“Pass the Lard, Please.”

We met Frederick this morning and he drove us back to the Bydgoszcz City Center where we are attending classes. We had our first official lecture and lab. We focused primarily on soil texture, and how it affects the density. We learned that clay packs together better, and is harder for water to escape through because it has smaller holes, in comparison to sand, which is bigger grains and allows water to slip through it very easily.

After lecture, we walked to the City Center square where we had lunch. We learned that when bread is served before their meal, instead of putting butter on it like Americans would, it is customary to spread a lard and onion mix called Smalec on top of Rye, and salt and pepper it. It also comes with pickles pickled in lactic acid instead of vinegar. Today I wanted to experience something very Polish. Our instructor, Szymon, said that about the most polish thing I could order would be pork with potatoes, which was top on the menu. It came and was absolutely delicious. It was pork with a type of breading on it fried, and boiled potatoes. The potatoes had a little bit of dill sprinkled on top of them. It was also served with boiled sour kraut, which is surprisingly better than any sour kraut I have had at home. I believe the sour kraut was designed to be eaten as a side, but I instead ate it with the potatoes and pork to add to the flavor of it. The pork reminded me very much of a dish I ate a few times when in Germany called Schnitzel. Schnitzel was served with just a little lemon squeezed over the top for flavor, so I may try that next time, as well. All of my meal was probably around 7-9 American Dollars, including tip.

After eating lunch, we returned to campus for a while where we learned about the machines that are used to test the soil. Szymon contacted a Polish student, and had him come to show us where the large store was, and help us grocery shop in order to prepare for a cook out we are to have with students and faculty tomorrow. We picked up chicken, bell pepper, and onion for kabobs, along with the seasoning. Sides and dessert was difficult to think of because we do not have an oven in our dorm, only a burner that plugs in to the wall, and a few pans to boil or fry in. We decided on deviled eggs as a side to show them something American, and a fruit salad for dessert. Most importantly, though, we found for the first time in all of Europe, the nectar of the gods–all twenty-three cherished flavors of Dr. Pepper, and you couldn’t have wiped the smile off of any of our faces. We even got one to let Szymon try tomorrow, because he had never heard of Dr. Pepper. While at this larger market, I also purchased sour skittles. Much to my surprise, they did not have any sour coating on them! In addition, there was a pink one when I opened them. Once I tasted them, I noticed the flavors were much fruitier than ours–then was surprised to find the flavors were also different. There was grape, orange, banana, and I have not yet decided what flavor pink and green are.


When we got back to our dorm, we prepared all the kabobs, fruit salad, and deviled eggs for tomorrow. Afterwards, as a result of being tired of the one restaurant near the dorm, I walked to the market and decided to give my first shot at cooking. I bought Polish sausage, and what I was told is  barbecue sauce. I did not recognize a picture or word on a single chip back, so I went out on a limb (and that hypothetical limb busted and I fell, because those bad boys are nasty!!). The sausage was very good, though, and while the barbecue sauce is not what I could have expected, it was still pretty good.

 

There are many words we are beginning to get the hang of. We also confidently get around on public transportation at this point, which is fun. Understanding things such as the “w” makes the “v” sound, and the “c” makes the  “cht” sound makes reading menus and other things much easier. The Polish seem to appreciate our efforts, and be willing to help us out.

The week-long party is still occurring here. They party every night all night, and stop when the sun rises about 4 AM, so sleeping can be a bit of a struggle. I also think a part of that has to do with being away from home and my own bed. I am excited for the experiences and things to learn ahead.

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