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Monday, 1 September 2014

The Official First Day Of Fall

Dear friends,

Here we are, on the very 1st of September - the first day of Autumn. As I was saying previously... where did the Summer go? and if you are from Poland, have you ever quite actually felt Summer this year? I kinda missed it. It somehow slipped through my fingers and I ended up in Rain Season :) Thank God we had lovely weather for our wedding! Now that Autumn is here next thing you know Christmas and New Year's are right around the corner, so you better tighten the belts and prepare the long Present List for all your family and friends ;)
During today's post you will see a couple of pictures I took a bit more than a week ago. In Krakow there is always something to see and fairs are happening every weekend almost in the Main Square, next to Sukienicce, or in the Small Square, in the back of the famous St. Mary Church (or as the locals say The Mariacki church ;) ) This time you could actually see people working on their trade - below you can see pottery and weaving. There was also a stage and people were performing traditional Polish songs - mainly from the Highland region. I managed to catch the kids before performing traditional Polish dancing and I took some sneak shots. The best ones were when an older lass was trying to put on red lipstick to the younger chicks :) Adorable!
Autumn for me was always like a poem. It is magical and lyrical. The weather makes you layer up like an onion but it is not so cold as to freeze your arse of in case you want to have a lovely long walk with your significant other. The colors of the trees everchanging from green to red to brown to yellow... The clouds shifting in the sky like it's about to rain and yet it doesn't :) True, the days get smaller and the nights get colder but you can always snuggle up with a good book and a good tea and drown your sorrow knowing that the weather complements your mood. The night and day reach an agreement and on the autumn equinox, day and night are of equal length. This signals the need to balance light and darkness within us.
Fall has so much to teach us. Just by watching the leaves on the trees change and eventually we see them falling slowly down, we can do a parallel between the life of a leaf and our own lives. As we watch leaves fluttering to the ground in the fall, we are reminded that nature's cycles are mirrored in our lives. We need to learn to let go of the things that hurt us and the things that are not in our reach. We need to understand that we can only change the world if we can learn to change ourselves. We need to release our burdens and open up to accepting ourself as we are. We are human, we come into this world, we grow up, we give birth to children, we grow old, we die and we await for what will happen next.
Autumn always reminds me that our body is not forever. It reminds me that we grow old and that we can grow old in a beautiful way. It may be the case that I make that connection due to the fact that I was born in Autumn, in October, but I prefer to blame it on how Autumn truly is, everchanging. The poet Wallace Stevens once wrote, 'Death is the mother of beauty.'We see Death as something we should be scared of, but I rather like the story JK Rowling told in the Deathly Hallows. We should welcome Death as an old friend and when it comes we should be ready and not scared of it. All in all, Death is just a new beginning.
Some people hate Autumn. It reminds them of cold coming, of school starting, of new chores to be done. But as Mary Poppins always put it: In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You just need to reach out to your creative side, to the child in you, and see where the fun resides. I can tell you I always loved when school started as it meant that there were new things to learn/to discover and more fun games to play with my collegues. True, I miss the 3 month long vacations, and I know it is quite a huge shock for many to stop having that time off and switch to the boring grown-up world where you have only 26 free days a year... but hey! Try to look on the bright side of live :) I know I always try that. It fails sometimes but sometimes it really works out :)
Paint me red, miss! :)
Cute Kittens :)
Now tell me, what makes you jump for joy at the sight of 1st September? What are you up to this Autumn? What are your plans? What will you be thankful for? And if ever God knocks upon your door and asks you what would your favourite season is, would you say Autumn? I surely would say that :) And I would say that seing Autumn shows me the wonders He created :) Why do you love/like Autumn? 

Yours truly,
A LadyBug In Love With Autumn
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Saturday, 30 August 2014

Where Did The Summer Go?

