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Monday, 22 May 2017

Famous Polish People: Copernicus

Dearest hearts,

If you would ask everyone whom are the most famous Polish people in the world, you would probably get the answer Marie Curie Sklodowska for the women and Pope John Paul the 2nd for the men. Which is a pity, considering the amount of amazing men and women Poland has in its history. Today I wish to bring to your attention an amazing human being that was Polish and that made a difference to this world: Nicolaus Copernicus.  #didyouknow that in 2010, the Polish astronomer remains were reburied in Frombork Cathedral, Poland, after a 200 year search for his tomb? And that happened on this very same day, 22nd of May 2010. Here are some facts about him, that you may not know:
1) Polish origins linked to metal - copper. Copernicus was born as Nicolaus Koppernigk in the city of Torun, on 19th February 1473. His mother - Barbara - came from a rich family in Torun. Copernicus was named after his father, whose family can be traced to the village Koperniki in Silesia. The name of the village comes from the German term kopper for the metal copper, that was mined there.
2) He started the Scientific Revolution - during his time but also many years after his death, Ptolemy model was the one generally accepted. But Nicolaus's book, even though it was not a bestseller during his lifetime, called "De revolutionibus orbium coelestium" did start a fire... the Copernican Revolution that lasted for a century and a half! His model is regarded as "The launching point of modern astronomy and the Scientific Revolution".
3) As any great mind, he was a multitasker and was accomplished in more than one field of study. His skills were not limited to just astronomy! Copernicus was also a physician, scholar, economist, translator, mathematician, an artist and a diplomat - talk about being an all-in-one embodiment of awesomeness! 
Bonus fact: #didyouknow that Copernicus led the Royal Polish defence forces of Olsztyn and Warmid in the Polish-Teutonic war that went from 1519-1521? He also participated is peace negotiations that ended the conflicts that were started with!

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Polish History and Amazing Polish People that Changed the World
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Friday, 19 May 2017

Why I Love The Phantom Menace

Dearest hearts,

#didyouknow that this very day, 18 years ago - on the 19th of May 1999, the Star Wars: Episode I was released in the cinemas? That's "The Phantom Menace", directed by none other than George Lucas, starring Ewan McGregor as young Obi Wan, Natalie Portman as Queen Amidala of Naboo and Liam Neeson as Qui Gon Jinn (Obi Wan's Master Jedi).
In case you are not a Star Wars fan you might not know this, but the prequels to the original Star Wars trilogy were not quite well met by the public, nor the critics. I don't know about that, but I can tell you that 18 years ago, a 12 year old teenager ran to the cinema to see the next Star Wars movie after a big gap. I saw my first Star Wars movie when I was about 6 or 7 and it was love at first sight! I believe the world is mainly split between people would love or hate Star Wars. For me there was no choice but to love it. The moment I set my eyes upon Princess Leia I knew she was a definite role model - feisty and smart and kick arse and a match for even the Dark Side. And whom wouldn't like to have an R2 Unit as a friend? There is so much spark in that little body of circuits and plugs! So... when I heard a new one was out, I just HAD TO get to the cinema and watch it on the big screen. And I loved it -  screw the critics, even today when I watch it is feel as a small child again :) So here are my reasons for loving "The Phantom Menace":
1) Small Ani - sheding light upon Anakin Skywalker and his family background, paired up with the notion of "midiclorians" and the fact that he was created by them, there was no father... it was... immaculate conception. For me Star Wars has so many links to the Bible and connections to the Saviour, that's lovely to watch the influence.
2) Padme Amidala, Queen of Naboo played by Natalie Portman and her #feministic ways - I don't know what you think of her but I believe she's an amazing actress. I loved her tremendously since I first saw her in Leon, but in The Phantom Menace (and the other 2 trilogy movies) she steals the shots she's in and as Ani puts it nicely, she does look like an Angel. Also, it's not hard to see from where Leia has her #girlpower ;) Padme is a strong and smart ruler at her age, and she understands politics but loves her people above all. She would put herself to risk only to know they are safe. She doesn't mind getting her hands dirty and playing the handmaid - I've always loved that!
3) Darth Maul and his badass lightsaber! One of the greatest lightsaber scenes in the Star Wars Universe is the scene at the end of The Phantom Menace, when Darth Maul faces Qui Gon Jinn and Obi Wan Kenobi - that's a Master Jedi and a trainee ;) and he definitely kicks their arse bad enough, before he gets cut in half... but wait! If you are a hard core Star Wars fan you know that he actually makes it through! To be mentioned that a) this was the first kick arse fighting scene with lightsabers in the history of Star Wars, with real choreography and amazing moves & b) that was no regular sabre! It was two-blades, long staff and the actor was trained extremely well in the art of handling both himself and the said lightsaber. Epicness!
4) Liam Neeson as Qui Gon Jinn - we were robbed of his presence way too soon! I got so excited seeing him join the Star Wars universe, especially as the mentor of Obi Wan, that I could not forsee the ending scene where he dies... Liam totally nailed the role and probably channeled some of his Rob Roy mood and looks and sword skills. He was perfect as a Jedi Master, wise and thoughtful and kind and I cannot keep thinking that maybe if he did not die and he would train Anakin, he would not have joined the Dark Side.  I know in the Canon Star Wars there is no such thing as a Grey Jedi but if there was, I think Qui Gon Jinn would be the embodiment ;)
5) The clothes ❤ - can we just take a moment to stand in awe of the amount of time and care the team put into creating such wonderful costumes? I remember watching Queen Padme in her glorious velvety red dress, with her red-white lips and her one-bun hairdo... I remember being in awe, wanting to try that out myself. She looked royal in every piece that she wore, and everything was so perfectly tailored! Even for that dress alone people should grade The Phantom Menace at least 9/10. Not to mention other people/characters wardrobes - so much care and precision ❤ way to go #starwars team!
6) Touching hard subjects like slavery - when I first watched this I could not understand how a human being could be bought and sold. These things were illogical to me... growing up in a country were human traffic was not happening. When I grew older and could read more and search more for the information I needed... I was horrified to learn that human traffic still exists. I feel sad when I think that at this very moment a girl is being sold somewhere in this world. Ani and Shmi (Anakin Skywalker's mum) were sold like cattle, without a care in the world. Watto even bets with their life, as if they are nothing but dust. How horrid! And yet... how true, how much that shows how some people think of others.
7) Showing a bigger picture of the Star Wars universe - how did we get to Ground 0: A New Hope? Where did it all start? What was the Senate, how did it work? What are the connections to the Trade Federation? How much power did the Jedi's have? What was the Jedi structure? How could one become a Master Jedi? So many questions that I had as a child, were answered by The Phantom Menace. How can I not love this movie?! And if you ask about the order... nope! I will not let my small one watch this one first - it's too rough and touches many controversial points. The right order for me is Episode 4, 5, 6, 1, 2, 3, Rogue One and then Episode 7 - just FYI :)

