The First Thanksgiving

We are always taught about the Pilgrims who came to America. The Pilgrims had no idea how to farm, and the Indians taught them how to grow their food. I am not entirely sure what the Pilgrims chipped in, but following that, they had a giant feast, and they became friends despite their different cultures. We traded out the Mayflower for a series of tickets on United Airlines (which was disappointingly Anti-Climatic) and Friday, we shared the first-ever Polish Thanksgiving. *Still an unofficial holiday*

We got in the taxi with Frederick (who’s actual name is Lezcik), and headed for the nature center here in Bydgoszcz. At the nature center, we saw how they plant and irrigate their crops. We also took a walk through their beautiful forrest and learned about trees and animal species that live there. One thing I found interesting is that throughout the center, there were a few things that were pretty displeasing to the eye, such as pieces of rotten trees laying in a huge pile. It looked like a tornado came through and they gathered it up, but had not hauled off the destroyed trees yet. The guide explained to us that they leave this here on purpose because this is very good for the animals. In America, I think we are more focused on our parks being aesthetically pleasing sometimes than we are the function of it. I actually think many parks that I have been to in America are prettier than the nature center we saw; however, there is something to be said for trying to keep it totally natural.

After we toured the facility and learned what they do there (mostly grow pine trees), we dug a hole and started our second soil lesson. We tested the pH levels at different depths in the whole and learned what gives soil the characteristics it has. Soil in this particular area was acidic at the top, and neutral towards the bottom of the hole we dug. This is because there was a pine tree above it. Pine trees are very acidic, and so the litter from the acidic foliage is sitting on top. Pictured is a chuck of soil that also has white grains, showing that the litter is reaching this soil and cleaning it, turning it white.

Following our lesson, we went to the fire pit where our professor cooked for us traditional Polish sausages. We brought the most American thing we could think of–chicken kabobs (forgive us, the groceries available here are unsurprisingly selective…). We invited Frederick to eat lunch with us, and feasted among our new-found friends.

Frederick drove Dr. MaGahan home, then we made a large breakthrough in our friendship. He turned around and looked at me, and pointed up at the front seat like he wanted me to sit there. I joyfully hopped into the front seat, and decided to mark this momentous occasion with a selfie that really did not accurately display his true excitement about his 5 American friends that talk too much. Following the selfie, Frederick tapped my arm and wanted to show me something on his phone. Mind you, we still have never communicated because we do not speak a mutual language. He starts playing this video which at first I am convinced is a gorilla doing push ups. Quickly, I realize I am wrong, and it is actually his grand daughter rolling around like a pig in the mud. Finally, I realize I am wrong AGAIN, and whatever is on the screen jumps at it like a horror film! I shrill like a teenage girl and everyone in the car jumps so badly I promise the whole van moved. Frederick lets out a deep laugh, letting us know he is rather pleased with himself, and drops us back at our dorm.


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