Winter's end?

Winter'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.

2003/2/21

I did get those poems printed, after all. I heard Kris upstairs, so I went up and asked him to use the printer. The class went relatively well. The students weren't talkative, but I think they enjoyed the poems. I didn't get to read Poe's Raven to them, though.

I went out today shortly after noon to prepare my ice skating area. I've borrowed some skates, but the only place to skate is on the lake. People were walking across the lake, even today, so the area near the shore was safe.

I went out with a dream. I wasn't going to be satisfied until I'd swept the snow away from an area roughly the size I imagine an Olympic short track occupies, and I was going to skate up and down this stretch of ice flying like the wind. To put it as briefly as possible, that dream died in the snow. The snow, as a matter of fact, was crusty and dry. It wasn't powdery at all. I could break out chunks as big as my shovel. It was hard work. By the time I'd cleared my track (not half the size I'd intended; it ended up a long transverse with two loops, one about twelve feet across, the other about fourteen), I had removed my gloves and my hat and opened my heavy jacket, and I was still beginning to overheat.

I went in, cooled down, and had lunch. After this, I grabbed the hockey skates, my camera, and my windbreaker. I went out with Kris and his daughters. I strapped on the skates and waddled out onto the ice. I practically walked to the end of my twenty or thirty foot course and back. I tightened the laces on the skates and tried again. I was ready to go in, by this time, but I snugged the laces down one more time and gave it a try. By this time, I was starting to get my blade balance back, and I managed to actually do some skating. Not much, but some. The laces on the skates wouldn't stay tight, so I was havign a terrible time keeping my feet over the blades. A few minutes of this, and I was ready for a rest. My right ankle was threatening to kill me. I took off the skates and returned them to the house.

I returned to the park, sledded down the hill twice, and walked around a bit with Kris and the girls. We walked down the shore a ways and went out onto the ice. Then, Kris and I decided to race. I took the cord on his oldest daughter's sled, he took the cord on the younger one's, and we stood side by side. Ready, go! We started forward, and I noticed that my sled felt rather light. I turned around, and both girls were sitting on the ice with their legs splayed out. We'd both pulled their sleds out from under them. We got ourselves lined up again, and this time, the girls held on. I ran like the wind for a ways, and when my breathing became heavy, I turned around. Kris was quite a ways behind me. I dropped onto my back in the snow (the thick layer on top of the ice). When Kris caught up, we raced again, I pulling on the snow, he on the ice track I'd cleared. He got a little bit of a head start, but I pulled past him. We moved up onto the path by the lake and did one more race, after which I said I couldn't do any more. My lungs were beginning to hurt. We had a small snowball fight, then went inside.

I am learning a little bit of German, which may be helpful when I go to Berlin. I don't know how much I'll learn before then, but it's a language that interests me, and I will be glad to know a bit of it. It is now only four months until I leave. I can hardly believe how the time has gone by. I was thinking about it last night, and I realized I only have about 30 lessons left in each class. Then I realized that, with four classes, that's abour 120 lessons I have left to teach. It was amazing to me how quickly it went from "How am I going to teach everything in that amount of time?" to "How am I going to teach that many lessons? It's too much for me!" But I know that I can do all things through Christ, who is all of my strength. I don't do this on my own; I do it through Him. I supply the willingness, He supplies the power. The job will get done.

Kris says that winter is almost over. I agree with him. The snow is beginning to melt in earnest, and the temperatures have been above freezing for several days, though it drops a little at night. I think spring may arrive in a week or two. Time really flies.

It has been a full day. I'm hungry now, so I'll go fix something to eat. That's all I have to say. The time is now 22:10, and the temperature outside my window is -4°C/24.8°F. Have a great day in the Lord.

image description follows:

Ice skater.

2003/2/27

You'll probably be interested to know that from one fifteen minute session on the iceskates, my calves were sore from Saturday to Thursday. I'll return the skates tomorrow. I don't see myself going back out on the ice. The weather has been warmer, and by this time next week, I expect the snow on the ground to be gone.

Classes are going smoothly, on the whole. I did a conversation class at the public school on Monday. I talked about the university system in America, and they liked the topic so much that the teacher asked me to drop in again and talk some more. So, I'll be doing that some time soon. I also did a class yesterday. I talked about volunteers and volunteer organizations. The topic lasted about twenty minutes, after which I answered their questions about other things. Tomorrow, I'll be doing another class on short stories. This will probably be the last week I do three school classes.

