Beginning of a new adventure- welcome to Poland Part 3

One is maybe asking himself now: “Well whatever, she’s 17 if her parents agreed then where is the problem with that?”, well let me tell you something. Before ESC became ESC, it was called EVS, which stands for European Voluntary Service. In that service it was fine if you were 17 as long as you turn 18 during the year but that is not how ESC works anymore, thus opening a discussion between the national agency and our office so that Pia could stay here, because the ESC concept is brand new and somebody did not notice that Pia was actually too young. It is maybe comparable with the fight of your parents against the parents of your best friend who got you into trouble, but you both are just watching the scene, because neither of you understands what happened or why it is bad. You just want to hang out more with your friend because it was actually fun and you want to repeat it sometime, while your caretakers are busy with talking. That is how we just kept on doing our ESC during this time, hoping that our organization would win and that we could keep Pia in our circle because she already became precious to us in that short time.
One day later we met in the bank for opening our polish bank accounts and that was the day when we got to know Fabian. Emelyn and me entered the building and as soon as we stood in the entrance, we saw Pia sitting there together with another boy, short black hair, brown eyes and slightly beard shadow running over his jaw like a colony of ants. We instantly introduced each other, and he turned out to be Fabian, Fabian Bajen from Spain. In fact, he is from a city in which a friend of mine did her EVS, what I instantly told him and to which he reacted in a warm way, saying that it is great and asking where she lived, what I could only answer with shrugging shoulders. But then he began to get his engine started, meaning asking questions over questions, doesn’t matter how silly they were just questions. Don’ get me wrong I had a lot of fun with our conversation and it is something different, I got to admit, to talk about the underwear you wear because you too stole it from your brother because it looked cool or just because your parents won’t buy every time new clothes for you so you have to take the leftovers from your siblings which they have grown out of( this is just a slight example of one of the things we spoke about, so you can imagine) By now we were, what I like to call “the core”, the first people who arrived during the 01 until the 05 of September. It is amazing, that we instantly had a certain connection between each other, we started to hang out together, like, every day, met, talked and ate. One experience, I guess it was the most intense for Pia and me, was our introduction to the pierogi. Pierogi are little dough pockets of pure enjoyment, boiled in hot water, filled with any kind of delicious treats, from potatoes to spinach, strawberries to apples and cinnamon, decorated in either bacon and onions or some creamy, white condense milk. Simply pieces of heaven.
If you are coming to Poland and you are going without eating pierogi, sorry but you did not pass the class, go back and get your freaking pierogi, then you can leave. To all the people who are saying, that they are not having enough time for eating pierogi, or its always to late or too soon, which in fact it never is, thus it is already a weak excuse, let me now completely destroy your invalid statement by saying that in Krakow exists a store which offers them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so don’t give us that sentence. If you have tried them and did not like them, I am sorry for you but also want to say, that Poland’s cuisine has way more offer than just these dumplings. If you remember the day, we went to the all you can eat breakfast with Fernando, you might remember the name “Plac Nowy”. Plac Nowy, which is literally translated into “New Place” is a small kind of market square with a round building in the center which looks kind of like the houses people build for the water birds on public lakes. A roundel with several small fast food shops, which all seem to have just one thing, the glorious Zapikanka. This endless loop of the Zapikanka circle is only interrupted by a Belgium fries’ shop and Good Lood, which serves a decent ice cream and by the way is iconic for Krakow. Fabian nearly immediately discovered this crispy kind of pizza, served on a baguette with sheer endless toppings and flavors, for himself.
As the week went on, we thought about what to do at the weekend, giving birth to the idea of food evening. Food evening is a thing which we planned to do on usually Saturdays, were we meet in one flat and cook together something specific out one’s country. Though I got to admit, that the first food evening was neither specific for Spain, nor Germany, nor France, nor Catalonia because we did Pizza.

