Poland- Now we are the old hares 3

The following week we were invited to take part in a project of a special kind. Our organization Internationaler Bund Polska, yes, it is a German name due to it’s founding back in Germany. Of course, not the Polish office was founded in Germany, but the idea and the concept of the Internationaler Bund institution originates in Germany. Anyway.

Mentioned Project was about dancing with seniors. If you think about it the first time maybe adjectives like “Cute, slow or lame” might come to your mind, but believe me what awaited us there was everything but boring.  This group of elders rented a place in Tychy a city near to Krakow but besides a factory for beer nothing seems really worth a visit there and the city by itself is also not what I’d call a beauty.

To get there we had to take a bus and let me tell that I absolutely love to go by bus together with friends, even though people might look at us for being to loud. I don’t know what it is, though being together in a vehicle for more than 1hour always lights up a spark, making me feel tremendously happy, thus laughing a lot. And as we all know laughter are highly contagious.

As we arrived in Tychy, we nearly missed our bus because Emelyn and me were late making us have a sprint to the bus stop at 10:00 am just to get it in the last second, we entered a kind of meeting hall equipped with tables, chairs and tons of food. The middle was free of any obstacles and on the stage, they put up a DJ desk ready to play the latest hits of 1955 we joked.

Our party “evening” in senior slang, or afternoon in Youngsters slang started with presentations of several dances of the seniors which were preparing themselves since a year just to show of the dance moves they learned in that time, making our mouths drop open of astonishment and envy.

Those grannies and grandpas were awake, for sure alive and had the energy even we were missing. There was no such word as “break”, especially not for us boys. As soon as you sat down one of the grannies came and invited you to dance with her, because such handsome young men must have all the energy of the world. I guess nobody can say, that they danced together with a group of maybe 30 seniors or more Macarena or the YMCA perfomance, neither to go down with them while listening Reggeaton.

Within these grannies were two which defined the word weird anew. Weird thereby is to be put into the context of amazingly entertaining and joyful but also graving for the male volunteers. It is for sure another experience which I didn’t expect to make during this year to sway in the arms of an 65 year old lady, which is looking at me with her moon sized eyes telling me stuff in Polish I don’t understand, while I am starting to sweat due to the heater which was turned up to “Finnish sauna” and made the room feel like you’d dance through the Arabic Desert with Aladdin’s Jasmin on your side after she divorced from her Husband 20 years ago.

Of course, the Dj also played some of the songs we suggested and putting up Becky G’s Mayores in which she is singing about her affection against the older ones of our society you realize that you are living her dream she is singing about. What a life and time we are living in.

After we left that party somewhat around 9 you could see the exhaustion of each of us, creeping back into the bus, trying to reach home as fast as possible to shower and sleep. This time on the way back we were laughing less, therefore the darkness and ever repeating monotony of orange streetlights and racing cars made you lose every kind of time feeling and started a long conversation between Fabian and me. Those are the moments when you are in a car which should never stop. When you wish to just go forever on that ride, so you don’t have to get out of this cozy seat.

But we arrived back in Krakow, safe and sound, knowing more about each of us afterwards.

What an amazing event- and they grannies were already asking for the next one.


dancing YMCA with the seniors

Poland- Now we are the old hares 2

Eventually we managed to get to Rocio’s and Anthi’s flat all together, loaded with pizza and other snacks, because sometimes you got to enjoy life to the fullest. It is always amazing, when we meet all together, at least for me and not having that one week made me realize that I really missed those moments. Emelyn will, in faraway future, say the same to me, that is that every time we are together, she is looking around into all the faces, seeing them laughing and arguing which makes her and me too unbelievably happy.

That was exactly how it felt like being there in that moment, sharing food and laughter not thinking about yesterday or tomorrow but just living into the moment by appreciating everybody’s attendance. You know that there is the moment when of course everyone has to return to his flat but until then you try to take in as much as possible of that moment, trying to burn it into your memory.

Though to say that we did not think of tomorrow at all would be a lie because on the next way was Marias birthday. I have never been a big fan of my own birthday, always trying to get somewhere else, avoiding the awkwardness of people celebrating you. If it comes to other birthdays though, I am all on fire, trying to let them know how much they mean to me and showing them how happy you are that they were born at this date.

However, Maria did not want that we make out of her birthday such a big deal which is fine and to be respected. Though at least something had to happen, so we decided to reserve some places in one of our favorite bars if it comes to birthdays. Domowka is in the Jewish quarter Kazimierz in Krakow and because of the sheer endless amount of table games they offer for free we always enjoy spending time there, talking, playing and drinking.

Furthermore, we decided to prepare a little something for her, meaning a small book containing some personal words of each of us as well as enough space to create some more memories and put them in there later on. We did not have enough time, or we did not manage to make more time because I don’t know why, so we had to buy a small cake from Awiteks.

