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12.10.2013

Not Enough

After two years of being away I landed in Poland and immediately I knew that twenty-six days will not be enough time. And It won't be enough time to see everybody and everything. And it won't be enough time to visit all the places and people. And it won't be enough time to hear all the stories and add some of my own. It won't be enough, I know. And it won't be enough time to see all the faces I would love to see and hear all the voices I had missed so dearly. It won't be enough time. It won't be enough time to go for walks and immerse into the atmosphere of my childhood places, it won't be enough!

I'm torn. I haven't had enough.

01.09.2013

Much Ado About Reading Lists. Happy Going Back to School Everybody!!!


I have read a moment ago that the obligatory reading list for the Polish language classes have been changed for both primary and middle school. The changes will be liked by some and criticized by others, normal thing. I don’t intend to argue here with anybody’s decisions. I would like to use the decision of the Polish Ministry of Education to think about reading in general, to think about reading as a process and how this process can be encouraged or discouraged.

Getting Into Reading

We are surrounded by text. There is always something to read, every step we take: labels on boxes, signs in the streets, headlines in newspapers, imprints on clothes and books which are the ultimate celebration of text. Text is omnipresent. Children are naturally curious, so I can imagine that when I was a child I couldn’t wait to start reading, to be like these adults around me who read.  Unfortunately, I can’t remember that but as children imitate adults, I assume that I wanted to read as well when I saw people around me reading. And I did see people reading around me – my brothers obsessed with Ludlum and Clancy, my dad re-reading Sienkiewicz’s ‘Trilogy’ for twentieth time, my mom reading contemporary Polish authors. My home was full of books and not only did they decorated shelves but also they were put into their use and were read. It was only natural for me, I think, that I wanted to read when everybody around me did it. I wanted to have access to this written on paper world. Now, of course I had somebody who taught me how to put letters together into words, then words into sentences. It was my mom who read to me. At the age of 5 I was quite an accomplished reader, and an avid one as well. It didn’t happen because I was extra smart. It happened because I have very good assistance and I was well motivated to do it.
I hear many people complain about their children not reading. They will say their children are lazy, that they choose TV reading, that they choose computers over books and so on. I am sick and tired of these adults who put the blame on children without reflecting for a while upon their own reading. Reading is a habit and children need to get into this habit early in their lives.  They will get into it through the positive assistance and encouragement from parents. As children imitate the significant adults around them, they will observe if books are read at home and by whom, and if they conclude from adults’ attitude that reading is a useless activity, they will probably not want to read. It’s then not enough to tell a kid that reading is good and send them off with a book. No! A kid has to see that an adult reads as well. If an adult says that reading is important and then I never see this adult doing what they say is of value, I will think what the adult says is important really isn’t because they don’t do it. So, before cursing children for not reading, I would encourage adults to check and see if somehow they don’t prefer a game of Angry Birds or a Facebook session over some time with a book.


Reading at School

I will reach to my experience at University to share few thoughts about reading at school. In my second year of studying at department of the English language, among other obligatory courses I had to take were the two in the British and American literature. The American literature one I will not forget. And I will remember it not because I enjoyed it so much. In the first lecture we were presented with a reading list – books that the knowledge of would be later checked in the exam. The list was scary to look at. It was so extensive!  I can’t remember how many books exactly we were supposed to read but the number was something crazy, I though. I didn’t understand how I was supposed to read all of these literary works and remember characters, plots, formulate opinions about problems presented in these books. As I was a good student I read what was required of me minus maybe two – ‘Moby Dick’ among them. I then went to a TEST, took the test, passed the test, and that was that. Yes, we did have separate classes in which we would discuss some of the books but these classes were very, very rare and didn’t satisfy me at all. It was too fast and too much, as the situation was with some other courses as well. There was no time to ponder, no time to immerse oneself and share this immersion with other students. It did happen, yes, to seldom for the university, though.
At schools but also universities we don’t read books – we tick them off the reading list. We present the knowledge of the content and we are rarely asked about our opinions. Reciting is preferred – parrot style. There is no time for discussion. Reading just for the sake of reading is not fun. It’s not fun just like other things are not fun when we do and we don’t know why we do them. And that’s what I believe also put off many learners from reading.

