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Posts Tagged ‘goodbyes’

What a month!  Just to look back at this month now = awe. It was an array of emotions, some really mixed feelings, and I am going to go into detail of every one of them.

[It has been a while, and I’m throwing you my excuses straight up—my last month in Poland was spent road-tripping and saying goodbyes to family, most of the time without a greater internet connection.] But here we go!

The first feeling was despair. After leaving Kraków, I felt so lost. I loved my life there, I really did, everything about it. To be leaving was signalling the end of that life. Everyone moved on their separate ways, finding jobs here or there, or moving back to their countries and continents. It was over. And I was sad. I mourned, I really did. I didn’t want to accept it, and I didn’t know how to go about leaving. It seems really melodramatic to look back on now but that is honestly what I felt.

The next feeling was a sudden and rapid emotion that took over my depression—longing for home. Now that everyone had got to go home after uni was over (to their homes across Poland or across the world) I was jealous that I couldn’t be experiencing the same thing. It was over 9 months ago, after all, since I had seen everyone last (with the exception of my dad, who came to visit for Christmas). I felt like I was lulling around, homeless in a sense, going from one family home to the next, living out of my suitcase.

I guess I was just sick of goodbyes and I wanted hellos. Not to say though that I didn’t enjoy the month road-tripping across Poland. It was incredible. It was hard to be longing for home but enjoying the travelling at the same time. It made me go through mood swings as fast as weather changes.

My aunt took Dorothy and I on a road trip up north to the sea, which we did swim in, and it was beautiful, so so beautiful. The sandy beaches with squeaky sand, YES squeaky white sand, the fight against giant waves crashing in to you, the tanning, the smell of the sea, the wind, I loved it all. I love salty waters![1] I love vacation! It was relaxation to the max. We even went on a sandy peninsula and walked by beach to the border with Russia! (The border consisted of a fishing net fence, and a sign, ha!). We also spent a day in Gdańsk, an amazing and beautiful city, and went to Malbork, home to the biggest castle in Europe (by surface area) and holder of the largest bricks in Europe! After returning back to Rzeszów and Wrocław, my time was spent saying last goodbyes, meeting family in other towns and villages nearby (ish), soaking up their presence for the last time and them mine. I don’t want to talk too much about it, because it makes me sad to remember. I miss them.

As the days were growing less by what seems an immeasurable speed, I began to feel that I really didn’t want to leave Poland. Leaving was putting a stamp on the end of my life there, on the Europe-life, a final goodbye to friends, an end of the close connections and communications with my family – most of which, as mentioned earlier, don’t have internet and communicate nearly 100% face to face. (I think I’m going to take up letter writing.)

Then the moods reversed. The growing intensity of just wanting to be home and wanting the goodbyes to be over, came back, stronger. Every night I started to dream about home, just being there, doing the simplest of things. I swear I envisioned myself buying a French Vanilla at Tim Hortons or ‘sex in a pan’ at the Elephant Ear cafe, or speaking to the most random people in passing on the street. I missed small town Terrace. I dreamt at night and daydreamed in the day—it was all I could think about. I was beyond ready for hellos.

With this longing for home however, came a mixed feeling of something like nervousness. I was really worried that people had changed. I had heard most of my friend group had split off for various reasons, I heard reviews that some of my friends had drastically changed, and I was worried that things just wouldn’t be the same with those people I didn’t keep in touch with. A lot can change in a year, I kept thinking. And I wasn’t completely lost as to whether or not I had changed.

Lastly I was not keen for the long ordeal/journey home. I usually love flying, I really do. But this time I was nervous, really nervous, which is really abnormal but that’s the truth. I think it just meant more this time, there were so many unanswered hopes and fears that all the nervousness I had been feeling the past couple weeks transformed into a sudden fear of the flight home[2].

Even while writing this, tears come to my eyes. Tears were in my eyes when I left Poland and they were in my eyes when my plane landed in Terrace, BC, home. Leaving and arriving has never been so hard. I didn’t know what was coming when I left last year, I really didn’t. I was ready for the adventure but I did not expect the end to be so fatally emotional.

Right now, I am so so SO happy. Despite the tears—every tear I’ve cried since I’ve returned home has been a tear of joy. I’ve never been so happy in my life. (I’ve never cried this much, Jesus). There are no words to describe how happy I was to see my family and friends, to see that nothing has changed. I was so worried that things would be different but everything fell back into place like I had never left. I feel so loved and happy and just blessed to have all the people in my life that I do.

That’s basically it. We end there. I’m at a bit of a loss as to what to do with this blog. The journey is over. I documented my experiences and feelings as best as I could. And I’m glad I’ll have this all to look back on. Right now, I think I’ll leave the blog be, maybe post a few photos from my road trip once I download them, and go back and post more from the year, or Switzerland, or just keepsakes. When I start off on my Europe trip in six months, I’ll start a new blog. (I really like new blogs for new occasions).

Though I’m not really sure who my random readers from across the world have been, thank you to those who have stuck with me on this escapade from home. Making the move to Poland is something I’ll never forget nor regret—it was the best thing I’ve ever done in my life.

