So, It’s November 29th. I’ve been in Polska for the past 49 days. I’ve had a lot of great times here with all my new friends. Some good laughs for sure. I turned 30 here, I had happy birthday sung to me in the street after checking out Nneka perform in a small club. A year ago I would never have guessed that I’d be spending my 30th in Polska.
I must say that leaving Polska is much more graceful than Hungary was. This time I wasn’t franticly skating down the street at 7am running on 35 minutes of sleep still drunk. Scrap paper in one hand reading some directions for the first time that my friend Anitia had just wrote out minutes before leading me through metro’s to catch my bus to Poland. This time I woke up on time and made a coffee and some PB & H. Packed up my clean laundry and said “do widzenia” to Joanna & Marianka and hopped on a tram to the train station. I’m currently sitting in the train station writing this portion of this note. Last night Marianka helped me sort out my short six hour journey to Berlin. She wrote down everything in my note book for me in detail, it was supposed to be a bit of a journey with tram, train, tram, train, tram. The way she wrote down the instructions in my notebook had Berlin written at the bottom. As I inquired at the information desk in the train station in Wroclaw. I pointed at the Polish station she had written down so I didn’t butcher the polish language anymore. The girl at the information desk saw Berlin at the bottom and asked if that was my destination, I said “Tak” and then she explained about a direct train to Berlin which was cheaper and less of a pain in the ass. So Mariaka’s instructions saved me some time, money and effort. dziękuję Marianka!
I’ll take this opportunity now to give a HUGE thanks to everyone in Polska who gave me good times and a place to sleep.
Maciek, amazing times in Zakopane. Having my own room & bed gave me the chance to have the alone time that I so desperately needed. “Mama Maciek” treated me well with some lovely dinners and your your little sister Julia is adorable! It was so cute watching her become less shy towards me throughout my stay at your place and eventually giving me a hug goodbye. Meeting you back in Valencia six months ago was hilarious times in itself! But I’m glad we were able to reconnect at your home and I had the opportunity to see your life in Poland. The fact that you had those boots that fit me and we could going hiking in the mountains with a bottle of Cytrynowy was a real pleasure for me. Great chatter my man.
Martyna, I’m glad I met you and the gang back in Croatia and was able to see you guys again in Krakow and visit your home town Tarnow. Some good laughs and polish language lessons around your place… “siema ziom!” Mama Dyjak can make more magic in that kitchen than Gandolf himself! Tell her dziękuję once more from me. And tell Anna “I want her to come sit next to me” hahah. Martyna, you fed me breakfast, lunch & dinner. Gave me a place to sleep, showed me the city and let me illustrate on your wall! Dziękuję for everything! Gabriela & Przemysław, thanks for taking me skating. That pole jam made my week!
Marianka, wow… what do I say but dziękuję! I loved that you, Jan & Karolina greeted/picked/met me for the first time (ever) at the train station with a sign that said “Jeff Gee the stinky bum”. That set the tone for what was to come. Then immediately to Karolina & Jan’s where Karoline made me dinner & Yan gave me wiskey as soon as I sat down. Then the fact that Marianka expected me (the stranger) for a few days and it actually turned into a little over three weeks in your hilarious household! Speaking about design with Hubert. Having a smoke and coffee with Agata & Marta. Joanna, thank you for also taking me around Wroclaw and to the galleries. I enjoyed our chatter along the way. Marianka, your hole circle of friends in Wroclaw were super friendly and great to speak with. “Bok Bok!” Thanks to you and EVERYONE for celebrating my 30th. It was a day I’ll never forget (from what I can remember).
My over all stay here in Wroclaw was amazing, I spent a lot of time in Marianka’s lovely house. I had a couple nice hot baths in her beauty tub and chilled out harder than an iceberg. I spent a lot of my time in the house hanging out with the five people who lived in the house and just walking around Wroclaw by myself snapping pics. I also checked out a few different art exhibitions, museums and a travel film festival for two days. Something that stuck out in my mind especially was an collection of photography from children. A group gave out cameras to some kids and let them get snap happy. I was so inspired at the way these children captured these life moments. Some great/sad results. Even the angles that a lot of the images where shot at suggested a child took the photograph. It’s amazing the varied results you can get with this medium. A few of the pictures spoke volumes of what was going on in the household, possibly some alcoholism in the family for a few of the shots. And kids having fun with friends in others. The travel film festival was absolutely fantastic. I managed to catch six films most of them being amazing & inspiring. The few that stand out in my mind were “180 Degrees South”, “Waste Land”, “Alone Across Australia”, “Goodbye, How are you?”, “Ghana: The witches of Gambaga”. Check them out if you can.
(heaps of peeps to thank more but I can only sit in front of this damn computer so long)
For the first time in a while I’ve timed my money (Złoty/Groszy - Polish currency) and changing countries quite nicely. I’ve spent almost the last of my złoty on the WC & a coffee from an automated machine across from where I’m sitting now.
Last night Marianka Joanna & I spoke about my arrival to Wroclaw and looked through all the photos from my stay here. Some good memories for sure. My opportunity to stay with others is really interesting for me. I get a chance to experience how others live their lives and they share these experiences with me. This reminds me about something Rui (Nuno’s roommate back in Portugal - who I will be posting about at some point) said to me about 7 months ago. I was my nervous uncertain traveling self, I thanked him over and over for allowing me to stay with him & Nuno as I was departing from they’re apartment. Rui told me don’t worry about it. “Relax” he said, give me a few months and I’ll be a pro at living/staying with others. After seven and a half months I now know how true this is. I went from being on edge staying with others to mostly cozy (“hygge”- Danish - Tak Caitlin) living in someone else’s space and atmosphere. It’s definitely a skill I had to develop and I suppose am still working on. One other thing I feel the need to mention is, I’m really sorting out my resources around me. Everything from food, water, clothing/laundry etc… Traveling light is key. This process has taught me how to get by with very little.
