I spent my senior year of High School in Poland on foreign exchange. This post is a copy of the emails I sent to my family while living abroad. Enjoy.
Well, Torun is an awesome city! It is so cool, and there are old buildings all over, well, if you’re in the old city, but I live in the old city and I will be walking to high school and to Polish school. My first day here, I was picked up at the airport in Warsaw after two hours of waiting. I had to talk to the lost baggage people because my luggage never left America. Finally, when we got to Torun, my mom and sister took me to stay the night at my sisters friends house because her brother was still here that night. There were like 10 people there, and they are really cool, so we had fun. The next day my sister Kaya came and we stayed another night. On the third day, I went to a Rotary meeting but I was late because my mom was waiting for my luggage which was supposed to arrive but didn’t. I met a guy at the meeting named John, not in Polish of course. He is really cool and he will be going to Moscow Idaho in a few days, so I have told him a little about the area. That night I stayed the night at his house. I have been hanging out with him and his house sister Adriana who is from Pennsylvania. Other than hanging out with them and other friends, I have not been doing much. I walked around the city one day and it is really cool. There is a statue of Copernicus and if you ever look up Torun you fill find this statue, which is less than 2 blocks from my house. School starts in a couple of days. The other day my mom told me that if I needed a cell phone, she had an extra one I could use, and I would buy my own sim card for it, but I told her I wouldn’t need it. Then, when I was walking around town with Adriana and John, I thought, well, maybe I should get one in case my family needs to get a hold of me, or vice versa, but they’re expensive, cheep ones are like 200 to 300 zl, which isn’t actually too much, but it doesn’t matter because I found one for only 48zl, so I bought it. Other than that, not much has been going on here. There is a prison near my house, it is one of the old buildings, and it looks so cool, especially since it’s a prison, you can see guards on the walls. I haven’t actually gone around and taken pictures of Torun yet, just of me and friends, but I will send pictures soon. Oh yeah. The food isn’t actually too different than American, although there’s a McDonalds next to my house, a few blocks away, but they love tomatoes and ketchup on all their food. The food’s not bad though, and neither are the chocolate and gingerbread.
Saturday I went to a wedding at a Catholic church in a city called Bidgoszcz. It was weird, because everything was in Polish, except for the parts that were in Latin, but it was cool. Afterward we went out for lody (ice-cream) and then for dinner. Polish ice-cream is better than American ice-cream. I have already started Polish school now, and that is cool. After this week it will be two more weeks until we all go to normal school. Oh yeah, like a week ago there was a parade, I woke up at like 10 and they went right by my house at like 11. Oh yeah, at the wedding, when we went out and hung out in Bidgoszcz, I hung out with this kid who will be my next host brother, so when I change houses in January, I will be staying with him. I have taken quite a few pictures by now, and my house mom is having a house built right now, so I have some pictures of the progress, and also of Torun, although I just remembered I haven’t taken any of the prison yet, but I will because it looks really cool. It is one of the old buildings and it has razor-wire and guards standing around it up on the walls. Oh yeah, in Poland, when you’re in the house, you wear a different pair of shoes than your outside pair. Also, because of the currency difference, some things cost about the same as in America, which makes them seem expensive here, but other things are much cheaper because they are on Polish currency. My friend who is going to Moscow Idaho has left already, actually, I think he left today. His brother was the person getting married. When ever we go out, like me and Alexis from Mexico, with our Polish friends, usually we meet more Polish people, and they try to tell us Polish tongue twisters, which we do try, but when that doesn’t work, because we never get them right, we just tell them lots of words with TH in them, because the Polish language doesn’t have this sound. But good luck pronouncing źdźbŁo (I can do it). By the way, the Ł in this word makes the sound of American W. Well, I have to go now.
