Monday, November 26, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Hey Pilgrims! Last Thursday we resisted the urge to stalk home from classes, make a grilled cheese sandwich and eat it while watching some tacky Polish variety show, and did Thanksgiving up right. We invited some of our teacher friends over to our place to put together a pot-luck Thanksgiving meal. Bhads and I made a nutroast, some devilled eggs, mushroom gravy, and even a pumpkin pie (from scratch!). The Englishfolks, Claire and Holly, brought two different salads and a big whole chicken (a.k.a. turkey) for the meat eaters, and Mike brought the wine. John, the only other American soul at IH, made his now famous garlic mashed potatoes and picked up some delicious cranberry jam from a specialty store. Having them over really made the night feel like semi-home. We felt like true Americans, introducing our British friends to pumpkin pie. Seriously, before trying some they thought it would be salty. Oh, how much they have to learn... So we sat around, talking about baseball, Bhad's showing off the intricacies and uniquities of his glove, talked about family traditions and "I'm-thankful-for" circles, it was fantastic.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Boys' Jam Session

Nasty Day, but Bright Outlook (and Cheesy Title)

The past few days here in Wroclaw have been disgustingly gray, depressingly rainy, and painfully windy. The sun will pop out for a 5 minute tease and then scuttle back under the clouds a couple times a day. I'm equating the weather right now to adolescence: it's not sunny and fresh like youth and it's not snowy and crisp like adulthood--it's just hovering in that awkward and uncomfortable stage.

But regardless, I'm forcing myself to take in this reality. Yes, the weather is crapola, but my life is not. Walking to work today without an umbrella (because I left it in the warm apartment with Booster), the freezing rain was spitting down, I could barely lift my gaze from my feet without a splat of frozenness to the face. But as I did I saw this beautiful city, still glowing with orange and yellow leaves half on the trees, half beneath them, many-colored umbrellas with quick legs scurrying around, and ahh the four swans on a double date, lazily paddling across the Odra River. My feet are still wet in my black boots, but Winter is here. That makes me happy. Winter is Poland is extraordinary. It's so cold outside that you feel every inch of skin on your body and can even feel the contours of your lungs as the freezing air cycles in and out (or maybe I'm just imagining that...). But when we get to the place you're going, walking through the door and feeling the rush of cozy warm air. It goes beyond just a physical warmth.

Booster likes to take his morning stroll around the oldest part of the city, Ostrow Tumski. Situated on two islands, there's about 4 ancient cathedrals and countless beautiful buildings belonging to the Catholic diocese. Sandwiched between these buildings and the River Odra are sweet little, well-maintained gardens, perfect for a dog-walk. We'll swoop around the garden paths, and perch on a bench overlooking the water, Booster will make a friend, and we'll think: how crazy is it that we live here? And after he gets a nice trot, we walk the five minutes home and get the towel out and wipe his feet off (a new ritual since the recent rains that he absolutely loves! Especially when we wipe HIM on the towel instead of the other way around). We'll hang out with him, maybe make some lunch, and head back out for work. The photo with the two bridges shows our usual route to school (we take the closest bridge called Most Pokoju).

Tomorrow we have another Conversation Club, the pub nights that the school organizes for adult students here. Bhad's agreed to host it and do another of his award-winning pub quizzes. I think it'll be a good time, although it's always hard to make yourself go out for drinks at 9:00pm after being at work since 10:00am. Usually, we just want to get home to the pup and a nice hot meal. But it's just once a month, and hot, mulled wine might give me a boost.

We borrowed a few dvds from some of the teachers at work. Amongst them, 24. Ok, this is seriously addictive stuff. I'm sure most of you guys have seen the series, but we didn't used to watch that much tv back home so it's really our first contact with the show. It's crazy good, especially for two homesick over-worked American teachers looking for cheap thrills. We watched 3 episodes last night, and were up past midnight. Not so good for Bhads who had to be at an early morning class today. I'm a bit wiped, but believe me, it's gonna be round two tonight!

It's 2:00 and I think it's about time for lunch. Cheese, tomato, and mustard sandwiches on white rolls and surowka--shredded cabbage salad with red bell peppers, fresh herbs, onions, and maybe some secret ingredients, too. I could really go for an orange pop, too, but I think I spent my last bit of change on the lunch today. Two out of three of my classes today are in the computer room, which means easy-breezy planning for me. It's always nice to have a bit of a break.

Ok, Bhads is summoning me for lunch. And, whatdaya know, he just found 2 zloty for an orange pop! What a husband!