The Semester's End

The Semester's End

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.

2003/1/15

I saw the new Bond film, _Die_Another_Day_, tonight.

It was really great. I was upset, though, by how they treated the cars. In the opening scene, I was stunned when Bond shot a car with one of those huge guns. "Not the Porsche! Oooh!" I'd say more, but I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen the film yet. Ask me, though, if you want to hear the other comments I have about these things.

I must say, this evening has been really good for me. I really needed to get out and see a movie. I will say only three more things: If America's military strategists are as bad as those in the film, America is in trouble. Another thing is that I wonder if I'm the only one who thinks the Icarus satellite seemed disturbingly like the satellite in _Goldeneye_. Finally, I was rather disappointed by the "Bond gadgets warehouse" that the BBC hyped when it did a story on the film.

It was also very refreshing to be in a theater where the sound is not so overwhelming that one needs earplugs to enjoy the film. It was a little surreal to see the sub-sub-titles when the Koreans would speak Korean and have English subtitles and Polish subtitles beneath that.

I was directed by an usher into the balcony. I think the main floor was empty, and there were five of us in the balcony. So, that was my evening out. I got Chinese food earlier in the evening, and it was, as always, very good.

2003/1/18

The semester is almost over.

I spent this morning writing vocabulary tests, and this afternoon reading, writing, and answering emails.

This evening, I went to the theater and saw _No_Man's_Land_. I know I only went to a movie the other night, but I wanted to see this film, and it was playing this week. It was a good film, though I had some trouble following it. Only about a quarter of the film was in English, and since it wasn't an American film (I think it was produced by a French company), there were no English subtitles. I again found myself wishing I had learned French in High School. It was an interesting film to watch, though, as each character spoke the natural language of that character (except some of the UN soldiers, who also spoke English sometimes). It was not, on the whole, a comedy, as the preview I saw back home had indicated. It was a stark drama. It had plenty of funny lines, but the whole mood tended toward the dramatic. I think the director was trying to capture the sense of the conflict, and I think the director succeeded in this. I will definitely want to see this film again with English subtitles instead of Polish.

I have decided not to go anywhere over the semester break. I would rather relax than travel, and there are other good reasons not to be away from Iława during the break. I think we will be having testing that week, both for the new students and for the retesting of students who do not pass the course on points. We have decided to have a retest to give those students a second chance to be promoted. I think it makes sense. If they can pass a test that measures their grasp of the language for a particular level, they don't need to repeat the semester.

I'll be glad for a few days when I can just relax. The time is now 22:00, and the temperature outside my window is 2°C/35.6°F.

2003/1/21

This is it: finals week.

Each of my classes, except the highest one, will have two tests this week; a vocabulary test and a unit test. I have to have all of this and all the essays graded by this Friday, so I may not be updating again before the weekend.

I don't think I'll give another "short" vocabulary test. My fourth semester took a ten-question test yesterday. I had put on some Classical music. I was reading a book, as I usually do during the first test (when I have nothing to grade). I'd look up from time to time, and each time, I'd see most of the students scribbling away on the test. Eventually, the students started giggling, and finally, I asked them if they were done. They all said they were. When I took up the papers, every one of them was covered with artwork. I think my student finished the test quickly and were only staying to enjoy the music. I'll grade those today during the first test of the day.

Some time today, I also need to staple about 20 tests together. This week is going to be pretty hectic with all the grading, but after Friday, I get to relax for a few days.

The lake, though it has kept its ice (sometimes under a layer of water), is beginning, I think, to melt. It is slightly surreal to see it. The top of the lake is covered with the snow that fell two days ago (or was it yesterday?), but there is a band around the edge of about three feet that is melting steadily. Many patches are water. There is a long finger of water sticking out from under the bridge into the ice, and the water birds congregate on the edges of this miniature lake. I haven't seen anyone on the lake today, but in the past few days, I've seen three or four fishermen sitting on the ice with their lines in the water. I saw one man on the ice, and I wasn't sure how he'd gotten out there, because the ice between him and the shore looked too fragile to bear his weight. There is some road work going on between here and town. A section of the asphalt has been removed, and I can see the cobblestones beneath as I walk past it. The time is 11:06, and the temperature outside my window is 8°C/46.4°F.

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Ducks by a finger of water near the bridge.

2003/1/25

The tests are over. The grades are in. The semester has concluded. I am now free to relax for a few days. Um... What do I do now?

Well, it was a whirlwind week. I don't know where it went. I went to the movie theater last night, but they were closed. I went back today at the correct time (I went at the wrong time last night... I would have seen the new Harrison Ford movie if they'd been open), and I saw _Treasure_Planet_. It was cute. Unfortunately, it was dubbed.

Yes, I knew that cartoons are frequently dubbed, but I forgot. I was afraid, at first, that I wouldn't enjoy the movie, but I saw a version of _Treasure_Island_ several months ago, so I was able to follow the plot remarkably well. I think I'd like to see it again in English, but I don't know.

I won't be getting unlimited internet access, but I will be switching to a plan that won't cost me as much. I'll have 45 hours each month for about $28. If I use more than that, it's about 10 cents per minute. It's better than nothing. Anyway, that's the news from Lake Jeziorak. Not much to tell.

The time is 18:54, and the temperature outside my window is 2°C/35.6°F. Have a great weekend!

2003/1/9

My semester break is now over. Tomorrow (I think), I will start classes again. I didn't get any sight-seeing done during the break. I spent most of it here in my room, writing emails, reading, and making creative works, mostly poetry. I can hardly believe I have less than five months remaining here.

The new semester will be interesting. I don't yet know what the schedule of classes will be, but I am confident that this semester will be less hectic than the last one. I should have an average of 4 lessons to complete each unit, which will be wonderful!

Kris is still on a mission of attempting to fix me up with every Polish female my age. I keep telling him that any woman I date must be fluent in English, but he seems to think I should teach them. His example: *kissing noise* "Kiss". To that I say, it would be immoral for me to kiss a woman who did not already know that word, for if she doesn't know that word, we may assume that she doesn't know enough English for me to have developed a level of commitment worthy of such an act. I'll spare you the sermon I could launch into at this point.

I haven't seen any more movies. What's been playing at the theater hasn't been material I wish to see. I'm almost finished with Dickens' _Hard_Times_, I've finished both the Agatha Christie book and _Gathering_Blue_ my mother brought me, and I highly recommend both of the abovementioned titles. The Christie book was a series of short mysteries (13 of them), and I solved all but 4, if I remember correctly, before their answers were revealed. Miss Marple did it by esoteric knowledge; I did it by intuition (and my being a writer is something of a cheat method, because I notice what an author doesn't mention more than most people might). In all, it's been a good period for reading.

We have had snow upon snow upon snow the past three days, accumulating in spite of temperatures above freezing, which slowly melt it. Every now and then, the snow would slide off the roof, hit my window grating, and startle the daylights out of me. The snow in Kris' yard is fully a foot deep near the path and two or three feet high where the plows have pushed it to the side of the road. I should have some pictures to share soon. This morning, the church here prayed for my congregation and my family and the schools and classes. Kris sends greetings to all the folks at my church.

I got a package last week from a Girl Scout troop in my home town. It had a lot of very thoughtful things in it, including a huge Hershey(TM) bar, which I will probably eat some time this week. That's the news from Lake Jeziorak. I didn't update daily because there has been very little to tell. The time is now 23:01, and the temperature outside my window is -1°C/30.2°F.

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One day's snow.

 

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