The great passion
Some of the most delightful people we have met live in Nesodden. Meet the small, happy Polish family consisting of Paulina, Leszek and Aleksander, who loves watching airplanes!Have you ever wondered how you will spend your Sunday? This is not something Paulina, her husband, Leszek, and their boy Aleksander, have to think about. They know exactly how they will spend their Sunday. This is because the entire family is passionate about airplanes – they are what is known as “plane spotters” – they love watching and studying planes, and everything that has to do with planes. A trip to Gardermoen to watch planes is the highlight of the weekend, and a social activity the family takes great pleasure in doing.
- The only thing that can stop us from traveling to Gardermoen is the weather. If it’s very foggy and poor visibility, we won’t see the planes properly, explains Paulina.
- We have a meeting point just outside the airport, where we stand together with other plane enthusiasts and study the planes that are landing and taking off. There’s actually a fairly large community for such an “odd” interest, but at Gardermoen we meet many of the regulars, and it’s social and pleasant.
CAPTAIN ALEKSANDEROn the weekends, when they are unable to visit the airport, they spend a lot of time studying planes on various television programmes and via live broadcasts on social media, where other plane enthusiasts from round the world report from various airports.
If a special type of plane will be landing somewhere, there is added excitement in the home. They also have a large collection of model aircraft in the home, which Leszek spends a lot of time working on. He is a car mechanic by profession and good with technical things. Their son, Aleksander, is only 9 years old, but has long since decided to become a pilot.
Paulina and Leszek naturally think this is a good idea, and are doing everything they can in order to cultivate the boy’s interest. Aleksander’s development was delayed in his initial years, and the doctors and physiotherapists never discovered the cause of this. But they believed that he would never be completely healthy and normal. Miraculously, he began walking and talking after three-four years, and look at him now! Completely healthy, active and energetic. He’s doing great in school and is allowed to be the “substitute teacher” once a month.
But he’s not fond of football and such things. He prefers to study theoretical and technical things. Planes is the great passion, but dinosaurs are also high on the list!
- The only thing that can stop us from traveling to Gardermoen is the weather. If it’s very foggy and poor visibility, we won’t see the planes properlyWhile we are sitting and having a conversation with Paulina in the living room, Aleksander arrives home from school. He is just as outgoing as his mother, and immediately invites the photographer up to his room to show off his flight simulator.
It is a realistic and highly advanced computer software with an accompanying wide screen and other equipment. Aleksander practices taking off and landing every day and knows words and concepts by heart. Altitude, visibility, cabin pressure, weather and wind conditions. “This is your Captain speaking”.
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHTIt was love that brought Paulina to Norway, but not because she had fallen in love with a Norwegian. She met her Leszek already at the age of 17. By chance, they were in the same shop in their home town of Wielki Garc – an urban area not too far from the major city of Gdansk – on notable date 11 September 2001. In the middle of the shopping trip, the horrible images from New York appeared on a television on the wall, and they stood side by side talking about the attack on the World Trade Center.
It felt natural to talk to each other. Everyone was in shock. Oddly enough, it was love at first sight between Leszek and I, and not long after we became a couple. He was 25, but I knew that this was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
My dad let me travel on one condition: That I pass all my examsAt the time, Leszek already had family members who lived in Norway and who worked in various professions, and it was on the cards that he, too, would one day try his luck in the Norwegian labour market.
We had been together for two years when Leszek suddenly one day told me he was moving to Norway, and that he wanted me to join him. This was two days before final exams in school, and everything felt very chaotic.
My dad let me travel on one condition: That I pass all my exams. And I did!
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HIGHS AND LOWSDuring the first years in Norway, life was up and down for the young couple, with insecurity, odd jobs and poor living conditions.
I did not have enough money for Norwegian language classes. Instead, I had to learn the language by reading magazines and newspapers and by watching television. Luckily, I understood English and German, two languages that are somewhat similar to Norwegian. Already after half a year, I began speaking Norwegian.
It was very challenging for Leszek also.
He took odd jobs in the construction industry and worked long days. But he was optimistic and always said: “We just need to hold on, and things will get better in time”.
I did not have enough money for Norwegian language classes.In 2006, Leszek finally got a permanent position. The year after, Paulina also got a job and their circumstances began to improve.
We moved out of the small den we were renting in Ensjø, and found a bigger place in Nesodden. We are very happy here in rural surroundings. At first, I worked in a cafeteria in Fornebu, but already after two-three months, I was put in charge of a coffee shop. The couple married in the summer of 2007, and in 2009 Aleksander was born.
I had to quit work to devote myself one hundred percent to Aleksander, because of the challenges during the first years of his life. I don’t regret it, even though it did affect plans for studies and job opportunities. I had commenced legal studies, but had to quit in order to devote my time to Aleksander.
He is the most important thing in our lives. Due to the economic downturn, Leszek also lost his job during these years, and life took a darker turn.
- When Leszek was unemployed and receiving assistance from the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV), I went to a garage here in Nesodden and convinced them to give him a traineeship.But Paulina is not the kind of person who gives up. The impossible is possible, as long as you keep your head up and face your problems. She compares life to the physical requirements for a large and heavy plane.
When you look at the large machines, you think “how is it possible for that thing to fly up in the air?”, but they do! Engineers have had to put in a lot of work and overcome great trials, with highs and lows, before finally figuring out how to make it work. When Leszek was unemployed and receiving assistance from the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV), I went to a garage here in Nesodden and convinced them to give him a traineeship.
They thought I was from NAV since I spoke such good Norwegian, and they agreed! Working as a mechanic was what he really wanted to do. After a while, the garage realised that he was skilled and hard working, so they give him a permanent job.
FROM FEAR OF FLYING TO PLANE ENTHUSIASTAleksander was also steadily improving, which allowed Paulina to apply for work again. She was given a permanent position in a grocery store in 2011, and with secure finances, they purchased their own home two years later – a pleasant terraced house with a lawn. We are happy and content with life and what we have achieved. We came here empty handed and now we have a home, a mortgage, jobs and everything else you need in life.
We speak on the phone every weekend, since that’s when we have plenty of time. Mum enjoys using Facetime, so she can see us, and so we purchase large data packages in our subscription with MyCallPaulina has a lot say and is easy to talk to. She shares her thoughts on how Norwegians can be a bit cold and reserved, and take a while to get to know properly. She also talks about her parents, who are now retired and living a relaxed life in Poland.
We speak on the phone every weekend, since that’s when we have plenty of time. Mum enjoys using Facetime, so she can see us, and so we purchase large data packages in our subscription with MyCall. We also use a lot of data when we are out plane spotting and want to share the experience on social media.
My sister and her family also live in Poland. We travel home a few times a year, and the great interest in flying is something we developed when Aleksander was small and completely consumed by the notion of flying. For him it was like a little adventure every time we got in a plane. We travelled with Ryanair to save money, and Aleksander was so happy every time he got a little model plane, which they distributed to the children.
Personally, I had a fear of flying as a child, and suddenly became anxious since we were traveling with Aleksander. But he has converted both me and Leszek with his joy, and since then I have become interested in physics and my husband is interested in engineering and mechanics, so plane spotting quickly became our big hobby. Paulina is also passionate astrophotographer, and likes to study the stars and take wonderful pictures.Aleksander and Leszek are also somewhat interested in this, but they’re more interested in rockets and spaceships, than planets and moons, hehe.
In any case, our motto is to always try to be strong and positive, and that having a passion makes life more fun!