Why Should I Read It?

When at school, I rarely was told why I should read a book. I was told that it was obligatory. Not good an explanation for many, including myself. Everybody wants to know why they spend their time doing things. As a teacher in the kindergarten I have to create a positive atmosphere around a topic, I need to make my students want to learn and I need to tell them why what I am saying is worth listening. It’s not always easy but I need to remember that they need a reason to learn, to stay focused and interested. The same apply to any other student of any other subject. Some of the students will be naturally interested because they like a subjects, it’s their hobby or whatever. But there is the whole group of kids who want to know why they are supposed to read what they are supposed to read. A simple explanation that after having read this and that I will be able to this and that and it will be useful in life because of this and that or that after reading this and that I might discover or learn something about myself or other people. I was not told by any of my teachers that even my whole life can be changed through a medium of a book. There are greatly influential books out there, aren’t there? No, I was not told that. Instead I was waved with a reading list in from of my nose, a reading list I had to process in order to pass an exam. That itself isn’t a reading habit shaping incentive.

I am not an expert. These are just my loose thoughts and observations. I have been reading ever since I was five years old and I still take a great pleasure in it. I had been developing this skill for many years, though, and I had a great support from my relatives, friends to do so. I saw the habit of reading in action. It deeply saddens me when I hear lamenting of teachers or parents about their children not reading and not looking where they are with their habits and attitudes towards reading. And it’s not about what the Ministry of Education will put on or take off the obligatory reading list. It’s about how the habit of reading is approached, encouraged or discouraged by educators, institutions and homes.

An Alternative Approach

To finish on a lighter note - I know of a person who was bribed into reading.  There was a time in his life when he didn’t want to read no matter what support or incentive from adults around him. TV was his thing. The a deal was struck. No TV for a year in return for a substantial amount of money. It worked. Today the man watches stuff on TV, sure he does, but also he feverishly endeavours even the most demanding literature. The habit was successfully created.

31.08.2013

Wearing a Bikini Is a Sate of Mind


It was a beautiful summer day day.  I was having another meeting with Abbey, my counselor. We were sitting in a park at a picnic table. The air had this particular summer texture in which the sound of children laugh travels in a very particular way. I could hear children laugh in the distance. The summer was in full swing and it was a wonderful time to be in Toronto.
I think it was a meeting when Abbey and I talked about how we narrate our lives, how we ourselves by thinking in particular way about our lives influence them. Then, I don’t know exactly what was the connection with the conversation -  I confessed o Abbey in a desperate manner that I had never had a bikini. I cried, I remember. A lot. I felt so sad about not a bikini in particular but I felt sad about myself: this young woman in my body who for all this time had felt not good enough to get herself a bikini and wearing it enjoy the sun on the beach. For years I had deprived myself of a wonderful feeling of bathing in the sun. I deprived my belly the pleasures of getting tanned. I didn’t feel I deserved a bikini and I felt the belly was too big to be exposed. I wasn’t good enough to be put in a bikini. Thinking and saying all these things to Abbey, I cried even more. The whole sea of tears of sadness about how badly I felt about myself. Abbey asked me to imagine myself being old and wrinkled, when my body will surely be not a pretty as at the age of 28. She asked me to imagine myself being this elderly woman who regrets things she has never done in her life – among these getting herself a bikini and enjoying the sun on the beach. At that time I was sobbing like a baby. Yes, I could see myself as this regretful person and I didn’t like what I saw.  I didn’t like it at all. At the end of the meeting with Abbey, I got an assignment. I was told to go to a shop and get myself the nicest bikini I could find and afford. Upon hearing this, I was hysterical – the sheer thought of going shopping for a bikini scared the life out of me.  How on earth was I supposed to do it? How was I supposed to put this imperfect round body of mine into a skimpy tops and bottoms? I felt it’s going to be disaster.
Marta helped me. I told Marta about my bikini assignment and next week we found ourselves in a shopping mall. I decided not to lament too much and find something. Oh, Marta was a blessing. She knew exactly what I was going through – she knew that it was quite a traumatic experience for me and she just was the most delicate person in the world. She told me: ‘I know exactly what you need and I know what you want to hide and what to expose’. It was very nice and technical without being too emotional about my inhibitions. I got this support from a woman, form a friend who understood. It was so true and full of understanding.
And we made it. We managed to find something that exposes something and conceals the rest. Yay!!! That day, on Marta’s balcony, I bathed in the sun for the first time in my life in my brand new bikinis.
As much as it was easy to undress in front of Marta, the next step was to go to the beach. I did. A week later or maybe sooner I bathed on the beach. And what? Nothing! Nobody screamed, nobody looked at me; nobody even paid attention that I was there. NOBODY. What is more, I felt wonderful. For the first time I felt rays of the sun on the areas of my body which had never been exposed before. I felt wonderfully warm and comfortable. The next step was to go swimming. I did. Oh, how wonderful it was do be touched by water, to be engulfed by it and feel it on body parts on which I had never felt it before. And then I had to get out of water and walk to my towel, and we know what we look like out of water… And nobody screamed again, nobody even paid attention that I was there. NOBODY. I felt comfortable.  I wasn’t ashamed of my body, however imperfect. I have started a new chapter in my life, the one which includes wearing bikinis and feeling good about myself.
Wearing a bikini is a state of mind. It’s the state of mind that allows me to feel comfortable. It’s the state of mind in which I am enjoying myself in my body. It’s the same state of mind which I have when I put on a pair of heels and I feel sexy and womanly. I am grateful that I have women in my life who helped me to discover this comfort and confidence. When I’m elderly and wrinkled I will have this memory of me bathing in the sun and swimming in water in a very skimpy bikini in my beautiful young body.

