360 degrees

This is the view from the roof of my block of flats back in my home town. I filmed it in September. Next time, I want to film something similar but from the clock tower at Town Hall. The view will be much more interesting: Teutonic Knights castle ruins, two lakes, main roundabout which you can’t see in this video.

the end of 2012

The last two months of 2012 weren’t particularly exciting. In the second half of November, I went to Poland to spend my birthday with my parents. We went for dinner to a restaurant which took part in Kuchenne Rewolucje reality show, which is the Polish version Britain’s Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares and America’s Kitchen Nightmares. The restaurant is close to my home town and there was a lot of buzz around it in local newspapers, so I wanted to see what it was all about. The food was delicious and we were already full after starters! I really recommend it. It’s name’s Karczma Lesniczanka and it’s an inn, so you can stay there overnight if you’re not from the neighbourhood.


For the whole December I was in the Christmasy mood, because of decorations in my cafe where I worked, the music playing on and customers being friendly and kind. I didn’t even mind that I would have to stay in London during holidays, because the shop was closed only for Christmas Day. Only one person from the staff could take a few days off and it wasn’t me (later that person who got time off got sick while on holiday and delayed her return plus one more team member got sick as well and it made the rest of the team lives miserable during the Christmas season which made me start thinking about quitting that job).

My sister and friends went to Poland for Christmas, so in the second half of December I moved to my friends’ apartment to house-sit and look after my sister’s cats. I spent Christmas Eve with my housemates where I rent my room. We had a little piece of Polish Christmas on our table and it was delicious, but the rest of my time this was my asylum. Don’t feel sorry for me, because I really enjoyed this quiet time after busy days at work. Is there anything more relaxing than having a cat sleeping next to you on your big desk?


At the end of December, my sister came back and we spent the New Year’s Eve at our friends’ in Farnborough, near London. I had an amazing time. After late dinner we set up a bonfire and at midnight we watched something like Chinese lamps flying up in the air in the distance.

On the next day I had to be back at work. With a small hangover, big staff shortage with so many customers (it was mental! never seen that shop so busy since I had started working there) and my manager panicking and really not helping with his behaviour, somehow I managed to survive that day, but then I decided to change my job. When my sister had told me that they may need more staff in her shop during the next big exhibition at the Royal Academy, I was hesitating, because I felt comfortable at PAUL. But after that New Year’s Day, I was ready to go.

The RA shop job was only weekend gigs till April and I was hoping that I would be able to work at PAUL during week days (I did like working there and the people after all) and have weekends off. My manager didn’t agree for this kind of deal with me, so I decided to take a risk, leave PAUL, start working just at weekends and find something part-time in the meantime. At the end of January, I started working for the RA and at the beginning of February, I left my cafe.

And that’s how I finally reached 2013 in my blog updates and new chapters of my journey. Time to open champagne! 😀


I spent two weeks in my home town. If I stayed longer, I wouldn’t want to leave, because it was still my holiday and going back to the UK meant that I seriously should start looking for a job. I already felt that London is now the place where I live and Poland is just for holidays.

Almost every day I was visiting my grandma and then my best friend. I wish I could show you photos with snow but unfortunately, there was no such thing in Szczytno while I was there. It started to snow when I left. Usually, my days were grey and rainy. But I had fun. I met up with my radio partner and we had one-off show one Monday. It was great to be back on air. I even had a go with switching all the buttons! However, most of the photos below are from Wielka Orkiestra Świątecznej Pomocy (the link to the website in English). It’s a charity action organized in the whole country every year on the second Sunday of January. Plenty of all day events take place around Poland, volunteers collect on streets, there are many things auctioned and the money goes to the charity which then it’s spent on the equipment for hospitals to help children with different diseases. Some right wing politicians accuse Jurek Owsiak, the founder of WOŚP, of being a secular saint. Who cares? The most important thing is that the money he’s collected for the last 20 years has saved many young lives. Every year the money gets bigger and bigger and this year they’ve collected over PLN 40 mln which is about USD 12 mln.

