I am going to start by describing a very embarrassing situation. Earlier this week I had to go to a Polish Lesson placement test to see which level of lessons I need. I turned up and sat excitedly in the lecture hall. The lady at the front started chatting in Polish and everyone else in the room was nodding in agreement to whatever she was saying and laughing at the jokes she was telling. I had no clue. I thought… am in the right place? Why do all these people understand. She handed out the test and the contact details form. Now, the contact details form was easy.. the test was not. I had absolutely no idea what to do. The instructions were in Polish, it was a nightmare. I called her over and said I didn’t understand and she said “hmm, maybe you need to start in the bottom class, with the alphabet”. She then proceeded to put a big fat zero on the front of my test and I had to leave. I had a giggle to myself about it. My first lesson was a couple of days later. It was very very basic so I already new the content it but I got to meet a fellow PhD student from the physics department. Donata is from Lithuania and we’ve decided to go for a beer after the lessons which will be nice. There is also a new addition to our department in the form of Mathieu who has arrived from France to start working with us. I feel quite cool now. I have friends from Poland, Czech, France and Lithuania. Woo!
Birds are starting to migrate now. Spring is upon us. From the office window we get to see geese, cranes and swans making their journeys. We have seen lots of buzzards too. Me and Paweł even saw a peregrine falcon fly past the office window! The dawn chorus is getting louder and more full each day and I get to hear the lovely tunes of blackbird and robin on my commute. On my walk to the office one morning I saw a hare! It was so close to me. And so beautiful. I stopped in my tracks and just took a moment to watch it. I quite like just pausing and appreciating the little things like that. It put a huge smile on my face. The wildlife here is just incredible, I know I keep saying it but it’s true!
Now I need to explain Tłusty Czwartek (Fat Thursday). This is a day where Poles buy and eat an excessive amount of pączki (a type of donut). It is so funny. All day you see people walking around with huge boxes of the sweet treats and the bakeries have really long queues. Paweł had brought some to the office and instructed me I needed to eat more than one. So I stuffed my face with two! Pączki are delicious. A slightly richer dough than normal donuts and filled with rich jam. YUM! Fat Thursday is the last Thursday before lent and so everyone feasts on their favourite baked goods. Yet another Polish tradition I will happily partake in. And I don’t feel too guilty about eating all these treats because I started rock climbing this week so soon I’ll be as fit as a fiddle, doing one finger pull ups and traversing cliffs all over the world…. I’m sure.
I’ve enjoyed beers with my colleagues this week. I love choosing off the draught beer list. It’s a Russian Roulette of who will pick the bad one! Usually it is Czech Pavel. He chose an Oyster stout which was so salty! ugh! It was yet again another fun night, even if my memory is slightly hazy.
My final little ramble for this week…. I just wanted to say how lovely and kind my Polish Mum is. I have been so lucky that I have been landed with Kasia since my arrival here. She didn’t have to take me in and she didn’t have to put up with my weird English ways. But she has and she’s lovely. And I wanted to shout about it on here because people should know when they’re appreciated!
So there you go. Another week and many more memories made.