Well, we haven’t written here even once since we arrived on May 5th, there’s a lot of reasons for that, but mostly because we wanted to settle in and “find our voice” and not simply be reacting to all the changes. I believe we’re at a good place, though some new changes are right upon us, since later this week our baby boy Elijah is due! So without further ado, here are five thoughts about our first five months.
- We are incredibly humbled to be here; we’re especially humbled by the language – on any list of “top hardest languages to learn” you’ll find Polish generally in the top five. However we are dedicated to learning Polish, it’s the key to the culture.
- We’re laughing a lot about bumbling around to understand how to do things, getting information, and trying to understand the “way” of things – although we have total peace that we’ll never really “understand” it, rather we’ll just be OK with it.
- Being a foreigner is romantic when you’re on a trip, it’s completely something different (and, for the long term, something great) when you live as a foreigner. Since our outward appearance is not obviously foreign, and apparently our general Polish greetings sound authentic enough, what we feel when we reach the very short extent of our language abilities is a general sense of disconnect and a constant reminder that we have a long road to genuine community “belonging”.
- Staying out of the “expat” and “english bubble” is an important, and hard, intentional decision we have to make every day. If we want to REACH Polish people, we need to be with POLISH people, and more so, we need to speak Polish as much as possible.
- The history of Poland seems to reach back into everything and is still a part of every day life, it is the foundation of the culture we see today. This is so true of any culture, and with one as turbulent as Poland’s, you can imagine how different it is coming from an American background – we simply don’t know. Because of this, we are watching, listening, learning, and attempting to not apply our cultural prism.