Pages

Friday, August 11, 2017

Tatry 2017: Learnings being off-trail

Friday, August 11, 2017
Travelling is one thing that I enjoy. To detach and be with my inner self again, especially when I am with nature. 

We spent our vacation this summer in the Tatras. I always love Polish mountains. It is calming at the same time relaxing. If I have to chose, I would love to traverse for awhile being in the mountain. I love to go off trail and walking each rough road has taught me a great deal in dealing with life in general. It stabilizes my emotions and sense of focus. 

Sharing some snaps below....

On top of Gubałowka, Zakopane, Poland

It was a wonderful summery day as you can see people are enjoying the ambiance.

mountain view
View from our apartament

Who would not love waking up in such a great relaxing view.


Sunset over the Tatras
Sunset over the tatras is amazingly wonderful. 
I will post a more detailed blog with regards to this trip soon. I promise. 

Let me share with you some thoughts and learnings about this trip. We are all built for travelling where there is no path. Every walks helps us to be more solid, balanced and stable in this chaotic world we live in. Like every single thing we experience and every trail we are walking in, requires practice and we are not all masters. We stumble and fall and get lost from time to time.

The greatest lesson learned that I could truly correlates being in the mountain is that, it teaches me freedom, humility, that all things we experience in life are best when they come from within and that we should no be afraid to walk through life.

Have a wonderful walk every single trip of your lifetime.

xoAi

Monday, June 19, 2017

Grilling is another national sport in Poland

Monday, June 19, 2017

If football is one of Polish national sports, well, grilling is the other sport (If I can call this as sport. Maybe, why not! ) that Polish people love doing or partaking, especially if the weather is warm and sun is out all day long-grilling is the best activity. They have so much passion about it. I could see that.

When you say Grilling - It is way of cooking that involves heat from above and below the food using a charcoal or węgiel as we say in the Polish language.

If you were to ask me if I like grilling or other term barbecue, yeah, I like barbecued foods. Since it is also a common in my country. We have our own version of barbecue sauces and style of grilling though. But here in Poland, they usually grill the Kiełbasa (sausage) that they have. Talking about kiełbasa, Poland is a country of sausages. They have it in all shapes and colours. Name it, they have it all here. Probably, Polish kiełbasa's is unrated than Hungarian sausages. I don't want to sound bragging about this  nor to flatter my Polish husband, as for me Polish kiełbasa's are the best in the world. Need not to say more. You just have to try it and get back to me if It is far from your assessment. We usually order homemade ones from a close friend whose mum is fan of making kiełbasa at home. Homemade is always the best. Although, the ones sold in the supermarkets are also great. My favourite is the white kiełbasa. Lately, I just found out that they also have different version of sausages. Depending to which part of Poland you are in. We live in Silesian region of Poland, so we have a sausage we call it Kiełbasa po sląsku - Silesian kiełbasa. I don't know the difference though because for me they all have the same taste of sausages. Probably, my taste buds is not good in assessing the taste. I couldn't classify either which came from Krakow or from Silesia.  

The pictures below explains how Polish people enjoyed their sausages. We have a gathering of parents and children in our place once a year and they called this 'ognisko' - campfire. I thought we are going on a camping. But hell no! we have to make some campfire and grill our kiełbasa from the direct heat of the fire. I may sound a little naïve here, but I never tried doing some kind of grilling over fire with my sausage. Although, I have been to many camps in my life in my younger years, yet never tried doing some ognisko.  So, it was a wonderful sunny day in the middle of the fields with fellow parents and children. I could not stand the heat of the fire plus heat of the sun, still I am enjoying watching them taking their sticks and grilling their kiełbasa directly to the fire. It is fun, isn't it?

Why I refer grilling as another national sport in Poland? because I could see their passion in preparing for this feast with friends over wonderful Polish beers. Spring and summer in Poland isn't complete without meeting up with friends over grill, of course it should be paired with cold Polish beers. It is one perfect combination. When sun is out, they're you go, I could smell grill feast all over my neighbourhood. Isn't it wonderful?


Ognisko

This is how they do it.
If you look at the picture above, they are really having fun. Not mindful of the heat. It is like playing fire as a child. Who have tried playing fire when you are still a small kid? so it is like nurturing the kid in us when making some barbecue. I like this scene.