Cheers & take care,

Asia

Endnote: There is one more thing I thought of to add to this post. Yesterday I was reading a quote that has been on my fridge for years that I was never really fond of before. “Ships in harbour are safe. But that’s not what ships were built for.” I remember never really liking it, and was never really sure what the author intended. Now though, I can expand. Maybe we feel safest at home, maybe we never want to leave, but humans were made for exploring, to delve in the unknown, to challenge our barriers and perimeters, and I think that anyone who seeks to do that will never be left unsatisfied with the journey that ensues. End sentimental note.


[1] Haha, couldn’t decide if I wanted to say ‘ocean’ or ‘sea’ so I went with ‘salty waters’ lol.

[2] Obviously the fears diminished as soon as I was up in the air—my love of flying will never die.

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I change my mind a lot. I was going to take the beautiful opportunity of a free morning/early afternoon today to go to a museum. And then I realized my next couple days[1] are going to be incredibly busy and there is one thing I want to do more than see museums while I’m still in Kraków and that is – buy a travel backpack. Yes, a big multi-compartment-padded hip and shoulder strap-overflowing with zips and ties-bulky yet small water-resistant—backpack. For my 6-month Euro-trip in approximately seven and a half months. (Wow. I remember when that was two and a half years away.)

I want to buy it here because a) it’ll definitely be a lot cheaper than if I was to get one in Vancouver and b) I live in a city right now[2] and I can find a large variety to chose from. If I don’t get one while I’m still in Poland, then I will either be stuck with poor small-town selection or the option of having to drive 16 hours to expensive Vancouver and buy something uber pricy OR, one more option, order online. Which, in my eyes and thinking of the pains by back does not want to endure, is not really an option.

Right. BUT THEN, the heat of the day stopped me. I’m sweating in my room let alone when I step outside and bike to the mall (I did that yesterday to buy new swim bottoms since mine have mysteriously stretched out and new sandals since I wore my flats to the ground). So I’ve decided to wait till the evening and hopefully a couple-degrees-colder temperature to start my search of my future home (the backpack).

Thus I was still left with an open late morning turning into an afternoon. I researched things I want my future backpack to have, wrote my uncle a couple emails (trying to arrange our transport OUT of Kraków), crossed off a couple things off my Kraków To-Do List, ate breakfast, annnd then thought maybe it was time to go by a massive cardboard box from the post office in order to squeeze all my winter belongings, text books, and other heavy clothes I rather ship back to Canada than put into my suitcase and have to pay fees for being overweight for three different flights. No thank-you. However, I want to compile my stuff with Dorothy’s and she had other afternoon plans (that may or may not have involved dozing and doctors).

And now it is past 12. And I have 3 ish hours to kill before I must go tutor Amilia for the last time. And I’ve been meaning to catch my friends up on my life here for the past couple weeks so here we go.

IT’S OVER GUYS. IT IS ALL, ALL OVER !

The course is finished, I had the last of my classes, then the last of my exams, then the year-end theatre presentation followed by a grand tram-party followed by the “after-party”[3], then the after-party clubbing, and so forth. THEN (yesterday) we had our graduation ceremony and received our diplomas. How crazy is that!? I can’t believe it’s finished and that we’re all done and that there are already some students I’ll never see again or my lovely, friendly teachers—DONE, FINITO, ADIOS, PA PAAA!

:’(

The last couple weeks were amazing (despite exams). You know how the closer the end is coming the closer you get with all the people involved? Does that make sense? I feel like that’s happening again – again being that it was like that with highschool. Or Camp Morice. Or right before I left for Poland. Or hiking trips. Anything really.

We all just sat in class for a semester or two trying to absorb as much Polish as possible and remember the billion exceptions and weird variations. I now catch myself saying polish words when the English ones refuse to come to mind, typing W when I really mean V, and confusing my English sentence structure.

And now people have driven home, flown home, are en route, or leaving in a few days. Dorothy and I are staying longer. We’re in Kraków till the end of June then in Rzeszów and Wrocław till the 21st of July. Some of my friends are actually staying in Poland, some got jobs, some are sticking with the program for another semester or two, some had always planned to live here. And some of us have fallen in love with Kraków and will be coming back here whenever they get a chance.

I’m going to backtrack a bit now. Skip over a lot and tell you about my highlights of the past month!

SO. In my last post I said I had nothing planned and upcoming. I didn’t. But things happen. The day after my last post, so June 1st, my friend Anne-Marie proposed a trip to Ukraine the next day for two days. And after a couple minutes of consideration (I would miss two days of school) I agreed. WEEEOOOOO! A trip! To another country!

We took a night bus to Lviv that arrived at 4 am (we were told it would be 6am). Stranded and unable to read anything we eventually asked a bus driver (in broken Polish) if her bus went to the town center and she responded in broken Ukrainian – Polish, that it did. We pulled out the money we had just exchanged (because you buy your bus tickets directly from the bus driver in Ukraine) and unfortunately we didn’t have exact change. I’m still surprised that she didn’t kick us off—maybe she pitied the sleepless girls stranded at the bus station much too far out of town but she waved her hand and said, “Siadajcie![4] Just like that. So we did. And the journey began.