P.S. So oooooo looking forward to the new Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi, this year! It's the perfect Christmas gift ;) for all the fans out there, in this beautiful blue world :) #MAYTHEFORCEBEWITHYOU 

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Star Wars Ever Since She Was A Wee Lass 
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Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Travel Tuesday: Travelling With A 8 Months Old

Dearest sweethearts,

Welcome to yet another #traveltuesday Episode :) remember a while back when I was sharing with you a little piece about what it feels like travelling with a 4 months old baby by plane ? Well today I'm back with an update on how a 8 months old baby handles travelling. I'm telling you, it's a whole lot of differences! Let's see the hard facts:
1) For the airlines there is no difference. A baby up to 2 years will not have its own seat. The baby will stay on the parents/guardians lap and be attached to the regular buckle with a baby-buckle. Seating a 4 months old and holding them still is way easier than doing the same with a 8 months old. The older the baby gets the more they move and wriggle and push and... eventually cry and scream. Facing for a long amount if time the forward position, not seeing mum and dad face to face, having to watch the front seat for more than 10 minutes - that might be a challenge for an active baby. Make sure you have something to distract him/her, although I don't quarantee that will work all the time. Most airlines provide a small package for your small one, once you board the plane. The stewardess will give you the "gift" when you board. We had, until now: socks from Lufthansa, a soft touchy feely book from Austrian Airlines and twice we got some cute little finger puppets also from Austrian. 
2) The moods differ - a 4 months old will probably fall asleep easier and sleep most of the flight, helping you relax a bit and thank God for her not screaming throughout the flight; a 8 months old will probably not sleep at all and want to play and even make sweet eyes to your front/back neighbours. That's OK - if they smile back and the small one smiles it's all good.  It would be worse if the small one was start crying... just enjoy her relaxing. A 4 months old sleeps usually longer than a 4 months old and is less active, making them a better companion during long flights. On short flights both cases are totally doable. But if you have 2 or more flights... you're into a few bumps with the 8 months old.  
3) The food - of nom nom time for the small one? Now, it depends on the little one but at 4 months old you give them milk (be it breastfeeding or artificial one); at 8 months old you are supposed to have started the diversification, meaning the small one will eat veggies or fruits or both and will want some. It will also mean more poop and quite smelly one - so pray they don't do it when you're up in the air, as you know how small toilets are! If you're still breastfeeding that means you're lucky and you don't have to take bottles and powder with you everywhere and go searching for boiled water... if not, well... I feel your pain! You will have to go to the stewardess and ask for some.
4) Moving around - baby carriers are a must! Once the baby is around 4 months + and can sit on its tush, you can use a baby carrier like the one I have from Madame GooGoo Carrier. They are amazing for both you and the little one.  I can tell you only of the Madame GooGoo Carriers as I've tried them and it was an instant connection - I've fallen in love with their designs and patterns and service and... should I mention the carriers are #madeinpoland but by European standards? They have a ergonomic structure that keeps the baby safe and sound and you can feel comfortable as well. You can use both hands and there is freedom to run and use stairs in a jiffy, that you could not have by using a pram ;) plus, the small one is always close to you, feeling you and you know she's safe and that's most important!

