Friday, March 12, 2010

Back in Poland

We're now living back in Warsaw.

I'm no longer updating this blog but have left it up as it has 3 years' worth of posts.

My current blog is at http://woodcrafterslog.blogspot.com/

Friday, June 19, 2009

The End is Near

Today is our last full day here in Poland, we fly out tomorrow afternoon. Feeling pretty sad about going and still got a lot to do.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

20 Years of Freedom


Today is the 20th anniversary of the end of communism through the solidarity movement. Poles have a rather different view of how and why things happened then but this date is still one of great significance for the world.
So raise a glass to Solidarnosc and the end of communism.

Monday, May 25, 2009

European Elections

The European Elections are rapidly approaching and I'd like to make one comment on them.

If you vote for a party which is anti-EU, then don't go complaining about the EU for the next 5 years. Electing someone who is determined to see the institution fail is hardly likely to bring about anything positive. This is not the time to register your displeasure with your government or the EU - that's for general elections. This is the time to choose who you think will do the best job in Europe.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

One Month

We've only got a month to go here in Poland and then we'll be off to England.
This blog's successor is well under way at Woodcrafter's Log.
I've spent a fair bit of time on it so hopefully it'll be a better blog and more widely read than this one.
To try to gain a bit of circulation I've also set up a Twitter account and you can follow me here.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Top Ten Things about Living in Poland

As my time in Poland looks like it could well be coming to an end here I thought I'd put up some of the reasons I've enjoyed it so much.

  1. As you may have noticed I have a bit of an obsession with the weather and Poland has enabled me to see real winter. Minus temperatures and weeks of snow are the norm here and more than make up for the lack of spring. Most Brits move looking for the sun whereas for me it was the cold I wanted.
  2. Bank transfers. No one in Poland understands the idea of paypal as there is no need for it here. Cheques came in too late and never caught on so the bank transfer system is very easy, very secure and basically free. On allegro.pl, the Polish version of E-bay, almost every transaction is by bank transfer as giving someone your bank number and name is no big deal here. It is an excellent system and should be exported throughout the EU.
  3. Public Holidays. In England the bank holidays are usually when school is off anyway and are always on Monday. Not so here as they tend to be on a fixed date. The benefit of this is that when you have a Tuesday or a Thursday off people tend to take the extra day and make a longer weekend. There are too few public holidays in Britain and fixing them all to Monday takes the fun away.
  4. The food here, that is Polish food, is generally great. It may not have the strong flavours and exotic tastes that some people might want but it is good, honest food. Although some things like pierogi and zurek have no English equivalents it isn't food which would really shock or surprise anyone. I shall really miss some of the pork dishes and meals when we leave.
  5. The trains. Polish people always laugh when I say this as the trains here are slow and the toilets have probably not been cleaned since the fall of communism. However, if you can get by the drunks and the kebab shops the stations are not very different to those in Britain (just uglier) whilst the prices are much lower (about £3 for 100km) and are charged only by type of train (there are basically 3) an length. Very simple compared to the British system and much better value. The network is also wider and I have never had a train fail to arrive or get to its destination here, something I've suffered on a few occasions in Britain.
  6. Although state health care here is rather byzantine the private system is great. The level of technology in opticians, private doctors and dentists is far above and beyond anything I've experienced in Britain and appointments can be organised the next day. Whatsmore, doctors actually try to treat their patients rather than saying "come back next week if you don't feel better" after you've already waited over a week for an appointment. you may have to pay for the services but they're not that expensive and the price is value for money.
  7. I no that no one Polish is likely to agree with me but in my experience I find Polish streets safer. It may be largely because of the British love of drinking and fighting on Friday night but I've seen very little trouble anywhere in all my time here. Even running a pub for 6 months (before this blog) I saw only 2 fights. I've never had to dodge around piles of sick or look for a cash machine without blood all over it here either.
  8. The Polish countryside consists mostly of forest, most of it nationally owned. You can go and walk there and it makes travelling real fun. Sadly, state control means there's not a lot you can do but at least there is a place and the right to access it. Train journeys show this off to its best and keeping on the lookout for storks always adds to the fun.
  9. Poland still has all the small shops and markets, bakers, butchers and grocers that have been slowly turning into hairdressers and take-aways in Britain. This means you've got a better chance of finding real food tha in the UK. Added to this, in Poland cooking means cooking. Not re-heating, boiling in a bag, microwaving or phoning out. It's easy to be tempted by ready meals but they barely exist here keeping me safe!
  10. Attitude, a lot less of it. It shocked me, even when I was at school, to see small children wandering around swearing and being antagonistic to adults. Poland does have its own chav problem, largely associated with football hooligans, but it is by no means as all pervading as in Britain. They cannot terrorise town centres or shopping centres as they just get kicked out. The lack of lots of attractive benefits also makes them more inclined to get out and do something rather than do nothing but smoke drink and pop out kids.
A rather long list, but I hope it shows you some of the things I've enjoyed whilst I've been here - and some of those I'm sure to miss when I move.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Weekly Update

I've got an inspection in school at the moment so I am fairly busy this week. Hasn't stopped me from applying for a few jobs though and we're continuing the hunt for work in the UK. I'm looking for anything in ESOL/EFL, Classroom assistant or education. I'm also in the process of working out an application for PGCE.
On the bushcraft side I've not had a lot of time to get out for a while due to work, travel and family things. I've started work on this blog's successor when we move - it's going to be over at Woodcrafter's Log. I'm still in the process of building it so there's not a lot to see there as of now.
I think I'll keep this blog up as there are 3 years' worth of posts on here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Stupid E-bay

I wanted to buy a knife on E-bay today, a CRKT M-16 in this case, only for the website to go all crazy and tell me I couldn't buy it because it thought I was trying to circumvent their "weapons policy".
1. It is a knife, it is legal.
2. I live in Poland, not Britain or Ireland
3. The knife was in the USA, not Britain or Ireland
4. The My account was registered in Britain but has since had the postal addresses changed, multiple times, as E-bay and paypal sometimes screw them up.
As of today, I officially hate E-bay.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Hunting for Jobs

We're in the process of looking for summer work at the moment. The joy of being TEFL teachers is that we're pretty sure of getting work for 2 months in the summer. We're not sure quite what we'll be doing after that though!
It isn't easy to see what type of jobs would suit someone with a degree in International Relations and Security and 4 years teaching experience?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Happy St. George's Day!

Today, the 23rd of April, is St. George's day.

As well as being the patron saint of England he is also the patron of archers and scouts as well as several other regions and countries. It is also the day on which Shakespeare died and was born as well as being world book day.
I shall be wearing my St. George's cross tie to work today, I hope all my readers have a nice day!