I've assigned the first round of essays. This time, the topic is extremes. Students can write on the most dangerous animal, the most important invention, the most important subject (academic), or the most serious crime. The results, I hope, will be interesting. Speaking of writing, I haven't been doing much. I've gotten a little bit of background work done, and I've been working on other artistic projects, but I haven't written anything significant on my novels in the past few weeks.

I think it's just barely possible I was hungry last night. I ate an entire pizza (a first, though I've suggested the possibility before). That doesn't seem to have been enough, because after that (for supper), I ate a cup of noodles and a package of yogurt. I may have eaten part of a bag of chips, too. I think I might have been eating light for a few days, but I can't remember for sure.

It's amazing and difficult to believe, but in three weeks, I'll only have three months left here. Yipe. I can't believe it has been almost six months, already. In any case, this means that if anyone is considering the possibility of shipping anything to me, it is now too late to send it surface mail. If you wish to send anything, send it faster, because surface mail sent after today may not arrive here before I leave. This has been a public service announcement.

Today is Tłusty czwartek (Fat Thursday). In Poland, there is a tradition of eating special cakes called pączek, which are like filled donuts, except that there is more donut and less filling. Kris brought me one this morning, and I had one at lunch, too. Yum!

That's the news from Lake Jeziorak. The time is currently 12:13, and the thermometer outside my window reads 12°C/53.6°F, but the sun is shining strongly on it. Have a great day in the Lord!

2003/3/4

I'm sorry I haven't updated recently. Life here has been a little hectic for me. My computer was running very slow, so I formatted the disk and reinstalled everything. That took up most of Saturday and part of Sunday with getting things back into working order. But it was worth it, because my computer now runs much faster.

I didn't do a lesson on Friday. The director of the school called Kris and told him that all the students were going to the theater to see the second LOTR movie. I could have gone, but I had had Kris ask the person who runs the theater about the movie, and I understand from them that it was dubbed, so I didn't go.

I'll be having another German lesson tomorrow, as well as a conversation lesson at the school, so tomorrow looks like a very busy day. I hope that Kris and the Ukrainian teacher and I can start exercising together. I could use it.

I got a package from my mother. It contained some goodies and a few books. My bookshelf looks decently full again, and for that I am very happy.

So, this is another reason I haven't updated. With all the madness in my life, not much has happened, so this is all the news. The time is now 22:51, and the temperature outside my window is 0.5°C/32.9°F.

2003/3/9

It has been a busy week. What with classes and making a major change to the design of my Web site, I haven't gotten around to updating this. I'm very sorry.

Things are going along rather smoothly. I gave my first test this week. I'll be giving more tests this week.

My next trip approaches quickly. Please pray for me during the rest of this month. Quite a lot is happening in my life.

Incidentally, I went to see /The Two Towers/. My students in one class told me that it was not, as I had previously thought, dubbed. I went, and it was really quite awesome. I loved it. It was English, so I only missed the lines in Elvish, and a few of the other lines where the characters didn't speak clearly. I can't wait to see the third movie. There were 25 or 30 people in the theater; the most I have seen there at one time.

I've written a few letters. I intend to write some more in the next few days. I'm sorry I have not been better about writing. Please forgive me.

Spring is beginning to come into the world. The world is bright and green and very soggy. Yes, last year's hearty grass is still alive underneath the snow and ice. I guess that comes from being native to the region. Life continues, as life always continues, and life prevails over death. It rained this morning, and there was a terrific mist all afternoon and into the night, even to this moment. It is beautiful.

That's all the news from Lake Jeziorak. The time is 22:32, and the temperature outside my window is 4°C/39.2°F. Until next time, keep your eye on the Son.

2003/3/13

Yesterday, it was spring. Today, it's winter again. We had some very intense winds all last night and all day today, and this morning near noon, the snow started falling. (see photo) There is now an inch or two of snow on the ground. I was just getting used to the idea of spring.

It's still above freezing outside, so maybe the snow will melt quickly. I'm hoping we will have warmer days soon. I was enjoying the ability to go out without a scarf, and I really liked being able to run a little. I can almost run all the way to the post office without stopping to rest. I figure one more week of running should get me fit enough to jog around the small lake. Now, I don't know when I'll be able to hit the paths again. I don't want to run in snow or ice.

I had a conversation class in the school yesterday. We talked about the environment. We actually ran out of time before I got to the really interesting parts. Oh well.

I should finish my current roll of film soon, so I'll be updating the photo page before long.

There isn't much to say. I feel a little out of sorts, but it is difficult to articulate exactly what is amiss. Anyway, I'm here, working on. As always, I'm pushing on. The time is 22:25, and the temperature outside my window is 2°C/35.6°F.

image description follows:

Statue of famous Polish author in early spring; inset: two hours later.

 

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