The day before the 01.09.2019 was filled with saying goodbye to friends, family and my beloved cat. It’s an almost frightening feeling before one takes a trip far away and this time not for one or two weeks, but for ten whole months. Not knowing who you are going to meet, if you will like what you are going to do or if you will get along with your flatmates. The only certain feeling is the feeling of farewell and a tension in the air which seems to swallow every thought you think, while it is laying its heavy hands around your throat making it hard to speak. When I saw the flashing green color of the bus coming into the station I knew, now something whole new is going to start. Something I never experienced, something I never felt. Though frightened I was ready for it.
Every step I had to take to get into the bus, not looking back because that would just make the goodbye harder, brought me nearer to my destination. September the first, 2019 was the day when I arrived. As I got out of the bus the warm morning air filled my lungs. I felt like a truck hit me due to sleep deprivation and the lack of possibilities to take a shower or brush your teeth. Not my proudest moment, I got to admit, but I was relieved to have managed to get to Krakow in time and at the right place. After a short time of waiting Ania arrived to pick me up. Ania is actually Anna but not Asia and the other Ania is someone whole different. Good that at least Dagmara stayed Dagmara, but we will get later into that.
The flat has two rooms, somewhat like a corridor and a separated toilette, which is absolutely handy when you live together with some more people. Ania directly directed me into the single bedroom because we have the smallest flat which means, that instead of the usual four people only three going to live in here. By offering, that I don’t need a single room and gladly take the shared bedroom, she replied that my chivalry is appreciated but there are coming two girls into my flat, which are going to share rooms together, thus it is not possible for me to go into that shared bedroom. What I must admit is, that I do not have a problem with that either, because I never had a king-sized bed and I conquered it immediately.
My French flatmate, Emelyn, arrived maybe ten minutes after I entered the flat and after getting to know each other we decided to take a trip into the city center. I did not know much about Poland and its cities, besides that Krakow is supposed to be one of the most beautiful ones and holy cow they were right. The marketplace is out of that world with its museum which lays underneath the place and its humongous church in one side and uncountable restaurants. Everywhere are horse carts and people who wear traditional clothing, while dozens of pigeons take flight, when being chased by a dog. Going on you cannot miss the Wawel-castle which is in that city. It is a stunning complex of a church, several towers and meadows. At its feet stands the statue of the Wawel dragon which spites real fire every five minutes. It might seem really special right now, but the fact that you are waiting for five minutes to see a flame which lasts not even one minute dulls the whole attraction to the amount that you would rather watch a documentation about the fantastic world of nightcrawlers and their way of mating than waiting for that flame. Though it is iconic, thus a must see.
After so much sightseeing, the call of our beds overwhelmed us, falling into this soft piece of heaven with the intention to never leave it again.
After this nap the last but most important challenge of the day was supposed to be faced. Grocery and cooking. Sure, grocery sounds easy but heck you ever had to do some shopping in a language you don’t understand with a currency you usually not use? To figure out that makaron have nothing to do with the delightful French biscuits but are the polish word for noodles took us a while. The search for tomato sauce therefore was faster. In the end the first meal in our flat was noodles with tomato sauce, a classic. Luckily the volunteers before us left some seasonings so we had a filling meal, though we have to work on the taste.
Text by Sebastian, a volunteer from Germany, participant of the project “reACTogether” but also the support of the project “Mobility for Solidarity”.
The project “reACTogether” is organised within the framework of the European Solidarity Corps and financed by European Commission.