This has taken me awhile to write this blog post; however, I was finding myself. I wasn’t really sure what to write about or how to write it, but I was travelling, finding who I was and who anyone ever asked me to be—me. And so, I began to travel.
Reorienting myself to this new city has been a challenge to say the least. Usually, I am good with directions; however, the difficulty of the Polish language has been the greatest barrier thus far. Thanks to the two Chicago colleagues, Sabina and Dominika, the other guys in the program and I have been able to get along pretty well, commonly asking them (who speak fluent Polish) to assist us with ordering our food.
With the program that I am taking, we were given the option to take a two-week intensive Polish language program with Jagiellonian University in Kraków. This has been a godsend, as I only knew Americanized phrases in Polish, such as “tasty” or “go home and go to sleep.” Some of the many things for which I am grateful were the traditions and partial language pieces which were passed down through my maternal family—wigilia, babcia, dziadek, etc. These translations through generations have been the most eye-opening aspects of my childhood. The words became common, the traditions became continuous, and the family became closer. I guess I would make a great speculation when saying this; however, I believe that immigrant families who practice ethnic traditions or dine with ethnic foods have some of the strongest bonds within families of today. Whereas, I can also say it’s difficult to argue against participating in these traditions unless it echoes a sense of apathy or distaste, as it directly defines the individuals at hand. Continue reading
After arriving in Kraków, Poland, I have found myself feeling bittersweet and numb. Well, the numbness could be possibly attributed to the eighteen hours of travel, four plane rides, running from gate to gate, or just my all-around tiredness—the bittersweet moments were when I realized that I was leaving my friends 4,500 miles behind.
When I took off from Pittsburgh, I said goodbye to my mother and father. Just the day before, my mother stated to me she was going through a store and began to cry when she saw the Polish pottery. Therefore, I believe that, to preserve the awkwardness of crying at the airport drop-off, she held it back until I was out of site (but I could be wrong). With my boarding pass on my phone, I entered the cue and with my tenacious spirit, I began my journey to Poland.