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hello – by Justyna

6 Apr

The Polish language has a formal and an informal form of address. The word for the informal “hello” is cześć (I am devastatingly bad at phonetics, but I guess it would sound something like cheysht or even chaste (ha!)). Anyway, Poles like being formal to strangers even if they are roughly the same age. Which to my mind is ridiculous, having to address someone as Madam or Sir who happens to be 27 years old and looking after my kid in daycare. But that’s just a cultural thing I guess. I tend not to abide by it and skip the formality by quickly establishing first name basis by providing my own relaxed offer first, “I’m no madam, call me Justyna”. Or something to that effect. It’s a bit harder to convince three year olds to call me ‘you’ after being well trained by their parents to be polite. I’m a loose canon in their courtesy sphere. Anyway. There is one area of informality that is completely, culturally acceptable in Poland. And that’s out in the mountains. It’s one of my favourite interactions with strangers in this country. You trek through and you come across a stranger and you greet one another with the informal ‘cześć’, even if the oncoming stranger happens to be in their seventies and probably in every day life finds the informal address as a sign of a deteriorating world. But the mountains are a true egalitarian environment and we’re all mates in the wilderness. A lovely thought. Wish Poland was all mountains.

On a different hello note: hello! We’re in hospital for Easter!!

This could be a nice tidy post about the health care system in Poland, as in hello! Look what crod I have to put up with, type of a post. But I’m trying to be optimistic. Jules has pneumonia. Got sick from Kazek. Now me, the boob, and the three month old, are hospital bound. Apparently this will take a week. My mobile phone internet access won’t last that long. But today Michal is bringing me a portable wireless plug-in thingy, so I will not be going insane. My parents are driving down for Easter so I will also get some herring salad. My in-laws are going to visit me and Jules on Sunday so will be sorted out with cheesecake. Won’t be so bad.

Happy Easter everyone. May all your eggs be painted accordingly!!


Hello, my name is Beth and I’m addicted to communication

3 Apr

Hello! This is probably really boring for anyone else to read, but I used this week’s topic as an excuse to tally up all the phone and computerised communications I sent and received over a week. The results are a bit frightening.

Facebook & Twitter

  • I posted 11 photos/statuses/links
  • I made 39 comments on other people’s content, and ‘liked’ 77 pieces of others’ content
  • I sent 7 messages and received 10
  • Added 2 new friends (Hello Mischa!)
  • Therefore: initiated 136 pieces of communication
  • Received 184 comments/messages/likes on my content
  • Sent 1 tweet!
  • 322 total pieces of direct communication (not counting all the posts of others’ that I read but didn’t comment on or ‘like’

Email (not counting notifications, newsletters or anything sent by a robot)

  • 71 emails sent (40 of them work emails)
  • 97 emails received (50 work emails)

Phone (both mobile and home phone)

  • I made 17 phone calls
  • Received 17 calls
  • I sent 24 text messages and received 23

Total = 571 pieces of phone/electronic/social media communication. Average of 82 communications a day.


On a side note, yesterday Leo and were waving hello at the guy driving the council street-cleaning truck and he insisted we go over and take his banana from him. That’s good incentive for saying hello, huh.

Hello – by Tabitha

3 Apr

“Hello”, or rather, “Hellohellohellohellohello!” is something I hear often in Vietnam. In order of most helloness, I hear it from:

1. Small children

2. Grandparents making their grandchildren look at me

3. Male teenage motorbike parking attendants

4. Old motorbike taxi drivers

5. Construction site workers

I do not hear it from other Tays, due to the Unwritten Rule Regarding Tays Who See Other Tays, whereby Tays suss each other out a distance with great intensity but steadfastly refuse to acknowledge each others’ presence up close.

Because I am the recipient of so many “hellos”, it’s very confusing that the Vietnamese way of answering the phone is “a lô”, which sounds an awful lot like “hello”. The Vietnamese are a phone-loving people, and therefore say “a lô” a lot, often in traffic. And there I am, cheerfully saying “hello!” back at them when all they’re trying to do is take a phone call.

This reminds me of the sad, sad fact that English is one of the few languages in the world that doesn’t have a distinct greeting for answering the phone. If only we could be like the Japanese and pick up the phone with “Moshi moshi”. I can’t think of any better way to start a conversation.

Hello – by Karen

2 Apr

I am getting in early this week, because I know that with this topic, everyone will immediately think of posting about the creepiest music video of all time, Lionel Richie’s Hello.

Now feel free to correct me if I’ve wildly misinterpreted this work of art, because to the modern viewer (who I will define as anyone alive after its 1984 release year), it’s pretty hard to believe someone thought this was a good idea for a music video.

So we have Lionel Richie as a college (god, I hope it’s college) drama teacher, who obsessively stalks his BLIND female student, taking advantage of her disability to space out and perve at her during her performance exercises in his class. He then follows her down the corridors and even into her ballet class. He also makes anonymous phone calls to her HOME NUMBER at night. If you’re not shuddering yet, just imagine one of your uni professors in the role of Lionel.

Tension mounts at the apex of the clip, when a male peer of the girl rouses Lionel from one of his reveries with the phrase, “There’s something going on in the sculpture class. I think you ought to check it out”. Dear God!, you think, already creeped out by this stage, and not just by the song’s minor key. Is she self-immolating as a public protest? Has she gone on a shooting rampage because she just can’t take the harassment any more?! 

No. Lionel enters the room, and there is the girl, a glazed over look in her eyes and a clay model of his head on a plinth, eerily reminiscent of Victorian death masks.

Here it is, along with Benjamin Disraeli’s for good measure.

The 1st Earl of Deaconsfield

The 1st Earl of Easy Listening/Soul

Oh look, someone made it into a cake.

It pleases me a lot that this was actually created for a wedding.

Hello is a terrific word for songs. First of all, it grabs the attention. On top of that, it’s understood by people of all nationalities (does that partly explain this?) . There are a lot of good songs prominently featuring the word Hello, and to be fair, Lionel Richie’s number is a killer. But if you’re too creeped out by the video to ever enjoy Hello again, you can thank me later, while rocking out to Hello Hello:

A truly magnificent find that actually turned up on one of Finn’s Putamayo world music CDs, proving that children’s music isn’t 100 per cent torture. And look what delight I found posted below it:

Is that not truly definitive of what the Youtube comment has contributed to world discourse?