What about you lovely people? Have you ever travelled with a 8 months old by plane? How did you cope with it? What were your tips and tricks? Would love to hear from you as parent to parent :)

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Her LadyBug Baby Girl
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Saturday, 13 May 2017

Why You Should Watch Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2

Dearest sweethearts,

In case you haven't noticed, I'm quite a fan of comic books, Marvel and DC Comics (more if a Marvel fan, though!) and all of that stuff that makes my better half say that I'm a nerd. But hey, I'm fine with my nerdiness, I became comfy cozy with it and in need it keeps me smiling. Unfortunately neither Romania nor Poland is so much into comic books as the USA is, for example, but the market is growing steadily and I see more things happening in this field. Going to a Marvel movie makes me smile the moment I think about it, and the smile broadens as I step out the door and head to the cinema. The Marvel movies are made to be seen on the big screen as they have great action sequences and stunning imagery (with the help of the blue/green screen and the CGI masters from the team). I don't know if you got around to see Guardians of the Galaxy (volume 1) but I should think it would be a must for the people who go to watch Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. It prepares you for it and shows the starting of the dynamic between the heroes. That and it's a kick arse movie with an amazing soundtrack! But... let's not get into politics and let's see why I think you should watch Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2:
1. The 1980s CGI Kurt Russell - oh, that was really well done! And to no surprise you can figure out by yourself *SPOILER ALERT* that he is Peter "Star-lord" Quill's father! What you might not know is that he is a Celestial, a God in full rights, that was able to built from scratch it's own marvelous planet! What will surely make you upset and pissed off Quill... *SPOILER ALERT* is that Kurt Russell's character is a huge arse and he wants to rule the Galaxy. His name is fitting: Ego!
2. Yandu, the Space-Pirate-Scavanger- Unknown Hero. How cool is it to be able to direct arrows just by whistling? Anyway... *SPOILER ALERT* it seems that he did not kidnap Peter just because he was small and could get into places no one could... he did that as he knew what kind of person/Celestial Ego was, and he wanted to save him. Ego was killing all his progeny that did not have the "spark" of Celestial in them. It seems Peter was one in a billion... the only child whom was a... demigod I believe that's the notion. He sacrifices himself for Peter, in the end. That's a beautiful and touching scene and the whole Theater filled with people was sobbing. You would have to be a rock not to shed some tears!
3. Family is the most important thing! Take for example the sisters: Gamora and Nebula - I love every of their scenes and I love the background story. They have been put by their father to always battle each other. Gamora would always win and Nebula had each time - by her father - something extracted and replaced by a robot part in her, so she could be stronger and win. But alas, Gamora always would win. That's how Nebula got a robotic eye, brain, hand... when all she wanted was a sister. They get multiple times when they could finish each other but they don't.  You never kill family, you might harm them by mistake... but they are family nonetheless! They are blood! *SPOILER ALERT* Except when your father is a d**k and wants to destroy the Galaxy and kills your mother - that's when all Hello breaks loose!
4. Sylvester Stallone joining the MCU! I could not have believed it if I would have not seen it with my very eyes. And he fits remarkably well as a Space-Pirate-Scavanger! Of course he is full on "Stallone Mode" and ready to kick arse at every move, but I think he's gonna make a fine addition to the Marvel Universe and as far as I've read, this is not a one time thing, and I'm thrilled!!!
5. Stan Lee cameos and end scene - it's a must in any Marvel movie, and he never disappoints. In this cameo I believe he is referring to Captain America's FEDEX delivery to Tony "Stank" ;)))
6. No unnecessary sexual scenes or gratuitous nudity. Of course Drax is technically naked, but that's not done in a sexual kind of way; sure we can see Chris Pratt taking off his shirt for a minute or two, but it's kinda done in a rather natural way. Even when Ego presents how he has inseminated Peter's mum & several other female alien entities, all is done quietly under a veil. Even the one "penis" joke is rather... not in your face! Plus even if there is an "unspoken thing" between Peter and Gamora, there is not one kiss happening - but I do love that dancing scene ;)
7. Not one, not two... but 5 end credit scenes! As a true Marvel fan, I had to sit tight on the seat until the black screen appeared. Throughout the end credit there were 5 scenes - my personal favourite is the one with teenager Groot. Sure, I'll miss cute baby Groot, but no baby stays baby forever. They eventually grow and "fly away" from the nest. I'm looking forward to full power Groot in the next... Avenger movie? :) 

P.S. Currently waiting game for Wonder Woman to hit the big screen. Now I know this sounds feminist but I want more of that! And a couple of Black Widow standalone movies ;) 

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Marvel
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Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Impressions Of A Polish Wedding

