Sunday, July 15, 2012

Another Week

New lessons learned from life in Kraków this week:

  • Keep your ears open for English.  It's really easy to hear native speakers and start up a conversation with them.
  • Almost any beer is tolerable with the addition of raspberry syrup (commonly available).
  • A small door and narrow corridor may open up to a stunningly beautiful interior.
  • Random festivals are possible at any moment.
  • Friends are awesome.
Today, despite the protesting of my sore legs from squats yesterday, I went on a run.  I did this because I wanted to retrace some of my footsteps from late last night and get a better understanding of where I was and how to get to Plac Nowy again if I needed.  I think I got most of it; some of the side streets are still confusing.  With a little planning from Google Maps, I could probably make it there again now.

I had a successful trip to the small grocery store I frequent today.  I wish I could figure out where the reusable bags are for sale; I'm sure they're in there, I just don't see them.  It was a little different today because I had to plan a little bit for Laurel, who arrives here in about 48 hours.  The word "excited" does not convey enough emotion to express my anticipation of her arrival.  It's going to be wonderful to show her around Kraków.  She also gets the benefit of my bumbling around, so hopefully she can get up to speed faster than me.  Hopefully you'll start seeing her posting soon!

This afternoon I was contemplating what I wanted to do for the rest of the day, having already accomplished my other goals for today: running and grocery shopping.  I eventually resolved to go to a park across from Błonia and see what was there.  However, I got no further than Mały Rynek.  A small festival, complete with food, shops, and traditional Polish music had sprung up.  I hadn't been by Mały Rynek before that today, so I probably missed the preparations.  I snapped a few pictures of the traditionally-dressed choir, including an adorable little girl:

I got a beer (with raspberry syrup) and sat down to see what else I could see.  At the table next to me were a couple of clearly native English speakers, so I started talking with them.  It turns out they were from Chicago, a little younger than me, and had been in the area for awhile; one was on vacation with family for about a month, the other finishing up a summer study at Prague.  Both were departing back for the US this week, so they were coming from a slightly different perspective than me.  It was interesting to swap stories and get recommendations from them.  

I also had been very hungry today due to my running and workout yesterday (despite the zapiekanka last night).  Really, meat sounded very good.  I found that one of the vendors was selling shish kebab by weight, which basically yielded the following for me.  My apologies to a certain Polish vegetarian out there that's likely reading this.

It's the first meal I've had that's more than $10 (it was about $10 actually), but it was pure meat and grilled onion.  There was more than is shown in the picture; I got closer for detail. They also had a stand selling chocolate-covered fruit, so I got a dark-chocolate-covered banana on a stick for about $2.50.  So very good!  I could get used to these random festivals.

I asked the two Americans I was talking to if they had been keeping a journal, scrapbook, blog, or that sort of thing.  They said no, they had been without reliable internet access and had been more interested in going out to more places than writing down items - they would always have the memories.  Obviously, I have made a difference choice and am fortunate enough to have reliable internet.  When I studied abroad in Mexico in 2002, I had similar feelings to these guys.  However, 10 years fades the memories, and I'm glad my mom had the foresight to build a scrapbook out of my experience abroad at that time, even if she had to basically force me (as an uninterested teenager) to do it.  This time, I'm writing the scrapbook as I go, and putting it out there for all the world to read.  Hopefully those fellows write their experiences down soon after their return.


Emily Stace said...

I just suck at scrapbooking in general. Also, as Vietnam is my daily life, I forget what is normal to me might be exciting to you. That and, oh yeah, unreliable internet :-P

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