25.08.2013

Canadian Fixation Explained Part 1


I was told some time ago that my bottomless love for Canada, especially for Toronto, is becoming or has already become for some, quite irritating. True. Sometimes when I say, yet another time:  ‘in Toronto this and in Toronto that, in Canada this, in Canada that’ I’m tempted to slap myself and hard. But the truth is that this love is probably the longest I have ever experienced – with problems, but still love.  So how has it all started?

It all has started in circa 1980, I think when my father’s sister and her husband pack up the family having made a decision about emigrating from Poland to the West. I cannot recall the details but after two years or so in Germany and Austria, or maybe only in Austria, my aunt, uncle and their kids, resettled in the oil fields of Alberta, in Edmonton.

Edmonton in Canada. Ever since I have started reading and since I have become capable of deciphering letters, I would read the Canadian address of my uncles with some sort of reverence. The names and surnames sounded familiar but all the rest was as exotic as spices from India. A strange name of the street, a post code comprising of mixture of latters and digits, the name of the city, province and the country. Oh, such sweet literature it was!!!

So much I knew about Canada at that time: that it was big, that it was better, that it produced the cutest two things I had ever had in my childhood. My grandma Anna went to visit her daughter and on her way back from the land of plenty, she brought a white teddy bear and a beautiful china music box for me. The teddy bear wasn’t just a teddy – it was my Canadian teddy, and so was the music box. Both items in a magical way connected me with this unknown world across the ocean. The teddy bear shared my bed with me for a very, very long time and in cases when it disappeared from my sight – I refused to sleep until it was found and brought back to me. It still resides in my house in Poland and has become a very old teddy who reminds me of very happy times. The music box has suffered some injuries throughout the years but it was always glued back and continues to play – though the melody has changed and has become filled with longing even more. So they are my childhood artifacts connecting me to the New World.

