Today we will have spent some time in four countries: Slovakia, Austria, Germany and Sweden. That’s kinda cool me thinks.
Saturday, 21 December 2013
Friday, 13 December 2013
How much time do we spend thinking about how stupid, annoying, idiotic or whatnot the people around us are?
Pictures like this one surround us on Facebook:
My question is: why do we care so much? Sure, people who are seemingly stupid might make our life a bit more difficult, but why waste so much time on thinking about them?
Maybe someone else’s stupidity is just an assumption. Maybe it’s not their intention to be stupid; maybe they know something I/you/we don’t know; maybe, just maybe, we are the ones being stupid? And sure. Then there are idiots. Real ones. But – is it possible to change someone’s idiotic behaviour by complaining about it?
It is my own personal (and highly subjective) opinion that by letting people be the way they are and not stressing about it too much, we save a lot of energy that can be used on more positive thoughts and feelings.
Yesterday, as we crossing the street at Dunajska, before the bus station and with the cold air leaving our ears freezing, a little lady dressed in red poked me. Her hair was white, she was bent, she walked slowly. Yet she wore red, showed her existence in the most brilliant of manners.
She asked me about the way to a bus stop. I did not know where it was, so I took the easy way out. Nehovorím po slovensky.
The lady looked at me with kindness and started giggling as to show that everything was alright. It was light, youthful and joyful giggle. One that made everyone around her happy.
Poďme to urobiť po slovensky…
dýchať a byť v pokoji.
Slovak word of the day: múdrosť = wisdom
Which leads us to…
mudrc = wise man, sage
múdry = wise
Ever wondered about the declension of Slovak adjectives?
Here’s an example:
Thursday, 12 December 2013
Yesterday I attended a training on Presentation Skills.
One of the other groups spoke about positive thinking, how a positive attitude might change your life. A couple of years back I was really into positive psychology; that has somehow been shifted aside now (as has my whole focus on psychology) due to the fact that the world is filled with tremendously interesting things and activities, but it is a fascinating field. However, maybe it is more important to engage in creative thinking than in positive thinking.
Now I am a believer in positive thinking; not so much because I think it will change my mind, but because life is easier and less stressful that way.
A little tip for when you are annoyed or experiencing negative feelings: take a step back, analyse the situation, look at your feelings and trace your steps of thinking back to the cause for your distress – does the actual feeling match the initial cause? Is it really worth it? Probably not.
Wednesday, 11 December 2013
Phew. 8 days of work until the Christmas holidays. Crazy times I would call this, getting up at half past five to write on my assignments, working the whole day and trying to be social. Well, I’m not being that social But my brain is happy for all the thinking it gets to do.
[this is very you insert a funny pic]
[oh, wait. I have no funny pics]
[will this do?]
Summertime in Ljubljana.
Speaking of Ljubljana – I love their idea of taking the library outdoors:
Tuesday, 10 December 2013
Last Saturday we decided to take a trip to the 2nd city of the Czech Republic (size wise at least), Brno. After all that I have heard about the city, my expectations weren't too high. Well, needless to say, as often is the case with low expectations, the city turned out to be a real treat and a great surprise. Cosy Christmas markets had nothing to do with it Brno has a more cosmopolitan feeling than Bratislava; it was cleaner and the people were friendlier as well. The cheese was good and the atmosphere on the streets was great and Christmassy.
Sunday, 8 December 2013
The Finnish word for December, Joulukuu, is very suitable. Literally, it means the Christmas month. December has started with Christmas markets, the first snow, shopping for gifts and planning the trip home.
In December my mania to plan things is also getting started. Planning projects and new year’s resolutions, foods to try and places to go.
This is how I feel right now: elevated, excited but quite tired.
Nakladaný encián, nakladaný hermelin.
Czech and Slovak pub food. An excuse to go to the pub, and to do so often.
I think I have written about this cheese before, about my attempts to make it myself. Basically, it’s a local type of pickled Camembert which is often served with onion, garlic, herbs and something spicy.
I have a goal; to find the best nakladaný encián in Bratislava. The one in Brno was not so bad either.
So, what does this legendary cheese look like?
Thursday, 5 December 2013
Tuesday, 3 December 2013
I was supposed to get up early to study today. Instead I started to look up on the possibility to go to Maribor for the weekend. We will see what happens. The topics for my final sociology assignment are ready though: Social Stratification in the Nordic Countries and The Role of European Citizenship at a Cultural and a Political Level. I have a good feeling about this, it will be fun to write those essays.
Something I have been thinking about a lot is our perception of reality and how it influences our decisions and behaviour. The general feeling I have is one of insecurity and hopelessness. People try to make it on a day-to-day basis. At the same time we are given information about what success looks like and how to attain it. Without success, you are nothing.
