My week started on a high! I was in the office when Kasia came and gave me a jar of honey. A proper, organic, delicious jar of golden joy. It was from my colleague, who I have never actually met, who lives in the East of Poland. I have recently edited a paper for him and as a thank you he sent me some of the honey from his local area. It tastes like caramel! It is now on my bed side table, along with a spoon, in easy reach. I feel like winnie-the-pooh.
Wednesday arrived and it was a strange day. I was so tired and feeling a bit glum, so I decided to write to home. I was so excited to be sending my first letters from Poland. I arrived at the post office and waited in the queue for about 15 minutes. I went to the desk all smiley and said “dzien dobry” and waited for a reply. The lady said something I didn’t understand (not surprising) and so I replied in Polish ” przepraszam, nie mowie po polsku” which means I’m sorry I don’t speak Polish. Usually when I say this I either get a response in English or the person smiles and we try and communicate in a sort of mime… But this lady was an exception. She proceeded to shout at me. I understood slightly what she was saying, basically she was annoyed that I couldn’t speak Polish and was mocking me. I was a bit startled so I said to her “post, to England?” hoping she would just accept me for being the foreigner I am and help me. Instead she shouted again. It was so embarrassing. She refused to serve me. So I left. Letters still in hand. I had a Polish lesson the same night and felt extra motivated to do well. Eventually I’ll be able to talk enough that this doesn’t happen again! Me and Donata went for a beer after the lesson to the international pub. It’s become a nice routine of ours now!
I told Kasia and Paweł about the post office incident on Thursday and they were so upset. It was an unfortunate situation. It makes me really annoyed that there are people like that lady in the world. Most people I meet on a day to day basis here are so lovely. There is a man at the reception desk at work who told Paweł that “the American girl you share an office with is so sweet”. I only ever say hello and goodbye to him but if you give someone a smile, it goes a long way. There are shop assistants at my local hot spots who are beginning to recognise me and smile and humour me when I try and communicate with the little Polish I know. I don’t understand why people can’t just accept that the world is so connected now. Everywhere is becoming more a more multi-cultural which I think is so nice. People should embrace it and like the fact there are different languages and ways of living. It’s nice. And we are all just humans after all, the same species. So what if I can’t speak fluent Polish yet. Surely a smile or polite gesture is a universal language? Anyway….enough of that rant.
Rock climbing was amazing this week. I enjoy it so much. Me and Pavel seem to be at around the same level (beginner!!) so it’s nice that we can practice the same routes. We moved on to a harder wall this week and managed to get to the top! We now send each other cool videos of rock climbing world champions so we can hopefully improve our techniques and become slightly more elegant at the sport. Currently I’m not so elegant and often bash my knees and make a lot of noise!
I finally managed to post my letters. I went with Paweł to a new post office and he watched to see what happened and so he could step in incase things got awkward again. He did’t need to though..the new post lady was lovely and sent my letters on their way. Phew.
I spent the weekend at the countryside house with Kasia, her daughters and her friends Kamila, Halina and Viola. It was so lovely. We prepared lots of nice food and drank lots of wine. Viola had brought me a late birthday present which was so thoughtful! It included two different flavours of her homemade jam: apple & ginger and the other one is plum. See, everyone is so lovely. We all went for a walk and enjoyed listening to the skylarks and cranes again. We saw some really old trees on our walk and Halina told me that apparently it was once a very common occurrence to see such trees at the entrance to every village. Yet another lovely Poland fact. I’ve spotted a lot of trees with buds forming, getting ready for spring. I can’t wait to see Poland in it’s green glory! Bring on the leaves!