Upon arriving in Kraków I found myself both jet lagged and culture shocked. As I walked into the non-air conditioned dormitory where I’ll be spending my next four weeks I tried to blink the sleep from my eyes. To get to Poland I had to endure a ten-hour flight, 6-hour layover, another 2-hour flight, screaming babies, cramped seats, and awful in-flight entertainment. By the time I got here I was running on maybe an hour and a half of sleep. And that’s a big maybe.
It took putzing around Germany for a few hours, and being given seltzer water on the airplane, to realize that I wasn’t in America anymore.
Now I’m sitting in a dark kawiarni (Polish coffee shop) because even at night no one turns on the lights, sweating in a heat wave, praying whoever keeps switching the TV channel would choose something already, and loving every minute of it.
We arrived early in Krakow, and were able to explore the city before it became populated with other American-born Poland enthusiasts. Nearly every young adult here can speak English, but that still doesn’t lessen the shock when you realize you’re eavesdropping on a conversation behind you that you don’t understand.
Converting money is fun, too. The conversion rate is roughly 3 złoty to 1 dollar, which makes things appear more expensive, but in the end they’re usually cheaper (I bought a giant bottle of water for less than 50 cents. Try finding that in the states.).
But shopping didn’t last long when our feet felt like they were going to fall off from walking so much. We remedied the pain with some delicious lody (ice cream), which I ordered for in Polish and walked away feeling extremely accomplished.
Polish classes are probably the most intense class I have ever taken. Imagine taking organic chemistry in Pig Latin. If you concentrate enough you can get it, but doze off for one second and your hopelessly lost. By the end of these four-week classes, if I’m not speaking Polish in my sleep I’ll be surprised.
Now I have to leave my dorm to go eat some kiełbasy (sausage) and whatever other delicious breakfast items they’ve whipped up for us. So until my next post, cześć!