I had an opportunity to visit two dear friends in Warsaw last weekend and it was a blast! It was my first time traveling solo on the train up to the city as well, and really, that wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. Friday night, the Winans girls came over (they’re the daughters of some missionaries here) to spend the night and we had lots of junk food and ice cream to enjoy. My train was pretty early in the morning so I was a little distracted getting my stuff together. They must have been sleepy too, because as soon as the movie was over, we were all asleep by about 10:00 PM.
The next morning, I was up at 6:30 AM to wrap up my packing and be at the train station before 7:56 AM. It was really cold! (I regretted not bringing a heavier sweater later on, too.) After finally getting to Tomaszów Maz station, I hear a little voice say, “Ciocia!” One of my students, Ala, and her parents were going to the sea via Warsaw Central to transfer trains. It was nice to see them and chat for a little bit. Ala was really excited because it was her first time on a train as well and going to the ocean for the last “warm” weekend of the year. We parted ways when the train arrived and I rode the hour and 40 minutes to Warsaw with half-asleep passengers around me.
Coming into Warsaw Wschodnia (East station), I ended up waiting a little longer because Mariusz had to take care of some errand for his mission family. Eventually, he and Filip came and we went for lunch before driving to feed parrots. I had a laugh on the way helping Mariusz to pronounce “parrot” like pear-uht instead of “pirate.”
The parrot place (I can’t remember the name) was really cool! They had some large Macaws that you weren’t allowed to feed because they’d probably take your finger off, but they were perched freely inside. I don’t know the names of all the parrots, but there were African Greys, some budgies, a white cockatoo, and some green mid-sized ones that really took to Mariusz and Filip.
My first encounter with a parrot, he spied my shiny watch, then my zipper and all the way up to my ear where I had some gold ball studs. I probably should have seen it coming, but he ended up nabbing it off my ear (didn’t hurt, thankfully) and flying away. I was okay with the loss, but Mariusz didn’t want him to choke and die, so he somehow got it back. I took my earrings off after that.
There were a ton of kids and parents around already, and since we were there around 1:00 PM, the birds had probably eaten their fill and were more interested in jacket zippers, my purse straps and my watch. Filip did great, coaxing the parrots to come sit on his arm and feed them. It also helps that he’s as tall as a tree, so he could reach the parrots the kids couldn’t get to.
I also had a run in with an African Grey parrot. These are the most intelligent birds in the world, and obviously so, because he wasn’t easily distracted from my bag. My favorite purse (which in retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have even brought in) got a little beat up — there’s some chunks missing on the straps and beak marks in other spots now. I ended up getting bit in the process of trying to save my purse. Filip somehow got him to leave, but not before he jacked the whole cup of bird seed from me.
After that, we left for the Warsaw Zoo. (The guys know how much I love animals.) It’s nice, a little small, but there were a lot of creatures to see. Most of them were sleeping or hiding at that time of day. The highlight for me was the reptile house because, for some reason, seeing turtles swimming around or chillin’ on rocks reminded me of Maryland. I started crying out of nowhere when I watched them. Didn’t realize I was so homesick after all.
We drove to Filip’s house to have kebab and rest from all the walking we did before they dropped me off at the Paprocki’s house. They’re an awesome family who lead another evangelistic mission here called Athletes in Action. Heidi is from the US, so we shared some stories about working in childcare and things we miss. I definitely want to visit them again and may have an opportunity to do so soon.
Sunday, Mariusz took me to an international church where the service is in English (hallelujah!) and where there’s quite a bit more diversity than I was used to. And I met a familiar face from a few weekends ago (when I was supposed to sing, but got really sick that weekend after practice). Travis and his wife, Patrycja, live in Warsaw and he’s been an intern for Proem in the past. We talked about doing some kind of music collaboration next month, which would be amazing. I hope the details work out!
The afternoon was pretty much relaxed. We had done so much walking on Saturday, none of us felt like doing a whole lot more, and Mariusz and I had taken public transportation all morning. The weekend ended with some lody, the guys amusing themselves by making me read in Polish, and making faces at me before the train left Warsaw. As the train pulled out of the station, I had to choke back my tears a bit. I really love them and was so grateful for a weekend with good friends. I miss having those times in the States. But it won’t be the last, and I can’t wait for the next adventure here.