September becomes October

September becomes October

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.


I went to the bookstore (księgarnia) today and bought a calendar and a day-planner that appears to be for a teacher, since its dates star in Sept. and end in Aug.

"Kto życia nie ceni, nie wart go." —Leonardo da Vinci

This is a quote at the top of one of the pages in my day-planner, and I translate it to mean "He who lives without values has no worth." —Leonardo da Vinci.

Some of Pastor Kris' friends from Germany came to dinner. Discussion was lively and in three languages. I was able to follow about 5% of the talking when it was in Polish or German. Still, the food was good, and it was mostly fun.

Tomorrow, we will visit Ostróda and observe the English Language College there. I look forward to meeting the pastor of Ostróda and viewing the textbooks.

I also hope to get my laptop on AC tomorrow. I feel naked without it.


The visit to Ostróda was good.

The church in Ostróda is huge. I think my sanctuary might fit in the center section, even without removing the balconies. It was built in 1907, if I remember correctly, by a German congregation. Above each entrance is the German phrase for "God bless you."

The pastor at Ostróda is very nice. He is eager to be helpful, and he sent a chalkboard back with us. I hope I don't develop the allergy to chalk dust my mother has.


After lunch, I was walking back to my room. I caught sight of the lake, and it looked beautiful. I started toward the edge, thinking I would gaze across the water, but rain drops began falling, so I turned and ran to the parsonage instead. Now, as I look out my window, not five minutes later, I see the wind blowing the trees, but I see no rain.

I wonder if I brought Florida's fickle weather with me.


Pastor Kris and I sat in the class room tonight and prayed.

We prayed for God to bless the school and the class room, and to help me be a good teacher and witness.

I prayed in English, and Pastor Kris prayed in Polish. God is awesome. He speaks both languages fluently. He speaks all languages fluently.


I did some writing today. It wasn't much, because I need to take a shower, but it feels good to be writing, and I am glad I am able to write. I think I had an irrational fear I might have lost my touch.

I guess maybe I am feeling inadequate and useless. I know that I am inadequate on my own merits, but I am not useless. I guess I just feel I am not earning my keep. I know that will change soon, but not soon enough to suit my impatient spirit. I want to get busy.

I feel tense and irritable even though my behaviour is patient and jovial, and that not strained. I did take advantage of the humidity (it rained) by killing several flies. Mwuahaha.


I'm feeling much better today.

I am teaching Pastor Kris to play chess.

He has picked up the game pretty well from the start, though he has not yet beaten me.

I am also teaching his older daughter to play, but since I haven't managed to translate the rules, she is having difficulty in picking it up.


I have started playing chess as a teacher, showing Pastor Kris alternate moves and consequences of moves. He gave me a run for my money the second game we played today. He is really beginning to understand the strategy of the game. It won't be long, I think, before I am able to play at my best. He may become a better chess player than I am.

The class room currently contains tables in the shape of a U, a dozen or so chairs, two bookcases, a chalkboard (which is covered with diagrams explaining chess moves), and an empty bulletin board.

I mentioned that I would buy some pants on Monday, and Pastor Kris brought me some clothes to try on. Most of it fit, so I won't be buying clothes right away. He is very generous.

I wrote a whole scene in my novel today!


Here are some Polish words for you.

Table : stół : stew

Chair : krzesło : k shess - woe

Glass : szklanka : sh klahn - kuh

Mug : kubek : koo - beck

Cup : filiżanka : fill - ee - zh ahn - ka

Big spoon/small spoon : łyżka/łyżeczka : wizh - ka/wih - zhech - ka

Not knowing very much of the language has strengthened my belief that I must be able to talk to my friends. If we have nothing to talk about, our friendship will be weak. It will fall apart.

We hung Old Glory in the classroom today, and I went over some words with the Kopacz family. I learned present simple declination of regular -ać verbs.

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Classroom; Old Glory.


Three people took their placement exams today. One of them was disappointed with the results because he had studied English for five years and thought his score would be higher.

I was sorry he hadn't gotten as much out of the time as he expected.

I learned past and future tenses for regular -ać verbs.


Oy! Adam, the other English teacher, came over from Ostróda, and together we graded 38 placement tests.

We also hashed out a tentative schedule for the classes. I'll be teaching one level III class, two level IV classes, and a level V class. I also have two students who will be studying a higher level.

I'll also be assisting in the public school for a conversational English class. I may also teach a lesson a week in the dorm, but I haven't decided on that, yet.

I'm very tired from grading all those tests.

Tonight, I will wash some clothes. I will wash my whites by hand, and the pastor's wife will wash the shirts and trousers, or maybe I will wash them with the machine. I'm not sure which.


I've just returned from two hours of work. I whites. Yes, that's all. I washed them by hand. I do mean /by hand/. I'd put half my clothes into hock to get my hands on a washboard, and I'd trade my glasses for a washing machine about now.

Actually, a washing machine isn't that expensive over here. Only about 900-1000 zł ($225-$250) for a low-end model (My mother will appreciate that, if no one else does. We priced washing machines recently). Anyway, my whites are now on the drying rack Pastor Kris brought me, my back and knees hurt from stooping over two small tubs, and my hands are red (but my fingernails are immaculate).

Maybe I'll take pictures next time... Anyone want a job washing clothes?

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This is Pastor Kris's chapel in Ilawa.


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