The Core- posing with Obwarzanki and being tourisitic
us on the market square, the story behind that picture will be explained later on
from the left, bottom corner- Pia, Fabian, Dylan, Sebastian, Emelyn, Theo
Pia and Fabian putting the pizza into the oven
Taking pictures in front of our favorite church at Korona, left to right
Emelyn, Fabian,Pia, Dylan, Theo

Beginning a new adventure- welcome to Poland Part 2

The next morning we met up in the city center with one of our coordinators, Asia, which is Joanna. Emelyn and I went into the tram, hoping to reach the planned destination. Going by tram is actually nothing special, but it suddenly becomes more exciting when you are in a new city, not knowing any of the stops and the very least if you are not able to read them without breaking your tongue. I mean Czerwone Maki (which is “Red Poppy) is an easy one but try to read out Rzmeslnicza was impossible.

Reaching the station, we could already see a tall guy, breaking through the crowds of pedestrians like a lighthouse, accompanied by a woman who introduced herself as Asia later on. Our lighthouse turned out to be Theo, 1,90m and from Germany, more in particular out of a city which is maybe 2 hours away from my city. To understand the German culture a little bit more let me explain to you something. Usually, when abroad, people tend to stick together when they meet somebody out of their country, but this does not count for Germans. We try to avoid each other as much as possible because if there is another German than this place must be quite touristic. Though that natural habit, which seems to be in the in the genes of the Germans, we got along well. Theo is not a man of many words thus, he was hardly speaking which made it quite difficult to establish a conversation at first, but we got slowly into it, cracking open that shell.

Last but not least Dylan arrived. He had some trouble finding the stop, so we had to look for him, but we made it.  By now we were two French and two Germans on the way to discover the city and getting our monthly ticket. Ironically only I and Theo got the monthly ticket because we had all the documents which were required for it (perfectly German I know).

If one does an ESC (European Solidarity Corps), one always gets a mentor, which is usually a person, who already did an ESC and now wants to accompany new volunteers leading them to treasures the former volunteers achieved, thus making the stay here more pleasant. Also, they help you to get to know the culture better and how everything works. My mentor is Tiago from Portugal, living and working here in Krakow for several years, but this is a topic for a different time. We want to focus now more on Emelyns mentor, Fernando, also from Portugal, who invited us the next day to an all you can eat breakfast. We gladly took that opportunity and met the next day at Plac Nowy to enter that restaurant.

Fernando is a livable, joyful partygoer who loves showing the new volunteers around, presenting places in which one can enjoy a cold one together with one’s friends for a good price as well as which clubs are worth it to be checked out. As we entered that place Dylan arrived with somebody nobody knew. Her coppery hair made me ask myself first if this is a natural color or not. While I was thinking about that her hazelnut colored eyes were running over every face on the table and she introduced herself as Pia. Pia from Spai… I’m sorry it is not Spain it is Catalonia!

Sitting together while having breakfast, getting to know more about each other. Or let’s put it that way getting to know about me and Fernando because we were the only ones who talked. Pia joined us sometimes but due to the fact that she just arrived late in the evening the day before, she was not really in the state of talking much. Theo did not say a word, always listening but not commenting on anything.

Finishing the breakfast and starting to walk around in Kazimierz, the former Jewish quarter of Krakow we discovered several restaurants and bars which waited to be checked out, places we wanted to go and clubs we planned to discover but anything at its time. Fernando brought us to one of the many Kopiec of Krakow, hills which function as viewing points, but you got to walk a little bit to get up there and let me tell you that the shoes Emelyn wore elevated her nearly to the Hight of Theos forehead, making them rather suboptimal for walking up this kind of mountain. In the end we made it and had a nice view over the city, though I have to admit, that Krakow is a city which one has to walk through to discover its beauty, from above its rather boring. While being up there we talked and randomly spoke about our age. That was the moment Pia said that she is 17 years old….



Me, Sebastian and I know those pidgeons are disgusting…