I usually answer with..."just fine." Which is exactly where I am at right now. Just fine. Not great, not good, just fine. And no, this is not the American way of saying "horrible." I can't really think of a better word.
Living here in this house has proved frustrating. You can't move from a house that you've lived in for 5 years and chose particularly for your family, and along the way tweaked exactly to your specifications, into a house that's smaller, and not to your specifications and just, well, not "you" and not feel some anxiety and frustration. I know that we will be here for at least 2 years so I will be managing as best I can the frustrating aspects and cherishing the ones I like. So be it. This was our plan all along, and here it is.
I clean the kitchen all day long here it seems. Partly, almost mainly, because Martin is home all day, working in his "office." So, I cook three meals a day. And we try to stick to the Polish meal schedule which I am finding means that you are basically cooking breakfast, cleaning up from breakfast, planning and then preparing 2nd breakfast, cleaning up 2nd breakfast and then cooking the big mid-day meal and then cleaning up from that, having afternoon cake and tea and then cleaning up that in order to get the Kolacja/supper foods out. Insanity. I cannot do it and teach my children and if I had to sacrifice one for the other it would definitely be the food situation. So, I am slowly moving the family back to an American style eating schedule. I will still cook two meals, one at the beginning and one at the end of the day but the middle of the day will be sandwiches and snacks, possible eaten at "lunch time" in the schoolroom. It's just faster and easier and way less clean up. Otherwise we have no time for school! (or the kitchen is just a wreck all the time, which is also a possibility.)
The laundry situation is actually under control. I have no worries there. The dryer is awesome and so nice to have. Plus, I have taught Hejjo how to move the laundry from the washer to the dryer and clean out the lint trap and all that so at least he can do that leg, you know, just to keep things moving. I haven't washed any of my dedicates in the washing machine, nothing requiring cold water in fact since the setting for the coolest temp. is 30 degrees Celsius which is around 86 degrees F (no way am I spelling that word). That's not cold in my book. SO I have a nice pile of clothes to hand wash piling up in my cabinet. That will be an exciting night of wine and Cat Stevens.
Martin working from home is great! Martin working from home in our bedroom, no so great. Tomorrow he is moving downstairs and I am so happy about this! We are also moving the schooling down there but that will be strictly for schooling and light snacks, no "living." So no more having to keep the kids quiet while he talks in meetings or not being able to go into 1/4 of the entire house from midday to evening. It's going to be so helpful for him to be down there.
We still haven't found our land yet. And with the dollar plummeting lower every day (all our savings just worth less and less. :( ) we feel the urgency to find something and make a deal. We want to start the house. Then we have to meet with an architect and decide if we want to do Canadian style (all American homes basically, wood frame, quick to put up) or traditional Polish style home (made out of brick, takes much longer). Discussions about this daily. Although our land search was really becoming discouraging. We know where we want to be but unfortunately everyone else wants to be there as well. We got a little burned out and haven't been out looking for several weeks. Maybe soon.
We eat so much more sugar here than in America. Poles eat so much sugar! Ice cream, candies, cakes, juice at every meal! all throughout the day. I am so afraid the children's teeth are going to rot out of their heads. I've never had a cavity, Martin, at least 8...I blame Poland. That's right, the entire country. So, we have to curb this bad habit we've gotten into of eating sweets after every meal and cakes for snacks, jam on every slice of bread. So much sugar!
The phone rings all day. I don't really know what everyone is calling about. I proposed to Martin that we just let them call the cell phone if they need us and otherwise not answer since we are all at work or school for most of the day and if we did these things outside the home then we wouldn't be able to answer anyway, so...
...plus, when I answer, and it's not family, the people usually just hang up.
Speaking of telephones. I don't have a cell phone here. We have a family one but I don't even know the number. We also don't have a T.V. and don't plan on getting one. We have no Netflix, or Amazon on demand. No live streaming. We have the internet on two laptops from which I bog but I am not on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest. We watch our D.V.D.'s and Youtube. We Skype family every once in a while and we have email. That's it. So far, we're doin' alright. It's new for us but it's working. I have knit a shawl, four baby sweaters, one baby hat, a sweater for Lina, a skirt for Lina, and a cowl for myself. I have yarn enough stock piled to make sweaters for everyone. I'm keeping busy.
