Lets start from the beginning...
So, as most of you who will read this will know, I spent the entire month of July in Poland. Three weeks was spent being an assistant art teacher at an Arts Enrighed English Camp, at Nadwarciański Gród, in Załęcze Wielkie Landscape Park. The last week was spent in Krakow and numerous other parts of Poland. It was more than I ever expected it would be. So, I am going to tell you all about it, but just be aware that by the time you’re done reading, you may just want to go there as well.
My trip officially stated off when we left and drove to JFK, which of course was not without problems, as our GPS took us right through Canal St, in New York City. It was quite the mess. Once we finally made it to JFK, we were greeted with the delightful news that my flight was delayed for five hours, so instead of the departure at 5pm, we were leaving at 10:15. Those five hours provided some lovely family time and some bonding time with a girl that I would be spending the next month with.
…and more waiting
After getting through my first TSA security, seamlessly thanks to Stu, a guy who was also going to be in the TEIP Program, we waited until 11pm, when we finally boarded the plane and I was officially on my way to Poland. As you can imagine, I slept most of the 9 hour plane ride, but around 2am our time, I woke up to this spectacular sight.
My veiw at 2am.
Finally around 1 pm, Poland time, I laid my eyes on Poland for the very first time. It was rainy, and grey, but it was POLAND, and even though I was exhausted, I don’t think I have ever been so full of energy.
Once we went through security and got out luggage, we went through a series of halls wondering where we would meet our group because we were so late, but to our surprise they were waiting there to greet us! It was a wonderful way to begin our month together.
When we finally arrived to our hostel in Warsaw, we were greeted with loud music, and to our surprise, there was a festival going on only about 50 feet away in this little square in celebration of Poland assuming presidency of the European Union. We unpacked, had a very lovely dinner made by this lovely Polish family and then we all got to go and explore! A few of us walked through Old Town, Warsaw, and then we went to a light show that was also in celebration of Poland assuming the presidency of the EU. It was pretty neat.
My room at the hostel.
My very first picture in Poland!!
The music festival.
The light show.
The next morning some of us got up at 6am, and went to a little coffee shop called Out of Africa. It was the coolest little coffee shop, and it had the best coffee, it almost had a fruity taste to it. It was delicious. Then after, we ate breakfast at the hostel, and then I went to my very first Polish grocery store. It was actual different than ours here in the US. The one thing I had to remember about them: they do not put you purchases in bags, you must carry them, so don’t buy a lot at one time.
Magda and I with our coffee.
After going to a Madam Curie museum, and getting a small tour of Warsaw we departed on what would become the 6 hour trip to Załęcze. It was rainy and most of us were exhausted but we all chatted and I met my teacher, Julian and we talked about what we would try and do in the next few weeks. We stopped for numerous bathroom breaks, I mean water cooler breaks, which allowed us to see Polish McDonalds, surprisingly very fancy, and a small Polish city where we walked and saw an 18th century church, a tech store named Poop, and the only open bakery in the town; which had excellent cake.
Makes you wonder.
So incredibly yummy.
When we finally arrived at the camp we were greeted to the most amazing site. We were told that the kids wouldn’t be getting to the camp until Sunday, which was the next day, but to our surprise the kids were there in the middle of the road, and in the damp cold weather they did a dance for us. It was an awesome way to start our three week stay. It was the coolest and most unqie way I have ever been greeted. It was unexpected and so wonderful.
A choreographed dance, just for us. SO awesome.
For the three weeks, we stayed in their hotel, and I was in a room with 4 other girls, Jordan, Rachel, Pauline, and Maia. Our room was a suite and it was so cozy and wonderful. Once we got settled we went to the cafeteria for our first dinner together at the camp. It was not was any of us expected; candlelight, and the food! The food was amazing, and to be honest it was amazing for the rest of camp. The expression that night was “THIS is camp food?"
The hotel we stayed in for three weeks.
Our first dinner together.
Magda,myself, Melody and Jacque.
No rest for us though! Sunday we got our classrooms ready and then Folk Dancers from all parts of Poland came and performed. It was really cool to experience so much culture in one room. The rest of Sunday consisted of decorating for our 4th of July celebration on Monday!
Where classes where held.