Dear friends,

I should have figured it out by now, after all I am in Poland for more than 3 years! that Summer does not quite exist here. At the beginning I would hear people complaining about weather, about the constant rain and the chill and the cold. I did not pay any attention to it and they would laugh and say that when I will truly start complaining about the weather and all small things, that is the time when I will be truly Polish at heart... Well, guess what?! the time has come! I figured out just this week that more than ever my range of complaints about weather has grown exponentially to the amount of water poring from the sky nowdays...
That means I have passed the stage which and expat in Poland would still feel not home-like. To my defense, there is quite a big difference in weather between Poland and Romania. Take the example of Romania - Iasi, the city I am from - that had this week 0% chances of rain, humidity 50% and wind of 19 km/hour with an average tempetarure of around 25 degrees Celsius during the day. On the other hand, in Krakow, this week we had 80% chances of rain, humidity 88% and wind of 5 km/hour with an average tempetarure of around 18 degrees Celsius during the day... don't get me started on the night. We had to stop sleeping with the window open :( and rain never ceases... it feels like Great Britain... And to think that quite soon Winter is Coming! it brings a chill to my bones.
I thank God for the moments during the day when rain stops and the sun appears. I pray that more moments like that come during the weekend, so I can get to go out and have a lovely walk with Marek. Not to mention that we still need to do the Wedding Photo Session that was scheduled for last week, but guess what?! It got postponed due to rain :))) I see only a good side due to rain: the mushrooms are growing and we got to pick some when we were home in Limanowa (thus the photo above)... I remember being a child and listening inside the sound of rain, drinking tea or something hot. That sound still makes me calm, at peace... I just wish though I would not have to go to work layered non-stop with an umbrella always hanging by... God, I just wish for some sun, so I could go out and stretch like a small fly... enjoying the warmth of the sun... God, please give us a little bit of summer sun! At least for morrow... 

Yours truly,
A LadyBug That Misses The Constant Rays Of The Sun
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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

The Witcher - For People Who Like Fantasy

Dearest friends,

After finishing The Inheritance Cycle book series, that was quite awesome and I wish one day they would really give it another go and do a TV series or a cycle of movies on it, I started yet another series of fantasy books. The Inheritance Cycle indeed has potential and the movie Eragon totally screwed up the story (hence Paolini did not agree to sell the rights to the other books). The series I have started a while back is called The Witcher and for the fantasy fans - of both books and video games - it may sound very familiar. 
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The Witcher (Polish: Wiedźmin) by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski is a series of fantasy short stories (collected in two books, except for two stories) and six novels about the witcher Geralt of Rivia. In Sapkowski's books, witchers are monster-hunters who receive special training and have their bodies modified at an early age to provide them with supernatural abilities so they can cope with dangerous monsters. The books have been adapted into a movie and television series, a video game series, and a graphic novel series. The novel series (excluding the short stories) is also called the Witcher Saga. The Witcher short stories and novels have been translated into several languages. The books The Last Wish, Blood of Elves, Time of Contempt, and Baptism of Fire have been officially translated into English.
The sad part is that not all the books were translated in English language - as the writer is Polish - so the order may be a little messed up. Theoretically between The Last Wish and Blood of Elves there should be another book. I did not read it but Marek did :) for him is much easier to read it directly in Polish and I believe it is much more fun as well. I was told by several friends that read the books that they are quite a hit and that Sapkowski writes beautifully in an old-type of language, like how the old history books were written. I find that fascinating and interesting but unfortunately my Polish is not taht brilliant as to read them in the original language... 
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Marek is the one who saw me almost finishing the Inheritance Cycle and recommended me The Witcher. He told me it was about time to try a Polish writer as well and check how he sees fantasy :) I have finished The Last Wish, which is actually a list of short stories about Geralt's adventures is capturing/killing/curing the monsters running loose upon the world. I must admit I am confused if I liked that book or not. The first page for me war pure porn, describing a particular scene between him and the sorceress Yennefer more vividly than anything I read before. I was torn between stopping reading and going ahead but I wanted to give it another chance. The stories of Geralt and the momsters were quite interesting and very nicely done. Sapkowski borrows the stories from Brothers Grimm and twists and turns them into his benefit. Overall I quite liked it and I went on to the next translated English book: Blood of Elves.
***
The series continues with a bigger picture where we see the war between races and the unrest that comes upon the land - the war against elves and the war brewing between people. We finally meet Ciri, the princess lost and hunted. Tell you the truth, until now I believe the best character of the book is Ciri. She very much resembles in spirit and style to Arya Stark from the GOT - Song of Ice and Fire series. She is the grandaughter of the queen of Cintra and she is the protegee of Geralt. Ciri is the first female trained to be a witcher but thanks to another wonderful character (that unfortunetely we do not see much in the books... called Triss Merigold) she is not genetically altered by the witchers special potions... Triss is adorable and way more human and warm and feeling than Yennefer. She is straight forward and quite enjoyable. Everytime I see her on the page of the book I get a grand smile :) Did I mention that she is red-haired and a sorceress herself? The only huge minus until now of this book and actually the entire series is how Sapkowski sees the elves. He made them too vile and evil and vindictive. They are not even 10% of how the elves from LOTR are. I quite disagree with Sapkowski on this point as for me the elves are and always will be the representation in fantasy and fiction of the angels.
I am currently reading the 3rd translated book: Time of Contempt. I have not finished it yet but I see it continues to focus of the raising/training up of Ciri as a sorceress (as guess what?! She has the Elder Blood = Blood of Elves in her and she has The Power of magic as well). I love how Ciri develops and she has a will of her own - just like Arya Stark does - and takes action upon her own, no matter the consequences. We see more of the world of sorcerers and sorceresses and we see the relationship between Yennefer and Geralt much more than in the other books.  
***
I especially love at Sapkowski the way he writes the dialogues and how he develops the connections between the characters so I try my best not to hold him against screwing up with the elves... Did I also mention that Obama (yes, the President of the USA) is a huge fan of The Witcher video games?! :) Well, overall it is a good series! it is not like LOTR or GOT or The Inheritance Cycle but it aquits itself nicely and I can hardly wait to read it through :) How about you? Have you ever played the game or read the books? What was your opinion upon them? I would love to hear it :)