Dear hearts,

I don't know about you but I always loved weddings. Some of my friends had a dread of going to them but I never had, even when I was alone (not with my awesome Polish husband). I always found weddings to be great fun! For me weddings are a chance for the family, for the friends, to come together and celebrate an act of love. For me weddings are always tied to fun, funny or relaxing moments. Some may say weddings are overrated, but that's not my opinion. Give me a wedding anyday! When I came to Poland, to Krakow, and I began to settle down, I was invited to more and more Polish events, Polish parties - some were weddings. In this way I began to see more the differences but also the things that bring together the 2 cultures: that of Romanian and that of the Polish People. We had 3 wedding parties in 3 consecutive years, so you'll have to trust our expertise on this one ;) As my better half loves to put it, the Romanian weddings are like the banquets at the end of 12th grade/high school. There is a lot of dancing and talking and mingling, the food is elegant, sometimes in large portions bit you can still handle it, and the drinking part is not that hard-core... Romanian people like to sip on their glasses of wine or smooth things over with some gin tonic or whisky. The Polish people have a different behaviour when it comes to weddings... you might remember telling you about this over at the article on How You Can Survive a Polish Wedding.
Inside the Catholic Church in Rzesow, Poland
I still find it wonderful nowdays that people wish to get married, with all the crazy nonsense running about in the world. Polishpeople are quite traditional when it comes to the family setups. I have seen many couples that were together for a while and never talked about marriage until the pregnancy test came back positive - but then everyone knows what the right thing to do is. I've been waiting in line, in Medicover, to see my doctor. In front of me was a pregnant lady who was reading to her  (probably 7 years old) daughter. She met a friend and as she was right next to me it was hard not to hear her out... she was expecting her 4th child - they had 2 boys and a girl and now they were expecting a girl as well. Having a big family is an expected occurance, especially with the new help from the state. Having a family, having a lot of children is also in accordance to the Catholic Church teachings, so having a wedding in front of God, to seal the marriage, is a must. The nice part with the Catholic Church wedding ceremony is that it also counts as a civil wedding, so you have a 2-in-1 package, if you will.
Stepping out of the church, not only as a couple but as a Family! Congrats to the lovely newlyweds ❤
Church Weddings are important especially if the family is more traditional. If you wish to do a proper traditional Polish church wedding, the church must be the one in the parish where the bride was living. The last wedding we have been to, in Rzesow, was absolutely lovely - the church was in the city centre and the inside was a sight for sore eyes. The priest knew the bride and the ceremony was very warm and welcoming. There were many touching moments, especially when the brides sister was singing a psalm - she had a lovely voice that echoed in the church. The tradition is for the Bride and Groom to come out and then rice and coins are thrown, for good luck. The couple must exercise heavily as they must gather all the coins. Also, it's customary in Poland to give the gifts to the newlyweds after the church ceremony - I'm guessing this happens so that all would do so when they are fully sober and can say a proper greeting/wish ;p In Romania the wishes with the gift envelope are given at the end of the wedding party, when the guest is leaving. In Poland, the regards and the gifts are given usually after the church ceremony. A long line of all the guests is being formed and people queue up to hug and kiss and say kind words to the Bride and Groom. It's quite legit and safe to do so as on Polish weddings there is a lot of fun and excitement and drinking involved so maybe one might forget to give the gifts when going away ;)
You might find on your table also the listed menu of the wedding, just so you can be prepared ;)
The party is always great fun and usually you have 2 ways in which it gets arranged: either you leave the tables without any names and you don't make a plan on where sits whom and you leave the guests to pick and choose as they please vs. Setting up a plan of each table and having someone to point them to the right direction or display the scheme on a board, at the entrance to the room. Either way people will mingle! Weddings in Poland are customary with a band - we had a DJ as we could not find a band that we would like, that could sing both Polish and English songs... plus I wanted some Romanian hits here and there... There are dedications throughout the night and the band keeps a lively atmosphere on the dancefloor.  You might see also some games being played - some maybe rather dumb... but it's all in good fun, remember! Plus... after the first half a dozen vodka shots you won't care anymore! And as I said, drinking is customary in weddings - especially shots of vodka. The Father of the Bride will come and check upon the tables if you have enough cold vodka for that ;) it's his duty! But overall, a Polish Wedding is something you shouldn't miss - be it traditional or rather modern. It's always a lot of fun and the people get all warm, friendly and talkative.  If you are invited, make sure you say "I do!" :)

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Polish Weddings
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Sunday, 7 May 2017

