Sunday, January 11, 2015

I Am Sam

Recently I’ve seen a beautiful and touching movie directed by Jessie Nelson in 2001, and I would like to share this experience with you guys. The film was entitled ‘I am Sam’ and was telling a story about a man with developmental disability who was bringing up his daughter all by himself. Her mother was a homeless teenager, who left immediately after got out from the hospital, explaining, that all she was looking for in this relationship was a place to stay. The protagonist was completely unprepared to look after a baby born. His mental ability is alike to an ability of a 7 years old boy. He had no idea, that the newborn has to be fed every 2 hours. Fortunately for Lucy, their neighbour, a retired pianist, gave the father the precise instructions, which he was following. He was able to create for her a perfect loving and carrying environment. Surrounded by such a great love she wasn’t aware of how different their life was. She realized that at the age of 6, when she managed to read much better and faster than her parent. At the beginning she refrained herself from learning new things, but Sam convinced her, that her intelligence makes him happy. The other children called him ‘retarded’ and made Lucy embarrassed for his behaviour. One day the girl has been taken away from him, since the school’s head master decided, that the handicap man won’t be able to satisfy her needs in the near future. That’s how started the biggest battle of his life, for the right of being a father. I’m not going to ruin the film for you because of a spoiler, so I will stop telling the story at this point. I invite you to watch this beautiful story of love without any bounders, of sacrifice and compassion. I’m sure, you are going to love that :)

New Year is coming!

Finally came the day, we were waiting for since the Christmas passed by. Some of us decided to spend this special Evening at concerts on the open air (the most important parties this year will took place in Gdynia, Kraków and Wrocław), some has been invited to a home parties, other will celebrate this day in pubs, clubs etc. For those who are planning to throw a party, I can recommend some easy and quick recipes for snacks :) • figurines made of egg We begin with putting the leaves of the fresh lettuce on the plate. Then we cut tomatoes into 2 parts and place tem at the top of the hardboiled eggs. We paint the mayonnaise points on the head of the egg-toadstool. With some cheese and toothpick we can create a boat (using cheese as a sail). In order to turn an ordinary egg into a funny penguin we need some black olives and one carrot (we will make a beck of it). The olives will simulate the wings and the head of the bird. We stick them together using toothpick. The eggs can be replaced by mini mozzarellas. We need some slices of radish, some seeds of allspice and chive to make a mouse. • a hedgehog We cut into cubes some mushrooms, cheese, ham, paprika, gherkins, wash some grapes and green olives. Than we stick randomly the ingredients from the list above on the toothpicks, and those, so called, ‘koreczki’ we stick into an apple. We repeat it, until we get the surface of the apple completely covered with koreczki. It will look alike a hedgehog. • chocolate bowles with whipped cream and fruits We melt a chocolate bar. In the meanwhile we blow a few balloons and immerse them into chocolate. Only half of their surface should be covered with a chocolate. We put them upside down to cool. When the chocolate sets, we pierce the balloons carefully and our chocolate bowls are ready :) Now we can fill them with a whipped cream, some fruits and chocolate sprinkle. • fried roses We prepare a pastry following the same recipe as while doing our famous ‘faworki’. We roll it out for the thickness of about 6 mm and cut out the circles of three different diameters (we can use for it a glass for vodka, glass for wine and a mug). The edges of the circles we cut slightly with a knife, they will pretend to be a petals. We place the medium-size circle on the big one, and the smallest goes to the top. We connect them by sticking the finger at the centre of the smallest circle. Then we put them into a hot oil and fry, until they turn into a beautiful roses  We can decorate them afterwards with some sprinkle or icing sugar. • jelly cake This is a recipe for the easiest cake ever :) It maybe shouldn’t be even called a cake, maybe a dessert is a more appropriate description. Anyway, all we need is to melt two lemon jellies in a glass of boiling water and leave them to cool. A few hours before that we should prepare another two jellies, a red and the green one (I use the cherry and gooseberry flavour), only this time we follow the instructions from the bag. When the green and the red jellies will be ready, we chop them into little cubes. We whip the cream and blend with the cooled lemon jelly. At the end we mix it with the little jelly cubes and let the cake set. We can decorate it with a mint leaves afterwards. I hope you give a shot to some of those ideas :) Happy New Year!

