Sunday, 20 January 2013

Two Weeks in Wroclaw

Hello, I haven't written anything for quite a while, mainly due to the fact my life has become a bit mundane.
I have just been working in schools everyday. The schools were both big haunted buildings, with squeaky lino floors. There has been a mix of students; the younger ones around 14 years old were hyperactive and eager to learn. Then I had a class of 20 year old boys who were the opposite, and then a school of nerds and I'm not even joking. The 'teaching' is both easy and tiring.

The rest of the time we have just been experiencing Wroclaw. Coming from New Zealand, I think people believe if you are anywhere else in the world, you will be in awe of your surroundings all the time. But its not really true, life goes on here just the way it does in New Zealand, the only difference is that in 4 hours you can reach some of the most famous cities in the world, which is impossible from New Zealand's isolated position. Most of the our time in Wroclaw is spent in Babel Hostel, with its gritty floor boards, panelled wooden doors, the smell of two minute noodles and humidity, and the sound of Henryk's unstable laughter. The evenings (midnight - 5am) were spent in the dark commonroom, watching the Australian Open live, eating noodles, snugged on the couches. After school we walked around one of the various malls in the city, eating frozen yoghurt, using up McDonalds vouchers, trying on new clothes and looking for cheap shoes that have good grip and are waterproof. The weekends were spent trudging up to Market Square through the lumpy hard-packed and gritty snow. We havent seen sunshine since before Christmas, and this week we have barely seen more than an hour of daylight thanks to our nocturnal tendencies. My camera has remained locked away because I don't feel touristy enough to get it out and take photos. Other things which are part of the Wroclaw experience are the blue trams trundling along their tracks, watching out for rogue ticket officers everytime the tram doors open, jaywalking then sprinting to avoid a speeding driver and praying that your shoes don't slip on the ice, eating at Slodnecko, an awful soviet style lunch place and not wanting to put your bag on the floor or wanting to eat the oily chicken, queuing at fresh market to buy water, beer, chips, two minute noodles and bread, counting groszy (equivalent to cents) on bar counters to purchase beer to the waitress's disdainful looks, slipping over in snow (especially if you are Louise), having snowball fights all the time, being freezing cold no matter what you wear.

Some of the highlights of the last two weeks include ice skating at a rink with people from another AIESEC project, being mashed in the face with a snowball from Louise inside the McDonalds queue then swearing loudly in Polish accidently, Emsi and Leo having burping matches (this isn't really a highlight, it just happened frequently), finding a coffee shop with really attractive waiters (one that Louise accidently swore at which led us to start up a conversation), eating Pierogi in Emsi's flat, watching Life of Pi at the cinema around 10pm at night, trying to go to a new bar for once but always ending up at the communist pub, being called a 'f***ing idiot' by a Polish boy in a club then spending the rest of the night bagging on Polish boys and eating pizza angrily, playing a Brazilian card game in a pub, the fact that Babel Hostel got a coffee machine, Favela parties (the impossible drinking game Louise found that nobody won, and Bruce's teacup shots of Vodka which destroyed him and Andrew). We went to a Brazilian party in a really nice polish apartment, where they had a mini BBQ inside which meant the door had to be kept open letting in icy air. There was so so much meat (real meat!), everyone was Brazilian apart from some random Poles, and the music was really good.

But there were also some bad moments this week, roughly half our the interns were meant to be going to other cities but everyone swapped groups due to who wanted to go, causing a huge commotion. Everyone got really stressed and Tatiana and Magda both cried. A Brazilian couple (Livia and Greg) moved into Favela and the remaining people (Leo, Joao, Louise and I) decided to focus all our efforts on making them want to leave. It wasn't hard considering we went to bed everyday at 4am and they had to get up at 6am, but Greg pretty much attacked Louise on the third day. He chased her out of the room with his arms outstretched after she had been jokingly swearing in Portugese, and I thought he was going to hit her but she started screaming in time. The hostel owner's daughter who was on duty at the time also joined the shouting match to vent some issues she seems to have with Louise specifically. ('Are you a giiirrrl or a wooomaan?') The couple moved out just in time for Douglas to get his bed back in Favela, and for us to have a leaving party. We also had an AIESEC intervention to talk about problems in the project. This went pretty well although we were worried because we were going to announce that we were leaving the project. The intervention ended in shotting some really nice vodka, apparently this is normal in Poland? Favela is also disgusting, it has reached a new low with chairs and suitcases and washing line literally barricading the second half of the room. There are socks and rubbish all over the floor and even the hostel staff have given up on cleaning it.

And now its time to say goodbye. With only 6 interns staying in the project this week, everyone else is going separate ways. When we watched the Life of Pi I couldn't help think about the fact we had to say goodbye to each other soon, but I won't be like the tiger and not look back!

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