Monday, December 10, 2007

"It's so much nicer here in the summer..."

Tomek, in cap, in Sopot.

The insanity continues...

Yoki slept me with again. He was escorted out of my bed several times by his owners but always managed to come back. He doesn't love me. He loves my bed.

This morning, Hania created an elaborate Polish breakfast just for me: an entire plateful of Polish Ham, three fresh croissants, a plate of rolls, a plate of deviled eggs, each with a spoonful of mayonaise on top, some kind of mayonaise salad, tomatos with onions, pickles, goes on and on.

I eat and I realize she is just watching me.

"You're not eating?" I asked her. She showed me an empty carton of yogurt.

"I ate already," she said. And I am expected to eat all this? I was already full from last night. I did the best I could and felt my stomach grow some more.

Hania's breakfast.

My breakfast.

I was waiting for Tomek and Ala to pick me up for our trip to Gdansk today.

"Do you want me to make for you a sandwich for the road?" Hania asked.

"Sure," I said. All Polish people make ham sandwiches for the road. (Even my mom does at home). I have noticed that sometimes they make two, in case you are facing death by starvation or something like that. But I was really unprepared for the snack Hania gave me. It was about six sandwiches, a bunch of apples, a big bottle of water and four cartons of yogurt (I made the mistake of mentioning that I like the yogurt here, so they have been force-feeding it to me. Only I don't have the heart to tell them that I like yogurt with museli--not just out of the carton--because that would require another unneccessary trip to the store to get cereal when they definitely do not need more food!). The snack could barely fit in a shopping bag.

"That is all for me?" I squeaked.

"And for Tomek and Ala," she said. But of course they made their own ham sandwiches for the road. The amount of ham sandwiches we had in our car trunk for three people was just plain insanity.

Tomek and Ala drove me three hours to Gdansk. Everytime I sit in their car, I fall asleep like a baby. I slept the whole way. They must think I am a very tired person. I fell asleep when we drove to Torun a few days ago, too. It is very strange since I cannot communicate well with them so I wonder what their perception of me must be. Do they think I am boring? Because I feel boring. I say the same things over and over because those are the words I know how to say. And sometimes if I cannot find the right word, I have to improvise and offer a half-truth, which is not as interesting as the full-truth.

This evening, for example, we are staying with Ala's sister-in-law, and she asked me why I did not go to Italy on this trip. I tried to explain that I did not want to do Western Europe on this trip and want to explore Italy at a different time, but when that proved too difficult to explain, I just told her I have been there before, which is completely true, but not what I wanted to communicate at all.

Other times I tell a joke and it just falls flat on its face. They do not understand or they think I am talking about something else and answer a completely different way. The conversation shifts in a way I did not intend it to. Usually I just go with it.

No matter where I have gone since the last week of October (Austria, Germany, Netherlands, etc), people have been telling me "It's so much nicer here in the summer. You should come in the summer." I cannot tell you how sick I am to hear this phrase. Because I am here now, and I don't care about how it is in the summer. And most of the time, I can say, yeah, this place is probably nice in the summer, but I still like it now. If the city is interesting enough, it withstands the weather.

My Polish family tells me this phrase "It's so much nicer here in the summer" about five times a day, and I try not to show my annoyance (because I can't really explain to them in Polish why this phrase annoys me) and so through clenched teeth, I politely say, "Yes, I know." I noticed that when I go sight-seeing with my family, whether it is Wojtek in Torun or Tomek and Ala in Gdansk, we just walk around and they do not have much to say about the place. Sometimes they point out a sight, and tell me the name, but they don't really try to explain so much in Polish. Instead, once in a while they ask, "Do you like it here?" And I say, "Yes, I like it." And then they shrug their shoulders and say, "It's so much nicer here in the summer," going on to talk about the nice weather and all the people and the cafes on the street and everything that is not there now.

I have to admit that here they are right. Gdansk, Sopot and Gdynia, the places we visited today, probably are much nicer in the summer. But these are towns by the sea, and so you lose something when it becomes cold. Walking along the beach, looking at boats, seeing the water, doesn't feel so special when you are freezing your ass off. However, despite this fact, I did like the towns very much and if I were to come to Poland again (in the summer, of course) I would like to go to these destinations and see for myself.

At breakfast this morning, Hania asked me, "When are you coming back?"

I haven't even left yet. People! I know it's cold! Let me enjoy it while I am here!

Ala and me.

Houses in Gdansk.


Dan's mom said...

Talk about Polish hospitality!! They want to feed you AND have you see their country in its best light, eg. summer sunlight!!

Annette said...

that breakfast is insane!

Peter said...

That does it!!! I'm going to Poland so I can eat like you!!! I'm just waiting for Summer:)