Ok. Both times I wrote before I still felt like I was forgetting something. The streets are so different here. There are no yellow lines, all the lines are white, even the center lines. The road signs are different too. It’s really funny to see a Polish cow or deer crossing sign, because the animal pictures are different here. Well, this morning we went to this old gothic church that was turned into a museum, but we went with all the kids from the orphanage, and they had a lot of fun. We did too. They all made kites, and we just hung out, but inside the church, there was this lady trying to teach us to write like they did in the old days, we used feathers, but we had papers to show us how the writing looked. Some people like Alexis did really good, but mine looks like I just wrote it in my own handwriting. Oh well. Also, they had archery, and I have pictures of Alexis trying, but I don’t think he’s ever done it before. It was pretty easy for me, except I hadn’t done it in a long time. Also, people were dressed up like in old times. There was also people doing clay stuff, and grinding grain and making paper the old fashioned ways, and there was a lady doing tattoos of the time, so we all got one. Then tonight, we went to a concert of a group called Sistars, and that was cool. It’s not the kind of music I usually listen to, but it was good. Lately I’ve had to get used to getting back into rap and hip-hop, because that’s what everyone here listens to, but it’s not so bad. Especially if it’s in Polish, because then I don’t hear all the stupid lyrics, and if I do, I don’t understand, but my Polish friend Michael told me that in Poland they don’t rap about worthless garbage like they do in America. He said that the lyrics in these songs are usually something to get you thinking. Not all, of course, but since it’s in Polish it sounds cool too. I still hate 50-Cent and Justin Timberlake though, and I doubt that that will ever change. Another thing, I don’t know if all Polish keyboards are like this, but mine is, but they are exactly like American keyboards, except the little lines that are on the F and J are not there. They’re on the G and K and this messes me up sometimes. Oh well. Polish school is going good, I can understand a lot more when people talk to me. Last night we were talking with this guy, but he doesn’t speak English, he speaks less English than we speak Polish, but we understood each other most of the time, and when we didn’t there was always someone there to translate for us.
Well, the other day I went to the zoo with my friend Natasha, and she told me all the animals in Polish and I told her them in English. It wasn’t very big though, it was tiny, and the name of the place translated into English is like Garden with Animals because there is also a garden there. It’s cool though. Monday night after school, which gets out at two for me, but at like five, I met with my friend Piotr and we went to a concert for a Polish death-metal band called Vader. It was really fun, and I got a Vader T-shirt and it is awesome, like the coolest band shirt ever. I didn’t notice at first though, because it was dark where I bought it, and there were others similar to it, so it was hard to tell, but then I saw myself in the mirror with it on, and that’s when I noticed how cool it was. Also, there is this shirt place that sells awesome shirts, like band shirts and also just cool looking shirts, and they’re really cheap, like ten american dollars. Anyway, school is going good, next week is our last week of Polish school, then we go to normal school. Tonight we’re going to this place because they have pool and this weird form of bowling, and they have other stuff too, like air hockey. Well, other than that, not much else is going on, Piotr says he will keep me informed on more concerts. Oh, and he is in a band, he plays bass, and sometime he will take me to practice to watch them play, so that will be cool. Um, I’m sure you know, but this is not the same Piotr we had in our school, he lives in southern Poland. It was cool though, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this yet, but Tomek, Alexis’s house brother, is the guy I met at Big Eddy that day, and he is cool, we hang out sometimes. Well, I’m going now, I’ll keep writing as more happens.
Last night was Alexis’ birthday party, and afterward I stayed the night at his house because I was going with them in the morning. It was a lot of fun last night, we played Mexican music and had good food and cake too. We got Alexis a book about Poland, with lots of pictures, and we got it in Spanish. Then this morning, Me, Alexis, and Tomek went to a town called Biskupin. It was an old village, and it has been rebuilt so it’s not old, but it’s still built like it is. The buildings have like cane roofs, and there were battle reenactments, it was really cool. They had on helmets and chain-mail and swords and stuff, and it wasn’t planned who would win, so it was really cool. Also, there were vikings there this year, I guess every year they have different visitors, and that’s who fought, but we got to go on a ride on a small viking ship on the lake, and it was cool. Then, we went and looked around in all the buildings and stuff, and there was this one place where you could press your own viking coin by putting a blank coin into this thing and hitting it with a hammer, so me and Alexis both did this. The batteries in my camera are dead, and Alexis’ batteries are almost dead too, but he got pictures, so he will email them to me. This week will be my last week of Polish school, then we will all be going to normal school. Other than that, not much is going on here.