In Poland of the time when I was growing up, we didn’t enjoy the variety of products the Canadian population did. We would have a peek into this abundance though boxes filled with goodies from the West: parcels, which would arrive to Poland from Canada around Christmas of Easter. Parcels filled with bubble gum, lolly pops, maple syrup, Shake’n’bake, salad dressings and what not. All these commodities  in beautiful, colourful packages, with labels written not in one foreign language but TWO. Oh, how wonderful these parcels were!!!  How they played with my imagination, how I saw those shops filled with stuff. I can’t remember which year it was but it was certainly pre-cornflakes era in Poland. No cornflakes for us. I learnt about the existence of this good from one of the Canadian parcels. Kellog’s was its name. Frosty  was smiling from the box. I remember the texture of the box, the milky – murky colour of the plastic bag inside the box. I can recall the smell of the content, I clearly remember the sweetness of the flakes. I was aware of the scarcity of the product and so I used it only on special occasions. The box was mine and it was guarded in the pantry by magic spells and two dragons and whoever would be stupid enough to plunder, they would suffer terrible consequence of beheading and their heads would be on spike in from of the pantry. So nobody came even close to my magic cornflakes box. To my despair, though, I was not aware that these bloody things has the expiry date. One day when with my heart pounding I was just about to enjoy another serving of this delicacy, I discovered that whatever was left in the box went off and was covered with mold. And so my relationship with cornflakes tragically ended and I had to go back to boring porridge. I will not go into the details of using Shake’n’Bake or the orgasmic taste of Kraft Zesty Italian and Cucumber Salad or something of this name.

So much for Canadian processed food.

Then came electronics. It was in 1990 when I saw the first Sony Walkman. It landed on the Polish soil with my cousins and the rest of the family. It was their first visit to Poland since they left. They came in a plane but for me they might as well have arrived in a space ship. Indeed, it was like receiving arrivals from the outer space. They looked differently, they spoke a strange language and everything about them was different. Cooler - for me at least. My cousins must have been cool - they were from another planet after all. I was seven years old and I wanted to hang out with them but… at that time I was just a pain in the ass and we didn’t bond very much. But I remember the Walkman. It was yellow and waterproof. At that time in my house we received the radio waves on a wireless which at that time was seventeen years old, so quite old. A Walkman like this Sony thing was a state-of-the art technical miracle for me. And it basted the Queen’s Bicycle. Unforgettable. The Walkman left with Magda and Irek but the sweet memory still lingers.
Some time later my brother and I, or maybe my brother only, received a discman with out first CD – Oxygen by Jean Michelle Jar and Top Gun. I’m almost sure I’m right about Top Gun. The era of cds started in our household.  I didn’t see any more gadgets, I can’t remember laptops or notebooks but the Walkman and the discman I do remember and I do remember another crucial characteristic of theirs: they came from the Canada Planet.

My love to the country of the maple leaf had been getting bigger and bigger and bigger to find its outlet in the first trip to the North America in 2001.In my own eyes  I could finally see all these things I had been imagining about Canada. Oh, and disappointed I was not. It was just as I expected – big, and different and nobody walked anywhere, and kids were cool, and smoked weed. And everybody spoke English. And oh, West Edmonton Mall – just as it promised on the website – the mall was humongous with everything in it – an ice skating rink, a pirate ship, and a freaking artificial beach with real artificial waves. Luckily for me, I was at the age already when I could appreciate a bit more than malls  - the nature of Alberta swept me off my feet. Among other places my family took me to Jasper, Banff, and Saint Louise. I saw the Rocky Mountains and I swear that pieces of me have never returned from there. Never ever. 
My 2001 Canadian trip was also spiced up with a romance I had with certain James who I fell head over hill for and who had the sexiest eyes ever, whose name was James and who drove a truck. That was enough to fall in love with. And I did. I fell in love with James and with Canada both at the same time.

I had to leave both. It was the beginning of November. My backpack was packed and James came to say goodbye and it was a heartbreaking. I didn’t want to go. I wanted to stay and live there, and have my life there but I couldn’t. And so I came back to Poland filled with memories and dreams. For a year after that trip, every day I dreamt about Canada. Every day I was there – I was there where my heart truly belonged and belongs.

Ten years later I came back to Canada and for a year I lived in Toronto. Oh, yes… Toronto – another story for another time.

On the 20th of October, 2013 my Canadian-Polish aunt, Jadzia, died of lung cancer. I can’t express how sorry I am for her loss. She was a brave woman who left her comfort and went to seek a better life. She got me hooked on Canada. My aunt is not among us any more but she is in me every day: through my thoughts, and through my Canadian fixation. 
Dear Auntie, thank you for everything: for your Christmas and Easter cards, for your calls, for your visits, for your love.  You were one of the kind. Rest in peace.