Yours truly,
A LadyBug That Loves Elves
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Sunday, 24 August 2014

We're Off For The Photo Session

Dear friends,

Please forgive me for writing so little lately. Tell you the truth I rarely have the time to sit down and think things trough in order to do a post. I keep getting loads of ideeas about what I should write and how I should write it, but that happens always when travelling to/from work and by the time I get home I would rather sit with my cute husband than sit more in front of the PC (than I usually do) and write a post. Thank you for understanding though :) If ever they would invent a machine attached to our brain that would transcript our thoughts, you would hear more out of me, but until then you need to settle for posts only once in a while :p
Due to my new job, I focus more and more on the processes and what needs to be done so I do not even have time to read my emails. When I come home the first thing I do is turn on the PC and check my emails and my Facebook - true, I may be addicted to it, but it is the only way I can keep contact with all my friends scattered around the world. I do belive the Internet was a very grand and fine invention but it should be used wisely and with measure.
We did not have our Wedding Photo Session yet so guess what?! It is happening right now, as you read these lines. I made this post in advance, yesterday afternoon. Today at around 3 AM we took off for the photo session with Mateusz W. - it will be done somewhere in the mountains and hopefully we will catch a nice sunrise :) of course I am betting my arse will froze (considering that we will be high in the mountains and I will be wearing only the wedding dress...) but I can tell you from now that I believe it is worth it :)
So for today, I am leaving you with some pictures from August 14th :) That was the day when we needed to relax and think of what we will do next after the wedding. It was a lovely warm Thursday afternoon and all our guests from abroad were safely delivered to their homes. We had a lovely long walk in the Main Market Square, where as usual there was a fair. I had not taken photos with the camera for almost 2 weeks so I took it with us. It was nice taking it out for a spin again :)
I particularly loved the stuffed owl (sowa in Polish language) cushions. They were small and cuddly and made in a lot of combinations of colors and patterns. You can see in the background also some kittens and other animals but I believe the owls were the most adorable ones ;) We also got to see people doing carvings and pottery. I always loved fairs, ever since I was a wee lass. For me they are fascinating, even though fairs attract crowds and people just love pushing and pulling...
After the walk in the city center we went to our very own special place: Bona - Ksiazka i kawa :) If you are not a fresh reader I believe that you may have seen pictures of this place on this blog more than once :) But that is just because we love this place. We can sit outside in the sun and Marek can smoke freely without bothering anyone, and I can always jump and have a look inside at books :p It is a win-win situation ;) They also have very nice lemonades and pretty good pierogi ;)
Another lovely part about this place is that it is right next to one of my favourite churches in Krakow - the very church in which we got married ;) The St. Piotr and Pawel Church. The place always reminds me of Vatican, as it has the 12 apostles in front, on the gate, as sculptures. It is the only baroque church in Krakow (I believe even Poland :) ) and it is also the church where John Paul the 2nd (The Pope) parents got married ;)
I know many of you are waiting for more pictures from the wedding and I promise you that as soon as I will get them from Mateusz - and this may take a while, considering that only today we are having the Wedding Photo Session - I will try and do some posts with the ones I like the most ;) in the meanwhile sit tight and relax, enjoy what is left of the summer and get prepared for Autumn :) Maybe you can even think about Christmas :p Or you could always plan a trip to Poland - Krakow and meet me :) What do you think about that?!

