Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Poland for Christmas

This year I finally got to spend Christmas with my family in Poland. Overall it was really relaxed and relatively uneventful and filled with lots of cake. I talked with my grandma a lot, filled up on good tea and food, watched TV, missed WiFi, got groceries, etc.

Getting to Poland was quite the journey. I took a tram to Grenoble, train to Paris, bus to airport, flight to Modlin, bus to Warsaw, and then a train to Bydgoszcz. Overall I think it was something like 19 hours. And then coming home I had to do it all over again. At some point on the first train I put instant coffee in my yogurt because I was so tired and had no hot water. That was a low point. And yes, that does mean I brought my own instant coffee. It's an addiction, leave me alone.

I spent the first couple of days with my cousin and his wife in Warsaw, where we ordered the biggest pizza known to man, visited Stalin's gift to Poland (the Palace of Culture), and hung around drawing family trees and talking a lot. It was really great, not only because these are literally the two nicest people I know, but because I was able to speak my native language with them: mostly-Polish-with-random-English-thrown-in (they both lived in England for 10 years), not many people speak it. Although for the first few days my brain kept trying to say things in French, I kept popping out random pardons, d'accords and ouais. It took a few days before I didn't have to consciously think of what I was going to say before I said it.

On my way to Bydgoszcz I learned that my great-uncle had died at the age of 94, and I ended up going to his funeral and seeing loads of extended family I never thought I'd see again, and a lot more I didn't know existed.

I met my baby nephew for the first time.

I caught some sort of a virus and spent nearly a week too tired to do anything besides sit and watch TV. Talking was a struggle, which was annoying since most of what I did there was talk to people. I had absolutely no appetite and anything I ate made me feel sick (but it was the holidays and I was surrounded by Polish food so naturally I still ended up gaining 6 pounds, no joke). My grandma finally made me go to the doctor. I reluctantly went. I don't like doctors.

I welcomed 2015 by drinking what tasted like sugared rubbing-alcohol with my grandma, and exchanging ┼╝yczenia (basically what you wish the other person in the new year) which I don't think is a thing in the U.S. (it should be). It wasn't the most exciting of new years celebrations, but at that moment I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else.

Then the next day I made the long trek back home where nothing interesting happened except for the conversation I had with a Congolese man on the tram. Although I was so dead by that point it might have been a hallucination. It started at 4:00 am and I was able to flop onto my bed a bit before midnight.

We even got a little snow
Christmas in Bydgoszcz
Went to go see my cousin's band (B.O.K.) in concert. Maybe standing in front of speakers in a crowded room isn't the best way to deal with a virus, but I'm really glad I went

Yum, drugs
What?? It's hard enough to read this shiz in English

Happy New Year :) I promised I wouldn't share this post-shower photo, but I love it too much
Wigilia part 1

I swear all this kid does it eat

Wigilia Part 2

Warsaw Uprising Museum, some of the armbands of the underground movement members
Soviet "liberators," Warsaw Uprising Museum

Palace of Culture. Thanks Stalin
Our Christmas Tree. I've never decorated one of the kitchen table before, very efficient

This made up 80% of my diet

And the journey back home begins...

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