15.06.2013

Dental Memoir

Dentists. I have had a long history with you. You have helped me a lot, you have looked after me and my teeth. I have seen your work in few countries in the world and whenever I have used your services, my appreciation for you knowledge and precision increases. You know, people don't like you that much but you are still amazing doctors ready to deal with the whole spectrum of oral and dental problems. You bring relief and put beautiful smiles on people's faces. No matter how serious my condition has been,  I have experienced nothing but goodness from you. Root canals, wisdom teeth extractions, drillings, fillings- the list is long and you have always done a great job.

I had a dentist at university who had no mercy and refused to drug me saying 'No need, it'll be quick and painless. I'm done in 5, 4, 3...'and she lied to me each time. It always would take longer and always was painful. I hated it and dreaded every visit but in a way I also trusted her. During long hours spent in a dentist chair - I had lot of time to contemplate their work, equipment and phenomenon of dental care. Since then I have had my teeth treated in: Ukraine, Russia, Cambodia, Thailand and almost in Canada, though it was too expensive to experience.

2007, few days after I took off on my first Asia trip I ended up in a dental clinic in Kiev with root canal. The clinic, I remember was excellent, the equipment state-of-the art, the staff professional and very, very helpful. The treatment was done in couple of hours and I could go on with my travels. Later when I had this tooth x-rayed I was told that it was a masterpiece and I was very lucky to have met a really good doctor who did an excellent job.

 Before I took off to Toronto, I said goodbye to one of my wisdom teeth. It wasn't particularly pleasant procedure but certainly the unpleasantness was compensated by the doctor: funny, very, very delicate, and hellishly handsome, which always helps. Too bad that I didn't look and feel very attractive with my mouth wide open, bleeding and drooling all over. In no time, I was finished and ready to go with few stitches that dissolved in less than a week. No complications, no unnecessary pain - another artist among the dentists.

Yesterday when I entered the office escorted by a friend who came with me to hold my hand, I wasn't sure for a moment. The dentist looked fourteen, maybe fifteen and I was sure that I'm the first patient she's ever had and that would be her first tooth extraction ever. I wanted to run away but it was already to late, I was sat on the chair and the teasing begun. This way, and that way - the bloody thing didn't want to give way.  The doctor was delicate and very conscious of the fact that I was panicked, so in a sweet voice she comforted me and apologized each time she caused a bit of pain. So long it took, that there was a moment when I thought: oh, please, just bring a hammer. But the hammer wasn't among  the whole array of other equipment resembling this from the sculptor's studio: clasps, chisel looking tools, strange hooks and so I had to endure long minutes of extraction without the aid of the hammer.  And though the procedure wasn't pleasant and I don't want to be teased this way any time soon in my life, I must say that I met another wonderful doctor who turned unpleasant into bearable and even fun an experience. Soon I was sent off with a handful of painkillers and a tooth in my pocket.

Dentists, you know, people don't like you but you are amazing professionals.

No tooth ferries arrived.





 

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13.04.2013

Back From Holiday in Siem Reap


I have just come back from Siem Reap in Cambodia where I spent last two weeks. I left quite a bit of my life teaching English in this Cambodian town ,the gateaway to the temples of Angkor, and every time I go back it's a sentimental journey. For last six months I had been fantasizing about going back but I couldn't because of the Thai working visa processes and so I had been  taken hostage by Thai bureaucrats since I arrived , and I just couldn't wait to break free. Finally, two weeks ago, I got my work permit (I'm a legal alien now). Two days later I got on a mini van and my  holiday started.

People go to Siem Reap to see Angkor Wat, to have a cruise on the Tonlesap Lake, to visit Kulen Mountain and usually leave after few days. I didn't do any of these things this time. I was solely interested in catching up with the friends who are still living in the town, eating food, resting at the pool and indulging guiltlessly in the sun with a colourful alcoholic beverage in my hand. And in this I succeeded.

