the mail? Voucher for rail travel from my Mum.

10. How many different beverages have you had today? So far, two cups of tea. It is only 7.44 after all.

11. Do you ever leave messages on people’s answering machine? I honestly do not know anyone with an answering machine.

12. Do you draw your name in the sand when you go to the beach? No.

13. Any plans for Friday night? That would be tonight then. Shopping for food and sleeping for my 6.00 wake up call for Krakow tomorrow.

14. Do you like what the ocean does to your hair? Makes it big, fluffy and curly. Sure.

15. Have you ever received one of those big tins of 3 different popcorns? I love this question! I have, when I arrived in North Carolina it was a gift from a friend in Chicago.

16. Do you re-use towels after you shower? Yes of course I do!

17. Describe your keychain(s)?It is a little wooden Babushka doll.

18. Where do you keep your change? In my purse.

19. When was the last time you spoke in front of a large group of people? Every day at school. Otherwise, while I was in Jordan at a conference.

20. What kind of winter coat do you own? From H & M, black wool, big buttons, belted and mid thigh length.

November 23, 2006

Story time

It turns out that my class favours Roald Dahl above all other authors. We have already read the BFG and Georges Marvellous medicine and we are now reading Charlie and the chocolate factory. I remember watching the film over and over again when I was a child. Me and my brothers could probably give you a rendition of the thing line by line.

I thought that Gene Wilder was brilliant and that Charlie was so innocent. As you can imagine, I am torn. Most of the children have the new version of the film on DVD as it came out recently. One child was even able to tell me that he has the 'Johnny Depp version'. I have promised that they can watch the film at the end of the book, but which film? Do I force the children to watch the old one, or do I bow to popular pressure and let them watch the new (and I might add darker) one? Opinions please.

November 22, 2006

As time goes by

Why is it that the waiting for stuff seems to take so much longer than it should? How do we make minutes feel like hours? Winter Warsaw is here with a vengeance and there is darkness everwhere in the city that won't leave until the middle of January, just in time for the real cold and snow to set in.

All the city is starting to light itself up with tinsel, twinkles and stars. At the end of my street there are huge trees and the buildings is covered with lights. In the run up to Christmas I am planning on making paper mache Christmas trees with the children and wondering how I can get a cocktail dress so that I can go to a ball in one of the fancy hotels in the city. No worries on that last one, I am sure that my fairy Godmother will be by any minute.

November 21, 2006

Life of a primary school teacher

Most days, I can't believe how lucky I am that I come to work and get to be adored by my class of 6 year olds. They are at the age where whatever you say is taken literally and they love you forever for making jokes. They love when you sit on the floor and do jigsaws with them instead of giving them one to be quiet. `They give you cuddles when you least expect it. The only time they sit for 20 minutes in silence is when I am reading Charlie and the Chocolate factory, then they beg me to carry on, because they want to hear my Oompa Loompa impressions again.

God knows, they are hard work. It is the end of the day and I am shattered. Each child having leeched out of me every drop of affection I have. Apparantly, giving 19 6 year old children needles, felt, glue, cotton and scissors to make glove puppets does not lead into the most relaxing of afternoons. Shocking.

They are so cute though, and I am so fond of them all. The girls all want the pink stickers with the daisies and the boys all fight over the little boy and his football.

Apple of my ears

Why do I love my Ipod so much? It is so small and yet contains so many of my dreams. As I blog this morning, the Snow Patrol is blasting through my ears and I couldstand up and barely feel that there is anything in my pocket. I miss being part of a music scene. I go home for holidays and have no idea about the songs that have come and gone since I have been away.

I am still not sleeping. Now that we are only four weeks away from the end of term and I have booked my flight home, I find that the swirly mind games have started again. I still have no job and even my free spirit is getting a bit bemused by the whole thing. Am I the only person in the blogosphere who is actually crazy? I leave these jobs with nothing to go to and feel like my intuition is leading me.

Anyway, it has been commented on that the blog has been a bit sad recently so I am on a mission to take more photos and look at Warsaw life before I leave. I have not even looked at Polish food, so that will be my next big thing. I will open the floor to my readers. Polish stuff, what do you want to read about?

November 17, 2006

Any minute now

Any minute now the clock will tick the school day for the final time. Any minute now I will hear the sound of doors opening and feet stamping and then I will know that it is the end of the day. Oh Friday, my own hearts desire, how I long for your smooth, relaxing touch.

This weekend there will be sleep and there will Canadian breakfasts. I have taken my inspration from K and loaded myself up on ingredients for French toast with Maple Syrup. Oh the beauty of the weekend. My flat is clean and the bedding was all washed yesterday, so curling up in my bed will be bliss. The children played all afternoon and now the noise has gone away, turned into small fists being led home by parents.

"Who knows where inspiration comes from. Perhaps it arises from desperation. Perhaps it comes from the flukes of the universe, the kindness of the muses."
Amy Tan

November 15, 2006

12.03 am

I couldn't sleep last night. I go to bed early when I have school the next day but I was still blinking into the darkness at 12.03 and actually got up to make myself some warm milk. My brain could barely register my 6.40 wake up call and there needs to be more caffeine before the morning light can be registered.