Warm spring and summer months are usually reserved for quite early evenings doing some barbecue and grill with family and friends here in Poland. It is nice activity actually to bond with family and meet friends after a long winter months. But, not good for our diet. Mind you, my implications to this new sport is that, it is not about the foods or the wonderful kiełbasa, it is about the people you are with. To bond and be with them once in awhile. In fact here in Poland, I am one of the organizer for our annual summer Filipino barbecue. It is our only time to meet fellow Filipinos living here in Poland or that Polish who also likes to commune with our culture. And that makes me note that Polish really knows how to mingle as well. If you understand what I mean. for sometimes, Polish tends to be so exclusive.

If you agree with me that grilling is another national sport in Poland, please comment down below or share your Polish grill stories. And if you are organizing some grilling time, invite me please. (joke)

Opps, did I not say that I've received several invitations now for grilling time with friends? Well, that sounds like I need to set aside my diet. Oh no! :-)

Pozdrawiam was!

xoAi


Saturday, June 10, 2017

100 days of Polish Words : CICHO

Saturday, June 10, 2017
CICHO


W cichej wśi...

That's how I describe the place we live in. Quiet...serene...peaceful...relaxing.
 Who don't want to live in such a place, isn't it?

We live in a small village within a small town, 10 kms away from Katowice, Poland.
It is a condusive place to live. Not far from the big city and has a big access to the highways leading up to the big citie of Poland. I would tell you about the place where I live next time for this post is not about this village nor about the place. But the project I am about to introduce to you has something to do with our village. It describes the place where we live in.

I stumbled upon this blog of Federico of A More Quiet Place blog, wherein he has a small project called 100 days of German words. Where he is committed to design a German word everyday. I will do the other way. To inspire & to give in to this challenge to learn the Polish language.
This is to encourage me to learn some Polish language and use my imagination to create this word into sentences. Sounds interesting, isn't it? We'll see if I could survive.

Lately, I am seriously learning the Polish language once again. Once more trying to talk in Polish from time to time. Although at work, English is still the main language of communication, yet I see that it is necessary for me to learn and be fluent to speak the language now that I am living here for more than a decade. Yes! A decade so please don't scratch your head nor do the face palm.

( *smiling)

Polish Word for today :

CICHO

Sentences:
1. W naszym mieszkaniu rano jest bardzo cicho. - In our apartment in the morning is very quiet.
2. W cichej wśi. - In a quiet village.
3. Cicha góra.  - A quiet mountain.
Note how the words interchange when used into a sentence.The first time I hear about the word cicho, I thought it is a brand of an alcohol drink. :-) Well, there is a correlation in a way. tsk..tsk..tsk.
The one who invented this language is either drunk or silly. Who invented this complicated language? that is the question.
This is fun thing to do for me. Who is up to the challenge? 
What  would be the next Polish words....let's see. 
If you are with me on this challenge, please tag me with the hashtag, #100DaysofPolishWords .
Let's learn together.

Hugs,
xoAi

 

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Raising an artist

Tuesday, June 06, 2017
The weather is warm..the birds are chirping at this early morning. My first coffee of the day is brewing....

My daughter is preparing herself for school. Looking at her, I could see a little girl slowly becoming a lady. Where time goes? It seems it was only yesterday when I gave birth to her. She perfectly growing up fast. If only I could keep her as a baby forever. 
Last Saturday I sent her to a drawing class. The topic is self-portrait drawing. It was a wonderfull time for her despite that she is a bit sick after an overnight camping with friends. See she is camping without us now. *sigh!
Without further hesitation, when I told her she has to attend drawing class today, she got too excited at once! I exclaim that it can be a little too hard for her for they have been running the class for 3 past sessions. Nonetheless, she was adamant.

And so we went.
It was my former colleague at the school (where I formerly teach English)  who run this drawing class at MY SCHOOL OF ENGLISH in the heart of Bytom, Poland.  I would link their facebook page below.

So, they started with free style of drawing their face. This is what she did first....

free style drawing 
Later they were asked to describe themselves. Their unique characteristics would somehow explains how they draw their faces. They wrote all the characteristics describing their personality all over the face they just drew. This is how  they draw their own self without yet proper technical instructions, And the mirror would aid them to look at their faces.


