Professor

Professor

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.

2002/10/21

Today, I got up early and did an 8:10 conversational English lesson. It was pretty good for about half an hour. After that, the students were bored with the topic I had been given: Famine.

So, I went to Q&A. This went pretty well. One of the students asked me my opinion of American schools, which I gave.

I spoke with Adam this evening. I will be adding a homework grade to the grading scheme, and we have decided on 5-6 vocabulary tests. I think I will put some good words on the test along with the ones mentioned in the books. Words like pet peeve, obfuscation, and inconjurative. *grin*

By the way (and this isn't the source of those words, but) I bought a dictionary while we were in Olsztyn. It's a big, thick Oxford English dictionary with no words missing. It is copacetic.

The system at the school was down last week, so I haven't gotten to talk to their sysadmin about connecting to their network. The administrators of the school seem to have no problem with my accessing the internet through their system, which would be a great help, as I could access larger things I have avoided to keep from giving my host a heart attack at bill time.

I am having trouble with my sinuses, probably from both airborne particulate and from the temperature, which has dipped into the bitter zone. My post nasal drip has Kris convinced I am ill, but I feel healthy, aside from the terrible pressure in my face and the slight irritation of my throat, so my diagnosis is the usual annoyance and not any illness. I deduce that I have managed to avoid catching whatever the nearby children had. P.S.: I have only received three pieces of mail from the States. If you want to write to me, don't hesitate. *smile*

2002/10/22

I feel very busy. I'll probably write some letters Friday night and mail them on Saturday... maybe.

I arrived in Poland one month ago today (and I got a letter today. I also got a postcard that looked as though it had been to Afghanistan en route (but it was legible)).

2002/10/24

Today, I did another conversation class in the school. It went very well, which surprised me, because we did Q&A instead of one of the topics on my list. When I arrived at the school, the teacher told me the students wanted to ask their questions rather than talk about a set topic.

They were interested in American schools, workforce, and interests. They also were interested in famous Polish people who were known in the US. I told them I was familiar with the name Roman Polanski, that anime and manga are big in the US, and several things about my interests.

I am very busy during my classes, and I wish I had more time to spend on the lessons, because the semester is very short, and I'm having to do half a unit every class. Oy!

I hope I can do some writing tonight and write some letters tomorrow.

2002/10/25

Oy! I did get a lot of writing done last night. I think it was last night, anyway.

I wrote two letters this morning and mailed them. Tomorrow I will try to write to some of the people I knew from way back when. I am finding it difficult to find time to write letters, but I am determined to do it.

Email and Web site are nice, but they're not the same as a letter.

I hope we get our teaching materials by Monday, because I'm not keen on the prospect of writing tests, and we need to have one on Wednesday and Thursday.

The trees here are filled with yellow and gold and red, and the leaf fall is so thick, I am amazed the surface of the lake is not covered with them. A crew was clearing them a day or two ago, and you wouldn't guess it by looking now.

2002/10/26

More Polish words:

Floor (of a room) : podłoga : pod - woe - guh

Ceiling : sufit : soo - feet

Wall (interior) : ściana : sh chahn - uh

Carpet/Rug : dywan : div - ahn

Room : pokój : po - koowee

Bedroom : sypialnia : sih - pyahl - nyuh

Kitchen : kuchnia : kookh - nyuh

Bathroom : łazienka : wuh - zhen - kuh

Cellar : piwnica : piv - nee - tsuh

I think it might be time to just mention a few of the things I miss from home. I haven't mentioned this before because it just hasn't been high on my priorities to miss things. Ludicrous. How can a man decide whether or not to miss something? I am reminded of a story about a group travelling through the desert. One man was a guest, and he kept asking the man next to him: "Aren't you hungry? We haven't eaten in a very long time." To which the other always replied: "No. I am not hungry." When they reached the other side of the desert, a feast awaited them. The guest noticed that the man who wasn't hungry was eating with great fervor. He commented on this, and the man replied: "It wouldn't have done any good to be hungry where there was no food." Perhaps this is possible and perhaps that is possible. There are some things I do miss with a real ache.

The thing I miss the most, I must admit, is macaroni and cheese. I had some a few days before I left, because I knew I would miss it. The thing I miss most often, however, is the music I left behind. I would like to hear the soundtrack to /Les Miserables/, especially since I'm plowing through the book, and I keep getting snatches of /Phantom of the Opera/ in my head, so I wouldn't mind hearing that, too. I also miss having people to talk to; not talk about things, but just sit and talk. I miss having my bookshelf within easy reach.

Is there anything I don't miss? Well, I can't think of anything at the moment that I am glad I don't have.

I had an interesting thought several days ago about missing things. I used to tell people that I'm the type of person who doesn't 'miss' people. Now, I'm not sure that's correct. When people say they miss something, do they mean that they have an ache and a strong desire that someone or something was near, or do they merely mean that they thought of something or someone and weren't able to see or speak with them?

If it is the latter, there are many things I miss in that sense. I miss being able to talk with my friends. I miss listening to talk radio. I miss renting movies (though I can't for the life of me think when I'd watch them). I miss italian food. I miss T-Jay and Miracle. I miss driving (though I wouldn't want to do it here). I miss everyone at my church. I miss working on disaster response teams. I miss talking on the phone. These are all things I miss in that sense.

Aside of that sense, though, I think I am that hardy variety of person who is able to do without almost anything. There are some things I wish I had, like macaroni and cheese, and some things I don't know how I'd do without, like my laptop, but the vast majority of conveniences, relationships, and objects are do-without-able. They're not expendable (I do want them to be here), but I can manage (to varying degrees) without them.

Is that admirable, or is it bad? Either way, it's how I am, and I don't see any way of changing it. By the way, I wrote about 2400 words tonight. Yay, me!

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Yours truly in front of the chalkboard.

 

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