SMALL CORRECTION: We woke up today and got ready for the photo session but the weather was totally against us. We resigned and instead we sat and talked (and had several laughs) at 3 o'clock in the morning :) I don't regret that, I just regret that the weather lately in Poland is so unstable. We will give it a shot next week and see how it goes. Keep your fingers crossed for us! I did not get to correct the post as it went live at 7:30 AM and I was heavily sleeping then ;))) but now, at 1:15 PM I was able to do so. Forgive me :)

Yours truly,
A LadyBug That Wishes The Day Would Have 48 Hours
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Thursday, 21 August 2014

Little House on the Prairie + Wedding Thank You

Dear friends,

I don't know if you recall the 1980's TV Series called "The Little House on the Prairie", but if you do and you can visually recall it's settings you will have a small image of the place from where my adorable husband is from. Of course the location is not America but Poland - to be more precise, an almost mountain-like region that holds a lovely town called Limanowa. I always feel very much at peace when I go there and though I run around with Marek's sisters and brothers children I still get somehow back to Krakow battery charged inside my heart :)
I must convey my appologies to my lovely readers/friends/family as I did not write much/posted much about us lately but we were very much caught up with our very own Polish-Romanian wedding + my husband's big sister had the christening of her lovely baby girl. Her name is Kinga and she is as adorable as her sisters and I expect that she will be thoroughly taken care of by her older 3 sisters.
The wedding went very well considering the amount of stress that was bottled up in us. To my great shame/horror/sorrow I accidentally dropped my shoes during the first dance (I should have known that I am not made to wear high heels, even though I practiced in them for more than one month!) but I managed to kick them off fast, in order to finish the dance gracefully. The crowd was adorable when they started clapping/cheering/ovating :) so thank you so much for the support everyone :* You were all very adorable and we were glad to have each and everyone of you there, with us!
A special thanks goes to our families - to our parents + my amazing kick arse Granny! + our siblings and their better halves. Truly I have learned that language and space can be a barrier overcomed easily if people have big hearts. I would also like to thank my adorable "aunt from Canada" ;) who travelled so long to be with us and meet finally Marek in person :* Besides that I would love to give an extra bearhug for each and everyone of my friends who came from different parts of the world - from Romania, to United Kingdom, to Norway, to Holland and Czech Republic - I know that was hard for all of you and we appreciate what you did :) We love each and every one of you!
Even though time flies past us I remember the first time we brought one of our friends to Limanowa. The first reaction when she saw the place was to say that indeed this is "the freaking house in the freaking prairie". You could say it is in the middle of nowhere and to tell you the truth, the first time I went there with my awesome husband - we were just friends then - I kinda got panicked a bit... maybe a bit more! The place is surrounded by hills and forests and houses are scarce. His brothers/sisters drive 4x4 cars with good traction and I was scared out of my wits that I would be stuck there, where all people speak this funny language. Now I am no longer scared. Now it is home :)
I just wanted to share these thoughts with you and ask your story. Do you have a small house in the prairie? Do you have a place where you run to from time to time to charge your batteries? To my defense, all pictures were taken last weekend when we went to Limanowa for the christening. Don't ask for wedding pictures yet as I do not have them, I have a few from friends but when I will get the good stuff be sure I will share with you ;)

