For the next few posts I’ll be bringing you all to Poland! Join me in a crash course on what it’s like to experience Poland as a Canadian traveling with my partner, a native Polaki.
We were greeted by Adams ciocia (Aunt) pronounced “Cho-Cha” in English phonetics, and his cousin Piotr (Peter). They gave us a quick driving tour of downtown Warsaw showing us the main historical structures and landmarks. Adam was following along marvelously with the details and descriptions, I on the other hand was having a little bit of difficulty.
I’ve mostly travelled in Spanish speaking, Asian speaking and English speaking countries and this is the first time I’ve been to a country that was Slavic based in language.
Trust me it’s culture shock. From being used to reading things in French or Spanish with Latin based words, it’s always been easy to derived roots and meanings.
Now I’m faced with something completely foreign altogether exciting and intimidating. Now I really understand how scary it is for people to travel when they only speak English.
Even so I am not completely unprepared, over the last couple years I’ve taken the initiative to take a few polish tutoring lessons and sought out resources to aid my learnings. I have a coarse grasp of the alphabet and pronounciation and I understand some words and nouns.
Ciocia and Piotr remind me of my family. They had a basket of food and wine and beer ready for us because they knew we’d be hungry after our many hours of travel. We toasted a sweet red wine and I stuffed my face with cold cuts and rye bread as the dialogue continued around me.
When I first arrived I was intently watching facial reactions and trying to Matrix my way into understanding the language but by now I was exhausted and no longer able to concentrate on trying to translate.
Tonight I sleep. Tomorrow I will awake in Poland.