I spent the night dreaming of what life would be like if I lived in New York. I wondered why I could not get a job that would pay me a small fortune while enabling me to keep my integrity. I imagined that I would also manage to get a reflective daily column that I could do in my spare time, keep me in flights home and holidays in Thailand. Oh, the Polish winter darkness can seem so long. It goes on all through the night apparantly.
"One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years"
Thomas Wolfe

November 14, 2006


When I spoke to her on Sunday she told me it could be coming soon, this week maybe. There are four of us and we have been friends for thirteen years. This year I turned 30, the youngest of the four by a month. We are all in a new decade now. Yesterday my phone beeped and she told me that he had gone. She has lost a parent, the first one to go through this. We three are lost, distraught at her pain, not knowing how things can ever be the same.

November 13, 2006

In for a penny

Oh well, enough of the being morbid. Enough of moaning about how I have made myself jobless and homeless again. Enough of how I have no place to be and have no idea how to get there. I am just about done. I am boring myself with my tales of woe.

This week I shall be applying for millions of jobs until I get one. I shall be finding a place to be instead of waiting for a place to fine me. The places and jobs that I dream of, the ones that I think are my hearts desire are the ones that usually pass me by. So this time, I will apply for anything that looks interesting and I will wait and see.

Only five more weeks in Poland and the clock is ticking. I need cash, I need a wage at the end of January, and damn it, I will not stop until I have a contract in my hand. Coming overseas was all about me, it was never about the job, not about the children or who needed the help the most. That was where the mistake was made and that is what has to be made better.

"Better to be without logic than without feeling."
Charlotte Bronte

November 10, 2006

Blue skies ahead

Ah the weekend is here and the air lightens as the moments pass. I am still obsessed with the Gilmore girls and feel that this weekend may be the time to go back to the start of season one and start all over again. The weather is cold now, and begs me to stay inside and watch the world from my window.

I thought that I wanted to go home, but I have a feeling that there will be one more left. I have no idea why but my instinct tells me that there is more to come. Funny that. Warsaw looks so beautiful at the moment, she is cold but there are blue skies. The photo shows a day like that, zero degrees but so, so blue.

"In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion."
Albert Camus

November 09, 2006

Above the noise

Nearly all of the leaves have fluttered to the ground and all that is left is a hefty wind that blows them about. The noise in the classroom is undefinable and leaves my head ringing at the end of the day. Living for the weekend once again.

Down below the noise there is some sort of quiet inside my head. I still cannot believe that I don't have a job, can't believe that I have done this to myself on purpose. Once more for the cheap seats in the back. Still, that stupid part of me has faith. I feel as I always have done that I am on the right path and that things will turn out for the best in the end.

I wish I could dial down the noise, forget for a while that there are things going on in the outside world. This afternoon, the children will watch the BFG and I will sit and watch them. Their little faces, happy with nothing but the moment in which they live.

November 07, 2006

In the shadow of the Palace of Culture

When E was here over half term, one of things that I enjoyed most was going up the Palace of Culture and looking out over the city. Every vistor that I have had has gone up the elevator and seen the view. I have seen the city through mist, snow, sun and rain. This was the first time that I have been back up there with my camera and I love snapping away while I was up there.

It snowed last week, I woke up on Thursday to find that the city was covered. Only a couple of days before I has been up in the bright blue sky with E gazing out over the city, now everything had turned white. Winter comes fast in Poland and the temperatures have dropped like a stone in water. The clocks have gone back and it is dark, dark, dark here now. In addition to this, there are Christmas decoratiosn gracing the shop fronts already. How can so much change in such a short time?

It seems that I can't keep this blog going in one place for five minutes before I am off and away some-where else. I am dreaming of the Yorkshire Dales and I will be going back to England to live in December, six weeks in Poland and then I will be home. Do I have a job yet? Don't be daft, I have no idea what I will do to keep the money coming in, but I need to get back there soon. I miss too much, think too much about them all.

November 06, 2006

Postcards from Krakow

St Marys Church
Small exhibition lit up across the Rynek
Wool items for sale in the Sukiennice

November 02, 2006

The Kitchen table

I miss K's kitchen table every single day that I am away from home. I miss the smell of ciggarette smoke and making my own cup of tea. I miss stepping on miniscule Barbie shoes and hearing them crunch underfoot as I look sheepish. I miss waiting for S to arrive, which she does with armloads of trashy magazines, or fat laden snacks. I miss hearing about new jobs, daughters at school, new houses.

There are so many things that are missed out of this blog. A million words that I would never write. I never imagine that the people who are reading this might feel that they are not mentioned for a reason. Maybe I just want to keep some things for myself. Would they be happier to know that I think about them all the time? Would they like it if the first thing that excited me about coming home was the two of them, uncontrolled laughter, stories: stupid and serious? I do. It is.