Siem Reap is an interesting place when it comes to the expat population. People from all over the world come and settle down here. Some of them start businesses: restaurants, hotels, guesthouses, many of them work for NGOs and local schools. There is also a small population of those who professionally do nothing but enjoy the sun and the slow paced life. On a small area one can meet people from all over the world though I have a feeling that the place has been traditionally colonized (wink, wink) by the French and the English. I know also some Americans, Italians, Canadians and Russians, Australians but not as many. As for the Polish, I think, though I might be wrong, that I was the only expat from Poland at that time. I'm wondering if there's anybody from Poland living in SR now. I would say that though small, Siem Reap is quite cosmopolitan, as much as a town like this can be anyway.

I thought that being in Siem Reap will be like going back in time. Same places, same people. Same same - old good and known. And yes in a way it is. The town has changed but for me it's still Siem Reap and I know what to expect from it: nagging from tuk-tuk drivers, endless offers of massage, streets full of food and souvenirs - regular stuff. This hasn't changed. But it's not all this that makes Siem Reap such an important place to me. It's people and their lives which have changed in many ways over the years. Businesses have got closed or expanded, friendships have fallen apart, new marriages have been concluded, some have dissolved. Children who I remember in their diapers have grown. Some of our friends have left us forever. Some people have decided to leave Siem Reap and go back home or settle down somewhere else. There's this lovely English couple who have lived in the town for many years now and who literally adopted me when I first came to Cambodia. I consider them my Cambodian family: they never turned their backs on me; they have always been willing to help me when in need. Lovely people, fantastic friends to many expats in the town. Annie and Dennis are also moving away. This is a huge loss for the community and for me - going back to SR will never be the same knowing that they won't be there. A great loss for the SR community but I cross my fingers that they will be ridiculously happy where they are heading.

I left Siem Reap this morning a bit sad. I will miss the mayhem of the town, the quizzes hosted by Curt at the Warehouse and the monthly quiz at the Rosy's. Guest house which regularly gathers friends around a charity quiz table.  I'm just now missing a karaoke event which I know is great... I will be missing bumping onto people I know, which in Bangkok is impossible even if I knew much more people than I do because BKK is such a sprawled monster of a city. I’m leaving my SR community happy that I have seen people in good shape and health and with hope that those who struggle with anything will find their ways. I wish you all the best and looking forward to seeing you again.




















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26.02.2013

Airports


I love airports. When I go to an airport it's a promise that I'm going somewhere. Probably somewhere exciting. A promise of the new. I'm carrying my bag or suitcase happy and excited, except on those occasions when I want to stay but I can't for this or other reason (I will never forgive you, Canada). I love airports. Check in. Is my life I'm carrying too heavy? Will I have to leave even more behind? Passport, lagguage tag. My earthly possessions disappearing on the conveyor and from now on their own trip in the belly of the plane. I love airports. The security procedures and grumpy officers who will  never smile and want me to believe that the success of my trip depends on their permission to leave. Take off your jacket, take off your shoes, belt, socks, and what not.  Empty the pockets, please leave the lighter.  Quick, quick. Coins, keys, computer, Ipod, Ipad, Iphone. I’ll phone when I land, on the other side. Socks. Beeep. Step aside. Off you go. Duty free. I’m duty free, tax free, on the land that belongs to nobody. Unbearably light. I love airports. Delayed flights, hours spent sleeping on  hard benches. Paperback books. The Economist. People watching. Shops with too expensive souvenirs, ugly postcards... thimbles, which She will never receive. I love airports. Nervous people, praying Jews, screaming children. Last calls. I love you too. I will see you soon, or never again. The plane is ready to board, please prepare your boarding cards and passports. Boarded. Find a seat. Fasten your seatbelt. The emergency procedure is in front of me, the airport is behind. The point of departure, the new one is ahead. Engines on, taxiing, taking off... I have left another one I love behind.

12.01.2013

After Suicide

This is a message to anybody who has lost somebody to suicide, who is mourining after the death of a close relative and would like to know how to go about the process. This message is also for those who  know somebody who is struggling at the moment after the suicide in the family and would like to help to relief the pain but don't know how.

