Haley, outbound to Poland

I've been in Poland for about three weeks now, and it's pretty much impossible to describe everything that's happened, and all the changes, the people I've met and this damn language, so this is going to be super unorganized (but at least it exists?). Here I go!

- I have never eaten so much bread in my life, and I can count on one hand the number of meals I've had that have not included sliced tomatoes
- Polish people are way more into ice cream then Amerians, and the ice cream is better
- 3.7 zloty to a dollar means I'm rich
- I've visited Bydgoszcz for language camp, which I thought was the most amazing city I've ever seen, and then I visited Torun, which is too pretty to be real
- The other exchange students and I visited a castle that's twice as old as the United States

- Speaking Polish is a real challange and I wish I had studied more before coming here

- I truly believe that if everyone did exchange, there would be no more wars
- There are bees everywhere
- I have an apple tree in my backyard
- I can curse in five languages
- There are no clothing dryers and no window screens

At the language camp, I was able to meet all the other exchange students in Poland, there are about 50 of us total - and now I can say I have friends not only from the United States, but from Brazil, Colombia, Canada, Argentina, Mexico, France, Italy, Taiwan and Australia. The friends I made at language camp amazed me constantly - I've never felt comfortable with a large group of people, and I've never felt more loved, accepted, or supported. I think the biggest thing that surprised me was how at home I felt. In the middle of a crowded Polish city, unable to do more then form basic sentences, surrounded by people I'd known for five days, thousands of miles away from my family, I felt truly at peace.

Poland is amazing, completely amazing. And since I've been here, I've had some of the best moments of my life and some of the worst, I've felt brutal homesickness and utter joy. There aren't words to describe how it feels when your host mother calls you her daughter, or you realize you can't see your host sister again because she's in Canada, I can't explain how the countryside makes me happy and the exhilaration of swimming in a freezing lake in the middle of the woods. At a hostel in Torun, about thirty five of the other exchange students and I crammed ourselves into a tiny kitchen on the last night, and danced to songs in Portuguese, using our phones as strobe lights, and I think it was the happiest I've been in years. Everything here is amplified - the highs are higher and the lows are lower.

I start school in a few days, so I'll see how that goes - I have to learn to ride the busses, and make friends in my town (I'm the only exchange student in Olsztyn). But I can't wait.

Anyway, I'm not entirely sure how to end this, so i think I'll just upload some photos and leave it like that.

pokoj!

To visit my page for photos and more click HERE