Wroclaw, I think I love you!

Have you ever visited somewhere and felt instantly at home? You know, that almost ‘in love’ feeling where you walk around with a silly smile on your face and just want to inhale the air even further in to your lungs, almost inhaling the actual place? If you’ve never felt that way, then feel free to think I’m a lunatic, and I wish you luck in finding your ‘at home’ place.

We went to visit Wroclaw because the school situation here in Poznan was getting to a point where we have to leave. So quick, we must find another town, another school! I didn’t expect to find another ‘at home’ place in the process, a city that Im sure will always live in my heart.

Where Poznan at times feels half asleep, Wroclaw feels alive, pulsating, moving! Where at times I feel like Poznan is in black and white, Wroclaw is totally 100% in colour! And they have gnomes! (I will have to do a full post about the gnomes one day, they are awesome!)

Poznan is nice, I like our house here and its been fine, but is fine enough? I guess that if the school had lived up to our expectations, and our children had been educated well, cared for well and been happy, then fine would have evolved to good. But unfortunately the school situation has been a total disaster. We visited two schools in Wroclaw and my kids would be lucky to go to either one of them.

So, we are moving to Wroclaw!   – insert jumping up and down exited smiley here –

-Linda

I write blog posts in my head…..

Every night its the same story, I cant sleep, my mind is whizzing and swirling like crazy, so I write, in my head, and some totally amazing oscar winning material style blog posts are written some nights. Of course, by morning, I dont remember a word and dont feel inspired at all.

I realised I haven’t written much on here about life, and about the things around us. The truth is, I rarely write unless its positive. Why? Surely people who want to share our lives by reading here want the good with the bad? Or is it just that living for so many years in the Middle East has made me unable to write negative things out of fear of being told off? Freedom of Speech is a great thing, but I actually set far harsher limits on myself then any government. I still – even though I can speak openly – don’t speak badly of people, companies, brands, institutions etc. I am pretty sure if I had, there would have been a ton more traffic here, but I also don’t write for traffic.

I do however owe you all some posts, about another move we are about to make (yes I know!). About hospitals in Poland, about people who speak perfectly good english refusing to do so, about the school which we decided to pull the children out of, about Poznan, about Wroclaw (my new love!). All those topics have been covered extensively – at night – in my head. Sorry about that, I will try to get them on to paper (can you even say that nowadays? on to an electronic devise?) asap, I promise!

I leave you with a picture of a road sign – deep in the middle of the Polish wilderness, just because, blog posts with pictures are nicer then blog posts without 🙂

-Linda

Image

Im totally obsessed with house hunting!

keep-calm-and-house-hunt-1

In the past 8 years Ive moved country (twice) and house ehm…. 6 times. Lucky for me then that trawling house websites has turned in to a bit of an obsession! By now, I know exactly what I want / need in a house. I know the average price for buying and renting in several cities, not to mention countries! And whats more, I re check my information frequently! I would make a superb estate agent! When Im stressed, I play computer games and house hunt. You lot can keep the wine (or whatever your vice is)!

I have documents (I’m not actually sure I should be admitting to this, LOL), listing different cities and the average house price with school information and current school fees included. This is a rather new addition to my obsession, and its what happens when you look for a place to live with only 2 things in mind 1. Financially viable. 2. No dust.

My husband is an architect, and he really helps me feed my obsession, I find plots, he draws me my dream house, I move some walls, he asks how I want the kitchen. Aaaah. If only we had the funds!!

Im still researching. Why? Im not sure. I guess I want to keep all options and doors open, and how can you if you are not informed? Poland is a 2 year plan, then a new plan will form, that plan may very well be to stay in Poland longer, or who knows, maybe we pick a new country? Something closer to the dust! I find myself staring at google earth maps for hours, trying to figure out where would work, gluten free wise, many get crossed off in my mind instantly. Although my friend Melanie would laugh at me and say, ‘but Linda, YOU if anyone, can CHANGE that’ (meaning gluten free awareness and availability of foods). But Im just not sure I have the energy to do it all again? Im still running GlutenFree UAE more or less full time, with some help nowadays, but its still mainly me.

Im super super keen on New Zealand. I have no ties. The world has no borders. Im feeling incredibly lucky 🙂

-Linda

Ice Ice Baby! (had to be said!)

The frost has arrived in Poland.

Every morning we go out and scrape the car, I bought 3 scrapers. Every morning the kids go ‘ICE! MUMMA ICE! Look, its snow’. Every morning I have to tell them its not snow, only frost. They nod and say, ‘almost like snow mumma’. Im not sure who is more exited at this point, me or them! They are exited for the snow, I am exited to see their faces when it comes.

V was very offended the other day when I told his teacher he has never seen snow. ‘YES I HAVE! I saw it in Mall of Emirates! Ski Dubai!’, What he failed to mention is that ski Dubai is an indoor ski slope, in a mall, and that we were watching from the outside, through a thick window, while dressed in summer clothes.

My kids are in for a big surprise! So exiting!!

-Linda

Having 3 way conversations.

My life lately goes something like this.

Me ‘Hi (BIG smile), do you speak English?

Person ‘little (while blushing and looking around a little bit panicked)’.