Christmas time, mistletoe and wine...

What is the best way of spending the Christmas time? Our grandmas were preparing themselves for the Christmas Eve many days before. They were cleaning the whole house (with or without the help of other family members), preparing the dishes following the traditional recipes, buying gifts, sending cards and decorating the Christmas tree. In fact, when this special day has finally come, they were exhausted. Today, more and more people (especially from the young generations) chose to leave all this Christmas hassle behind and spend this time some place else, letting everything to be done for them. They start booking hotels many months earlier and enjoy the preparation-free time in e.g. some exotic country together with their families. This year I went skiing to Karpacz with my parents and I was really surprised, how many people decided to spend the Christmas period there. I was always thinking of Poles as of the traditionalist, but I guess I should verify my opinion :) The hotel provided its guests with all services possible, including the gifts for children if anyone forgot to buy them before. The families, who decided to stay, were offered a vast range of attractions, tasty food and sparkling decorations. What do you guys think of this idea? Do you find it better than the traditional way of spending the Christmas holidays?

Let it snow!

Winter. This is the time of skiing, creating the snowmens and snowball fights :) It’s cold outside, but we don’t care about it as long, as we have fun with the snow. Eventually we will get home and warm up with a cup of tea or hot cocoa. Unfortunately, not everyone enjoys this season. For wild animals this will be an extreme lesson of survival, which in some cases will finish tragically. Because of surprisingly warm autumn, the wild gooses didn’t leave Poland, so if the temperature suddenly increases, they can be in a danger. We should think of our poor little friends and do our best to help them. There is many things anyone can do. For starters, we can take care of wild birds that encounter a lot of difficulties to find some food. On the shop shelves at a low cost is widely available the mix of seeds, which provides the birds with all elements they need. The forage may be easily prepared at home, even by the kids. All we need is some seeds of corn, sunflower and wheat, and some grass to stick them together. After that we should find some quiet place, out of the reach of cats and set a birdfeeder there. This gesture doesn’t cost us much, but can be a real life-saver. If we decide to start feeding birds, we shouldn’t forget to do it regularly. They are getting used to it very quickly and will visit our feeder often, waiting for some food. It can be also a great opportunity to teach the kids about responsibility and compassion. We can just look around us to find many possibilities to help. For instance, we can share a sandwich with a group of pidgeons that seem to be hungry all the time :) When the temperature outside will drop below zero, we should consider to leave the doors to the basement open for a homeless cats and dogs, so they could shelter from cold. If we have a little time and technical skills, we may build a kennel for cats or dogs. They will certainly appreciate a bowl of fresh water and something to eat as well. Let’s take care of them!

Toys, that we never forget

A while ago we were discussing the different toys, that were popular at the time of our childhood. I remember playing with elastic, jump rope or hopscotch with my girlfriends. Boys were building houses on the trees (for those who lived in blocks, the only option was a secret ‘base’ situated in the bushes, still a lot of fun :) ), playing games called: dwa ognie or podchody. When it was to cold to play outside, we were organizing the obstacle courses for our sprinkles or spending the whole afternoon with Lego bricks, Domino, boarding games or Rubik’s cube (Personally, I was always finding it quite frustrating, since there was always left one wall, that didn’t match. Nevertheless I read somewhere, that the Poles are supposed to be masters in solving the Rubik’s cube. A friend of mine is a polish vice champion in this discipline). Anyway, me and my girlfriends were dressing up our Barbies and taking care of our virtual pets, like Tamagotchi or Furby. We were also collecting and exchanging the figurine from the Kinder Surprise. Those were the days :) I got nostalgic while bringing back those memories. I noticed, that nowadays kids prefer the video games. They spend all their pocket money for those items, destined for playing on PCs, XBOXes or Playstation. As a person who works as a customer support in a company that sells keys for videogames I can tell, that those become more and more popular. Unfortunately it seems, that parents have no longer control on the choice of the titles. A lot of 11- 12 years old boys plays brutal and extremely violent games, completely inappropriate for their age. On the Internet platforms like Steam, Battle.net or Origin there is basically no control on the real age of the users. Surprisingly, it increases also a number of female gamers. They chose usually a bit different kind of games, like The Sims, SimCity or other RPG, but they enjoy it more and more. My collection of the videogames is vast as well, but... I really miss the games, that I used to play as a kid...