I will keep thinking about this and tell you if I find an answer. Until then: enjoy your Tuesday!
Saturday, 30 November 2013
I am language nerd, I am biased. But I don’t think the problem lies in the division into grammar vs. practical skills. There are two things that inspire people to learn languages. The first thing, the most effective, is motivation. If there is a goal, there is a way. However, how many primary school pupils are motivated to learn anything else than English? How many think “oh, I will one day work for the European Union so knowing French might be a good idea”? Very few, is my estimation. And this takes us to the second point. Learning languages should be fun. Because when it’s fun, there is a chance of cultivating a love for language-learning. And when the love is there, it is easier to learn, it’s more inspiring. And let me throw in a wild guess: the result will be better!
The one who loves language-learning, the one who sees it as a challenge to overcome instead of an unobtainable goal, will learn languages better and faster.
As for the grammar vs. practical skills. I have a rule: why not do it properly if you are going to do it at all? There is a reason for grammar to exist. It is the skeleton of the language. If one doesn’t know the grammar, one will never be able to communicate efficiently and properly. Sure, one may be able to buy some cake in Paris, but if this is the ultimate goal of language learning, then I’m at loss here. I once said (yes, please do excuse the fact that I am quoting myself here) “I don’t consider myself fluent in this language until I can describe the exquisite feeling of warm sand running between my toes on a gentle summer evening”.
What are your thoughts on language learning?
It hit me. I have not dedicated a single post to Vienna. One of the imperial capitals of Europe, one of the cities everybody knows. It is a city where history was written, where big decisions were made.
Why not, why didn’t I write about it? Maybe because I don’t like Vienna too much. It’s a city that doesn’t feel very friendly, it’s difficult to get a grasp of it. It’s grandiose, it’s also beautiful. But it’s not for me.
It takes about an hour between Vienna and Bratislava on the train, the perfect day trip. The trip is cheap and comfortable. I have been there several times and will probably go there more times. Maybe it will grow on me once I find those hidden cosy places.
The last time I was in Vienna was a while back (September, October, who can recall with the time flying) when my parents were visiting. We had a nice day walking around. Here are some photos. (some? at least the city is extremely photogenic!!) – We could also play a game: spot the balloons
How do you define luxury, what does it mean to you? I read some blogs and know some people. whose definition of luxury seems to require expensive stuff, fancy meals and a lot of things. Be as it may, we all have our definitions, our own way to look at life.
As a mini-project (a luxurious life definitely requires some projects – at least in my world), I decided to collect some photos from the past few months which show what luxury is to me. And well, they serve as inspiration as well.
Good food: in this case, a traditional Slovak duck-dinner with duck (duh!), lokse (potato pancakes) and two types of cabbaged. To be served with wine and not to forget – in good company.
A good book. Languages. Knowledge and puzzles.
Morning strolls. Freshness. Colours.
Cities, life, laughter. (here: Vienna]
Vastness, stories told and untold. [here: Schönbrunn in Vienna]
There can be no luxury without coffee, nor without love.
Shivers. Cold. Running nose. Those have been the main theme songs this week. There was also a funny mishap the other day at about 6 am. I was going through a presentation about poverty in Łódź (Poland) when I came across a very familiar logo. It took a good three minutes of racking my brain before I realised what it was: I work for that company. Well. Done. Me.
Remember how I recommended the Bratislava Christmas Market? Since that time I have found myself there a couple of times. Here are some more photos of the place (including funny Christmas decorations and all).
* political community
Thursday, 28 November 2013
Sunday, 24 November 2013
If there is one thing I would recommend visitors to see in Bratislava it is the Christmas Market in the Old Town. The Old Town itself is lovely and during the Christmas Market everybody gathers there to have some hot wine (varené vino), a bit of little something to eat and to talk. This year’s Christmas Market opened on Friday and we have already been there twice for trdelník (kürtőskalács) and wine.
Saturday, 23 November 2013
This week I have entertained myself with reading reports on poverty in Russia and Bulgaria. The perception of poverty in these country makes an interesting read, but it will not be the main topic of discussion today. Instead, it will be the words близкий – near, close.
This word appeared in the Russian report and there was something similar in the Bulgarian one, so of course I needed to do a little comparison between my main three: Russian, Polish and Slovak to look for similarities.
While we are at it. Say hello to my new friend - привет моему новому другу:
Thursday, 21 November 2013
After our day in Zilina, we continued our journey toward Trenčín.
Trenčín is a small town somewhere on the railroad between Zilina and Bratislava. When we went there, it was raining and the city was empty of people. More fun for us– getting to inspect the town without anyone around.
As always, the camera was in active use.