Things You Will Find In A Polish Home

Dearest sweethearts,

There is something everyone can agree about Polish homes. They are very warm and welcoming and the atmosphere is always relaxed. There is always something tasty on the table, something that smells delicious cooking on the stove or something sweet baking in the oven. Polish people, once you get close to them and enter their safe zone, taking down all their barriers, get very friendly and talkative.
Their favourite topics can range from religion (everyone loved the late Pope, John Paul the 2nd) to sports (be it football, handball, ski jumping) to economics and secret affairs of the world. You can't get bored with a Polish person around. If you ever entered a Polish house than for sure you noticed a couple of odd objects - they are part of every Polish household. So let me tell you about a few of them:
1. The Polish guest shoes - kapci - flat regular shoes that can come in all shapes and sizes. They can be bought in the lovely mountain town of Zakopane and can be filled in the inside with sheep hair in order to be more warm. It's customary for the people who come inside the house to take off their shoes at the door and the lady of the house to offer them home shoes instead.
2. Church items - range large, from crucifixes  to statues of the Virgin Mary, to rosaries, to pictures of Jesus with the traditional text "Jezu ufam tobie" (polish version of "Jesus I trust in you"). It's also common for the older generation to display the framed diplomas of when their children had their first Communion. Polish people are religious and they are very attached to their faith, so don't laugh about it and behave properly.
3. Vodka, clear vodka - the drink of choice is always vodka with the Polish people. True, they drink their share of beer and they have some fabulous local breweries that make some kick arse beers with different flavours, but vodka is the "go to" drink. It's also customary to older generations, when there is a party and shots are being drinked, to use a single shot glass and pass it around. You must drink to the next persons health and look them in the eye.
4. Ogorki - pickled gherkins - either home made or bought at the local store, they are in every house! They are a perfect snack for the drinking parties or can be eaten as layer on the famous Polish sandwich - kanapka - slice of bread with butter or margarine on top, slice cucumbers and a pitch of salt, and there you are! Ready to go!
5. Trash can located under the sink, in the kitchen - you need not even ask! If you have something to throw out you will 99.99% of the time find a trash bin stored underneath the sink, in the kitchen. It's very conveniently located for peeling veggies, chopping meat and cleaning fruits - just a hand throw away.

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Poland and Polish Homes 
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Thursday, 4 May 2017

Things I Am Thankful For - April 2017

Dearest sweethearts,

If you've been reading my blog this year you must have noticed the challenge is have proposed for this year. It's hard sometimes to see the bright side of life. Even when looking at a glass of water we tend to see the empty half, nor the part filled with water. In fact, all that is relatively as the glass is never empty - the other half is filled with air! So what I proposed was that at the beginning of each month we should think of the things we are thankful for.  It might be hard at first but you'll get better as time passes. Train yourself to see the beauty in the little things in life. Start with 5 things/Moments and work up from there ;) Here's my take until now for the month of January, February and March. For April I am thankful for many things, but here are 5 picks:
1. Listening with my mum "La Boheme" by Puccini, at the National Theater in Iasi, by the Romanian Opera in Iasi. It was wonderfully done and it reminded me of how much (and why) I love the musical "Rent". It made me laugh, it made me cry and I've accidentally bumped into an old friend I have not seen in ages! It was lovely meeting her and we catch up on good old times. As you might know, Opera is very close to my heart but also to my better half, so I could not help thinking of him while watching this very well done version  of Giacomo Puccini's masterpiece.
2. Easter home, with the family - I can't still believe how time passes by. It flies away faster and faster and no matter how much you would wish it would stand still... it doesn't! I remember when I was a wee lass and I wanted to grow up - now I want the reverse. I want to be small, without a care in the world, running around the house while Granny is cooking and mum is doing the eggs... Thankfully this year I catch both Christmas and Easter at home, with the family. And this last Christmas and Easter were the Little LadyBug Baby Girl's first ones! I count them as blessings ❤
A picture of the article from Dziennik Polski, that a dear friend sent me - thank you lady 馃尀
3. Recognition from the local newspaper - on the 22nd of April, for the weekend newspaper, there was an article about expat bloggers that live and write in/about Krakow. This one page article was in the Dziennik Polski and it was a lovely surprise. I had an interview a few days before and... voila! I was in the local/regional newspaper! The article is about myself and another blogger, so if you understand Polish I recommend you the online article ;) also if you wish an autograph or a picture with yours sincerly, do let me know - you'll have to take a number and stay orderly in line :p
4. Reaching Krakow safely with the little one - our first experience was a huge pain... as we ended up having 3 flights with time in between flights almost non-existent. Coming back was only 2 flights and I had Marek next to me, so I felt way less stressed. When I think in retrospect I thank God for hoe he took care of us. Emilia Elena is 9 months old now, travelled by 5 planes, experienced air conditioning and sudden weather changes yet she is perfectly blessed, perfectly healthy. True, she got tired fast due to the huge amount if people and new things, yet she is a brave little pumpkin and Mummy and Daddy are proud!
5. Being able to watch movies again with the one I love - having a small baby will male it an issue for both parents to watch a movie together, especially in one go/sitting. I am thankful for having my Granny with us, watching the small one - they are best friends! So after more than 8 months we managed to see our first movie together, and what else could we pick except a Marvel movie?! Doctor Strange was our first! And it was nice doing that, just the both of us, together. It was nice that the small one was asleep and feeling comfortable and safe next to Granny, in the next room. I love my family! I love feeling them close and knowing they are there, safe and sound.