To sum it up, our two days were filled with lots and lots of walking, sightseeing (monuments, museums, buildings, a cemetery, lookouts), going in the wrong direction, bar-searching, avoiding cars that almost ran us over, a lot of talking, bumping into the same sort-of-strangers three times, a cat hostel, crossing the border by foot, a bit of hitchhiking with only one scary occurrence[5], a four-hour layover in Rzeszów with the company of 2 multilingual over-friendly guys, and a SUPREME lack of sleep. Eight hours for three nights to be specific.

We arrived back in Kraków at 7:30am, I went home, dropped off the backpack, picked up my school stuff, tried and failed to make myself look presentable and took a tram to school (I was too exhausted to bike). I felt obligated though to go to school after missing two days and not having any class on Fridays. However, I think I ended up being useless on Wednesday, and I was so tired the next day that I completely slept in. So that was me being almost absent for a week of school before exams.

Now I’ll skip ahead to my next highlight of the month. Zakrzówek lagoon! Back in winter, Dorothy and I went on a walk with our Aunt to these cliffs (area that used to be a quarry). There’s a small park around it and we remember walking up to the top through a bit of snow and coming upon the lookout. It was nice but it wasn’t outstanding—maybe impressive. Jutting grey cliffs, a frozen over white lake and sunken boat sticking out, bla bla. But I did not expect the view in the summer. Dorothy, Jess, and I decided to push our bike ride to Tyniec to a later date and went on a walk to the cliffs instead. We took a similar trail that Dorothy and I had taken with our aunt back in winter. But the view that we came out on was stunning. I did not expect it. This beautiful lake surrounded by beautiful white cliffs, greenery, and flowers. And the water was blue, so so blue, the kind of colour it is in the Caribbean. So clear and clean and wonderful. It was like this hidden tropical destination in Kraków that we had stumbled upon two weeks before our departure. We saw people sitting on the lower rocks, jumping in, tanning, one girl was swimming across the length of the inlet. The next day we brought our bathing suits and towels and went swimming. It was so warm and refreshing and perfect and the best thing ever. Paradise. Going back there again tomorrow. Probably one of my favourite things in Kraków and we only recently discovered it.

Now for grad and things related. I had so, so, so much fun putting on gowns again and the grad caps. Woo! Like highschool all over again! Our ceremony was in Collegium Novum (please take a moment to google image that: (https://www.google.pl/search?q=collegium+novum&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.48175248,d.Yms&biw=1066&bih=531&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=BOzCUcjDE4_MsgariIDIDg) where all the important university things take place. I am never going to get tired of the amazing architecture and beautiful buildings in Europe. And the oldness and history of it all. Copernicus studied there! As did Pope John Paul II. And 183 professors were arrested and sent to camps during the Nazi occupation, right in the room where we got our diplomas! HISTORY!

And, another highlight and something that has been on my to-do list from the moment I first witnessed it—The Party Tram. Yes that is everything as it sounds. A party. On a moving tram. Dancing. Loud music. Screaming and waving to onlookers. The two treasured hours went by all too fast. I still can’t explain to you the level of fun I had. I had high expectations and the actual event still went far and beyond. I am so, so happy our school director decided for the first time ever, to throw his students a tram party.

And beyond that, all the partying I’ve been doing has been great. Just spending time with friends with a few drinks, clubbing, dancing on tables, meeting foreigners, saying goodbyes to places and to friends.

Goodbyes are always the hardest. I am honestly not looking forward to saying goodbye to my roommates, my closer friends, and when the time comes—my family. I wish I could skip over the whole thing. I’ve connected to a bunch of people now scattered across the globe and it could be months or years before I see any of them again. Like I foresaw before coming here, and as others predicted, Kraków has very much become a home to me and just as before, I don’t want to leave. But I know once my friends leave (the biggest part of home) Kraków won’t be the same. And then there’ll be nothing holding me back from the long-awaited journey home to the oh-so-distant ‘Beautiful British Columbia’.

Asia

P.S. Exactly a month and a day.


[1] actually the whole of the next WEEK

[2] for only a week more *tears* my time in Kraków is coming to an end

[3] a term used more by Poles than it is in Canada I swear

[4] „Sit, sit!”

[5] I’ve already told many of my friends this story, but basically the generally-friendly guy decided to drop a few things off at his place just as we were nearing our destination.- it was now dark and about 11pm. He turned onto a dirt road that gradually receded to an even smaller/rougher dirt road, in the middle of nowhere, more specifically a wheat (?) field coming up to about shoulder length. We both almost had a heart attack. He pulled into a dirt lot (the only dirt lot) and there was a big white house. He said he’d be back in a couple minutes and left the door open. I don’t know why that bothered me but it did. It felt like a horror movie waiting to happen, honestly.  We didn’t know what to do. Anne-Marie was ready to book it and I was silently wishing I had written down the license plate number. ANYWHO, nothing happened, he did drop off his laptop, we drove on, he dropped us off at the train station, said goodbye, all was well. Just an everyday nice guy.

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