I have now been in the beautiful city of Poznan for a week. The time has flown by but at the same time I feel like I have done so much it feels more like a month!
I have been exposed to city centre trams, amazing food, wild walks and a fair few beers.
Let me start by setting the scene for the lovely city of Poznan. Firstly, there are lots and lots of trees! I have arrived here at just the right time to see all the amazing colours autumn has to offer. The footpaths are covered in yellow and red leaves and you can’t help kicking them into the air. It’s so beautiful. Alongside the trees are lots of apartment buildings and tram lines. It’s quite a flat landscape so you can see for miles. It’s a huge difference from the clutter of Manchester. The trams themselves are an experience. You need to hold on for dear life when they set off unless you fancy falling flat on your face. The acceleration is in fits and starts and the corners aren’t taken too carefully. But once they are at a constant speed you can enjoy travelling through the city and take in all the new sites. It’s a lot less stress than any city I have visited in England.
For my first few weeks I am staying with a woman who works in my faculty and her family. And I need to express my gratitude for the absolutely amazing hospitality they have shown me. It’s like I am one of the family. I think it is such a unique experience being involved in the routines of a family from a different country. I am slowly picking up various polish words thanks to the kids. Although I have been reliably informed by the 4 year old that I just don’t know enough! Maybe after three years I might just be able to string a sentence together….
…Only time will tell.
Now, I need to talk about the food. The Polish people have comfort food down to a T! I have had my fair share of pierogis (filled dumplings cooked in water), pancakes filled with cottage cheese and sugar, kopytka (small dumplings fried with sugar), spinach tart and really tasty thin sausages. One of my favourite things so far is the mushrooms. We went on a walk into the forest and picked huge mushrooms from a field. Covering these in a bit of flour and then frying until slightly crisp is pure perfection. Especially when you get to eat them sat around a camp fire. This food is definitely needed on cold autumn days!
My week days are filled with work, I am getting to grips with PhD life and eagerly waiting for my trip to Cameroon in November. When the work week was over I got to spend two days in the countryside house of my Polish family. They bought some land a few years ago and have since built a lovely house and planted lots of lovely trees. It is so quiet and peaceful there and a two minute walk takes you into a beautiful pine forest. I heard my first ever crested tit which was brilliant! As well as forest walks I got a personal archery lesson from Kasia and her husband Rafaul. I definitely need more practice but it was so much fun. I might even have my own bow by the end of my 3 years here. Who knows! This weekend made me realise how lucky I am to have such a great opportunity as to live in another country and experience all these new things.
I won’t lie, my first few days here I wondered whether I had made a huge mistake. It was such a scary move for me and the language barrier was extremely daunting at first. I am slowly learning that as long as you make the effort to at least attempt some Polish then people will be grateful for this. And then you will get lots of smiles! Every day it will get easier and easier and I know that I will feel at home here in no time.
That’s it for now!