Im not sure why people get embarrassed, clearly the problem here is mine, Im the one in a foreign country that doesn’t speak the language (although Im picking it up, rather fast!). I must say, I have been fortunate to have some awesome people helping me. The lady in the line in the post office who helped me translate when the cashier spoke no English, the customer in the Orange shop who helped me translate. The manager in Piotr i Pawel who took his time to help me translate food labels today. Then we have the even more patient people who my hubby helps to translate to, the awesome lady in the Pesel number place who patiently helped me with forms and everything while hubby was being passed between us (on the phone, obviously). The doctor who got given A’s entire medical history first by me in english and then by hubby in Polish over the phone, who waited patiently while hubby translated all the dosages of new meds to me and made sure I understood. The NC+ installation guy who had the hubby on skype translating for us.

I zone in on the younger people now if I need to ask something, they are more likely to speak English well it seems, like the girl in H&M who has lived in London and who nearly made me cry with her perfect East End accent, the girl in the Mac shop who has studied in Cambridge and speaks the queens English almost as well as the Queen. These are the people I almost want to hug! Being understood is such a huge part of life, I never realised what a difference it can really make in how we feel.

So I struggle on, but more then anything, I am managing, thanks to awesome people in shops and a very patient husband.

And then there is my new book…..

Image

-Linda

Like this post? Also find and like us on Facebook! www.facebook.com/glutenfreeandme 🙂

2 Weeks and 4 days in Poland!

2 Weeks and 4 days in Poland, and I owe you all a post!

So we left Dubai, flew on some airplanes and arrived in Poland. With a gazillion suitcases and 2 rental cars we made our way to our new house.

Now let me tell you, the thought of moving to a new place and arriving at an empty house – a clean slate – and getting to buy everything new might seem like every woman’s dream, or at least mine. The reality is somewhat different. Not so much a dream at all actually, more like a nightmare. We arrived, the drive had taken longer then anticipated, kids were tired and cranky, me and hubby were tired and cranky after night flights with no sleep. The house which was meant to be clean was not clean (to my standard) in the slightest. All we wanted was a coffee, a shower, and to sit. All we had, was empty and dirt.

The plan we had was pretty much out the window immediately. Hubby went to IKEA and got us 2 mattresses while me and little miss laid down on top of all the coats and slept. Big brother played with his lego (don’t ask where he gets all his energy from!). When hubby came back he took care of everything bless him, I had to take a migraine pill because the tiredness and stress together with the paint fumes in the house had made me vomit.

In the morning we had petrol station coffee and milk and snacks from our hand luggage. We unpacked a few things (on to the floor) and hit the shops. It wasn’t this wonderful shopping experience at all. It was more like something out of a TV gameshow, you know the ones, ‘find everything on a list in 3 minutes or loose’ type thing. Finding everything fast may have been easier if descriptions were in English, but obviously this is not the case. Enough time has passed now that I can smile about it. Not laugh, not yet!

We got a vacuum cleaner and minney mouse single use plates and planes cups. We got coffee and sugar (!!), some cereal, and plastic cutlery. Cleaning products to satisfy my obsessive need to always keep everything super clean (a need that is already sort of not so important now that I don’t have a maid! Either that or Im just choosing not to see the dust).

Then there was the IKEA speed shopping, pretty much the same thing. Half way through hubby says ‘in half an hour we have to be at XXX, so you best hurry’. Hardly the blissful shopping experience I had imagined. Pretty much every shopping experience during the first week was like that. We had to register me in a million places (ok, fine, 2, but it seemed a lot at the time).

Even buying a car was the same thing. With 2 days left of hubbies time with us we drove 2 hours to see the car we wanted…. the car, obviously, had some kind of engine failure during the test drive. Back we came to the house, car less, with an awful lot of cash in my handbag knowing we had to find a car NOW. We found one, took it without a test drive ,with warranty from the dealer in our defence. The Dealer must think we are crazy, we pretty much walked in, looked at two cars, pointed at one, ‘That one’, ‘Where do we sign’ and walked out, lol.

When hubby left all the maddest craziest stuff was done and I got to go to Ikea and buy some candles and other bits. That was the ‘a woman’s touch’ thing people are always talking about, that was the buying I enjoyed. Who knew 4 candles and a vase could mean so much?

Spare grandparents came and helped us put together furniture, helped make our house a home, then kids started school, the dogs arrived safe and sound from Dubai, the week flew by, I was able to get lots done while the kids were in school. So here we are, its Sunday. We have been in Poland for 2 weeks and 4 days. Yesterday was the first time we did stuff just for us. We took a walk and did some driving in our area to explore. We saw cabbage fields being harvested and some amazing nature. Came back to a rich chicken casserole.

In all our speed shopping  something that has stood out to us every where we have been, is the colours! Something as simple as the street outside the bank looks pretty when its all orange and red and yellow!

I have obviously been to almost every food shop in our end of town by now, but I think this will need to be a separate post!

-Linda

Bye Bye Dubai!

So thats it, the bags are packed, the taxi is booked, the furniture is all sold and picked up. Tomorrow afternoon, we will be in our new house in Poland (without any furniture but hey ho). We are super super exited, super super ready, and I think Im done with the tears… only those on the same plane as us will know if thats true, lol.

Yesterday we drove to Abu Dhabi, and the camels were all lined up at the fence, to say goodbye! So for the first time in 8 years, we got out of the car and went and touristy took pictures of camels.

So, I leave you with this happy camel who looks like he’s whistling and say, See you in Poland!

-Linda

Image