Week 1

This past week was challenging for a lot of reasons. The first day on Monday was a little crazy with all the kids coming back from summer vacation and a the teachers not really having a full-out plan for what subjects to do in the preschool. The świetlica was totally overwhelming the first two days because we had the entire preschool in there at once with only a few kids having left for the day. Needless to say, that wasn’t going to fly for very long. By Wednesday, the afternoon crew (me, Monika, and Ella–she helps out with the 2 year olds–usually with one other preschool teacher) had come up with a plan for separating the groups to not only keep the kids safe, but our sanity as well. Teaching English is a little tricky as well because I don’t know what themes each teacher is going with yet…but it’s also preschool. I can really just have some fun, singing in English and trying some games so the kids will pick it up. This week coming will be about establishing our routine.

On top of this is an ever changing teaching schedule, which is just how it is because we have outside instructors with separate schedules themselves, so coordinating everyone is a big job. The apartment is also still a work in progress, but I think we’re nearly settled with it too. We have a kitchen table (yay!) and will be getting a washing machine courtesy of the school for the Proem Edu interns, who happen to all be living in the same building or have access to a washer already. That was a big headache for K and I, so I’m really grateful God has worked it out. The only thing now is maybe purchasing a bike to travel a little bit faster and more efficiently around town. They’re a bit more of an investment, but worth it for sure.

As far as financial support goes, I can’t thank my donators enough for helping me follow through on God’s plans here. There have been some unexpected expenses with preparing a home, and God has provided either through you or by someone here beautifully. I’m so, so grateful and will be doing my best to touch base with any of you that would like to know more about my work here or plans for the next few months as far as sharing the gospel is concerned.

One really exciting thing is I was asked to sing at the church next Sunday! I miss leading worship so much, and when Karolina asked me, I was like “Bam! Here’s my good news that I’ve been waiting for.” Hopefully, my voice is strong enough to do so because I caught a cold on Friday, felt better by Saturday evening, but lost my voice Sunday after having too much fun with my brothers from Warsaw (they’re super sweet, coming to help us build furniture and lift stuff–love you guys!). But I’m pretty sure I’ll recover in time. And if not this week, maybe next!

 

Day 2: Mushrooms

My body woke me up at about 3 am. I scrolled through my phone a little before exhaustion hit me again and I fell back asleep. Żaba’s voice woke me next. She was going to pick me up at 11am. It was already 11. I groggily opened the door and said I would be ready around 1pm instead.

After showering and getting dressed, I walked into the living room and met Marcin, one of Alicja and Radek’s sons. We ate breakfast and watched an episode of Breaking Bad with English subtitles. Then Jacek, his older brother, came down and said hello for a bit before they both disappeared upstairs.

I went outside and wrote a bit in my journal until Żaba rolled up to take me to see the apartment and check an alternative Scandinavian furniture store called Jysk. The apartment complex is very close to the school, literally around the block, and extremely 20170825_130353nice. Everything is being freshly renovated and it’s right on the corner of the street. The downstairs will be a salon with hair and nail services by the owner’s daughter. Upstairs, there are quite a few nicely done apartments. Ours is the second-largest, corner apartment with balconies and big windows. The main room is spacious and the bedroom is more than enough for Kaitlyn, my roommate, and I. Sadly we can’t move in until Wednesday because the builder is still working on the stairs, but we can start bringing in furniture. Tomorrow we will shop for bedframes, mattresses and any other small things.

After visiting the apartment, Żaba and I head over to Jysk and check out what their prices are like compared to IKEA. It’s smaller, but pretty similar to IKEA’s offerings. Sadly, they don’t have much for bed frames and their mattresses prices are comparable. But the bedding and pillows are cheap, and it’s more convenient to come here for that than travel to the nearest IKEA nearly an hour away.

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School entrance.

Next, we head to the school because Żaba has some work to do and I’m given the task of cleaning off my new kitchen chairs. They’re dusty and covered in pollen and cobwebs after being stored in an outside shed, but they’re quite sturdy wooden chairs and they’ll match the table we already have. Alicja is there working too and I show her the photos of the apartment, which she agrees, is gorgeous. I meet a few of the other school staff and have a brief conversation in Polish and English with a lady named Kasia. I pull together some English books that I think would be good for teaching, and a few minutes after that, we’re ready to go.

There’s time, so I get my Polish phone number at T-Mobile and no longer have to depend on wi-fi to contact people. Yay! Żaba drops me off at Alicja and Radek’s for a lovely dinner. (Her salads are the bomb!) Radek comes in later and he and Alicja eat while asking me how things are going. Then Radek shares about his history and shows me an actual letter from his grandfather from Auschwitz. They recently went to the Czech Republic and were close enough to the Austrian border to visit Mauthausen where he was able to find records of his grandfather, thanks to a Polish staff member working there.  

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Later, they invite me on a walk with Fiona. Little did I expect a walk would be an hour jaunt over train tracks and through tall grass and brush toward the river. I definitely wore the wrong shoes, but it was lovely all the same. Radek and Alicja pointed out different things to me in Polish, most of which I remembered vaguely from lessons I’d self-studied. I asked some questions about the Pilica (pronounced pee-lee-tsah) River and wild-life. Fiona dipped in the river multiple times along the way. We saw a swan and some ducks. We met some horses that were friendly so I pet one on their nose. Toward the end, walked through some birch trees and pines and I was told all about the Polish national sport, mushroom collecting. It’s very popular and there are plenty you can eat, and some you can only eat once according to Radek (haha). Sadly this year, there haven’t been many around. Alicja says it is a must for Christmas time.

Heading back, I slip and get a little scratched up in some thick brush with thorns. Ouch. It’s no trouble though, and after we get back and I wash my arm, I’m in good shape. Radek shares some stories about his trip to Africa and about the neighborhood in Tomaszów. It’s interesting how the concept of safe/dangerous varies, but we both agree that being out late is probably not the best idea.

The evening is rounded off with a popular Polish version of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares and an episode of Planet Earth. I’m not quite tired yet, so I end up chatting with a few Polish friends and messaging my family before bed.

All in all, a very good day.