25 February 2007

Accidental Shopping

Well, it's not as if I tripped and bought something, so maybe unplanned shopping is a better turn of phrase.

Anyway, my 10am student cancelled on me at 10:20am, and we meet in a mall, so I went off to spend the money she would have paid me if she had showed up, and found myself thinking about all the things I've unintentionally bought while living in Poland.

scented toilet paper
artificial honey
apple-mint juice (this one was actually a pleasant accident)
chocolate with liquor inside (some people might enjoy this, but I prefer my chocolate and liquor separately)
DVDs in languages other than English, with Polish subtitles (also the Polish magazines I had to buy to get the 'free' DVDs)

I'm sure there have been others, but these are the only ones springing to mind. And most of these mistakes were made due to my own insufficient knowledge of Polish. I have no one to blame but myself.

I really need to remember to bring my dictionary with me when I go shopping.

P.S. Sorry for the delay between posts, I've been a little swamped with marking essays from the university's mock exams, plus trying to adjust to my new schedule. There's more to come about that fun experience next time.

12 February 2007

Culture Clash?

I'd like to rant about how the university has screwed up my 2nd semester schedule, but I'm still clinging to a tiny hope that it'll get fixed. So instead, today I'm ranting about the homeless guys living in my stairwell.

You may remember this post about my heartlessness, when my neighbor called the cops for me because there was a homeless man sleeping in the stairwell right outside my apartment. I don't know if either of the men there now is the same as the one from before, or if these are two entirely new homeless guys.

At least one of them was there, sleeping, when I got home late on Saturday night. They were both there Sunday morning around 9am, smoking and chatting. They tried to talk to me, but I was grumpy about being up early on a Sunday, and made more grumpy by homeless guys in my stairwell, so I just told them I didn't speak Polish.

They were gone when I got home Sunday afternoon, but both were sound asleep when I left this morning. And one was still there & asleep when I got home this afternoon.

So here was my chance. It was too late on Saturday night to ask my neighbor for help, and I was in a hurry to leave both yesterday & today in the morning. But now I had some time, so I rang my neighbor's bell & told him there was a man sleeping in the stairwell again.

He didn't seem at all surprised, but came with me into the stairwell to look. He spoke with the guy & told him I was afraid of him because I'm American, not Polish. And he told me not to worry, because the guy's peaceful.

That was it. No call to the cops, no concern that someone's basically living in the stairwell of our building. Just, "Don't be afraid, he's peaceful. He has no home."

I'm sorry, I'm going to need some help from the Poles on this one. Is this a cultural thing? Because where I come from, it's NOT OK for someone to camp out in your stairwell, I don't care how cold it is outside. We've already established that I'm a heartless bitch, and I'm ok with that, but I really need to know why my neighbor isn't the least bit bothered by the situation!

06 February 2007

Damage Report

I squashed my finger in a door last week. It was purple for a few days, part of it is still numb, and another part still hurts when I press on it, but it's getting better. Which means today was the perfect time to fall while getting out of a tram and land on my ass, whacking my elbow on the way down. It should be a nice color by tomorrow.

I'm now a little afraid to leave my apartment, especially since I've never managed to learn the Polish equivalent of calling 911. Not that I think I could have an intelligible conversation with an emergency operator in Polish. It would probably go something like, "Hi, um...my knee? But not knee, it's on my arm, I don't know the word. Help?"

Yeah, maybe I should just stay home for a while.