Sunday, July 29, 2007

Signing the contract with the midwife

Tonight we went to the hospital to do our pre-registration for the hospital and to sign a contract with our midwife, Maria. Filling in the registration form was a bit like going through the Spanish inquisition and I actually felt myself breaking out into a sweat as I was bombarded with question after question.

We were lucky to be able to sign a contract with a midwife who speaks English as there are only 3 English speaking midwives available at the hospital. Apparently we should have made arrangements very early on in the pregnancy but somehow people had forgotten to tell us this! Luckily my Doctor is the director at the hospital and was able to pull some strings and get us sorted out - friends in high places do help out!

Now with all the paperwork done, all we can do is wait...

Tinky Winky strikes back!

The Polish Government is not exactly known for its forward thinking policies. Earlier this year the education minister threatened to sack any gay teachers from Poland's schools. Also, (amongst other things) a senior official wanted to outlaw the Teletubbies from being broadcast on Polish TV, when she discovered that one of the characters, Tinky Winky was a 'boy' and yet was often seen carrying a handbag (shock horror!)

These are not the views of the Polish people, just the somewhat righteous and antiquarian leaders who run this country.

We had to laugh therefore when we saw this piece of graffiti painted on a gate. Translated it reads 'There are many of us!' - good work!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Wrocław Film Festival

We were lucky enough to be guests at the Wrocław film festival this weekend as Australia was this year's feature country. So we had a great time hob-nobbing with the stars of Poland's stage and screen.
Wrocław is a city in the South West of Poland, just over 5 hours by train from Warsaw. It's a thriving city and has a beautiful 'old' town, which like Warsaw was re-constucted after the war.

The festival was showing 440 feature films(!!) -34 from Australia - during the course of the week, from 45 different countries, with around 100 getting shown for the first time. It was such an exciting time, and we both really got the 'bug' for seeing films and spent Saturday running/waddling ;) between cinemas and seminars.
We managed to catch 6 films, from around the globe, if you're in anyway interested these were: Silver City; God Willing; Alexandra's Project; The Mourning Forest; Playing the Victim and Falling.

One of the highlights for Amy was meeting renowned Australian film critic David Stratton who was one of the special guests at the festival. David had chosen most of the Australian films to be screened and was giving about 3-4 introductory comments at screenings each day. Trevor had to convince Amy not to follow David about to all the films otherwise he would think she was a scary stalker!! It was also great for us to meet a couple of Australian directors and the Polish-Australian actress Gosia Dobrowolska (who is originally from Wroclaw and was also a special guest at the festival - they were showing 11 of her films!)

We were very sad to have to get on the train and come back to Warsaw as we would have loved to have stayed for the whole festival (it runs until 29 July). That way we would have got a good hit of movies - something we probably won't experience for a while once the baby comes along!
However, we do hope to go back to Wrocław for a mini-break with the little one as we didn't really get to do any sightseeing this time around (apart from what we could see dashing from cinema to cinema!)

Amy chooses her next film

The opening scene from Falling (note the two sets of subtitles - how cool are we huh?)

Amy in front of the 'Puppet Theatre' with festival flag

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Newbury Flooded

My friend Alessio sent me pictures from Newbury in the UK which has experienced heavy flooding over the last couple of days. If you want to see the pics click on this link Newbury under water

Monday, July 16, 2007

Robin, Joe and Sam come to Warsaw!

We had 3 visitors from the UK this weekend. Our friend Robin came to stay, along with his two eldest boys Joe (nearly 7) and Sam (aged 5). We gave them all a bite-sized tour of Warsaw.

Most of the attractions we took them to got the 'thumbs up' as opposed to the 'thumbs down' - a simple but effective scoring mechanism developed by the children (and I guess by Roman Emperors!). On a couple of occasions it was a bit nerve jangling as the little thumbs hovered between ups and downs, but on the whole I think we scored more
thumbs up than thumbs downs!
On Friday we went to Warsaw Zoo - highlights including the elephants, penguins, leopards and a hippo (who we encouraged to chase a duck) and then afterwards onto the Wedel hot chocolate shop for yummy hot chocolate.