P.S. The biggest bonus of this month was Granny coming to stay with us, unlimited time ❤ it sometimes feels like being small again, looking from the outside, when I see Granny playing with the little one. It's a glimpse of Heaven!

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Wants To Be Thankful For The Little Wonders Of Life 
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Monday, 1 May 2017

Random 1st May Ideas

Dearest sweethearts,

Here we are on the 1st of May - my... how time does fly! We're heading straight on to summer yet the weather lately was rather rainy and chilly - typical Polish weather for this season, one might say! I can't believe the Little LadyBug Baby Girl is over 8 months now, we managed to get home safe and sound and we have Granny (that's Ladybug's Grand-granny!) with us. We are truly counting our blessings :) Today there is the National Celebration of 1st of May - May Day or Labour Day - celebrated both here in Poland but also in Romania. In Poland the 1st of May is also connected to the bigger celebration called "Majowka" - which also includes the 2nd of May, National Polish Flag Day + the bank holiday of the 3rd of May, Constitution Day. By the way, #didyouknow that the Polish Constitution was the 1st one in Europe and the 2nd one in the World? (After the well known constitution of the United States of America). 
But that's not the only thing one might celebrate on the 1st of May. If you are a fan of comic books and action heroes, if you are a need that loves random dates... well then... you must know by now that the 1st of May is "Batman Day"! That's right, you heard me well, it's the day that commemorates the 1st of May 1939 when the well known crime fighther with a sad past made his debut in number 27 in the Detective Comics. So if you're not sure what to do today, how to celebrate this day, make sure you watch a Batman movie ;) and don't forget to put your cape on - everything is made better with a cape... if only people would wear it more often! ;))) 
And not to forget... the most important celebration of them all comes in just a few days - May the 4th be with You! That's the 4th of May being the international Star Wars Day! This year is a magical year, in the sense that there are 40 years since the first screening of Star Wars: A New Hope - that's Episode 4. That happened on the 25th of May 1977. Also on the 14th of May there is the birthday of George Lucas, so as you can see the Star Wars fans out there consider the month of May a general celebration month! But either if you are a Star Wars fan or a Batman fan or both... or not... I believe there are still many things you could celebrate in May! So if you live in Poland or Romania or any other country that has this day off, as bank holiday, get out and enjoy the time off. Breathe in the fresh air, smile and think of the positive things in your life. Make today count!

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Life And It's Celebrations
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Friday, 28 April 2017

A 109 Year Old Citizen of Krakow

Dearest hearts,

When I was small I considered people over 30 to be old. Now that I am 30 myself I don't feel like I had any clue over life and how time goes. 30 years seemed a long way to go... but now I look at my Granny, who's over 80 and is such an inspiration for me, for my family and everyone she comes in contact with. She owns a tablet, a smartphone and has her own Facebook account! She's a woman ahead of the time and I surely hope I can grow up to be like her. A little while back I was reading the local newspapers and I bumped into an article about the oldest Cracovian - a lady that is 109 years old! The oldest Cracovian had her birthday in March and her name is Cecylia Roszak. 
Cecylia is a Dominican and lives in the monastery Grodek, in Krakow. During her 88 years with the order she has been a porter, an organist and cantor. Several times she also acted as a supervisor in the monastery. Eight years ago she had a hip and knee surgery but she recovered well very quickly and did not miss any mess, even if stairs were on the way - it seems to me that she did not see any barrier in her way that would have stopped her from meeting God in prayer, and I think that's admirable! Everyone working with her agrees that she has a sound mind and still has the heart of a child - unfortunately though she closed herself out from giving any more interviews. I think she finds them rather tiresome.  
During the German occupation, the sisters of the Dominican order, were hiding Jews - risking their own life in the process. They were also helping the local population, the local community as much as they could. In January 1944, Cecylia took in 2 children whose parents were brutally murdered. One of them was the harpist Adam Kowner. After the Second World War, he searched for the nun that saved him and reached the monastery in Grodek. He managed to find Cecylia and thank her in person. She was decorated by the Israeli government with the famous medal "Righteous among the peoples of the world". Right now, Cecylia Roszak is the oldest nun in Poland, the oldest resident of Malopolska region and the oldest Cracovian living. May God bless her and keep her safe and strong!

