Because I procrastinated writing this, it has been 3, however short, months here in Poland! I am seriously happy with the way things are going, the language is coming faster than I expected…and by that I mean I thought It would be really really slow and exhaustingly difficult but it’s actually just really hard and tiringly difficult. I have a tutor at school who I meet with 3 times a week and that has made a huge difference, somehow she makes more sense than the internet. Another thing that helps with the language is that I only get to speak english when Marta yells at me to write stuff because my host family does not speak enough english to carry a complex conversation and there are no other exchange students in my area. But this is a good thing because all my friends are polish, and they speak polish with me…when I can at least get all of the correct words somewhere in the sentence.
Some of my best friends here reached out to me because they knew I was an exchange student, they aren’t involved in Rotary or my school. I’m very grateful for them because for the first few weeks I wasn’t sure what the deal was going to be with my social life. One of them invited me the watch an american football game in Olsztyn, it was awesome but unfortunately his team lost…nothing new for me I’m a bills fan but it sucked for him.
School is fairly boring because by the time I’ve twisted words around in my mind to where I have a very basic guess of exactly what Adam Mickiewicz wrote, we’ve moved to a second poem and finished a video that I didn’t even register playing. Basically I don’t do anything in school save for tutoring and german. But hey, my class threw a suprise party for my birthday! They baked a cake and gave me candy and a book that admittingly I have never opened, but it’s in polish so it would have to wait anyway. They always go out of their way to make sure I participate; which is great when I know what I’m doing. I’m the only exchange student in the school so there isn’t much competition for the role of cool/weird foreign kid so I guess I’m better known by the other students than I know them. There have been kids who’ve talked to me on the street and said they knew me from school but I had never seen them in any classes before.
Recently I learned that the “babcia” myths are true, she became visibly agitated after I refused a 4th plate of food and only calmed down when my host mother stepped in! It’s a little strange but I actually really like meeting the extended family because for whatever reason I understand old people much better than young people; I’m not sure why that is because in hindsight they tend to slur words and use older forms but I can hold a conversation with my host mother’s father longer than pretty much anyone else. He has a lot of stories about the army, it’s interesting because my great uncle was also in the military around the same time, (1969-71, my great uncle was a bit longer after ’71 however). For the first time I’ve heard of, the polish army wasn’t fighting, or at least Dziadek wasn’t, and my great uncle was (in Vietnam). Dziadek gave me a bunch of pictures and made me find him in all of them…it would have been easy if he didn’t like standing behind people so much.
I guess I don’t have too much to share, my mind is too jumbled to decide what’s important and what’s rambling so I’ll end by saying that so far this is better than I ever thought it would be, I’m pretty laid back but I was sure this would test me and it has but in only the best way. Everyone warned me about europeans being nonchalant or standoffish but I have seen almost exactly the opposite; maybe I’m just handsome but everyone is warm and inviting. We are coming up on winter, my favorite season and I’ve heard good things about winter in Poland, I’m really happy to be here and I’m excited to continue to learn!