On Saturday we took the boys around the old town (Q. What is the name of the mermaid in the old town square?) and then to Zoliborz playground where Sam showed off his incredible climbing skills!

The next day was really hot, and so we got going fairly early to Wodny Park swimming pool, for swimming and slides and then to our Kiwi friends Penny and Mike for a lovely barbecue on Sunday evening.

It was so great to catch up with them all. Joe told me that he was the first boy in his school to visit Poland - he took a handful of postcards home to show his class. Also I hope they'll all be practicing the Polish words they learnt during their visit!

Sam on the slide in Plac Wilsona

Amy and Robin

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Check up

We went for a check up at the doctors this morning (a lovely lady called Dr. Ossowska). She is always pleased to see us as I think she enjoys seeing someone in the family way rather than miserable sick people.

Everything was fine, and Amy seems to be in good health - here's a picture of her and her expanding waistline taken on our balcony this morning

Monday, July 9, 2007

Tour de France in London

Our baby is now just over a month away(!!), so I took a short break from Warsaw to go back to Newbury and check over the house, and do various bits and pieces of DIY. I also got a chance to catch up with a few people while I was there, and went to watch the Tour de France on Saturday.

The weekend was full of sporting occasions for the UK with the Wimbledon finals, the British Grand Prix and the Tour de France all happening over the two days.

It's rare for the Tour de France to come through the UK (it last did so in 1994), and so there was a mass gathering of lycra in London and the South East - estimates thought that there were 1 million spectators on Saturday, and a further 2 million watching on Sunday!

A group of us went to Green Park in London on Saturday to watch the Tour - there were huge crowds, but we managed to secure both a good view of the race and deck-chairs as well!

The weather in London had been poor all week, but the sun really shone through on Saturday and it was a great day. Even though I'm not a cycling aficionado, it was incredible to watch the speeds that the cyclists reached and know that they had another 22 days (and 3,500km) cycling ahead of them.

Tim-looking different somehow?

Amusing conversation

Tim: "Who's winning?"
Ben: "Some guy in a yellow jersey"

Tim: "Didn't he win it last year?"
(btw it was all meant in jest)

On a none-cycling note Amy's got a check up at the doctors later this week, so perhaps more baby-related news next time - in the meantime here's a clip of the cycling from Saturday

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Duże dziecko

Big child

Which is how the doctor described our baby last night. Poor Amy!

Q. Why did the mushroom go to the party?

A. Because he was a Funghi

I reckon one of Poland's finest vegetables is not as you might suspect the potato, but the mushroom.

I visit a market every Tuesday morning in a district of Warsaw called Koło, where for the last two or three weeks they've been selling Kurki mushrooms. They're absolutely delicious, and if you eat enough of them you start seeing purple elephants dancing around the room playing trombones (ok I made the last bit up).

I think they're actually just chanterelle mushrooms, but I prefer Kurki as it sounds a lot more Polish. They tend to be sold by wizened old men, who only ever seem to have a couple of boxes of them for sale at any one time. Apparently the old men pick them from the forests in the morning.

They're invariably rather grubby (the mushrooms AND the old men) but when washed, taste lovely in omelettes with a bit of chive (the mushrooms NOT the old men). Yum!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Kazimierz Dolny

We decided to go away this weekend, as it may be our last opportunity before the baby is born. Someone at our (final) baby class on Friday, suggested that you should go on a 'baby-moon' (kind of like a honey-moon) pre arrival!

We travelled down by train to Kazimierz Dolny in the South of Poland (about 2 hours by train). This picturesque village attracts many artists as well as cafes, market stalls and of course tourists!

We had a really relaxing time and it was nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of Warsaw and see some of the lovely Polish countryside.

On Saturday we took a boat trip up the Wisła River and then spent Sunday exploring the ruins of the castle which overlooks the town and the many art galleries dotted around. We even bought a couple of paintings and then had to lug them home on the train.

All in all, it was a lovely weekend and we're glad we decided to take a 'baby-moon' - it will be a long time before we can travel so lightly again (with only a daypack between us)!

Amy in Kazimierz Dolny

Not, sure if this will work for everyone, but here's a (short) clip of Amy from last weekend...let us know if it worked! (or even if it didn't!)