I did come to Warsaw to study...

October 6, 2010
I did come to Warsaw to study...

I've made it through the first week of school! One down, thirteen to go! WHOOHOO!! :-) Here's a recap of my week.

Sunday, a lazy day
I needed to buy another weekly bus pass, so I took a nice long walk to the Służew metro station. It was a beautiful not-too-cold and sunny day (after four days of gross rain)! Twenty-five minutes and 2.3 km later, I was at the metro station. Thank goodness the ticket machines had an English language option; otherwise I'm not sure what I would have ended up with! I successfully bought my weekly pass, and hopped on a bus back to my area. And, that was the excitement of the day.

Monday, "Transformation of Poland after 1989"
The ZTM public-transit ticketing system is different than what I'm used to in Chicago
. You don't have to validate it each time you ride. In Warsaw, you validate your ticket once, and carry it with you whenever your ride the bus or tram. So, you may ask, how do they keep people from riding for free? I found out on my way to school!

These men come around with a ticket-reading machine, and you they either swipe your ticket, or tap your card to check its validity. And, as I saw, if you don't have a ticket, you get ticketed. I was super glad I'd gotten my ticket straightened out yesterday!! 

When I got to school, I went on an adventure trying to find the class room. Since the class is part of the Polonicum curriculum, I started in the Polonicum office! The nice man in the Polonicum office directed me to the paper arrows pointing the way toward the classroom. I followed the arrows toward "im.prof.J.Saloni", which took me through a hallway, outside, around the corner, and into a courtyard. In the courtyard I found a bunch of students speaking in English to each other, and I felt confident I was in the right area! 

We were standing around making small talk, asking about what class the other was taking, etc. Eventually, a professor-ish looking person with crazy hair came by and asked, "Are you all waiting for the Transformation?" I thought it was hilarious, and a few other people started laughing too. The question made it sound like we were all standing around waiting for some great life changing transformation. Anyway, we all followed him into the very tiny and hot classroom. 

This class takes the form of a series of lecturers. The Professor introduced himself, told us how the class would work, passed an attendance sheet around, handed the floor over to the guest lecturer, and left. That's never happened to me before... Ok... So, the lecture was pretty cool except for the few times he slipped up and spoke in German, but overall it was an interesting lecture.

Tuesday, "Polish A1"
Tuesday, I went through the same process of following arrows to find that my Polish language course is literally next door to the "Transformation" room. But, the classroom was still locked, so I hung with the other students outside until the professor came. I established that I was the only American in the group. Yippee... This class is nice and small, there are probably 15 students. On the one hand, it makes it easier to warm up to people and feel like less self-conscious while trying to speak Polish, but on the other hand, you can't escape from the professor... 

In the first class, the professor stated that we would be speaking mostly in Polish for the class, but for the first day, we'd be speaking in English. Okay? The first class was difficult, but felt manageable. She assigned a book that is written in Polish, "but it should be a good book for beginners." This left me more baffled, but whatever. 

When class was over, I went with a classmate in search of the "Akademia" bookshop where we were told to buy the book. We looked at the map, found "ul. Kopernika" where the bookstore was supposed to be, but couldn't find it! We saw a big sign for "Akademia", but couldn't find the store. I ran out of time and had to forfeit the adventure so I could be back at my flat in time for the bank courier to come.

I had been home for a grand total of ten minutes when the doorbell rings, and it's the courier. I was supposed to sign the documents to finish opening my online account. The courier didn't speak English. So, I signed the documents, and wrote my name in block letters like he mimed to me, and ten minutes later he was on his way with the documents back to the bank. 

I tried looking through my account documentation, but it's all in Polish, and I really don't have a clue what any of it says. I hope it's not going to be an issue... Oh, and I got a free mouse pad with my papers. Yay?

I think the rest of my Tuesday was pretty low key until I tried going to the supermarket. I left around 7pm to find the supermarket I went to with Kasia last week, but I must have gotten on the wrong bus, because I definitely did not find the supermarket I was looking for. I ended up in an area I've never been to, and since it was getting late, I was getting cold, and I didn't want to get jumped, I opted to head to the other, more expensive, supermarket, which I found easily. A minor fail, but overall a success since I was able to get food for breakfast. :) 

Wednesday, "Football in Europe"
Wednesday was a "sleep till noon" day. My "sleep till noon" days are the result of staying up till 3:00a or 4:00a chatting with people back home in
Chicago. I really need to break the habit, but it's so much fun, and I didn't have to do a damn thing until 4:00p. I'd been debating whether or not to take the "Football in Europe" course. It sounded like a lot of fun, because I don't know much about soccer, and because we get field trips to football games. :D 

I left my flat at 4:08p, caught the 195 bus, and promptly got stuck in traffic, and made it to campus with 4 minutes to spare. I didn't exactly know where the classroom was though. So, I found the campus map (inside the gates of the main area), and found that where I needed to be was half a block away! I high-tailed it out of there and made it to class a few minutes late. I know to take the earlier bus next time…

The class was a lot of fun, and at the end, everyone had to introduce themselves to the rest of the class. We were to give our name, city/country, and favorite football club. When it got to me, I said I didn’t have a favorite football club, so the professor made me default to his favorite, Barcelona. (Later my friend Patrycja asked me, "What were you thinking, you should have said Real Madrid!") And once again, I was the only American in the class. Shocker.

After class, I went back to my place to continue my lazy day and finish watching the Big Bang Theory series. :-)

Thursday, "Polish A1"
Well, I woke up on time on Thursday! But, I started running late after I started talking to a friend at 1:00a in the States… It was worth being late. ;-) I also tried talking to some of my classmates to find out how much Polish Polish book was. I ended up walking out the door around 10:30a, figuring that 45 minutes would be enough time to get to buy the book and get to class, and it almost was. I was 2 minutes late.

So, remember how the Professor said she would be teaching in Polish? Well, she wasn’t kidding! I have no idea what we talked about in class, but I do know that I still can’t pronounce the “United” part of “United States.” You try it, “Stany Zjednoczone” (States United).

During the break in class, I spoke with a classmate, Alice, and we discovered we both needed to go get our student ID’s and agreed to go together after class. After class, Alice and I walked over to the Casmir Palace building, got the ID’s, and decided to grab some lunch. We went across the street to PePe’s, where I’d gotten a chicken wrap last week. I ordered crispy pancakes, which tasted more like crepes, and Alice ordered the chicken wrap. Mmm mmm mmm! After lunch, Alice walked with me to where I was meeting Patrycja for lunch! I know two lunches! :-)

Friday, no class! :-) 
Another "sleep till noon" day! :-) I actually got out and socialized on Friday!! One of my classmates invited me out with a few other people to Club Rock. Plans were set around 7:45p, and we were meeting at 9:00p. There were seven of us, four from Germany, one from France, one from Finland, and me.

We were going to go for drinks and food before going to the club, but the place we tried first was very packed, and we decided against it. From there, we walked aimlessly for about 40 minutes “looking” for a bar. We ended up at a very small bar that barely had room for a table of seven. The evening was awesome; great company, awesome conversation, and beers all around! :-D We stayed there until almost 1:00a, and decided to get some food. Let me say, Subway has never tasted quite so good!

After that, I shared a cab back to my neighborhood. The taxi driver couldn’t find my building, even though it is pretty obvious, so I had him drop me off about a 10 minute walk from my place, because I didn’t want to pay him to drive in circles. It was a veeery cold walk back to my apartment. I even wore my hat!