Teacher Agata explaining the technical part of drawing a face


After the lecture / explanation on how to draw a portrait technically and all, she came up with this self-portrait drawing.


Before and after drawing


How to raise an artist?

Oh well, we are all born one. Would you believe it?

 All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. 
-Pablo Picasso

That is true. I totallly agree with Pablo.

Give a child a simple object, he can transform that into something. Early on, we have to nourish their brain with all the creative energy and secretes those creative juices by letting them think of an idea. Let their imagination run freely. I usually read them books before bedtime or that telling them stories that would engage their brain with stimulating talks. Of course, they would come up with a lot of questions of how's and why's, but that is great. That means, you are doing great for you are stimulatinng their sense of thinking and imagination.

Let a child be bored. That is the best moment that their brain would start to do something. They would look for something they can do and they would eventually came up with  something unique ideas and inventions. My son is into Lego. Give him a lego, he can build stay in one corner for some hours and buil it into whatever he pops up in his brain and rebuil it again until he gets tired.

When my children would tell me, ' mum, I am bored!' I would usually answer them with 'that's good. Do something that would not make you feel bored '. Or that I would ask them such question, What do you want to do today? You want to feel that feeling of boredome all day long or would you like to do something together with mummy?

Usually they feel bored with the usual toys they are playing so I switch it more often when they were still a little. It is like shopping a new toy from their own box of collected toys. 
More often now, I could see that children find gadgets like tablets and smartphones fascinating other than the toys lying on their bedroom floor because it is instant engagement and entertainment. Their brain don't need to think more because it is there. They just have to push the button and voila! Imagination is lost and much more that sense of focus. Though I am not against giving a child gadgets for they both have their own tablets, but with limitations and full control of us parents.
So, I usually came up with an idea to try to persuade them to make something out of what they already have. 

Go for a walk in the park or do some sports together. It is always stress relieving. Lately, I am teaching my children how to play badminton for I am really into this sports since then other than running. Running just came lately. Letting them go active is one way for their brain to exercise the process of stimulating and working. Do some activity together and help me out with some household chores that they can do at their age like baking and cooking with me. Preparing the table before the meal time. Do things together that they like and you all like doing together. My children likes cycling and we usually cycle together when the weather is warm.

What usually stops us from becoming an artist because of pressure of the world we live in. When our parents and society tells us that being an artist like that painting all the time could not provide a food on the table or that would finance us for life, that stops us. Because our society tells us that having a fabulous career where it keeps us well financial is the best life we could ever have. 
I usually encourage my children to practice whatever you feel you love doing. My daughter is fun of drawing, sketching while my boy loves to build and design things out of ordinary things. So I'm supportive of them for that. Of course, first and foremost, studying must comes first. Putting a lot of new learnings would take them to places, that's how I encourage them. 

I stumbled upon this writings...

"It would be an awful world if everyone was an artist or a writer, the world needs so many different things. But I've seen a lot of artists die or killed off in my life, that is a sad thing. It seems our world is preparing children to serve the corporate masters of the world, to learn the things they need to learn to worship in the new religion, to pay their bills and fit the changing needs of the business world." (beladfarm.com)
 
True to its word. 
What stops us from becoming an artist is pressure of society. If you feel like your child is into arts or into some kind of sports, go and support it. But don't go overboard. I guess you know what I mean of that.
 
With my daughter, It is me who introduced her to the world of arts and drawings. She observes me doing a lot of art at an early age. I paint. I sew, I diy-ed a lot of things at home. I create a lot of things out of something.  That is my way of fighting boredome especially if you are a foreigner to a country where language is also so foreign to me. Arts is always been my way of expressing and divertion.

Picasso is really right. We are born an artist and creative. We have to remain to the challenge of how to remain like one once we grow up.

Now, how to raise an artist. Be like one! Don't stop.............

I think I did right in raising an artist. I hope so.