Awiteks is a chain bakery and fairly common in Krakow. Pia is a big lover of Awiteks so-called bread while Theo and me, as the Germans we are, can’t even consider this more than a white fluff lacking any texture or low and behold fiber. We might not be proud of much but if it comes to bread, we are not taking anybody’s shit because we know we have the best one in the world.

Anyway, we decided to get a small cake there but as everybody knows we have a quite picky eater here and asking somebody what kind of cake he wants for his kind-of-surprise party would degrade the kind-of-surprise to a no-surprise, duh.

As we met in advance to prepare her book and the cake, sticking candles into it and lighting it up, I met another volunteer who I did not know before, called Pamela.

Pamela arrived in the beginning of the week, making the time Pia and I spend away into 7 days in which we welcomed all in all 4 new volunteers!

When Maria entered the café, we all sat there, screaming our best wishes to Maria accompanied by hugs, kisses and tons of joy, climaxing in the moment she had to put out the candles.

When the like childhood smelling, grey smoke arose in the room we handed here over the book and ordered the first round of beers, teas and much more. Though I guess we must’ve been quite loud, not that anybody said anything, but we always are and especially if we celebrate something like a birthday thus accompanied by loud laughter and screams expressing how happy we are.

Speaking of birthdays and parties lets focus on an inevitable part of these. Dancing.

Gvantsa next to Fabian, in front of Theo (black glasses) and Pamela in the backround,  left of Dylan also wearing glasses
Maria and me at here birthday

Poland- Now we are the old hares

Gvantsa found us immediately after we left Galeria Krakowska, a place that awakens panic in me. Always overcrowded, thousands of stores and in the end, you just hang out there because you are bored, watching people passing by while thinking of their stories.

It is quite an amusing thing to do and come to think of it, isn’t it fascinating to see a city less as a place far away from nature and older days, but a gathering of stories of thousands or millions of people. Somehow you are connected to a lot of them, playing just an unimportant role in the background, but for this time you shared the same story with a stranger. Maybe the woman who is running after the bus just had a fairly important job interview and now that she missed her ride is desperately thinking about what to do to be there In time, so she can pay the rent and someday travel to Jamaica because she watched a documentation once and now it is her dream to lay at one of its golden beaches while enjoying a cool drink. But life hasn’t been nice to her and she is struggling to even keep her head over water, living from day to day thinking of how to spend her money wisely.

Of course, we will never know, though it has something magical, to see a city as a place were dreams come together and you never know if you are the reason somebody is achieving it or not. Maybe you are the one person which has a blue jacket and this guy says to himself, that if the next person I see wears a blue jacket than I’ll tell her that I love her and by doing so, he sees you wearing your brightest blue, giving him the signal, that destiny seems to favor his plans. You will never know because he won’t tell you but maybe you are the reason somebody else married, later on, had kids or just had an amazing relationship for a while.

Speaking of colors. It is really hard to not see Gvantsa in a crowd as a result of her neon orange jacket. This girl is somewhat of a model, with her beautiful brown eyes and curls, falling down to her shoulders. Usually wearing her slightly bright chestnut-colored coat and her black glasses, if itis not raining. I have to say though that I kind of pitied her a little bit, due to my mood which was explosive and loud, going from one topic to the other in the speed of Eminem’s “Rap god”, out of joy and relief to see the other ones, after one whole week.

While we all saw each other again, falling into their arms and hugs, not planning on ever leaving them, I realized how precious those people already became to me and I had no idea how even more important they would become to me over the next months. While embracing everybody’s attendance, though we thought nobody was there in the beginning, a new message popped up in the group chat, creatively named “The Shitty Ones”. I don’t know why or what drove us to choose such a name, only that it was not going to be changed for a long time.

The message was from Asser, the volunteer from Egypt, who arrived 1 day before and was now waiting for us at Poczta Glowna. We decided to pick him up and then go to the flat of Anthi and Rocio, because they have a living room, and believe it or not but to have a living room is a real rarity in volunteer flats, making the kitchen the new living room normally.

There we were supposed to meet with Kübra too because she would come directly from my flat to this one. Turning around the corner at Poczta Glowna we saw an Arabic guy standing next to the tram stop. His deep black and madly curled hair were held in form by some spray I guessed, while his dark eyes found ours.

Asser is a fun guy who always has a story to tell dealing with him or his country. Also, his English is perfect so that there were absolutely no communication problems from his side to ours. As a matter of fact, nobody of us speaks Arab, and the ones who think that Turkish and Arabic have anything to do with each other, let me tell you that they absolutely don’t.

They might have influenced each other through lending words but the grammatical structure as the use of sounds is way, way, way off from Arabic.