P.S. In case you were wondering why we don't go to Limanowa very often let me take all the blame. I am horrified of roads with constant twists and turns. Getting there takes around 1:30 min or maybe 2 hours, depends on road and traffic! But 3/4 of the way is hell... twist and turn just like in F1 Racing :/

Yours truly,
The LadyBug Married With An Awesome Kotek :)
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Sunday, 17 August 2014

The Love Of A Mother (In Law)

Dear friends,

All the time I hear mother in law are a pain and that they make your life a misery or even worse... hell-like. Well to tell you the truth, I really believe that someone up there loves me and my adorable husband very much - both my mother in law and his are the most adorable ladies that walked upon this land. Marek's mother accepted me and loved me at first sight and she made me feel very comfortable inside their home. Each time we go to Marek's place it feels very much like home and I come with positive energy and good vibes from there.
 ***
At the beginning I could barely say yes/no in Polish and I would understand even less than 10% of what people around me were saying. Now after 3 years in Poland I understand almost 80% if they don't rush about it when speaking, and if they don't start with dialects :) The best conversations I have happen with the smaller ones, with Marek's sister/brother's children. I can see from Marek's mum's smile that she loves me and that she approves of me and that she is happy I am part of the family and that makes me happy in return :)
With my mum it is a bit easier still as she understands English language so if Marek says something there is a high chance she will get it. I even surprised them having longer and diversified conversations using pictograms - drawing and making sketches. They get along just fine, and as Marek studied Italian/Latin language and Romanian language has a latin base, he even figured out when we were trying to give him a birthday party - the first time he came to Romania. My mum always trusted my judgement and she welcomed him with open arms. Hey! She always keep saying that she did not loose a daughter but gained the son she never had ;)
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Now since the civil wedding last year, when she got to meet face to face his parents/family, she loves him even more and to everyone's joy the families really love eachother :) So what can I say, the love of a mother (in law) can break all barriers of language, space, frontiers, nationalities. They both love eachother and when they see our love for eachother that makes them love us even more. I believe that our mothers in law love us for the love we have to eachother. They see the respect and they see how we complete eachother and they are happy we found ourselfs in this whole big world :) How do you get along with your mother in law? And what about your significant other?

Yours truly,
A LadyBug Very Much In Love With Mothers :)
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Friday, 15 August 2014

