Wednesday, December 06, 2006

First messages from Katowice

We are now living in Katowice. You probably already know that. The city is more Polish, if that makes sense, than Krakow. Krakow is a little tired of the tourists and is more of "global". You always hear English when you're walking down the streets and things. It's touristy because it's so beautiful, so that's the price you pay. Katowice = less beatiful, less touristy, less English. This makes it very interesting. I haven't talked to many people outside of International House (that's the school I teach at), but the people I have talked to are very friendly.

Last night I stopped by the local shop. It's like the size of a 7-11 without all of the outrageous prices and junkfood. Well, they do have their fair share of junk food, but also a lot of nice little things that you would only find at HEB in austin: all kinds of fruit, red wine vinegar, juices, 5 liter water jugs, really good French mustard. Not French's yellow mustard. That doesn't exist in this universe. :) I'm talking gourmet Le Francaise stuff. That should give you an idea.

So I stopped by on the way home from the mall. (I had to pick up a pair of "trousers" and some dog food for the boy. I mean the trousers were for me.) So I stopped by and bought some water. Then later I returned and told them that my girlfriend (except I said wife because I don't know girlfriend in Polish) sent me. To be fair I didn't say much. I just waved the list I had in the air and said "Moya Zona" which means my wife. Then I made the little face-down scissor sign for walking. And the shop keepers (a husband and wife I presume in their mid-40s) got the idea. They are so kind. I've been in there a few times and so by now they know my face and understand that I only know like a dozen Polish words. So we smile a lot and have fun with it. I learned how to say "the same" in Polish. The husband pointed at my garlic in the basket and pointed at some garlic powder and said "toe samo". So now I know one more phrase. And from there I asked for seven cookies from the bulk stack which they thought was so hillarious.She threw her head back with laughter, looked at her husband and said "seven" (in English). I guess they were laughing because I never order by the kilogram. I always ask for a specific number. That way I know exactly what I'm getting. I know how to convert the kilogram to pounds but it's just easier to ask for 10 slices of meat or whatever instead.

Then I managed to understand that he was telling me "you teach me English, I teach you Polish." So that's our lose agreement. When I stop in we will be sure to exchange a few words. Yesterday I taught them "very good," holding up my end of the agreement. Anyway, we had so much fun that he gave my a candy bar to give to Bethanie (moya zona) as a gift from the shop. "Gratis" he said and I smiled and took it home.

Those are the interactions that I really enjoy. So, other than that, works good. I taught three 90-minute lessons on Monday. That was interesting. Actually, they went very well. So I was pleased. I've got two more tomorrow. And once I get up to a full load I will have like three per day 4 days a week and a couple more on the fifth day. It's quite a lot when you consider planning time, but I'm enjoying it so far. And so is Bethanie.

The staff is cool. With us there are 24 teachers here. About half are native speakers and the other are Poles. So that keeps it interesting. We went out for a pint the other day with many of them. And that night we were invited over to another teaching couple's flat for dinner. They made us fajitas! And I can honestly say that the fajitas made by this Scottish couple, Lewis and Mirta, was the best Mexican food I've had so far in Europe. So that was fun.


Josh said...

Great ending! "So that was fun." I really laughed at that one! Just kind of trailed off... Love and miss you guys.


Anonymous said...

Hello Hello Bhads n Bets your stories are gas miss ye loads. Laughing away to myself. Yer having a great time (without me sob)

Anonymous said...

hi am olga did you remember me i always check your blog and and i like the storis bye.