I picked up a small vocabulary of Polish while I was here in Polska (as well as other languages in other countries) for the last month an a half. I’m learning everyday. New things. New things! It’s so inspiring to me. A simple pleasure for me is to speak some basic conversation in another language whenever I can even if it’s only a few words. Sometimes I can pay in a shop and leave without that person knowing I’m not a native. But mostly they would hear my butchered pronunciation and give me a smile for my efforts.
My photographs & video are growing to a daunting degree. I’ve basically had “suzy” (my camera) on, or close to me since I left home. 21000 photos/videos. My best friend on the road, it helps me look at the little things in life. When you crop the world through a camera it gets fascinating. There is so much to look at on so many levels. The more I build this archive of footage and photos the more I think about a direction for this video project I’d like to create. Maybe some sort of film about faces and places as well as the process of self growth/awareness. I’m constantly juggling ideas in my head of what it should be, why, and what is really interesting about a story like this. When I left home I had no direction and not many goals with my travels ahead, “take photographs” and learn how to surf. I’ve been staying true to the photography and I had a chance to experiment with surfing back in the beginning of this trip. And I still have plans to make my way to Indonesia to try and learn more on a surfboard. The unknown of the future is incredibly exciting.
When I pulled out my computer to write a quick note, I wasn’t sure what I was going to write but it seams I could keep spewing words here in the train station for days.
I’m on my way to stay with a new host that I’ve met through couch surfing. I signed up to the Couchsurfing website in the beginning of this trip and this will be the first time I’m actually going to use it. I’ve had great luck meeting people in my travels who have been happy to help my out so I haven’t had a need for Couchsurfing yet. I didn’t have many contacts in Berlin so I thought I would try it out. My first host’s name is Nora, we’ve corresponded through a few emails via couch surfing. This girl seems fun and I’m genuinely looking forward to meeting this stranger. The dialog of the few emails has been completely sracastic and jokes since her conformation of my stay. She even stated in one of her messages that “I can stay as long as I want”. Wow to have someone say this too you and have never met you is a crazy concept to me. I got the most important question out of the way for her as well. “Do you like peanut Butter” I asked her. She said yes. but she doesn’t eat it often. So we will have a toast and PB party I’m sure of it.
As I was waiting for the delayed train to Berlin I chatted with two different beautiful polish women. The first I was sitting inside the station waiting. She sat down in the chair next to me. After a few minutes I decided to ask her a couple questions I had about my ticket. She answered my questions and we engaged in some friendly conversation. Her name was Julie. Some time had passed and we were approached buy a man about our age who was asking for enough money so he could by a coffee. Julie opened her purse and gave the man about two złoty. He asked me if I spoke english as he over heard us speaking. I said “tak”, he smiled. Shortly after the man left for the automated coffee machine. Julie then spoke of a moment in her life when she was in Polska at a train station and a man entered the station turned on a heater attached to the wall, then placed a piece of meet on the heater and waited about an hour to cook the meat. I was impressed with this mans technique for survival. I expressed this to her. She agreed, She then openly expressed about how thankful she was for what she has in her life. Family, food, shelter etc… I was impressed with her words. She and clearly I share some of the same views. Ironically as I am writing this Johnny Cash’s, “Daddy Sang Base” just came on my broken headphones. The lyrics are suggestive of some close family ties. Interesting.
Now the next girl I didn’t catch her name, because our encounter was only a few mins while I had made my way out of the train station towards the train platform. This girl spoke with me about her small home town which consisted of the most prisons in Polska, I laughed and explained my home town of Kingston back in Canada also has the most prisons in the country. She laughed and told me we have something in common. I couldn’t help but stare a little at this girl, she was one of the most beautiful girls I have ever spoke with in my life. Her alluring eyes and smile could stop damn near anyone, I’m sure of it. Another man approached us he spoke directly with her asking for some money for a coffee. I don’t blame the man, I would do anything possible to interact with this girl too, even if for just a brief second. As she was looking for some money I reached into my pocket and gave the man the last remaining “Groszy” I had in my pocket. The man left on his way. And shortly after that so did this enchanting girl.
More random thoughts… It’s good to be offline. I’m much more a part of the creating process when I’m offline. It’s so easy for someone like me to jump from one thing to the next when your online. This then that, that then this. With one click of the trackpad/mouse you can leap into a whole new online world. Time gets wasted. Is it wasted? Google is the enemy of A.D.D. The three W’s can destroy any momentum I get sometimes. Its great to digest creative resources but it’s so vast it can be hard to focus sometimes and I find myself digesting material instead of creating it.
Jump forward. I got off the train from Polska to Berlin, Found my way to Paul’s Boutique to pick up the keys to Nora’s flat and found my way here with the help of some friendly Berliners. Had a quick look around her place checking out some photographs and decor on the walls to find a note for me on the kitchen table. She should be home soon, so in the mean time I’m writing away here waiting to meet this stranger who’s table I’m currently sitting at. Excited.
(Jump forward 3 days later) Met my host the lovely Nora who is currently sleeping while I edit up this text in her kitchen. She’s a hip Berliner who is showing me the ropes of the city and going to introduce me to her skater friends who will take me out for a Berlin session. Looking forward to that one. I’ll try and post more on my adventures in Berlin when I get some more time.
Danke fürs Lesen. (Thanks for reading)