A Travellerspoint blog

Day 4: Monday

Flooding

sunny 24 °C

8:30: I've flooded the bathroom! And it's leaked into the hallway! Turns out if you shower for too long, the shower basin overflows and as I take really long showers it overflowed into the bathroom and then into the hallway. I noticed the puddle in the bathroom as soon as I got out of the shower, but it was only when I opened the bathroom door and found most of the family in the hallway mopping up the water did I realize quite how far the flood had spread. Slightly embarassing to say the least.

I spent the entire morning working with another teacher, with a nursery group. All the of the children were 6 or 7 years old, and they had already learnt many of the basics, like colours, numbers, body parts, and classroom objects. We played games with them, and sang lots of songs like 'The Wheels on The Bus' and 'Abracadaba, Abracadi, A Teacher for You and Me'. It was fun to do, but I couldn't really see too much point in me being there becuase I wasn't able to talk to the children as there English was no where near good enough. I suppose it helps for them to hear different English accents.

After lunch, I spend the first half hour reading stories to a group of 7 and 8 year olds. This would have been a complete nightmare was it not for one little girl in the class who spoke perfect English (her father is American). She spent the entire time translating what I was saying to the other children and what they were saying to me.

After this I had two more groups. Both groups were with 10-11 year olds, and we just talked about basic things like what there were going to do in their holidays (school finishes on the 24th), and what were there favourite subjects at school etc.

After the break I then had a group of adults. This was defiately the most interesting group of the day. Their English was excellent and they had lots of questions and things they wanted to talk about which made my life easier. Normally I'm stood at the front going "Lets talk about ... ummm ....", unable to think of anything to say. I think the worst groups are the teenagers or adults who don't speak very much English becuase at least with the little kids you can sing songs and play silly games with them, or talk about their pets, or family, but with the older groups they obviously don't want to play games, and they get very bored talking about pets so you are completely stuck.

Finally, time for home, where no doubt I will the plied with more horrbile tasting concoctions in a vague attempt to rid me of my cough.

Posted by Lucyc55 20:25 Archived in Poland Comments (0)

Day 3: Sunday

Surrogate mothers, just as annoying as the real thing

overcast 14 °C

My cough seems to have got much worse overnight, but generally I feel fine. The mother of the family seems convinced that I am about to keel over and die though and that I probably have some life threatening disease like the plague. She apparently rushed to the chemists this morning, and just as I am about to sit down for lunch, she dumps what can only be describled as the enture contents of the local chemists onto the kitchen table. I think she spied the look of complete terror in my eyes at the thought of having to take such a great quantity of totally unidentifiable medicines, because the next thing I know she has her hands on her hips and is saying "You must take all this!" in that very firm tone of voice that mothers worldwide have perfected. I gulp as she starts lining up all of the different bottles and packets. Ten very disgusting minutes later I have managed to swallow just about everything, and puffed on a few herbal inhalers that she got as well. I have to say that I feel ten times worse for the whole experiance, but I am not about to tell her that.

On to even more miserable things...the weather. I was expecting Poland to be grey, ex Communist and all that, and fairly depressing, buit nothing quite this bad. I've only been here 48 hours and I already want to top myself. It has been nothing but overcast since I got here, and the vast majority of the time it is raining as well, which makes life particularly hard when I have to go stand in the garden for a cigarette. Added to which it makes the whole town look even more grey than it already is. I had it on good report that it was supposed to be sunny at this time of the year, and everyone in the family is sporting a tan, so I am begining to suspect that the hid the sunshine just to spite me. Either that, or in some misguided to attempt to make me feel more at home, becuase this is what English weather is like for a good part of the year.

I spend the majority of today doing absolutely nothing. I made it out of bed at midday, in time for lunch at 15:30. More fried meat - pork this time - and potatoes for lunch. Oh and cabbage of course. I forgot to mention the caggage yesterday. There seems to be a firm belief - either just in this family or in Poland as a whole - that a meal is not a meal if it does not in some way contain cabbage and celery.

After lunch, I had another nap...I really am turning into an OAP. Then wandered down to the school with one of the daughter to check my email, and here I am.

Till tomorrow, which I am sure will be a gloriously sunny day.

Posted by Lucyc55 21:02 Archived in Poland Comments (0)

Day 2: Saturday

Tour of the town...in the rain

rain 15 °C

14:00 I finally rouse myself out of bed, just in time for lunch, broth with noodles followed by fried chicken with potatoes. There is no chance of anyone ever coming to Poland just for the food.

After lunch the mother asks / insists that one of the daughters (there are 5) takes me around the town and shows me where everything is. I spend the next 45 minutes dutifuuly following her around the town (the castle, the park, the shops etc.) while trying not to get too wet as it is completely peeing it down. I wish the mother wasn't quite so enthusiastic, becuase this really could have waited till another, much sunnier, day.

