I’ve been meaning to share some reflections for quite some time now, but (as has generally been the case since my time in Poland) there’s so much to do that reflection and writing take a back seat. Or, more accurately in my case, a train seat :)
Do you write about the times you’ll never forget or the ones you’re afraid you won’t remember?
This morning I boarded a train from the very northwest corner of Poland along the Baltic, to the very southeast (about a twelve hour ride). So, as you can imagine, seven hours in, I’ve had quite a bit of time to pause and ponder, and potentially make some progress on a long overdue update. So much has happened in the past 3 months of my adventure in Poland that it’s hard to know where to begin. The big question that crossed my mind - and has likely crossed the mind of every writer, amateur to experienced - was should I write about experiences I’ll never forget or those I’m afraid I will? The latter is clearly a much more practical approach. But then again, I’m not writing to strategize, I’m writing to share… Hence, here are some of the highlights:
What is the key to a long, happy, healthy life?
“Muesli!” - at least according to my 94-year-old uncle “Wujek,” that is. For those that don’t know the magic of this oat and grain concoction, you’re missing out. Particular ingredients aside, though, I think my uncle’s morning muesli (which I’ve been eating for breakfast almost every day since I arrived) is an example of his very wise approach to diet: your body is smart; give it options not optimization. In other words, everything in moderation. Muesli, but just the same, butter, bread, salt, sugar (and all the other so-called evils of modern-day cuisine) are allowed a seat at the table. For my uncle, there is no algorithm for good health, just common sense and a little humility to let your body make the decisions it was created to make. I think the sometimes overly health-concious world today, could use a little more of that mentality.
Great time, or great story?
After college graduation, I was fortunate enough to have spent a month travelling throughout Europe with best friends: beaches of Croatia with Natasha, castles of Salzburg with Rachel, mountains of Zakopane with Anna. Over the course of the summer, there was one phrase I kept repeating: it’ll either be a great time, or a great story. Either it will be a pleasant day with birds singing and sun shining, or it’ll be four days straight of pouring rain, cold temps, and fog (remember that one, Anna?). Whatever the case, there’s a bright side to be found - whether at the time, or looking back at how you got through it together.
I’ve been in Poland for over a month now…
…but it still feels like I flew in just yesterday. That’s the best kind of feeling. As someone who loves learning (and Poland) moving here has really been a treasure for me. Everything - from talking to the cashier at the grocery store, to reading an ad on the street, to walking down Aleja Jana Pawła on my way to school - is new and exciting. But I realize those things are probably a little less exciting for you all to read about, so I’ll save those thrillers for another time. Instead, since a few of you have asked, I figured I’d share a little more of the “why” behind the what.