Halloween

It’s funny, how easily our traditions and customs can be modified thanks to a new trends. In past decade we could notice an increase of interest regarding some American traditions and way of celebrating it, like e.g. the Valentine’s Day or Halloween. All Saint’s Day is radicated in our culture for hundred’s years and was always considered as very important one. Our grandmas used to keep teaching us, that this particular day is dedicated to the passed members of our families. It’s the occasion to connect to the beloved ones, who can’t be here with us anymore. We bring the memory light to the cemetery to show, that we are still missing them and pray that they could find the peace. It is a perfect time for reflection. At least it was, just a few years ago. Lately I moved into a new housing estate and it occurred to me suddenly, how the Halloween traditions surpassed the way, that we used to celebrate this day before. All the houses and backyards are decorated with a characteristic elements, like pumpkin faces, some images of scary spiders or witches. In the evening the kids dressed funny knock on neighbour’s doors asking: trick or treat? Please don’t get me wrong, I\m not trying to boycott the new tradition, I’m just surprised how easily it has been implemented. Personally I think it’s cute and I really enjoy the view of my street with this Halloween look. I’m just a little bit afraid, that all this fun will make the kids forget about what really this time should be dedicated to. So far both traditions coexist with mutual advantages. I think our way of celebrating the 1st and the 2nd of November hasn’t been abandoned yet (I hope, it never will) and the Halloween became a part of it.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A teenager hero

The most fascinating person who I’ve ever heard about is Łukasz Wysocki, an 18-years-old student from Lublin, who recently discovered a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. The teenager was working on the substance which might delay or even hold the disorder. The first results looks promising. The most incredible thing is, that this particular mission has been almost accomplished not by a professional team of academics, doctors or even students, but by a boy, who didn’t finish the high school yet! He developed a cheap and quick method to synthesis of the substance, which can be obtain from the commonly available plants, using a simple equipment. It is a person with a vast range of interests. He is well known as a host of his own audition about science destined for high school students. At the beginning his great passion was electronics. With a self-invented robot which simulates a humans behaviour and traits of characters he become finalist of the Young Scientist Contest E(x)plory 2013. This boy is a great inspiration for me, as his field of interests don’t match with his young age. How many adolescent are able to turn their passions into a fantastic adventure, saving people’s life by the way? Despite of the fame, that he has acquired, he remained a modest and kind boy – according to his classmates. I hope that his enthusiasm and singleness of purpose let him finish his amazing work. The second person who crossed my mind is Jasiek Mela, who, as a double amputee teenager reached both, the North and South Poles. What really amazes me, is that despite of his difficult situation (a few years before the accident which changed his life for ever he lost his younger brother) he remained optimistic and made his biggest dream come true. During the interview that I read he claims: ‘Today I’m a happy and fully agile man, not only physically, but also mentally. The experiences that I went through didn’t left any splinter in me. Now I know, that it depends on us only, how do we perceive some thinghs. If you want to feel like a victim, like a cripple you can, but you can also fight for yourself. The disability isn’t connected with your arm or leg, but with your head only – this is, what my dad said to me after my accident. This phrase gave me a force to act’. Jasiek has founded an organization: ‘Beyond the horizons’ which help to the other explorers. I admire his courage, fortitude and serenity.