Have a good day!

xo Ai
All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. Pablo Picasso
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/p/pablopicas169744.html
All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. Pablo Picasso
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/p/pablopicas169744.html


Saturday, June 03, 2017

Time for Żurek

Saturday, June 03, 2017

żurek
It's been ages since I posted something about my exploration and quest of the ultimate tasty Polish cuisine. Today, I have the inspiration to write this post. Maybe because I was outdoor most of the day chasing the sun and exploring the city while the weather is still warm and lovely. Or perhaps, The Dumplings one my favourite Polish band at the moment is playing in the background while I am doing things at home. Whatever that inspires me to write today....here I am anyway.

What's that food above? oh well, if you're Polish so you might guess it right away.

Allow me to share one of my favourite traditional Polish food or soup - Żurek (ZHOO-RREK). It is a Polish sour rye meal or soup. According to Wikipedia, it's a soup made of soured rye flour (akin to sourdough) and meat (usually boiled pork sausage or pieces of smoked sausage, bacon or ham).

Indeed it is sour and that's why I love it. There is something about this soup that gives you comfort in your tummy. It is warm, full of flavours and taste is absolutely palatable to ones tastebud. It is usually served warm, with boiled eggs on top and some bread.

I learned to cook żurek or żur from my mum-in-law because she loves to cook and serve it to us every Saturday as our meal for lunch. I thought of that this might be a family tradition to cook it every Saturday. There is no pattern though, but in the village where we live it is kind of a tradition to cook and eat żurek every Saturday. That's what I know! Can you imagine? 
We are living in the Silesian region of Poland so they call it here Żur śląski. But, I don't think so that these people here still do serve żurek every Saturday. Although, my understanding is telling me becuse it is easy to cook and Saturdays are meant to be slowing down on things at home and preparing the most heaviest meal for Sunday's family lunch. With that being said, Żurek serves as a wonderful hearty meal that is easy to cook and eat on a Saturday. It is cook with pride and passion as I see it from my mum-in-law. Though I still consider this meal as heavy because of the presence of sausages. Nonetheless, it is absolutely very Polish. Whatever the history of this food is... I just love żurek! that I though of making my favourite ramen noodles in żurek flavour. Why not! ( insert your smiley face here) :-)

Here's my version of żur.

For the sour rye

The ingredients:
 

2 cups of of sour rye meal - this is available in all Polish supermarkets than you make it at home. 
If you want to make it yourself, here is the ingredients:

3/4 cup rye flour
2 cups of boiled water, but cool it to lukewarm

how to make it żur or sour (kwas)  :
- Mix together the rye flour with the water and cover it with cheesecloth. Let it stand in a warm place for 4-5 days and you will have a sour rye.

For the soup:

Ingredients:
 
4 M size potatoes - chop into small pieces 

some vegetables like carrots, parsnips or celery roots can also be added if you like
1 kilo of fresh kiełbasa - white or the silesian kiełbasa can do ( Polish sausage) 
Note: I am using homemade ones made by my friend's mum.

1 clove of garlic, minced or crushed and mix salt to make a paste

3-4 large eggs , boiled

1 builion - vegetable flavour (optional)

salt and pepper , to taste

 
 How to:

- boil vegetables until soft.
-Add the kiełbasa, once it is soften remove from the pot. set aside for later.
- sieve the simmered vegetables
- Boil back the vegetable broth, add in the potatoes. Boil until soften.
- Chop kiełbasa into pieces
- Add in to the soup with boiling softened potato.
-Add the 2 cup of rye-sour.
- Add the garlic paste
-Bring it to a boil or simmer for some minutes. 
- Add some builion cubes (optional)
- Add some pinch of salt and pepper to taste 
- Serve with hard boiled eggs cut into halves

Optional: I always love to add some herbs on mine too like dried rosemary. It makes the soup more tasty and inviting to eat. 

And, Voila! There you go our easy to cook żurek!
 I'm a catalyst when it comes to food and trying on something new to my taste for that excites me. Żur's taste amazes me other than the bigos (that deserves another post for my love affair with bigos). 

I hope you would try my version. In case you like it or whatever is your opinion of this famous Polish sour soup, please drop me some comments below or that share it with me.

And, that sums up my Saturday...cooking and eating żurek. I know how hot and warm the weather is today, but I just feel like eating something..... something....something....something soury today.  Why not!

Have a nice day!

xoAi

 




Polish-ed Ai © 2014