First Days

First Days

Tree with shadow, words on Polish flag: S-cray-oh-la in Poland

Welcome to my Poland section. I made this section to show my friends and my church the things I learned, observed, and thought during the preparation and process of my trip to Poland to teach English for a year.

2002/09/24

I will be eating most of my meals at the dormitory across the street. Friday dinner and Saturday and Sunday, I will have to fix my own meals. I like this arrangement. I am eating what is in front of me and enjoying it. All the food is pleantiful and excellent.

I am learning a few words of Polish.

Pastor Kopacz showed me around the town, and there is much that I was told that was untrue. There are no less than four bankomat machines in town, the weather hasn't yet turned very cold (it's in the forties, I think), and soccer is not the only sport in Europe.

I watched a table tennis tournament today. Not only was the play exceptional (the players got very athletic about it), but the fans were excited, too.

I looked down from the balcony and saw a large cluster of people wearing red and white shirts so that the bleachers looked like a large Polish flag, and some of the spectators had even painted the flag across their faces. The Polish beat the opposing team (from a town in Germany, if I remember correctly) handily, not that the tournament was easy. Three matches to zero, although the matches were generally mixed, with few, if any, matches won three sets to zero.

I plan to go to Warsaw on Thursday to observe the English Language Club there.

The club is an extension of the school. It is run by Bishop Puślecki's niece. They will discuss various things in English to practice the skills they acquired in the college. I think I remember her telling me that people who are not enrolled could come, too. I, of course, will be an exception in any case.

P.S. If any of you have some elementary level reading books or otherwise easy books, I could use some. Magazines would also be appreciated. Either way, they should be in English, so that the students can practice with them.

2002/09/25 through 27

25: Relaxed today.

26: Today, I met the director of the school near my lodging. After lunch, I took a train to Warsaw.

The ride was pleasant, about two and a half hours long, and I arrived in Warsaw without incident.

The bishop's niece and I talked for a little while and then went to the English club meeting.

The meeting was enjoyable. There were six people in attendance, all told. We discussed different subjects, including a quote one of the members had brought.

After the meeting, the bishop's niece and I went down the street for Chinese take-away, which we took up to her apartment. After dinner and an enjoyable conversation, I went down to my room and slept.

27: I bought some musli and milk (mleko) at the shop around the corner from the offices and ate in my room. What followed was very good exercise as I walked around Warsaw with the bishop's niece. I registered my presence in the country at the American embassy and looked for some new pants, since the ones I had packed were slightly uncomfortable. I never found the pants, but the day was good. I picked up a set of books to help me learn Polish. I was looking for a few other things, but I don't think I found any of them. We ate lunch at Pizza Hut (Some cultural experience, neh?). Things in Warsaw are very expensive (but the books were VERY reasonably priced).

As we headed for the train station, our cab got stuck in traffic, and I missed my train. It cost me an hour and about $2.50 to catch the next train, but I wasn't upset by this. I enjoyed the whole trip, but I was glad to get back to Iława.

I learned a lot during my trip back to Warsaw, and I now have much to consider regarding this country. Perhaps I will elaborate at another time.

2002/09/28

Today, there will be a wedding. Pastor Kris says I may go or not go; my choice. I don't think I will go. I don't know anyone in the wedding party, and I probably won't even know what is happening.

I intend to spend the day learning more Polish.

This morning, I switched off my alarm. I see now that only 45 minutes passed before Pastor Kris knocked on my door, but I had a dream, and it seemed much longer.

In my dream, I thought I was back in the US. I thought my mom was knocking on the door, but I remembered where I was. I had overslept, and I had to dress quickly. One of the lace guides on my newer white Reeboks broke! It wasn't very old or very much used. Bleah!

Lunch was excellent. I have asked for the recipe. It was cold pasta and a hot sauce, such that you could eat it soon without burning your mouth, and boy, was it good! Mmmmm!

...

Pastor Kris invited me to come to the wedding again, so I did. During most of the service, I was lost, only understanding a word here and there. I had to fight to keep my mind on the present and the sounds which were all but meaningless to my ears, though I knew they held profound meaning to those who understood.

This must be (aside from sleep debt) why some people fall asleep during sermons. They have only a vague idea what is being said.

Don't laugh!

My problem was possibly embarassing my gracious host. Those who know the language but nod from boredom have a much larger problem. They face the chilling possibility of hearing the icy, burning words, "Depart from me, for I never knew you."

After the service, we went across the street to a reception. There was only one toast, so I only had a small sip of the champagne (I had a 1/4 glass, and I didn't wish to drink more, so I was rationing myself).

image description follows:

Lake Jeziorak. This is the lake near my school.

 

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