Monday, November 13, 2006

Teachers & Teachees

Ahoy! So we've come up for air. This past week has been absolutely crazy. It was week three of the CELTA course and we were losing our minds planning lessons, analysing grammmar and vocab, getting 4 hrs of sleep per night, and battling minor but annoying illnesses. But alas, it's week 4! The final week. Actually, despite the intensity of the course, we've had a brilliant time. We've learned more than we thought possible in 4 weeks, and have made some really good friends.

A week ago, our friends Alex and Bob invited us over for a pasta dinner (seen in one of the pics). We had little picked veggies on tiny skewers, yummy cheeses, and pretzels for appetizers (ahh, Polish delites!), good red wine (almost all the wine we've tried here has been super sweet), and a cross-cultural pasta dish. I'll explain that in a moment, but first a preface: Bhadri has noticed that almost all the pasta sauce in jars here tastes like ketchup. Alex and Bob found one that looked different (and looked tasty by the design of the label, but of course it was all in Polish so the truth only lay beneath), so they bought it and tossed it in. As it turns out, it was sweet and sour sauce--so we had an Asian/Italian pasta dinner! It was pretty funny. After dinner we tried Krupnik, honey-flavored Polish vodka. I could only sip it a little and Bhad thought it was disgusting, but we're not much for the vodka. But it was so nice to have a warm dinner with new and fun friends.

Then Friday night, our students took us out on the town. We went to Still Gotek (pron: steel goe-teck), this great little underground pub that was lit mostly w/ candle light. We crammed about 15 of us into the cellar and drank Zywiec (some people had it warm w/ juice in it...I'll def have to try that soon!) and spoke English (and some really bad Polish on our behalves). It was a magical night. Our friend Melinda, who is a prof opera singer, got up on her chair and sang two AMAZING songs (one in Eng, one in Italian)...the whole place went silent, they turned off the music, the cooks came out of the kitchen, and when she was finished the whole place errupted in applause. She pointed to her drink and said if you bring me another one, I'll sing again--and they did! By the end of the night, people were dancing all around the tables to old Phil Collins hits and we got into some great convos w/ our students about major differences b/t American and Polish societies today. And of course, we had to share some traditional American culture like "hang loose"--which Bhadri kept encouraging Patricja to bite her lip or it wouldn't look authentic (she did well!). On the way home, we walked briskly (Bhad held his "unbelievably good" kebab in hand) in the cold under the Polish flags hanging from the windows and over the doors. The next day was a Polish independence day (one of several), and after that night we just felt so a part of it all!

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