Life in Poland

Mirror, mirror on the wall…

imageI am one of those rare women who is satisfied with her looks. Not that I am a beauty queen, far from it, but I’ve learned to live with and love what I’ve got.

I’m about average height and average weight. Well, that needs a disclaimer. In Poland I’m what you would consider normal but in America my friends say I’m super skinny and ask if we have food in Poland. One benefit is that I get all the good sales stuff at the Gap. Hey, somebody has to buy the size 0. I used to complain about my weight issues until I realized that I don’t have any, and then I shut my mouth.

My hair is dark brown, although about 10 years ago it was light brown and 10 years before that almost blonde. I haven’t started coloring my hair yet, but I think the time is rapidly approaching. I really don’t want to color my hair. It has nothing to do with ageing and vanity. I’m just lazy and it takes time. Also, I like my natural hair color and will be sad to never see it again.

I have an interesting eye color, or so I have been told, by people who are standing way too close to me in brightly lit places. That’s the only way you’d notice my interesting eyes because in regular light they just look brown. Brown eyes in Polish are called “piwny”. Piwo is beer, so I guess that’d make my eyes “beery”. Misiu’s ID says that he has piwny eyes tooimage except his eyes are quite another color, almost blue/grey. Maybe the lady at the ID office was a bit “beery” that day herself.

I used to get compliments on my complexion, but something has gone haywire with my hormones since Rosie was born, and it is reflected in my skin. I still get compliments on my teeth which are pretty straight (except that one wicky-wack tooth that gives me character), and they’re pretty white despite all the coffee I drink. My teeth must be nice because while giving birth to Rosie, the midwife looked up from between my legs where all the action was going on and said, “Wie Pani co? Pani ma bardzo ładne zęby”. (You know what ma’am? You have very nice teeth.) What else could I say but, “Dziękuję”. There is one small problem with my smile though – it comes with a slight underbite. Who knew that a few millimeters in the wrong direction could make such as difference? A slight overbite is cute and endearing. A slight underbite is masculine and frankly a bit scary. A lot of people say that they can hardly notice it. Those are the same people who will compliment your Mohawk 😉 I’m absolutely positive that it is noticeable. A few years ago I was really ill and went to a private hospital in Berlin. As soon as I stepped up to the reception desk, I was directed to the department of malocclusions (bite problems). That’s not what I was there for of course.

image I don’t have nice hands or feet and admire nice hands and feet of others. I don’t mean in a sick way, just in passing. I am convinced that I have weird legs, so that’s why you’ll rarely find me in a skirt these days. I do not have any fashion sense whatsoever. We can go to the same store and you’ll come out with 10 new outfits each one better than the last and I’ll come out with nothing, not even the new socks that I need so desperately because I have a severe shopping disability. Send help, please!

I have a lot of scars. The worst one’s are medical but the most numerous are, let’s say, kitchenal. Cooking and ironing are difficult and dangerous activities. I’m also ambidextrous. I write with my left hand, but do practically everything else with my right hand or with either hand. I use right-handed “normal” scissors, but in elementary school always got stuck with the “lefties” dumped on my desk. Being ambidextrous was great for freaking out the pitcher in baseball games in high school PE and is also useful if you have a boo boo on one hand. You can just use the other. I started out using the computer mouse in my left hand, but later I got too lazy to move the mouse to the other side and to change the “clickers”, so I just started to use my right hand. For fun, I recently tried to change back to the left, but I have lost my mouse dexterity completely in my left hand and am too impatient to exercise and get it back.

Basically, I look like my father. My father is quite a handsome man. He’s got a little of a Dustin Hoffman thing going on (but taller) so I guess that makes me Tootsie. Believe me when I tell you that it is not pleasant for a woman to be called handsome. We all know what it is code for. Even with all of that, how is it that I am satisfied with my looks? Well, first of all my parents prepared me for my looks. Not exactly for my looks, but they were preparing me for the family nose, my father’s nose. I remember when my cousin got the nose. Everyone at the family reunion commented that she had been such a lovely girl but then her nose started to grow and voila- behold the family nose and a miserable teenaged girl. My parents were probably awaiting the day that my nose would start to grow so they started preparing imageme for it, the family nose, at an early age. They repeated on a regular basis that it doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside, but it’s what’s inside that really counts, blah, blah, blah. Ad nauseam. It took me all these years to figure out that it really is true. And I didn’t get the family nose after all. I have my own nose which has got a little bump on it from a well-placed elbow of my opponent on the soccer field (football pitch), but I can live with that.

I guess I am satisfied with my looks because I know that it could be worse. A few years ago, I saw a young woman maybe about 20 years old visiting the City with her parents. She was trying to hide behind a scarf wrapped around her head and face, but there was no hiding her disfigurement. I suppose she was afflicted with the Elephant Man’s disease. More importantly, she was enjoying her visit, talking with her parents and smiling. From that day on, I swore that I would never complain about my looks ever again. And I’ve almost lived up to that promise.

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