Destiny, Outbound to Poland

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I am almost at my 3-month mark here in Poland. I really do believe that this is a life within a year and not just a year within my life. I have seen and done so much already. I have been traveling to different cities almost every weekend. I have made some really good friends that have helped me so much. My friend Natalia took me to the Philharmonic in my city Bydgoszcz, which is the best one in Poland. It was beautiful. I went to a city called Grudziądz and got to see some of the other exchange students. Then we had a Rotary meeting in Toruń with all the other exchange students, we got to go to the Gingerbread Museum and learn how to make homemade Gingerbread. We also got to go on a boat tour. My Rotary Club took me and 4 other students to a camping trip. We went on a hike and got to see all the leaves changing. It was breathtaking and definitely one of my favorite things about Autumn in Poland. Then my parents took me on a trip to Gdańsk, Gdynia, and Sopot, also known as the Tri-city. We had so much fun together. We went to the WWII museum, Destroyer tour, Carousel ride, and I got to see the beach that I have been missing.

Then I went to Wrocław to see some of my really good friends. We got to see the city and the Dwarfs of Wrocław, which is something I have wanted to see since I heard I was coming to Poland. On November 1, we have a holiday called All Saints Day. It is a holiday of remembrance to those who have passed. My family and I went to the village where my mom grew up to celebrate and meet family. We went to Mass then went to the cemetery. There must have been 100 families there. The graves were decorated beautifully, there were big tombs made of marble and they were covered with flowers and candles. The Priest came and sprayed holy water and prayed over everyone. It was a very beautiful holiday to celebrate. The most breath-taking part was seeing the cemeteries at night. The candles lit up the whole sky and you felt this type of peace. It was so touching to see how much everyone cares and loves their families.

My Rotary Club has signed me and some other students up for Thai Boxing. It is really fun. It is very intense though… I have to work off that Pierogi somehow. The weather is definitely a lot colder than what I’m used to. It is rainy and cold most days. The Autumn season is leaving, and Winter is on its way. I am hoping I will get to see some snow soon.

Polish is getting easier every week. I can understand more than I can say. I have a Polish tutor who is helping in the areas of Polish I am not strong in. For me and the other students this is grammar. With Polish you can’t just be submerged, it’s not enough. You really have to work for it. I really like Polish though and everyone says I am getting much better. The best feeling is ordering your meal, buying a train ticket, or just talking to your family at the table. It makes all the hard work worth it.

I would just like to thank Rotary for this amazing experience. I know I am growing as a person, becoming more independent, and falling in love with Poland. For all of you future outbounds picking countries please put Poland on your list. You will see how much love is in this country and you will not be disappointed. Do Zobaczenia, Dziękuję.