Vices we love: January 2006

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The shock of quasi-normalcy

Nobody is staring at me- I get some looks because I dress like an eskimo while most Poles go about in shorts and light jackets- but none of those lingering stares that made me feel like a Martian. How will I ever cope with semi-integration?
Not to mention that I'm finding out that I speak Polish. Not very good Polish mind you, and if you insist that fluency includes the ability to form complete sentences I am not your ideal, but....hold your horses....

I am able to do errands in Polish. Just today I ate breakfast, had lunch, bought supplies and asked for directions and used Polish 80% of the time. I can read menus and make change. This is a relief you can not understand unless you have been in a place where it took you four months to figure out that you were looking at a barber shop not a brothel (and vice versa). (Off topic, why not combine the two?)

They hate the EU here because globalization is a catch-phrase for "let's find some poor people and make them work for three dollars a day" (and because the population here is devoutly Catholic- my room in the dorm featured a small figurine of the crucifixion, complete with fake blood, which I took off the hook it was hanging on because images of torture are not the first thing I want to see in the morning- and being devout they don't go for the post-religious libertine Western European ideal) but it's still managing to drag the population into the world. On the train to Czestachowa I talked (pantomimed really) with an engineer who just came back from Egypt and was preparing for a spring assignment to Iceland. Oh Iceland.....

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Now, to be fair, the University exists and classes start on Monday. (Or so it would seem...) The town is of the one streetlight variety but haven't gotten to explore it much since it's about -5 Farenheit, which is not my cup of tea. It should be up to about 28 by the weekend though- beach time!

Monday, January 23, 2006

The 'Damn it's cold' edition

The flight left three hours late but to compensate, they cancelled the connecting flight from Warsaw to Katowice, which meant a change of plans- I am now in Krakow. A nice enough town, friendly ladies who do not seem to be openly on the troll for visas (but then I'm passing myself off as a full-blooded Hungarian, partly to avoid visa leeches), artery-hardening food and sheets of ice. Also a fairly large number of Jewish artifacts (I had breakfast at a shop decorated with stars of David and paintings of different rabbis.) It's the European wet dream: Judaism without Jews!

The hostel I'm staying at offers "daily tours to Auschwitz". No thanks. I met up with a Canadian guy and instantly hated his guts when, in relaying details of his expedition, he stated in a tone combining insincerity and disinterest "I learned we must never let stuff like that happen again." Yeech. By the way, what's with the 'we' stuff? I bet when the guns are pointed in my (our) direction, there will be no more we. Anyway.....

I'm about to hop the train to Czestachowa, which is supposed to be reasonably close to here. We shall see. I'm just hoping I don't have to log on in six hours and write something along the lines of "There is no university in town and no employer. It was all a scam. Send supplies of rye bread and whiskey to: Broke-Ass Foreign Boy, Train Station, Czestachowa, Poland." Although deep in my cynical soul (what is left of it) I fully expect my next post to be a variation of this theme.

Say was this more or less optimistic than my usual? And where is Peemil? I miss his drawings of dead clowns.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

His big fat Hungarian wedding

Not my wedding mind you. No, no. I'm talking about cousin Jr. March 25th. I just pray my clumsiness won't desert me at the crucial moment when I'm being urged to catch the boquet.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Dancing king

Someone once asked me if I can dance. The answer? Absolutely!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I love the smell of kielbasa in the morning

Ho ho frigging ho. Merry Chrismanukahkwanzaaka as corporations now say. I'm in upstate New York waiting on possibilities and the likeliest contender is.....

Poland. The land of sausages, cabbage and the occassional mass killing. I was accepted into a moderately reputable and nearly-free masters program there, and an M.Ed. may do wonders for me. (No, I have not forgotten Virginia. I have it on deep background that they have schools too in case I feel like doing something productive while biding my time.)

A Masters may make me semi-employable
Never been to Poland so nobody hates me there yet (though if my grandmother hadn't changed her name from Lichtmann....)
Serious blogging potential (11:30 pm- I am so drunk; 2:30 am- I'm wasted; 11:30 am- who is that strange family of identical sisters in my bed? I am so drunk; 2:30 pm- I need a drink.)

Bankruptcy. Termination. Expulsion. You know- the usual stuff.
Continued exile. (This could be a plus actually.)

So with that in mind, pass me the pickled cabbage Comrade Kaminski, I'm going through the pretense of higher education- Poland style.

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