Today was the first day of real school for us. I thought it was really cool, but they have a different schedule every day. Since I am taking Spanish as my foreign language here, I don’t have to be to school until 9:50 tomorrow, but then at 7:15 on Thursday. It was really cool though, like the math teacher is awesome. They warned me that he likes to choose one person every day to pick on (jokingly) and all four of us (foreigners) of course since we were new got it, but it was cool. He would write sequences on the board and we had to go up and finish them, but I thought it was really easy. Then he would ask us what they were called, but none of us knew the names of any of them. I can tell though that he really likes me, because before class I looked at my friends math book, and it’s like the stuff I did last year, so I already know most of it. First we had English, but we have to talk to the teacher, because she wants us to buy these expensive English books, and we already speak English, so we’re going to see if there’s something else we can do, like be teachers aids or something. We also have religion here, they teach us about Catholicism, but that class is in Polish. We also have Polish, two in a row on Mondays. Then, sometime later this week, we have physics, chemistry, and biology, and on one day we have all three in a row. But it’s kind of weird though, because they like get one little assignment, and that’s it. But they come to America and they know more English and American History than we do. It’s like, where do they learn it? I asked a friend that, and she said they learn this stuff when they have homework, which we didn’t have today.
Friday was our last day of British School, and we all got Diplomas. Then we went out to lunch at this place that’s name is translated into The Gooses Neck, or something VERY close. Anyway, after that, we had this HUGE Rotary meeting called the Torun Meeting, and every exchange student in Poland was there. There were a lot of Mexicans and Brazilians there, and some Canadians and, of course, Americans. Oh, there were two Australians there too, and they’re really cool. Friday evening, we did activities that were like teamwork things so that we could get to know each other.
Saturday, we had a meeting, and they showed us a DVD about Torun, and we all got a copy of it, and also, Tomek talked about what is was like being on exchange, from when he was in Canada, and Katelyn’s sister talked about how it was from the house-sister’s side. Then, that night we had a talent show, and the Aussies did a song that was a parody of I’m a Bitch, I’m a Lover, and it was like, I’m a Bloke, and it was all about how Australian guys are chauvinists, but it was a guy singing, and it was stuff like pour my drink and get my smokes and go away. It was really funny. And the Brazilians all got together and did a Brazilian dance, and it was good, except the guys dressed up, but we couldn’t tell because until they went up because they wore Brazil flags to cover themselves. One guy was wearing jeans and like a sports bra or something, and another was wearing nothing except a man-thong type thing, with underwear underneath, just in case. It was hilarious. I drummed the snare part of Boom-Whacka, but I didn’t have a drum so I did it on the floor with my hands, and I didn’t really think it was a big deal, but everybody there said it was really awesome. After that I hung out with the Aussies, and we stayed up late but it was fun.
Sunday we got up and ate breakfast, and then we took everyone into the Old Town of Torun and showed them around, and went shopping. My friend Michael (i would write it in Polish, but all you would see is Michal) is going to burn me a bunch of Polish rap cd’s, and it’s pretty cool, and I have a friend at school who is going to get me some Polish rock cd’s, so that will all be cool. Last week, on Wednesday, I went to the music school with Kaja (my sister) and the drum teacher had me do these exercises, that I really need to practice, but they were easy, by themselves, but there is this thing I have to do with my feet, and that gets confusing because I keep switching what I do with my hands, but my feet stay the same. Anyway, other than all that, which is actually only this weekend and today (and Wednesday evening), not much is going on. I’ll email more later, when stuff happens, although, now that school has started, less might be happening (or more, you never know).
Well, I am in German, not Spanish, but that’s ok, because it’s really similar to English, Thea is probably already speaking it fluently. It’s German year two, but it’s still really easy stuff, because German is harder for Polish students. This week we met Mick, one of the Australians, and a girl from Australia who is staying in London right now. Other than that pretty much all we’ve done is go to school and hang out. We met this guy named Chris who is real good friends with Kuba, who will be my brother in January, so today we hung out with them. They both play guitar and they are pretty good. Last Friday I went to a concert with a friend from school. It was a bunch of bands that were people like my age, and I knew one of the bands because it’s the band my friend Piotr is in, although he wasn’t there because he can’t play because he broke his arm, but I met the guy that plays base for him and he’s really cool. Oh, and of course, all my friends at school try to teach me all of the polish cuss words, although some of them translated word for word into English are really funny, because it means one thing although it says something else. Anyway, not much else is happening, although we are taking a class trip to Gdansk on Monday, so when we get back on Wednesday I will have something to write about. Gdansk is on the Baltic Sea. Well, that’s it for now I think.
