On Saturday I had my flight back from Seattle and I landed in Poland yesterday before 4pm. The flight was better than I expected however the plane was poorly equipped (no personal screens for each passenger! I thought it’s a standard on transatlantic flights! :P) and I was sitting close to 3 small children who were screaming most of the time ;) I had a change in Frankfurt and after only 1,5h flight I was in Warsaw.
I came here to pass my exams and I’ll have 5-6 of them. This will be another lonely month with books… But I’m trying to keep brave, be active and try to enjoy being here, look for some positives.. (there must be here!!:P) Today I was even thinking- ‘it’s already a half day over’ :P Yeah, it is :P But at least 30 days more left!
America is a huge and multinational country and you can really find here EVERYTHING ;) Before I had come to the US, I didn’t read or even wonder about different things that I can expect here. Now I find everything surprising! There are so many weird customs, rules, practices that I’m sometimes shocked ;) Sometimes it’s funny that things that were so obvious for us in Europe are here totally different. This is a very refreshing feeling. However, if there is too many things to arrange quickly and you have none to ask, it may be also frustrating. I’ll describe here some things that wondered me most when I came here.
1. Shopping at the grocery
My husb has nearly nothing in the fridge when I came (however he made me a delicious dinner, that’s true! :D) The next day we went to a grocery and here… a big shock. There were a lot of strange vegetables and fruits. A lot of cans with prepared meals, a lot of frozen prepared meals and meals just to add water to! A huge wall only with ice creams and second one with cereal! Plenty of various sweets and bars but only 4 (!) normal chocolates! Everything was in a huge packs. In Europe you buy one cube of butter. Here you have to buy one huuuge butter or a box with 5 cubes of butter inside. Milk and juice are here in half-gallon (nearly 2L) bottles and water in even bigger! Apart from abnormal size I had a feeling that all of these products are processed and ready to eat. I had huge problems with finding simple things like normal cuscus or tomato concentrate. Instead I found cuscus of 10 different flavours and 25 tomato sauces. Next day my M prepared for my chicken wings… and I was broken! :P There was only hot breadcrumbs, bones and a LOT of fat. I told him that this is the last time he’s eating this sh**!!! He was eating them for a month when I was not here but when I told him that they are so disgusting and unhealthy that they should be forbidden, he noticed that yes, there was something wrong with this ‘chicken’ :P Now I’m more familiar with all products, I tested some of them and it is possible to find good things but you really have to be careful. One of my greatest enemies is high fructose corn syrup - I haven’t met with that ingredient in Poland. It’s a sweetener that cause obesity – what an irony! :P
2. Driving license
As I wrote before, to drive legally in USA you have to have a driving license and this is normal. Here, you can get your license at the age of 16! This is so early, in my opinion too early but the distances and poor public transport in most of the cities made so. What is funny for me is that you don’t have to do a driving course that will learn you how to drive. So how to learn that?? Well, you can drive totally illegally or… you can wait until you are 16, pass a theory driving test, obtain a permit and… drive with other person having a minimum 5 years old license. Interesting. Driving on the street with other people who have no idea you don’t know how to drive ;) Second thing – you can go for a driving test with your own car, fail the test and come back with your own car as well (hmm… I did so but I have a license from another country :P) Finally, there are no independent examination units – you can have your test with the same instructor that thought you. If you pay $40 more, he’ll even give you a worm up ride at the same places where you’ll go during the exam. For European people that sounds just unbelievable :D Like my husband said – they are doing everything for you to pass, as it’s impossible to live here without a car. And that is the truth.
3. Feeling of freedom
It’s very easy to notice here that a lot of people have huge cars or trucks. We were wondering for a long time why do they need them. They probably don’t live on a farm, don’t carry cows or sheep… and there cars are not practical, it’s difficult to find a parking spot for them – that was what we thought (and in fact still think! ;)) Soon we noticed that American people want to be as much independent as possible. Even if they would need to use such a huge car once a year, they still think it’s worth to have it and don’t ask other people for help.
Generally you can feel really free here – because of the space, huge and wide freeways, still quite wild nature… People don’t care here about their outfit, they just wear truck-suit to feel comfortable. They don’t show off, as they don’t care what other people think about them. I never thought I would be enjoying that to such extent :P No more ironing! :D
I’ll soon write about more weird things that I noticed in America :D
Writing a good thesis in not an easy task… but it’s possible ;) Sometimes you may feel depressed when thinking about starting to write your thesis. I think it’s normal. There is a huge job for you to be done and the time is running out veeeery quickly.
I think the most important thing is to… (that would be banal) – to start! Once you do it, you’ll be much more optimistic ;) Here are some tips that work in my case:
1. Don’t postpone it over and over, just start today! (this is the most difficult part :P) You can start with very simple things – create the document, folder, name it properly… – small steps.
2. Think about the topic you are going to write about, you may not know it yet in details but you should be able to prepare table of contents. Think about chapters. Thesis should have a typical layout:
2. Theoretical background
3. Your research
but there should be also more detailed subsections, for example in chapter 3 about your research – 3.1. Equipment, 3.2. Used methods, etc. Detailed and clear table of contents will be really helpful. It would be a good idea to consult it with your tutor – you’ll be sure you’re reaching in the right direction.
3. Try to be focused on your goal which is to write at least a page or so a day. I know that you may not be in a mood, it happens. When I don’t feel particular writing vein I’m trying to do other things… but associated with the thesis! ;) I’m doing some editorial job like formatting text, setting correct margins etc. A good idea for such not productive days it to prepare a cover for the thesis, some statement about privacy (if required) etc.