When we get back to the house, I retire to my room for a while to read my new book about Cuba in the '90s, and have a nap. I am woken at 10:30 for dinner. I am so hungry I could eat a horse, but it turns out that lunch is the main meal of the day here, and dinner consists of not much more than bread, meat and cheese. Not really going to fill the black hole in my stomach but at least I should lose some wight while I'm here.

During and after dinner I am bombarded with questions about me, about England, and especially about schools in England. I finally crawl up to bed at midnight.

Posted by Lucyc55 15:35 Archived in Poland Comments (0)

Day 1: Friday

Travelling, travelling and more travelling

overcast 14 °C

1:30: Finally start packing, leaving it to the last minute to say the least. By 3.30 it's time to go and I still haven't quite finished but I throw everything I can see into the top of my suitcase and head out to the car.

3:30: Made it to the bus on time, and settle down to relax with a couple of trashy magazines that the driver lent me. Not sure why he has them in the first place though ... maybe he's called Sandra a t the weekends and was looking for some fashion tips? The jouney is utterly unevenful and completely boring, but at least there's no London rush hour traffic to deal with at this time of the morning.

5:00: Arrive at Marble Arch, blag a cigarette off the bus diver as I hadn't had one yet, and then hop in a cab to Liverpool St Station. The cabbie drops me off in front of the tube station, and I look around wondering where on earth the bus stop is. The local bin men inform me that it's just around the corner, so off I set. I now find my self infront of Liverpool St Station, where I buy a newspaper from the rudest man ever, and then start desperately looking around fpr somewhere I can get an expresso, as none of the shops in the station are open yet.

Finally I spy a juice bar, and go over in the vague hope that they will have coffee. It then goes something like this:

Me: Do you serve expresso?
Juice Man: [said with a disgusted look on his face] No!, but I can get you an organic wheatgrass shot if you want. It's much healthier for you.
Me: [with a horrified look on my face] I think I'll pass, but thanks anyway.

Organic wheatgrass, I think not. I am not a rabbit, nor do I plan on turning into to one any time soon. Also, at 1 pound 50 a shot, it's more expensive that a tequila in most of the bars I go to, and a I don't know about anyone else but I would rather have a tequila anyday. I do however order a booster burner, which consists of mixed berries, orange juice and yoghurt [or soya milk if I prefer]. It taste better than the name would suggest.

6:15: Made it onto the bus to the airport. The bus station turned out to be opposite the tube station, and I have ended up going round in a big circle, but what the hell.

6:40 Check In. Once I finally make it to the front of the queue and have answered the utterly pointless security questions, the lady then asked me whether I have me visa for Poland! My what?! The combination of it being 6:40 in the morning, the caffine deprivation and the lack of nicotine all combine to nearly give me a heart attack. I tell I her that I don't need one, and she sweetly replies that she didn't think I did, but she was just checking. At this point I wasn't sure whether to kill myself, or her.

14:00: Two completely uneventful flights later I land in Warsaw. I was so tired that I managed to sleep through the landing, but who cares. I grab my luggage and hop in a cab to the central station.

15:45: It took me about 20 minutes to purchase my ticket, but I finally have it, and my train leaves in 15 minutes. I head down the escalator towards the platforms, where I ask one of the guards which platform I need to leave from. He kindly informs me that I need platform 5. Ten minutes later and I still can't find platform 5, at this point I am starting to panic slightly becuase I only have 5 minutes till the train leaves. I run back up to the information desk and ask them where Platform 5 is. "Plaform 5?" they say, "There is not platform 5. Your train leaves from platform 4." for the second time today, I am about ready to kill someone. I rush back down the escalator towards platform 4. When I finally get to the platform the train has already started moving, but one of the dorrs is open, and the people inside yell at me, so I throw them my suitcase, and then one of the men sticks out his arms and hauls me onto the train. I made it!

I normally have the worst luck in the world when it comes to the people sitting next to / sharing a compartment with me, however there is an exception to every rule and this was it. I spent the next 2 and a helf hours chatting to a Polish journalist, who had spent a lot of time in Asia. Very interesting chap, the only downside being he never shut up, but there are far worse traits than that.

I finally arrived in Catowice, hungry, exhausted and looking forward to jumping on the next train and getting a little bit closer to my destination, but it was not to be. As soon as I arrived, I asked the guard [I realise now that I have should have learnt from my earlier experiance] which platform my next train departed from. He told me it left from the platform I was on in an hour. I sat down and resigned myself to spending the next hour on the platform.The hour came and went. After about an hour and fifteen minutes, I decided to go ask another guard. He said that the train I needed actually departed from the other platform, and that it had just left. I could even see it disappearing into the distance. This meant that I had another 45 minute wait until the next train.

21:00 I finall caught the train to Bielsko, and spend the nect hour talking to a young polish soldier who didn't speak any English. Great fun.

22:15 I finally arrive and am met at the station by the host family, who seem really nice. A half hour drive takes me to the house, where I gratwfully flop into bed.

Posted by Lucyc55 10:09 Archived in Poland Comments (0)

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