Well, usually, I don’t write about things that haven’t happened yet, even if I know about them, just in case something else comes up. So the one time I write about something, plans change. We didn’t end up going to Gdansk, but that’s ok, there will be more chances. So yesterday after school, I had Tae Kwon-Do and then I had field hockey. They were both fun, but now I’m sore. Plus, I don’t think I’ve ran that much since soccer last year because I didn’t take track because I had to get a job. It’s good though, it will keep me in shape. I have field hockey again on Thursday. Friday night was Katelyn’s Birthday party, she’s 17 now. Well, that’s it for now I think.
Sorry I haven’t written in a while, but not much has been going on. I’ve been playing hockey with my friend Tomek, and next week I will be changing houses. Tonight, I went with some friends to this place just outside of Torun, where this other rotary club holds this thing where people get together, and you can shoot pellet guns, and bows and arrows, and there are people horse riding, but I think that was a competition. There were also these guys dressed up for the occasion, and they had a cannon that they shot a couple of times. There was a pile of wood for a bonfire, but we weren’t sure when they were going to light it. Then, out in this field, when it got dark, there was this lady in a white dress riding a white horse around while Polish folk music played, I think this was some kind of tradition for something. After that there were these people dressed in rags and people dressed in cloaks, and the people with cloaks surrounded them with a square of fire. Then they were all dancing around, and then like everybody was swinging around things with fire on the end, and while we’re watching all this, there was another group of people who we didn’t see because they were off to the side and wearing black, and they show up with those things that are like ropes with fireballs on the end, and they are twirling those around in unison with everything else. Then some people in the back were hitting these specially made drums with torches, like big flames on the end of a stick. There was also a guy on stilts dressed in black with a fake horse dressed on him. Then they were all breathing fire and there were those shower fireworks. After this was over, they lit the bonfire, and then they lit this small wall of flames for this guy to jump over with his horse, but instead the horse just kept running right through it. I took over 100 pictures of all this, and over 50 of them are just the fire stuff alone. There was lots of fire, so it was all really cool. That was all just tonight, not much else has really happened.
Today is my 18th birthday, but that is not why I’m writing, it’s because I haven’t written in a while. Not much has happened. It turns out that I’m not changing houses, which is good. My website is up and running now, www.mikeinpoland.net. On Saturday we have a trip to Krakow in southern Poland. For my birthday, my house family gave me 50 zl and a box of Kopernik Torun Gingerbread. It’s the best, and now there is a lot of it. Anyway, I guess that’s it for now. I have already got some pictures on MipNet, but I will put more up later. Also, if you want more pictures of what’s going on here in Poland, check out http://homepage.mac.com/adrianaarusso/. This is Adriana’s website, she is an exchange here from Pennsylvania and a good friend of mine.
Wow. I haven’t written in a while. I would have, but I forgot to write about Krakow because I wrote about it on Mikeinpoland.net. Well, the day after my birthday, I went to my rotary councilors house for dinner. Her daughter cooked and it was really good. They gave me this sweatshirt, that in America, a guy wouldn’t be caught dead in, but I like it, it’s really comfortable and warm and it looks cool. After I got a haircut, the girls said I look like Jack Skelington in it. Or a vampire. Anyway, Krakow is really cool. It has a huge Old Square , and they say that it’s packed with people in the summer. We’re going there for New Year’s Eve, I hear that it’s the biggest celebration in Poland. Anyway, while we were there, we saw a few museums, and we saw some cathedrals and the Castle. Krakow used to be the capitol of Poland , when the borders were more south, but after the reign of the last king, I think that’s about when Poland disappeared from the maps for a while. When it came back, they made Warsaw the capitol, I think because of its central location. The castle is awesome, and we got some awesome pictures of the City from the top of the Bell Tower . I left the group for a minute before we went to the tower, to take a picture, and I came back and saw them going up to the tower, so I followed them. About half way up I realized that this was a different group, but there stairs are too small to turn around on. So I went up, took a picture of the bell, then went down and found them, and then we all went up. The next day we went to the Jewish part of town, and we saw a museum that I think used to be a synagogue.
