First off, thank you everyone for the great comments. The positive reinforcement has been really good for me, and it makes me want to write more, so, very seriously, thank you.
So very much has happened since I last posted, I'm still trying to gather my thoughts. It's a good thing I committed to this blog thing, because otherwise my journal of Poland would be a lot more patchy.
I'll start with the highlight, because otherwise I'll just be itching to get it out. We took an outing to Kraków this weekend, and I'm sorry Megan and all citizens of Kraków, but the coolest part of the trip happened on the ride home.
There's a woman here from China who speaks Polish. She's a psychiatrist and a gynecologist (at Dan's urging we came up with several jokes along that scenario, and if anyone's interested I'll tell you sometime...but not here) and she worked here in 1995 and she's come back to the summer school several times since then.
So, on the bus ride back from Kraków I ended up sitting next to this woman, and I'd been wanting an opportunity to talk to her more for a long time. (If you learn one thing from this blog, I hope it's that Polish with a Chinese accent is about the coolest thing I've ever heard in my life!) I asked about her profession and why she knew Polish, which city in China she's from (Peking) and if she spoke English (poorly).
Then I got brave and asked her about Chinese politics. She taught me how to say Hu Jintao (President of the People's Republic) properly, and we compared notes on totalitarianism and democracy and other light dinner topics. She asked me what I think of President Bush and then told me her opinion, and she told me about her visits to America and Canada and how she'll prefer the Chinese system forever.
Then I got really brave and asked her about Tibet. (I must say that she didn't treat any of these topics as taboo--she was willing to talk about anything.) She told me some things that I think pretty well fall along the lines of the official party position, but I didn't really try to argue with her, because we were both speaking poor Polish and a bus isn't really the place to evangelize democracy.
But nonetheless, the point of all that detail is that I had a conversation with a Chinese woman, about politics, religion and all the heavy artillery, in Polish, on a bus, in Poland. It was an exalted experience.
That same night I told Chauntelle (sp) (from the vegetarian table) that a certain candy bar (Biały Lion, if you're interested) is orgasmic, and I got a lot of shocked, uncomfortable laughs from my BYU compatriots. I defended myself by saying it's a word we use in my family. Hi Mom and Dad!
In other news, Kraków was really fun. On Saturday we had a tour guide who led us around the old town, including the churches and Jagellonian University, then up to Wawel and through the cathedral and the castle. She spoke excellent English, and it was an incredibly educational experience.
Kraków is a really nice city. There are a lot of tourists, but it's big enough that it doesn't seem too terrible. It's a lot more advanced than Lublin as well, and the restoration of all the old architecture is incredible. A true miracle of tourists' money. I recommend visiting.
Another highlight was seeing my dear friend Megan, who's currently a sister missionary in Kraków. We had planned to meet in the early afternoon and go to lunch, which we did. Though, they told the elders that we were meeting, and I think the elders thought that I was on the prowl or something (oh if only they knew me), so they tagged along. I'm not too bitter, but some missionaries are definitely hard to be around.
We had lunch at a fantastic little basement restaurant and then we went to a park for sport Saturday, a weekly opportunity for missionaries to blow of steam and spend quality time with investigators and members. Several of the BYU crowd came and joined us, and it was actually quite a good time. Hanging out with a missionary necessarily limits conversation topics (their lives don't vary much from day to day), but it was just good to see Megan and chat a little bit.
I think that's all from my end. I've been invited to a party this Thursday, and I haven't yet decided how spirited I feel. At the very least, we're going to see Wall-E tomorrow night, so that's "out on the town."
Just because I know you're interested, the vegetarian table has been in a slump. Last night we had mushroom bigos for dinner. As bigos (sauerkraut and sausage) is nothing to drool over, it was especially disappointing. This evening I went to Subway and got a half-price sandwich ("happy hour!") to complement my baked-apple-rice-abomination. As a pathological optimist, however, I know that I won't die before I get home, barring serious accidents or natural disasters. Always the optimist!