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves A Good Story About History And Life
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Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Travel Tuesday: Polish Stereotypes

Dear hearts,
Dear travellers of the world,

Welcome to yet another #traveltuesday post from yours truly. It's not a typical post about tips and tricks while travelling, nor a review of a place visited. Lately the travelling I had was mostly inside Poland or Romania so I think it fitting to present you some more information  about my adoptive land, about the land of the proud and brave. That's Poland ;) so... without any further ado, I want to tell you about today of a few Stereotypes when it comes to the inhabitants of this lovely country. Here we are:
1. Polish people are heavy drinkers - true, they love to party and have fun with friends and it's quite often that a regular Jan/Barbara will get to the pub after a hard day a work or even drop by the local Zabka/Lewiathan (local shop) in order to but a beer. They do, although, keep the spirits and behavior under check. They know how to hold their vodka - which is the main drink down here. They have amazing snacks while having a party, like fish or lard on bread, in order for the fat to produce a layer that will help the drinking.
Florianska Street, Krakow, Poland 
2. Polish people love to complain - heck yes! There was even a Facebook page about that: "Poland. Come and complain". They do love to point out the negative issues but I think that's also due to the climate. Have a look at the Greeks with their chilled out attitude or the Spanish and Italian having a siesta under the sun, while having a drink... well Poland does not have that... instead it has cold winters and warm-ish summers. 
3. Polish people don't know languages - well... let's put it like this... elder people know Polish language + Russian or German, depending on the region. Younger people, at least my age, started learning English and Spanish, for example, so it's easier to connect with them. It's true, they love their language and even though most people don't speak it grammatically correct, it's still the one language in Poland that you can truly get things done - especially in the public offices...
Sukiennice, Krakow, Poland 
4. Polish people are more Catholic than the Pope! Well... it's true the country is mainly Catholic and that you can find a church every few metres but that doesn't mean that Polish people follow blindly the Catholic Church. Even the latest manifestation about child abortion prove that - Polish people will always speak up their minds and get involved when an idea moves them or touches them personally.
View over Wawel Castle, Krakow, Poland 
5. Poland has very beautiful women - mmm maybe, but also they tend to be very spicy and love to gossip a lot, so you better be careful! On the other hand... have you heard of the beauty and brains of the Romanian women from the Moldavian region? You should check it out ;)
6. Poland loves football - well... Poland loves sports bit I could not say that football is a national sport. Rather ski jumping and handball. It's true that right now Lewandowski is the hottest thing on the market, but he's a drop in the ocean. Either way, Polish people do love sports and they love to exercise. Many people love the mountains and climbing as well. They are quite a fit nation!
Barbican, Krakow, Poland 
7. Poland is a communist country so it's more like 3rd world country, right? - that is also being pointed out when I speak about Romania. There is a similar past between these 2 countries and somehow most of the world thinks these countries don't exist. It's a sad thing to witness, especially that Poland, for example, is the very exact center of Europe.  Is very heart of Europe resides somewhere near Warsaw. If  you have a look over the last 6 years I've lived here I have seen so much change for the better! So many European funds accessed to make the life's of the inhabitants better. As I love to put it, people think in Poland/Romania people live in trees and eat bananas. We never saw a TV. In fact, this is the very first time I "saw" The Internet - isn't it grand?!

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves To Travel
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Saturday, 22 April 2017

Travelling With a 4 Months Old

Dearest sweethearts,

After just finishing the other day travelling from Iasi to Krakow via Vienna, I realised how much children change over time - even within a quite short period. I've first travelled with my little LadyBug Baby Girl on the same route but the other way around 4 months ago. She was 4 months and now she turned 8 months just a few days back, but I can see already the changes so... I just wanted to note this down in case my future self would not remember.
The way from Krakow to Iasi could be, probably, a 2 hours flight max. But there is no direct connection and the fastest way to get from A to B is by plane. Usually you take 2 flights (in case you are unlucky and the flight gets cancelled you'll probably have 3 instead). Even one flight with a 4 year old might be an issue but imagine 3! I really don't know how some mothers mange to travel with small ones alone, kudos to them! But I, for one, need assistance.  

This was my little LadyBug Baby Girl first flight(s). I must admit that if my sister wouldn't have made this trip with us I would have totally screwed things up. We had 3 planes and 2 very short connections - running around with a 4 months old and baggage is a challenge, and there will be baggage! No more travelling with empty hands or just a small bag. With small ones there is no such thing as "empty hands". You will have to pack food (unless you are breastfeeding) and toys to keep your bundle happy and entertained.
Travelling is no longer about entertaining yourself but it's about your little one and keeping her/him safe. I was surprised on the thoughts running through my head while taking off. Never once was I scared of flying, never once have I thought of a "what if" negative situation in connection to flying. Once I stepped in the airport, in the plane, negative thoughts assaulted me... to all the mums out there, did this happen to you as well? It's an odd feeling on how ones mentality changes. I was lucky my little one loved flying - no problems while taking off and landing. We thankfully did not have turbulence.

When it comes to eating if drinking in the plane, even though you will have help and that person will be seated next to you... you can try but at your own cost. My daughter, ever since she was born, is quite a curious lady. She needs to see everything, touch everything and eventually bring it to her mouth and drool over it. She wants to taste everything you are eating! So no chance for any snacks as she will make drop everything. 