Then we went to Prague for a week. It was awesome. We saw the Charles Bridge, which has a really great view of the river and the city on both sides, and there is a tower on one side, and we went to the top and took pictures of the city. It was really cool. One day we went to the Prague Castle , and that was really cool, and there is an awesome looking old gothic church right outside, which I heard is the oldest gothic church in Eastern Europe , but we didn’t go inside. We also saw the Old Town Square, the New Town Square, the Rinnik, and the Jewish Quarter on the last day. I wasn’t sue that it was the Jewish Quarter at first, because they have everything set up for Christmas, like normal Christmas decorations, but with a few Star of Davids (that’s the Jewish star, I’m sure most of you know that though). It was actually really cool to see that though, because the first day we were there, we ere in the Jewish part for a while, and there was nothing going on there, but a few days later, there were these little wooden buildings being set up, and the last day everything was set up, and there were Christmas lights everywhere, and people were selling Christmas stuff out of these little wooden house things. One night we went to this big Irish restaurant to watch Rugby, which was cool because I’d never seen Rugby before. There were three Australians in our group, so we had to go because it was Australia VS Whales and then VS New Zealand. Rugby is really cool, it’s way better than American football. We also saw the Astronomical Clock Tower in Prague’s Old Town Square. It was built in the beginning of the 15th century, and every hour on the hour tons of people gather to watch it ring because there is the Skeleton of Death outside and he rings the bell, and the windows open and Jesus, followed by his twelve apostles, march by and look down out the windows. These are wooden puppets of course, but this is all mechanical and it’s amazing that it still works, or that they could even build this back then.
I was looking at what I’ve sent about Poland already, and decided I REALLY needed to write again. So, what’s happened since Prague? I’ve moved houses, now I live in a small village about 15 miles outside of Toruń, but I still go to school there. The bus ride to Toruń takes about 40 minutes though. Mac trucks pass us on the road while we’re driving. OK, I just felt like I’ve written all this before, but I know that you might not have it, and I just figured out why. Here is a copy of what I’ve written on MikeInPoland.net since the last email-
” Wesolych Swiat”
That means Merry Christmas. Anyway, this Christmas we went to a small town about 30Km outside of Warsaw called Zabia Wola. That means Frogs Mind. Anyway, we were in a mansion, there was a swimming pool and hot tub and sauna all inside the house. Most of the time we played Risk in Polish, but we changed the rules a little bit, so we had Monopoly money and houses on some of our countries. The whole family stayed here, the house is easily big enough. The day after Christmas, we went to Warsaw and watched Harry Potter in English. There are only 16 English copies in Poland. For Christmas I got snowboarding pants and gloves and socks and a coat, and also a Polish rock CD called Coma. I got my house mom the movie Three Kings with Polish subtitles, and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon for PC for Dawid. Anyway, for Sylwester we are going to a place called Gdynia, which is like right outside of Gdansk, on the Baltic Sea. In February, for winter break, we are going to the south of Poland into the mountains to go skiing (snowboarding). All of my packages are going to Kaja’s house, so I will have to go there to get them, but that’s no problem, I can get them someday after school whenever they get here.
Oh, I have a Polish bank card now, but it’s good that I’m getting an American one too, because I can have money for me put into the Polish one because that will be cheaper, but I can use the American one when we go traveling, because I don’t think that this particular card will work in any bank except for the one Polish one. It will work in all of Poland though, because this bank is in every city.
I have a ton of Polish music now, I’ve collected it and lots of my friends give me some. I live in Ciechocinek now, which is about 20-30 minutes from Torun. Oh, my house mom has an American car, so it’s in Miles per hour, instead of Kilometers. Miles-Kilometers is 5-8 or 50-80. One day we were doing 90, and usually that’s not fast, it’s like 55 mph, but it felt faster, and then I realized that we were doing 90 mph and not kmph. My house mom like to drive kind of fast. I’ts not hard though, the roads are pretty straight, and Poland is really flat. That was like the first thing I noticed here, was how flat it was. Anyway, I think that’s about it for now.”