There's a ride-on toy at Carrefour called "Rancho - El Paso Texas" and it's a covered wagon pulled by horses. The kids love it. We've never actually put money in it but they love it anyway. Ahh, Texas, you old frontier, you.
Kacio puts something new in the toilets, daily. Sometimes three or four times throughout the day. Yesterday was Lina's special doll (not the porcelain one, Niki!) and so I hand-washed that and hung her out to dry. I have lost two hair brushes that were dunked into urine water and then of course filled their innards with said water and no way was I using those on my hair again. We've lost a pair of tights and one sock, and several photos, and magnets, off the SZRON. All the wooden toys we just wash and dry and back into the toy bin. Gross, I know. Keep the doors closed! The door situation in our apartment deserves it's own post, but lets just say, they don't really do a good job at being doors.
Funny, so many of the things that are frustrating are really not related to the country of Poland at all. We have only encountered the most gentle and kind people on all our errands (Carrefour cashier people not withstanding, although I can tell which ones are going to be ok and I just get in their line...trust me, it's worth it). Martin and I have decided that any one under the age of 35 is probably your best bet if you want to just have a regular, amiable, customer service experience and that anyone over 35 is just hard wired to think that any work you may force them to do is more work than they could possibly be expected to do. These people will die someday and from their ashes a normal customer service experience will arise.
The roads here are fabulous unless you come to visit us because we actually live off of the unofficially worst road in Krakow. It's quite fun to try and sing while you drive down it. Much like talking into an electric box fan. The public transportation is always on time and plentiful, and the kids are all free, except Hejjo who is half price until 7 years old. There is, unfortunately a lot of air pollution, which deserves its own post but we just stay in on the days they suggest and keep the windows closed. Yes, I am that anal about it. Darn it, I didn't move half way around the world for Hejjo's allergies to get worse!
These are just the day to day things. I know that most of them will get better, like having a printer, (even better would be a place where I can submit things to be printed and then go pick them up. I know it exists here, but where?), a bigger fridge, and an organized school room. All on our to-do lists. And Kacio will grow out of the toilet bowl phase and the dumping every liquid onto the floor phase. Lina will grow out of the screaming everything at me phase (going on 2 years strong) to the not talking to me phase (please! I welcome it with open arms...). Felix and Hejjo will grow out of the giggles (which I strongly prefer to fighting, so I don't even mind it, but it annoys other people, I know). I will start seeing this house and all it's quirks as my home, and not someone else's that we're just borrowing. Martin will stop worrying about the car (which is exactly when something will happen to it...mark my words!).
I'm trying not to complain about things that I should be grateful for, and trying to change the things I can. And right now I am thankful for the walnuts that are everywhere in our backyard, and a recipe that my Mother-in-Law gave me for a simple cake with which I have made so many different creations. (Today I added cinnamon and brown sugar and walnuts to it, and I used regular unbleached flour instead of the torte flour...so I guess I have been adding to the sugar consumption as well...it's a catching disease).
And by this post you can tell that I have no one to talk to that I wont offend by mentioning the bad things (only Poles can complain about Poland!) or puzzle by mentioning the good things (the over 35 crowd really hates it/doesn't believe you when things go well ;) )
Good night to the Polish contingency! Good Afternoon to my American friends and family!
Here are some pics from the weekend. We had a little pre-birthday party for Felix and a send-off party for the family living in America.
|just a cool picture|
|Martin stood here the entire time.|
|"I'll get you my pretty, and your bag of candy too!"|
|Dude, seriously, professional goalie. Cat-like reflexes and a focus that is unmatched by any adult.|
|Picking up walnuts, unfortunately he was moving so fast from all the sugar that I couldn't get a clear shot. It was a darling moment, I promise.|