The best thing is to try to put the small one to sleep. This may work with some tea/warm milk and a known blankie. That's a trick no one told me about but I see it works: children need a safety net, something stable. Usually that something is a person, but combine that with a toy or a piece of clothing and you hit the jackpot. Kids fall asleep easier if they feel comfortable and loved and if they see/smell familiar things. I don't travel away with the small one without tea/milk and her sleeping blankie. Wrapped around her she is in her "safe spot".
Another thing I thoroughly recommend while travelling with your baby, is having dome kind of system to carry without holding them. You need your arms free. If the baby is under 4 months I recommend an elastic wrap, if over 4 months then go for a baby carrier like the one I have from Madame GooGoo Carriers. They are made in Poland, out if cotton, and they stress on the perfect ergonomic structure that keeps the baby safe and comfortable. I must admit the Madame GooGoo Carrier I have was a life savior while travelling, and not just that time! For more on that here are 5 ways in which Madame GooGoo Carrier saved my life.

What about you lovely people? Have you ever travelled with a 4 months old by plane? How did you cope with it? What we're your tips and tricks? Would love to hear from you as parent to parent :)

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Her LadyBug Baby Girl  
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Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Iasi: La Placinte - traditional Moldavian

Dearest sweethearts,

Romanian people have a lovely saying that goes like "la Placinte inainte, la razboi inapoi" - this would translate word to word as "to baked pie go ahead, to war back down". I always found this saying rather amusing but true; nobody turns down an occasion to eat/drink something good but when hardship settles in everyone runs away for their life. Now, my friends, when I heard first about the "La Placinte" place in Iasi, on the Copou Hill, I had formed an idea about it. I thought it was just another sweets place where one could find baked pies and other goodies. I couldn't be more wrong! 
"La Placinte" is a wonderfully rustic and authentic Moldavian restaurant. It's not only a sweets place, but it's a place where the entire family can be invited and everyone could have a good (if not even great!) time.  I've heard that actually "La Placinte" is a franchise from Moldavia (the country), which is also very attractive.  It's a franchise idea that I would like one day implemented even in Poland! It's a restaurant/place that you can't help falling in love with.
From the outside you would tend to believe the place is smaller but once you cross it's doorstep, "La Placinte" opens up like a flower. There is a short corridor that takes you to the big open space - that is gently separated and places for 2, 4 or even more can be combined. The furniture is all wood - wooden benches and tables. The huge plus for families with kids is the fact that there is quite a big corner specially dedicated for them, with tables and chairs from IKEA and toys. Children can have their own fun time while the adults relax. Totally children friendly ;)
The way that "La Placinte" is setup it's quite cozy and I could say creative in the way that it brings tradition back in fashion. I absolutely loved the light filtering through the handmade covers of the lamps! I loved how colorful and funky everything looked like. I can truly understand why this place is one of my Granny's favorite places to hang out with her friends ;) my Granny has class and style!
Of course on the list of things that we tasted was the homemade mint lemonade, which was done with flat water (but I could have chosen sparkly as well) and honey (not sugar, which would totally be bad for the health!). My awesome better half chose to try out some baked beans with sausage and I went for some chicken rolled in bacon with veggies on the side. Of course we split ;) and I must say everything was delicious - the minus was the size of the portion (I would have liked more bacon wrappings...).
When it comes to the sweets... OMG! Indeed you should go to "La Placinte" for the sweets, rather than for the food! We split between ourselves 3 options and each of them was a delicious caloric bomb! They were fingerliking amazing! Even thinking about them now makes my mouth water... makes me wish I could run now and get me some of those goodies.
We tested out the plums with walnut and sour cream, the dark chocolate cake and the piece of resistance - mini pancakes with sour cherry and whipped cream. My Verdict is: pancakes for 1st place, plums for 2nd and the chocolate cake for 3rd as it was insanely sweet, even with the second lemonade chilling it down. It was indeed dark and sweet and soft but I'm not that much into that type of sweet... The pancakes with sour cherry are named "Caciula lui Guguta" ("Guguta's hat") - just so you know what you should order ;)
The waiters were very polite and the WiFi was decent. The bathrooms clean and well stocked with toilet paper and washing gel. The menus come with pictures so there's no way you can get lost in translation. It's a lovely place to take family out in the weekend but also bring your foreign friends to enjoy a local speciality. My mum tried the pumpkin pie and said it tasted as if it was homemade. I think that is always a nice thing to say about food stores the restaurants, and when it comes to sweets at "La Placinte" is can actually agree with that!
The prices:
- mint lemonade - can't remember the price now but a ginger ale for 550 ml was 12 RON
- bacon wrappings - grilled chicken skewers wrapped in bacon - 200/100/50 gr - 24 RON
- beans with sausage - 500 gr - 22 RON
- Pancakes With sour cherry - "Caciula lui Guguta" - 250 gr - 16 RON
- Dark Chocolate Cake... sorry can't remember the price on this one as well but it can't be more than 15-20 RON I guess...
- Plums with walnut and sour cream - 200 gr - 14 RON

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That...
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