Messing around with the English language has become a hobby of mine especially when writing poetry, so it comes as no surprise that I should enjoy immersing myself in a program where I am required to help Polish people improve their spoken English. I am like a rebel when it comes to putting words into flowing sentences, breaking the rules where I can. I confess my talent in the field of English grammar is a tad lacking, please refrain, grammar police from your polite comments. I am guilty on many occasions but not through the lack of trying. Unfortunately, I was one of those kids in the 1970’s who were excused from learning English grammar. I believe some politician thought we had no use of it. When I find out who you are, I will thank you for helping me to appear stupid at times. Google to the rescue eh? Oh, and my fellow European students who struggle to make some sense of our language by putting me under pressure to explain it to them. I am most grateful as you show me I have my uses I promise to improve.
Talking English in Poland, I can do that, I can talk for England. One whole week of not feeling that I have said too much, chatter is required here. I just have to slow down slightly. The challenge accepted and also the offer of some free accommodation, with a bonus of three meals per day thrown in. There are many of these courses running by a number of different companies. I have only done two so far but will definitely be doing more. Please get in touch with me if you want details and are interested in volunteering. It is great fun and a wonderful situation to find yourself in if you love gathering stories.
Following my week of talking non-stop to a fantastic group of Polish individuals all of whom are keen to improve their English. Their reasons vary, many need it for their careers, others do it for fun. Conversations have been very interesting and subjects go from family holidays to careers, history, and politics. I find myself able to speak on all these subject as I move from student to student, gathering insight into their stories and their lives. It seems this is the perfect way to understand their race and culture and I feel grateful in more ways than one. The understanding of my own language improves by their incessant need to question it.
Now I am in Krakow, alone and wandering. It is time for me to accumulate the chattering in my head and put everything in order. I find myself exploring the streets and parks, listening to the sounds of voices in a city changed so many times throughout history, some I am grateful not to have witnessed. I have booked a trip to Auschwitz which I am told is a must-see, but take tissues. It scares me because I am a person who relies on black humor to get me through serious issues. Now I shall be faced with something that absolutely should be no laughing matter. I walk with my imagination allowing images to play like a scene from a black and white movie. I pull the plug and decide to walk towards the park in the centre of the historical part of town.
Parks are wonderful places on Sunday afternoons, especially when the sun comes out. People spend their valued hours just enjoying a stroll, it is a fantastic place to people watch. Satisfied faces devouring street food and showing the pleasure of knowing how yummy it tastes. I’m lost in this park. Light streams through green leafy laden branches crisscrossing shadows across paths, making it hard to focus my camera as I squint. I love the musicians, from everywhere I go, there is somebody playing music in a street. Here the parks are theatres and everybody has been gifted a part to play. We are the cast performing life to each other, we become our own audience.
The musician sitting by a stone arch does not look very happy. He loses himself in every moment, every sound made, every key pressed, touches his pride. But sit he will, for as long as it takes to be given enough money for his talent, for years of practice. I love this waltz, he doesn’t have the cheeky smiles of Hauser but I am happy to lay my money down. The dark shadows of this park in Krakow have long gone as people move about in Polish chatter. Future plans can wait until tomorrow. There are legends of kings and dragons. The souvenirs speak loud and clear. Shops filled with glass objects that reflect the light that belongs in Krakow and you cannot take home. Garlands grace the flower stalls for pretty ladies to wear around their heads. The poetic sound of spoken Polish fills the air. Picture perfect for a Sunday afternoon.
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