24 November 2003

Rentals and Turkey Day

I'm sorry to see that WSU has couged it yet again. When I went to bed,
we were up 10-0. I'm very glad I didn't try to stay up for the whole
game!

In better news, I've found an apartment in Poznan! For those of you who
haven't committed every detail of my life to memory (and why haven't
you??), Poznan is the city I was hoping to be working and living in all
along. The university there didn't have any openings this year, which
is how I ended up in Walcz to start with. But now that I have a place
of my own, I'll be spending a good portion of my time in the city. And
there's an extra bed, so I can have guests. Yes, that IS a hint! :)

I discovered a mouse in my apartment here in Walcz last weekend, which
was exciting for a few days. I tried to trap it with a vase, tilted at
an angle, with cheese at the bottom. The theory was that the mouse
would go into the vase to get the cheese & not be able to get back out.
Keep in mind, this was suggested by Hanna's Irish (sort-of) husband.
This may or may not have something to do with the failure of the plan.
But the poison I put around the apartment seems to have done the trick,
because I haven't seen the mouse for almost a week now. Presumably,
it's dead and its body is drying out somewhere in my apartment. Someday
I'll probably find a little, empty mouse skin & I can make a small hat
out of it.

I'm planning to force my students to do 1st grade art projects for my
Thanksgiving lesson this week. I'm teaching American culture, so I
decided to do the old trace your hand & make it into a turkey lesson.
Yes, I'm completely insane, but I'm the teacher, so they have to do
what I say. :)

I guess that's all for now. As always, please keep in touch, & have a
lovely holiday! Eat lots of turkey & stuffing for me!

05 November 2003

Cross-Cultural Communication and Polish Cemetaries

Hello and welcome to another of my babbling, rambling missives. Here's
the latest from this side of the ocean...

Two weeks ago I spent the weekend in Poznan with my friend Hanna. She
and her sister are taking a sign language course, because Hanna's niece
is deaf. Her sister, Iwona, has also started dating a deaf man, but he
can read lips and speak pretty well. I spent a fair amount of time with
him on Sunday, while Hanna and Iwona were at their class. It was a
fairly interesting conversation - me trying to understand his Polish,
him trying to read my lips while I spoke broken, incorrect Polish. It
gave me a new appreciation for alternative forms of communication -
gestures, writing, etc. It was definitely an educational experience!

Moving on to last weekend, and All Saints' Day. Being a Catholic
country, Poland tends to celebrate religious holidays on a national
level, so all the stores, etc. were closed, and everyone went to visit
their dead relatives at the cemetary. They take flowers and candles to
leave on the graves, so the whole cemetary takes on a glow in the
evening. I think it's probably my favorite holiday here, already having
a penchant for cemetaries in general. It's really beautiful with the
candles everywhere, and people wandering among the graves. Call me
morbid, but I really enjoyed it!

I'm headed back to Poznan this weekend. We have Tuesday off for
Independence Day, and I've arranged to have my Monday class on another
day, so that makes it a 6 day weekend for me - how did I ever manage to
work 5 whole days in a row at home? ;) I'm really getting spoiled with
these Monday-Wednesday work weeks! Of course, I do prep work for
lessons on my days off, but it's still a pretty nice schedule!

Well, I don't really have any major news to share - I haven't
discovered any more exciting yogurt flavors yet. I hope everyone is
doing well - I haven't heard from a lot of you for a while. Please send
news, even if it's just that you're horribly bored & don't know how
you're going to continue surviving without me. ;P

Take care, all. I think of you often, usually fondly.