I experienced this after suicide darkness first hand in my closest family not that long time ago. I know what it's like to be faced with something that is bigger than anything else you have encountered in life. I know what it means to feel guilty and go through what ifs and whys. I know the pain and the struggle with them. I know and I understand. I know the fear. The fear about your own sanity, I know the fear of being judged and rejected by the society. The topic of suicide isn't often discussed in open and more often than not, people are left alone with their pains and broken hearts.

I don't claim that I have answers to all questions but I certainly have some suggestions about how to get helped and how to go through the time in your life that seems like the world's worst hell.

What is even more important, I have a message for everybody. A good and a positive message: YOU CAN GO BACK TO LIFE AFTER SUCH A LOSS.  Losing a family member or a close friend to suicide doesn't mean the world has come to the end and your life has stopped. It means that you have stayed and have a choice of either fall into despair or fight for yourself. From day one, I have chosen to fight and I'm still chosing it. I knew that I have to face this monster and tame it. Because you CAN!!!

I know how important it is to have understanding people around when going through the process of mourning, especially after a suicidal, unexpected, vilolent death. The death which is different from other deaths. Your family can be of help, but they are mourning themselves and healing their woudns so it's better to look for a conversation among people who have already done some mourning work and who can relate.  It is crucial to meet/connect with such people so that  you don't feel alone and isolated. Certainly it's difficult to talk about it but you will have to. After a while you will realize that you are not isolated and there are  MANY people out there who have been through a similar patch in life and who have survived and are doing well.Even for a second don't allow yourself to think you are alone in your pain. We, the Survivors, are with you. I am with you.

The pain stays forever but you can learn how to live with it and how to live to the fullest. It is entirely up to you and how you will approach the problem. I have decided to fight for myself!

If you need to talk about your loss and would like to know what to do to get better or if you know somebody who is struggilng at the moment, tell them to write to me. I will share my story and I will try to help.

My email address is: camboadventure@gmail.com






Joel Osteen

A very good friend of mine, a very important person in my life now told me about Joel Osteen three days ago. I had never heard of the man. I opened a Youtube link and started watching. And I watched three minutes and in these three minutes I formulated some strong opinions about Joel Osteen. Negative ones. I saw this large congregation od thousands of people listening to this minister who looked like taken out from the cover of Success magazine, a business person rather than a pastor. And these thounsands of people gathered: I thought, these masses who need somebody to tell them what to do. I listened more: the preaching of success, with God involed in it. Yes, you can! God loves you! Blah, blah, blah... I thought. And I didn't like the seeing the Bible and all this talk about Jesus and how he's there to save me, and help me, and do everything for me if I only will admit that he is my Lord. Ohhhh, maybe in next life will I do that, I thought. And then I thought that for sure Joel Osteen doesn't preach for free and surely he must be earning quite a penny running this church business and I wanted to convince myslef that he cannot be genuine in his ceremons. All these thoughts appeared in the duration of three to five minutes. I found a documentary about the Lakewood church in whci h they criticize Osteen and his teachings and I thought I was ready to tell my good freind: yes, yes... all good with this Joel guy but this, but that and this is not good, that is not good. I was ready to be smart, smart in my own eyes.

Today something changed. First of all I remembered what I did when the time was really rough last year - I prayed. A lot actally. And maybe I didn't pray to Jesus but nevertheless I prayed to something bigger than me and sked for it's help. I used words god, I remember and I also recall that my prayers gave me relief. I pray to an unnamed god, Osteen prays to Jesus. Effectively we both do the same. I thought: actually I don't care who is his god because that's not important at all. The important message is what Osteen says.

When it comes to his looks - yes, he has a big Hollywood smile. What's wrong with that?  His suits are  probably exopensive but his shopping decisions are none of my business after all. His wife is blond and looks like a doll but that also should not bother me. And that he makes money out of his church, which I don't know if is true, well, a man has to live. None of my business. My only business is to decide if I'm taking what he says and what I'll do with it.


If someone is interested here is a link to a very good cermon.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gpka0r75HNo