I can’t believe I was 14 when the Orchestra started to play for the first time!

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Oh, and there are also photos of my two cats. I really miss them. 😦

I came back to London on 14th January hoping to see Coriolanus and then participate in a Q&A with Ralph Fiennes. But Ralph let me down. He had to go to New York and cancelled the Q&A. I would have stayed in Szczytno longer if I had known about it earlier. But I’m here now and for the last week I was staying home and emailing my CVs and covering letters to different places: museums, cafes, even schools. And when I was getting bored, tired and discouraged, my friend asked me if I was looking for something specific or I would be happy with anything. I said that anything is fine as long as it’s legal and I can pay back my debts first and then save something. So he just made one call and I’m starting a 2 day training in a hotel tomorrow. Yeah, I heard that hotels are tough work but I wouldn’t be a true immigrant if I didn’t try it, would I? Maybe I’ll be more determined to find something better than this after a couple of weeks, because at the moment I got really lazy.

I need a small kick in my butt.

home again

I guess the best way for me to travel is to travel alone without waiting for anyone. Finally, I’m in my home town in Poland. I flew from London Luton to Poznań on Friday 30th December, stayed at my brother’s one night and took a train the next day. I feel like I’d never left this place. Many things have changed back at home and yet all stayed the same.

The lack of updates is not because nothing has been happening, but because I was on the road again and now I’m using my short visit to see my family and friends, and some students. Everyone wants to see my photos and there are thousands of them, so I need to make a selection, which is timeconsuming.

How was your New Year’s Eve? For me it was another change, because since I became Christian when I was 18, I always spent that night with my church, but this year nothing was organized, which is sad. I actually arrived in my town late afternoon on New Year’s Eve, so I just spent the rest of that day with my parents, then visited my grandma and after midnight I went to catch up with a good friend of mine.

Sometimes I wonder if there’s me – Sylwia in a different time continuum who didn’t go to New Zealand, still works at school, spent her Christmas with the family and NYE at church… and wonders what would have happened if she went to New Zealand in 2011…


I had my last radio show on local radio on Monday and on Wednesday was my last school board meeting I attended to. I’m quitting my jobs, closing everything down.

I got an eVisitor, a visa to Australia. That was very quick!
I bought an external hard drive, which should be very useful. It doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be very selective as far as taking photos is concerned.
I picked up my international driving license.
I got my Police Certificate.

These are all necessary things, but the biggest question is, where am I’m going to stay? It’s actually connected with a question, what am I going to be doing there? And then when it’s decided, I should look around for hostels. No time to wait and be picky.

I wanted to get a YHA card and went to a local tourist agency. A woman behind her desk shook her head and said with a resigned voice and great Polish accent the exact words, “Olsztyn City” (a town about 50 km from my hometown). Great, this is what I expected.

This is what I got from my fellow teachers. There are signatures from all of them on the other side.
Feel free to interpret it however you like! 🙂

I’m cleaning up my laptop to give it to the service. Oh, how I’ll be missing you!…

one month

Last Wednesday was the end of a school year and it marked the beginning of my last month in Poland. On 22nd July, I’m flying to London for a few days, then on 1st August I’m leaving Europe and flying to Australia for a month and on September 1st, the first day of school in my country, I’m landing in Auckland, New Zealand. I don’t have any plans except for watching live four rugby matches during the Rugby World Cup 2011.

I’m a horrible pessimist, so writing this schedule makes me scared that it won’t work out and I’ll be late for a plane or forget about some important documents and won’t be able to enter my “promised land”. Or something else. The possibilities are endless. BUT it works the other way too, that’s why we still leave our houses with hope that something good will happen to us…

…like these flowers from my students. I’ll be missing them. Not the flowers. The students.
Well, some of them.