Ladies Day Out @ MIYAKO SUSHI

Dear friends,

Here we are, almost a week after the wedding, with everything done - everything settled. Well, scratch that! we still have one more thing to go: the after wedding session but we have not figured out yet when that will happen. All my family and friends are back home, safe and sound. We payed all the things needed, put down the wedding dress and suit to take to the cleaners and started browsing our friends photos from the wedding.
Tell you the truth it is quite sad to see the house empty. I miss my sister very much and I wish my family would be closer but that is one of the decisions the expats make. It is hard to have your heart split in different places yet somehow we pull it through. We are in the age where people communicate faster and I am happy I don't write a letter and mail it and then wait for a month or more to get an answer back. In this times I thank God for Facebook and emails.
Reflexions in my sisters sunglasses
I am thankful that so many people special and important and dear to me managed to come to our wedding. I was blessed to have my mum and dad and my adorable big sister with me. But best of all was having my granny here. Was watching her being happy for me and understanding that Krakow is indeed a beautiful place and that Marek's family is warm and kind and adorable :) and that they do take care of us. She was happy that someone does look after us and that we have someone here to care. 
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Another dear and special person who came was Mihaela - my "aunt from Canada" :) now she isn't really my aunt. She is my mothers best friend and she moved to Canada in 1989. I love her very much and she loves me as her own child. She is sweet and caring and fun and I am happy she could be with us and meet Marek in person :)
I was happy that after the wedding I had another day with all of them. This Monday I can say that we had a ladies day out - with the ocasional bumping in of Teo (my sisters boyfriend) and Marek. Mum, Granny and Miha went out shopping and then met at Starbucks for a coffee. That is where I met them and that is where we started having fun.
Later on the ladies got hungry so Miha proposed Sushi. Now me and Miha we like to try new stuff and we ate that before and we like it. There was only a small issue: mum ate only once in her life Chinese Food (with me, in Iasi) and Granny never tried it. This, I must admit, was fun! Granny agreed on all, as she is a good sport, and she went on Miha's hand/choice - I believed she liked it! :)
Me and my lovely Mum :)
We even used the chopsticks and no forks!
And we took pictures of eachother ;)
We went to Miyako Sushi - located inside the Galeria Krakowska, on ulica Pawia 5, at the last floor, food court area in the middle. As you use the stairs you will see Starbucks on your right and Miyako on your left. It is the first japanese restaurant in Krakow and it specializes in seafood. It is open from Monday till Saturday from 9 AM to 10 PM and Sunday from 10 AM to 9 PM.
You can eat there or you can always take away. There is also possibility to order online or just call their line and order and they will bring it to your place. We ordered a table for 4 but it could host more - the one we were seated in - as when Marek came, he was able to join us freely.
The menu is diversified and everyone can pick and choose to their liking - be it vegeterian, vegans or people who favor meat (like myself... You know, I am afaird to admit this, but for me the best vegetable is the pig!). We started with seafood soup with cheese and I must admit that was my first time trying it and I quite liked the taste. It isn't like the crab soup I usually have but it is very tasty!
Then we had a sushi lunchbox and we had fun playing with the chopsticks and teaching granny the ritual of having thin slices of ginger between the dishes, in order to keep the tastebuds clean and enjoy the flavours as much as you can. I especially liked the sushi rolls and the salmon in the honey sauce + the lichee/lichy fruits that always taste good ;)
After that we had some deep fried crab with rice and seaweed on the side. The crabs were actually very tasty and crunchy so they were my personal fav part of the meal. To tell you the truth, I would not mind a portion of that right now :p as they were extremely yummy and I ungratiously stuffed myself with them... To my defense in was after the wedding ;)
Marek had some noodles and was kind enough to come and stay with us and bare me translating back and forward between mum - Granny - Miha and back again. Sometimes I really feel like we should have a translator with us so I can get all the info going through to all parties. As it is, I constantly feel like things are slipping through my fingers...
Anyway... we topped everything up with something sweet, of course! Mum and Granny and Miha had ginger icecream and I had lemon sorbet. That was extremely sweet and sour at the same time. It had whipped cream + pomegrenate seeds + a marshmallow on top, along with some passion fruit and other tropical eatable flowers/fruits which names escape me right now... Sorry for my ignorance :)
The YumYum Sorbet :)
Overall that was one great meal and with these lovely 3 ladies, how could it not be? I will miss them terribly :( What am I saying, I already miss them so much I wish they would be here again. I would do the wedding one more time just to have them here - next to me. I love them all: my sister for being a pain in the arse I cannot live without, my mother for guiding me and being my best friend, my Granny who is my second mother and tutor during my childhood years and my lovely friend-aunt-guardian angel Mihaela :* who was always there for me :) unconditionally, wherever I went.
And of course I could not finish this letter without thanking my very own amazing husband. We were united by both Polish and Romanian law in December, but now we are united in front of God and the entire world. I love you Marek, and I want to thank you for being how/who you are. What can I say?! I have an awesome family and I am proud of each and every one of them. I love spending every second and every minute I get with them and I am sorry I could not make this last week pass slower. I am sorry the day does not have 48 hours... I miss them and I wish they would come visit soon. But in the meanwhile, until my sad mood goes away, do go and visit  Miyako Sushi  and let me know what you think of it ;)

** This post was made out of love for the food we had. I was not repayed in any way by Miyako Sushi and all the opinions are my very own, straight from the heart! **

Yours truly,
A LadyBug Who Loves Sushi
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