OK. Since then, we went to Gdynia for Sylwester (new years). That was fun, we hung out at Dawid’s cousin’s place. We played a lot of CounterStrike at the internet cafe, and at home we took turns with CS, MoH, and CoD (computer games). Man, they haven’t heard of Halo here. Oh well, too bad for them I guess. Anyway, I saw Gdynia, Gdansk and Sopot, all three are just together like one huge city. We went to this waterpark in Sopot, which had a slide that was open and wend outside where it was snowing! That was cool. I also saw a ship, like a small cargo ship or something like that for tours. We were going to see the battleship instead, but unfortunately it wasn’t open then (or maybe it wasn’t there, who knows?). On new years we watched the Godfather with Polish subtitles. Most of the family speaks good English, but if you’ve ever heard the Godfather talk… I had trouble understanding what he said sometimes. Great film though, that was the first time I ever saw it. Then we went outside and lit fireworks in the back yard. EVERYBODY there (probably everybody in Poland) lit fireworks, but it was awesome from where we were. On one side of us was our house, opposite side had other houses, and on the two other sides (although more in the distance) were trees. These blocked our view of any fireworks WE weren’t lighting. BUT, the reason it was so cool is because we had been playing war games on the computer all weekend, and now the sky is lit with smoke and red and white flashes. If we didn’t know better, we could have been invaded or something.
Anyway, we had Feria (winter break) in February. We went down south to the mountains to go skiing (but I snowboarded, except one day we switched) at a place called Krynica. On the way there we stopped at the most famous church in Poland at Czestochowa. It was cool, I guess. Why not? Anyway, so for 6 days we ski’d and snowboarded, and when we were in the hotel we watched the Winter Olympics. That was cool. Oh man, on the last day, I was going up the lift, which takes at least 10 minutes to get up the hill, and that’s when I realized I had only 15 minutes to meet them so have one more lift. The whole way down I thought I wasn’t going to make it in time, I even fell twice, ate the snow really hard because I was going way too fast. I could have easily competed with the Olympians on that run, it was crazy, but I made it down the hill in time to go up once more with my family. One night after skiing we went ice skating. I thought it was great, but Dawid HATES it. I asked him why and he said it’s because there’s no control. I think it’s easy, I actually did this this morning. Maybe it’s easy for me because I roller-skated for years. It is different though, but I think that you can go faster on ice than on the street. The only thing I have trouble with is stopping. On the street, you can just do a spin stop, but on ice, haha… no way. This morning when I was ice skating with my Polish friend (he plays ice hockey) he showed me how to stop. I still can’t do it, but at least I know the theory. This time in the mountains was pretty much my first time on ice. I’d done it once in California when I was like 6 or something, but I didn’t want to leave the wall. That doesn’t count.
One night after snowboarding, we went on this sleigh ride way up the mountain that took like an hour to get there. It was horse-drawn and I held the torch so we could see. Then there was food and stuff and a fire and these guys playing traditional Polish music (I’m still trying to get ahold of this music, I have so much in Polish but no Traditional). Anyway, that was really cool, and then we took the sleigh back. That was interesting too, because it only took us 10 minutes to get back to town, and this had nothing to do with up/down hill. We must have gone in a big loop.
On the way back from Krynica, we stopped at a place called Wieliczka. It’s a salt mine just outside of Krakow. It’s really cool, and I was with the group with the English tour guide, and he was really cool. This salt mine isn’t in use anymore, since like 10 years ago. It’s awesome though, with underground lakes and even cathedrals carved not even by real artists, but by (talented) miners. They have underground weddings and concerts and stuff down there too. We asked the tour guide, because if they have a wedding, so what? They have the ceremony, then the party, then they have to go up to town to sleep? Why not put in an underground hotel? He told us he thinks they might in a few years. They already have some stuff down there, apparently the salty air and water is REALLY good for the lungs, and they have rehab there for people with bad lungs. That’s expensive though. Pretty much all the miners who worked down there lived well into their 90’s, some longer than that.