4. When you are finished with above you have to really start writing ;) remember that if you have a clear and coherent able of content you don’t have to begin writing from the first chapter. Write whatever you feel today. Some days you’ll find one things easier, the other different. By doing so writing seems less painful – at least in my case it works so ;)
Your thesis is constructed of small subsections which are quite independent one from another. You’ll notice how such ‘patchworking’ way of writing is easier.
5. If you’re writing your thesis in MS Word, try to use automatic table of content – this will make your job much easier and safe plenty of time! Also use use automatic references and insert them as you use any source of material that you’d like to mention.
My advice is to give yourself limited time – the faster you’ll do it, the sooner it will be over :D Also by writing it on a daily basis you won’t be forgetting many details that you wrote about or wanted to write about.
Just be brave, you can do it!!!!! :))) Even with little information at the beginning most of people are able to write a good thesis, much better that they had expected :)
Recently we invited our new friends met in the US for a dinner. In fact they are not American but Ukrainian, however they lived in Paris before coming there and become quite fussy about the food. We wanted at least try to meet expectations of their sophisticated taste ;) They love seafood but how can I cook the food that I can’t even look at? :P
We were wondering for a few days and finally composed a draft of recipe ;) Then we went to a shop to get the ingredients and… the initial recipe was changed significantly ;) However the final outcome was just amazing! I didn’t expect it to be soooo delicious :) I was trying hard not to eat all before the guests :P :P
Here is the recipe (it’s for 4 people):
- 9.5 OZ (270g) of half and half blend of baby spinach and baby lettuces (you can buy a ready mix)
- 3/4 cup crumbed blue cheese
- a medium jar of sun-dried tomatoes – chopped
- 1/3 cup of chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup of green olives – halved
- 1/2 cup of small marinated white onions – halved
- 1/3 cup of dried cranberries
- 1 tsp of Greek seasoning
- all oil from sun-dried tomatoes
These little marinated onions were really sour! But it was a great characteristic ingredient in this salad.
Our friends really enjoyed this salad. It’s both sour and sweet with a characteristic blue cheese taste…mmm. We served it with grilled chicken breast and small butter potatoes. You must try this recipe! :)
This weekend Easter is starting for us! :) For me it is the first Easter when I’m married and the first one without my parents and not in my family home. We spent last one in my home city even though we were not even engaged! (this was shocking for our families :P) M was sooo sad for the idea of spending Easter apart from me, so I took him with me – that was so sweet ;)) This year we are here and we are a very small family :P I had no idea how both of us could make this time somehow special… apart from eating a lot of eggs :P Fortunately M encouraged me to take some actions that would make this time more spacial :) We didn’t eat meat on Good Friday, we cleaned our apartment (yeah, that’s sign of something special, we don’t do it very often :P), prepared a lot of great food to just eat during the weekend and we bought these lovely daffodils :D
Easter daffodils are these kind of flowers that you can see mainly in this part of the year. When I bought them they had only 3 flowers. I watered them in the evening and during overnight they become just like that!! :)
Happy Easter everyone! :)
The time runs so extremely fast! I remember my nerves, preparations, thinking about it, arranging… And now it’s half a year after that BIG day :) We’ve been married for 6 months already! I like to think about this beautiful September day, I was so nervous during the ceremony and acting as crazy :P I wasn’t realizing to the last moment what is going to happen and… then it just happened! :) We had a lovely but small wedding party but it was just perfect. I love my shiny ring with a little diamond, the engraver of our names inside – it brings good memories and positive thoughts about the future.
Has a lot of changed during this time? No, I don’t think so… we are still trying to spend as much time together but the time available for that is somehow shrinking! ;) We both work all days and there are still so many things that we need to arrange to completely set up here. Well, but maybe it’s better having constant hunger than glut? ;)
Kisses for my beloved husband who remembered about this anniversary and bought me pot flowers! :P
To be able to drive your own car in the USA, car insurance is an obligatory. And it doesn’t matter if you are US citizen or foreigner – you just have to have valid proof of insurance before you can take your car from a dealer! Generally it is said that arranging a car insurance in the US is much easier than anywhere else – all you need is just to call insurance agency and after 10 minutes you should receive your temporary insurance that has to be printed and kept in the car all the time. However, when you are a foreigner, even the most basic things can become complicated ;)
Last week we went to a Honda dealer and bought brand new Honda Civic :D We wanted to take the car as soon as possible but… we couldn’t arrange the insurance via phone! There were a few problems in our case. First of all M had just a temporary driving license as he was living in a temporary housing. Secondly, he doesn’t have any driving history here about accidents, collisions that would proof his experience. Because of that, the price offer was nearly twice as high as a standard one! What is more, I was even in worst situation – I don’t have a driving license here, don’t have social security number and the symbol of my Polish driving license… didn’t fit into system because it was too short! :P The insurance agent was totally lost, we spent 30 min over the phone without result. That meant that we had to leave our new car at the dealer :(
Few days later we went to a bank that is recommended for all foreigners coming here to work for Microsoft and the issue was solved in 5 minutes. I guess they are familiar with all strange cases, it’s probably their specialty :P And also – they were much cheaper. We pay $1400/year for 2 people, which is still quite a lot. Next year it should be much lower ;)
Having the papers we went to the dealer to take our new and also cleaned Honda :) :) I would never thought that we’ll buy a brand new car and we’ll be making such decisions in 15 minutes :P Living here is a quite intensive experience :P