30 September 2006

Catching Up

It's been a little while, and a few things have happened, so let's just jump right in.

1. I'M DONE!!! With my MA that is. I had my oral exam last Tuesday, which was a little nerve-wracking, but I managed to spit out something that passed for an answer to each of the 3 questions - sadly, none relating to African or European swallows, laden or unladen. Whatever I said, it convinced the committee I knew what I was talking about, so I have a new degree.

2. I think/hope I have at last escaped from banking hell. Some of you may remember this post, where I bitched about my wallet being stolen & not being able to close my bank account in Poznan. Turns out, the account never did get closed, despite my writing a letter to Walcz, just like the bank teller in Poznan told me to. I discovered this last Monday - the day before my exam, because I needed more stress - when I received a bank statement from my old bank, revealing where my missing tax refund had gone. And, of course, I couldn't withdraw the money here in Poznan, since I don't have the bank-issued card allowing access to the account. Never mind that I have a passport and residence card, both with my picture and signature, proving who I am. So after my exam on Tuesday, I took a 3 hour bus ride to Walcz to get my money. And close my account. Really. I hope.

3. The last of my summer guests left this morning. Much as I enjoy having visitors & showing them around Poland, it's nice to have my apartment all to myself again. I've gotten very used to living alone, which makes it difficult for me to share my space, even with people I really like. I'm not trying to discourage anyone from coming to visit, I'm just going to have to limit it to one per season from now on.

4. School starts next week! Which means I have tons of work to do, preparing lesson plans & trying to figure out yet another new school. This is one of my biggest complaints about Poland, and I end up going through it every year - every time I start at a new school, I have to learn my way around all over again, and there's no system in place to help. I keep hoping there'll be some sort of orientation, or at least someplace where all the relevant information has been compiled. But no. Once again, I'm wandering from office to office, trying to find out what I need to know, and not really knowing what questions to ask, let alone who might have the answers. I know it'll all get worked out in a month or two, it's just frustrating to have to go through it again and again. Of course, the simple solution is to stop changing jobs, but that would be so boring! And, more importantly, leave me nothing to complain about!

OK, I've babbled enough for now. Hope everyone's doing well. Be sure to have a celebratory drink in honor of my latest accompishment!

15 September 2006

Random Acts of Kindness

I tried to turn in my thesis today. But my prof pointed out a few problems with the title page, the table of contents and the references. And a typo, to go along with one I had already found.

Off I went to the copy place where I originally had it bound, armed with my basic knowledge of how to ask if it was possible to change some pages without having to redo the whole binding. To my delighted surprise, it was!

So the guy took off the covers, I replaced the bad pages with new, good pages, and he put the covers back on. While all this was going on, the guy who had bound them for me a couple days ago noticed what was going on & asked me what the problem was. I explained that I had made some mistakes, and he went off to make copies for other customers. But when it came time for me to pay, the first guy told today's guy to only charge me 6 zloty, instead of the 21 it should have been.

I don't know what I did to get the discount, but it was a very nice surprise in an otherwise hectic day. And I can now turn the damn thing in for real tomorrow, right before I get on a train to Berlin, to catch a plane to Munich.

Here's hoping you receive a pleasant surprise today.

12 September 2006

7/10 of the Way There

There are 3 questions standing between me and my MA degree. Unfortunately, I have only the vaguest idea of what they might be. But I'll find out on 26 September. Until then, all I can do is reread all my notes and my thesis. Again and again. Until they are permanently burned into my brain. Wow, this graduate school stuff sure is fun!

07 September 2006

A Brief Return

I left my mom at the Warsaw airport this morning, and now have a whole week to myself before my next guest arrives. Whatever shall I do with all that free time? Oh, I know, finish my thesis, clean my apartment, do laundry, try to plan some lessons for the teaching I'll be getting back to in October, and maybe see a movie.

All I really want to know is, where the hell did the summer go? That's a rhetorical question, I do know what I've been doing for the last 2 months, but it just always seems like there'll be more time for everything, and then it's suddenly September again & school's about to start.

I do plan to post all about my wanderings with Mom, pictures included, but it'll have to be another day. For now, enjoy this view of the smallest hotel bathroom I've ever had the displeasure of experiencing.