Les gens qui ne rient jamais ne sont pas des gens sérieux

Be who you are and say what you mean, those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Why I'm grinning today

I'm feeling disproportionately pleased with myself today. Smug almost. The kind of uplifted feeling that makes you smile at nothing and gets you strange looks when you're walking down the street.

This time last year I walked around sunny Warsaw, getting the lay of the land. People kept talking to me on the street - asking for directions or money - and I had to shrug them off with 'nie rozumiem' (I don't understand) and 'jestem Angielką' (I'm English), the two things I knew in Polish.

The weeks and months went by and for a long time I lived through Marek. He ordered things and interacted with the natives... I looked on.

This morning I bought something from the market and chatted to the stall holder about the choice I'd made; I went to the doctor's and picked up a prescription, the receptionist explaining she thought she'd misspelt something; I went to several chemists as each had something missing from the prescription, and explained about the receptionist's misspelling; I went into a shop and ordered what I needed over the counter; I even helped a little old lady on the road who wanted me to turn some flowers that she couldn't reach by a shrine.

I interacted with Polish people! I understood them and more importantly, they understood me!

The reason it's such an achievement is because I remember the frustration of not understanding what was going on around me. I remember the hours of Polish lessons and the times we visited Marek's family and I needed a translator. I remember listening to Polish and just hearing noise; lots of sz-cz-rz but no meaningful words. Now I can pick out the words I understand. I can make sense of the ones I don't from the context and I can make myself understood. Go me!

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Blogger Aaron Fowles said...

Congrats, Becca.

I remember the first time I ordered a pizza in Polish. It was quite a thrill. Now I'm amazed when I walk around and look at signs and things and notice how amazingly familiar they all look.

11:52 pm  

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