Archive for the 'Travel' category

Welcome to the EU. Let’s go bowling.

It’s almost shameful: how predictable we can be. If there’s a fence, we want to see what’s behind it. Lock something in a box, and we look for a screwdriver to pop it open. Tell a bunch of Canadians that they can’t cross an international border to visit their Polish town’s ugly Czech twin, and [...]

What are you looking at?

Sometimes it’s inevitable that you attract attention to yourself. You’re in a town of 40 000 Poles. Czech is common “other language” because you’re right on the border. But when you and three other English teachers go into a bar, most of the place is staring at you.
This staring got quite unnerving for the first [...]

Maybe you shouldn’t share everything…

Really, we just have Turkey to blame. Ever since we visited that country in July 2002, we’ve been really into backgammon. There was a bit of a hiatus that spanned our departure from Turkey and Christmas of that year. But, since Santa got us a travel backgammon set, the games have pretty much been non-stop.
So, [...]

Visiting Grandma at the Polish Sanatorium

Family can be annoying. For example, your grandmother (Babcia) and her friend Nick arrange a month long stay in Poland which includes a stay at a sanatorium in Nowwheresville central Poland and then dental work (because such things are relatively cheap with the Canadian dollar) in Wherethehellisthat northern Poland. The glaring mistake in all these [...]

And what did you think would happen?

I often tell my students about my misadventures in Poland. My stories usually make for good listening exercises. They laugh at my follies and at the weird things I encounter. I tell them when things about their country just don’t make sense to me. Usually the same things don’t make sense to them either. In [...]

A Framily Visit

Martha’s family has this term in circulation called “framily.” It’s a fusion of “friends” and “family.” Last week, framily paid us a visit.
Martha’s cousins, Sue and Diane chose Poland for their first ever European trip. A brave choice for the unseasoned traveller. Jet-lagged and tried they were treated to a full-on Polish bus queue, which [...]

A little learning

Gaining confidence with a new language is important. It’s something I try to instill in my students. But I found out how over-confidence can make for a bit of trouble.
Martha and I were going to prepare some food in the hostel. We needed butter. No, problem, I could skip out to the store and pick [...]

Deceit, Pettiness and some Honesty at the Ukrainian Consulate

The best way to get into the Ukraine is to lie. At least that is the current wisdom circulating around web sites for bandanna-wearing, backpack-toting bo-ho’s. They say that it’s best to get a personal visa instead of a tourist visa. You tell the authorities that you are simply going to Ukraine to visit your [...]

The consulates of Slavic countries:
there’s no way you can win

Moving around Central and Eastern Europe is still a pain in the ass for Canadians. Martha and I are waiting with bated breath for EU accession in May. Hopefully we will be able to come and go through Poland and Czech with the same ease as Germany or France. At the moment, no one really [...]

The Jewish Cemetery in Cieszyn

Spring has been coming often to our part of Poland. It snows for a week, whitewashing everything and then it soars, sending all the white-stuff into the Bobrówka stream, which cuts through the middle of town. This Saturday, we caught the cycle on the upswing: the sun was out and slush lined the streets.
Four of [...]