Dziewczyna która Explora

Okay, so I threw a Spanish word in there to make it sound better, but it’s fine. “Dziewczyna która Explora,” “the girl who explora.”

We spent most of yesterday touring the City Center of Bydgoszcz.

Way before that, I woke up freaking out because I thought I overslept. As it turns out, it was 4:15, and it was broad daylight.

I got some breakfast, took a walk, and we finally met the two representatives from the International Office. They gave us a tour of campus, and took us to lunch at the on campus dining hall. I had pork, which was stuffed with mushrooms and cheese, and potatoes. They were very nice and helpful. We also got to see the buildings at the main campus where we are staying, though we do not attend classes on this campus. While we were walking across campus, the students were having a water balloon fight, and some students poured water out of their windows, and onto our heads, which I thought was funny. After this, we met our taxi driver, who shall be referred to as Frederick. I can’t talk with him, but if I could, I imagine he’s a pretty nice man. A much less than decent driver, though, if you ask me. Most of the cars here are standard transmission, and they take off really fast and almost rear end the person in front of them before slamming on their breaks. I promise we crossed four lanes of traffic yesterday and “Fredrick” never looked either direction. I am not sure the Polish have ever yielded to one another, and I am certain that their vehicles do not come with blinkers installed. Nonetheless, we trust Frederick with our lives each day, and we are growing pretty fond of him.

Frederick drove us to the place where we will be having class. The agriculture building is away from campus about a 15 minute taxi drive. It is a beautiful old building, as can be seen. It   is part of an old church, which was one of the only standing buildings after one of the wars here in Poland. At the UTP, we met Szymon, our professor, and Roman, the Dean. They talked with us for a while, and then Roman walked us all over the city explaining to us the history, and telling us what each building was. While walking around, we stopped for drinks at the square where we talked for hours about language (and taught Roman some Spanish), politics, terrorism, and other topics which is very interesting to discuss with someone outside of the United States. When we walked across the square, a huge flock of fearless birds flew right at us, almost hitting us, which seemed out of the ordinary to nobody except four American girls who let out a screech. Might I add, they were exceptionally large pigeons. Very large. After we continued to explore this beautiful City Center, which is referred to as the Polish Venice–The City on the Water. 

When we could not bear to walk any more, we stopped to get their version of ice cream called Lodi. We got two scoops, and thanks to my inability to speak Polish, I tried ordering chocolate and Kahlua, and accidentally ended up with prune and Kahula…

Following that, we came back from the City Center on our first train ride, and our professor or a Polish guide were not with us. We remembered on our own exactly where to get off, and were incredibly proud of our small victory. We went to get some groceries at the market, which again was next to impossible considering we could not read anything in the store. When we went to check out, I carried the basket with me to the front. The lady started yelling at me, and I had no idea why, but thankfully someone translated that we leave baskets at the beginning of the line, and she put it back for me. I paid and went to leave, and a girl walks up to us and says, “It is so good to hear English! You have no idea how long it has been!!” Come to find out, she is an exchange student from Zimbabwe, and we added her on Whats App. We plan to hang out with her before we leave. Finally, all of us are EXHAUSTED, and we planned to get dinner and go to bed. We went to the pizza place right next to campus, since it is basically our only option. (This is where I got the Kebab the day before). We were all having trouble giving her the right money because we did not understand the word she was saying. It is basically the Polish equivalent of cents, we later learned. They were out of beef, and they did not understand what we were asking them for, so every one of our orders were messed up. I ordered chicken and french fries, saying “I will get fries. It is hard to mess up potatoes.” They somehow managed, haha.

We learn more each day, and get more comfortable and confident in our independence and ability to get around here, though we clearly still have a long way to go.

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