Thursday, 29 November 2012

Birds Eye View

I have finally arrived in London! The journey was ridiculously long, over 30 hours of flying and stopovers. It could have been hellish but I kept thinking to myself at least this isn't a two month long sea voyage! I was booked to have the window seat the entire time which was both a blessing and a curse. It meant I had to ask the two Australian lads going to Munich solely to drink beer to get out of their seats every time I needed the bathroom, and my legs got really cramped and sore. But I got to monopolise the window, which is great if you are traversing half the world. The daylight stretched on for hours as we flew from Sydney to Singapore, then night time lasted forever on the next 14 hours to Heathrow. I saw around 4 hours of red desert in Australia with only one dusty straight road through it. There was a terrific lightening storm over Malaysia. I saw huge glowing Asian cities, faint lights coming from small towns across India's Hindi belt, the snow capped mountain range between Pakistan and Afghanistan with a metallic glittering city with bronze veins running through it on the border. There were huge Middle Eastern cities, the Black Sea was partially covered by clouds but the lights along the shore made the shape visible. Most of Europe was covered in cloud too, but I saw cities etched across the Czech Republic and Eastern Europe, and glowing lights coming through the clouds over France and Netherlands. Finally we circled London 5 times next to a queue of other planes, waiting our turn for the runway. With views like that, you don't need in-flight entertainment!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Why Poland?

The university year has finished in New Zealand, so the question 'what are you up to for summer' has been a frequent conversation starter. When I say I'm going to Poland the general reaction is 'why on earth would you want to go there?'

I can think of quite a few reasons:
  • I'm a nerd and have studied Polish history every single year since I was 14
  • I have a map on my bedroom wall with a pin over Eastern Europe, along with every other region of the world
  • My grandmother's friend and probably the most inspirational person I've ever met is from Poland
  • The desire for adventure and to go somewhere completely different from what I know 
  • It's a graduation present to myself
  • It's cheap if I go through a uni organisation, plus I get to live with other young people
  • Because I can! Carpe diem/#yolo my friends.

But what am I actually doing there?
Well I'm living in Wroclaw (pronounced vrohts-wahv much to my surprise and despair), going around high-schools teaching cultural education and English. This is through the Wroclaw University of Economics and a student organisation called AIESEC.
AIESEC was set up after WW2 in Europe to promote peace through awareness of other cultures, although its now a world wide institution that has very varied projects. For example, my friend Dhaxna is going to work for the Red Cross in the Philippines the same time as I'm in Europe.

I really don't know much about what it's going to be like, which is part worrying and part exciting. I also can't speak any Polish; I think I've mastered 'hello' after a solid month practice. Cheshch. Additional to 6 weeks in Wroclaw I have just over 4 weeks where I plan to travel around, I just bought a Eurail pass for Czech republic, Germany, Netherlands and France!

Seeing as I love writing travel diaries, I've decided this blog is a good way to keep you all updated with what I am doing. If all goes to plan, the next post should be from London!