Oh man, about a month or so ago, my favorite Polish band, Kult, had a concert in Bydgoszcz, which is like an hour from Toruń, so I was definitely there. It was awesome!! Oh man, haha, but Alexis is the only one who wanted to go with me to it, and his host family took him to Amsterdam for like two weeks, so he missed it. I was there alone, but it was great. They played really well, and the very first song they played that night was one I never would have expected, but maybe that was the point. I liked this song better than the recording though. There were actually a few that I thought were better, and one that was the song that brought me to this band, but I thought they should have played this one faster. Oh well. It rocked.
About a week or two ago was the anniversary of Pope Jan Pawla Drugi’s (John Paul II) death. On this day my family took me and Katelyn to the biggest church in Poland and second in Europe. They could have easily made it bigger but they thought that the Vatican should have the biggest since it is pretty much the capitol city of the Catholic world. It is really cool, and a lot of the stuff there is made of gold. The whole place is like a small city for Catholics.
Last (Friday? Maybe Thursday) weekend we went to Germany for four days. That was really cool. First we went to Berlin, and it’s really nice, but I think we should go back because we didn’t get to see a lot. We saw (places I don’t know the names of) Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburger Gate(?), Fernsehturm(?) Tower (big tower with large ball near top. The ball was painted like a soccerball because FIFA World Cup is in Berlin this year, but it was funny because some company painted it for advertising, so it’s a PINK and silver soccerball. It’s cool though), Schloss(?) Plaza, and some other places. We saw the bricks in the street where the Berlin Wall used to be, and we saw a monument built for the Russians. We also saw that big mall that’s like, pretty much completely made of blue-ish glass, and some large, significant –looking buildings, but this is what I mean when I say we didn’t see much, because we didn’t go inside ANYWHERE. Except one place, while we were walking down the street we saw really weird cars made by Puegot, so we went in and looked at them.
Anyway, then we went to a place called Ratzeburg. It was a nice little town, but there’s really nothing there that I know of, except the Ratzeburger Lake, which we went on on a tour-boat. It was a nice little ride. The next day, me and Alexis went to a small city called Lubeck, but the girls didn’t, they wanted to sleep. Anyway, I thought it was really cool, and I took lots of pictures, but later I realized that my camera wasn’t taking pictures, something was wrong with it. It’s a really cool place though, we saw the city and a church and a big restaurant built to look like a ship. The place is about 400 some-odd years old, but the society that runs it celebrated it’s 600th anniversary a few years ago. The society is for families who have lost their men at sea. Also, inside the church there are two bells smashed on the floor under one of the towers, and large dents in the ground under the bells. This happened during the war (WWII). It was… different, because I’m used to seeing things that had to be rebuild after the war, and I think “Why did the Germans have to bomb this? It was really cool” but in there I thought, “Why did the- Oh, wait, WE bombed this.” Oh well. Lubeck was really cool because the architecture styles were almost identical to those in Toruń. The difference is the most of Torun’s buildings are made or red bricks, and most of Lubeck’s were bade of black ones.
The two nights we stayed in Ratzeburg, some really cool German girls took us out to this HUGE club in Lubeck. It was really cool. There were three sections, one made kind of Old Western style, and they played mostly Oldies style dance music, and a lot of Latino. The next was smaller, and kind of the style of just a plain dance club, nothing really special, and they played “Black” music (They call it black music in Poland and Germany, and who knows where else). And the last place was definitely the coolest. It was the biggest, and it had an upstairs that looked down on the downstairs, and it was decorated like a castle. It was really cool, and they played mostly techno but also a lot of normal dance music too.
Now I’m back in Ciechocinek, nothing special going on here, other than that yesterday Zuza (Rotaract) had us come to this small concert thing. Some lady singing in Polish what sounded like French music, and accompanied by a piano. After that, we hung out for a while and I met some Germans and a Spanish guy who are also staying in Torun until the summer, so I hung out with them, it was cool. Then we went to the Latino club, and then we went home. This morning I went ice skating with a Polish friend I met at the Latino club, and he plays ice hockey, so he was trying to teach me how to stop. Other than that, I’m a good skater. Anyway, that’s all for now. I should have more soon, we’re going to Krakow soon to go to Oświęcim (Auschwitz) for the March of Living. Then we plan to go to the Baltic Sea for a while, I don’t know why, just hang out I guess. To wszystko za teraz.