Total hits on xxxxxxx.html Starting Date Goes Here the vacationalist: October 2006

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Patryk saw it too.....

so i was riding the tram to the center today, and sitting near me was a man carrying a purse. now this is a very conservative country, and men do not carry purses, not even the gay ones. But this was distinctly a purse, there was no hiding it. it was blue with flowers. I couldn’t believe it, this old man sitting on the tram was holding a purse. I really try not to stare at people, but i was off to the side and there really was no way he was going to see me gawking, so i gawked away. that is precisely when i realized that is was not an old man carrying a purse, but an old lady with a moustache.

and we are not talking about grandma having a little hair under her lip. (grandma if you are reading this, i do not mean you specifically, you do not have a moustache, but the proverbial grandma little old lady with some chin hair that a person might recognize as a lady who might have facial hair in a reasonable way)

It was dark and bushy. I mean this moustache was better than mine, and the last time i shaved was sometime early last week. This was the kind of moustache that is the envy of teenage boys. you all remember high school, the prepubescent years when there was always that one kid who was able to grow a little facial hair before all of the other boys. the kind of facial hair that is patchy and awkward, that any sane person would shave or at least trim around the edges to make it look somewhat presentable. but if you can grow hair on your face in high school, you let if grow wild and free because each scraggly hair on your face is one more hair of sexual superiority when you are the only one growing it. the others dont realize it is unattractive, just as you dont because no one around you can grow it, but you can. you can.

that is the kind of moustache this woman had. it was a dark and patchy bush beneath her noise that was awkward and misshapen. the kind of facial hair that scott herman grows for those of you who know the reference. not realizing that everyone who sees it wants to pin you down and shave you for the good of society. black with spots of grey, like some bizarre silver fox woman, with the facial hair tinsel strength of wonder womans’ lasso of truth. i half expected to spot a piece of cabbage soup caught in the forest.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

will you learn me english?

so i just my first student. it was the beggining of what i hope will be a profitable venture into the land of private english tutor-ville. although i must say, it was a bit strange. my first students' name is Damien. he is a fourth year engineering student, who wants to pass his english certification in march.

lessons were not quite what i had expected them to be. i spent last night preparing, looking in english grammar books, and preparing a lesson. which we never got to. which is fine. i knew that since i didnt know his level of competence in english i would probably have to wing it, but we didnt go over anything that resembles a lesson. he just wanted to talk. good. that makes sense. if you are hiring a native speaker, it must be because you want to learn native speak. pardon, i mean native speach.

so i just talked to him for an hour. now i am not as bad as others in my family *cough* *allie*, but i hate small talk. i have always been horrible at it. there is a level of selfconciousness that comes with having nothing in common with the person you are talking to that makes me feel, well, selfconcious. but here i am the hired professional for small talk. to i gotta. because i am charging 50 zloty an hour for my casual conversations here. which is around 17 dollars i believe.

now charging someone for the pleasure of my company feel odd. as if i were some strange phone sex operator that didnt even talk dirty to you. conversations about school and pop music, of which i know nothing about, for only 28 cents a minute..... please stay on the line..........


by the way, feel free to point out spelling and gramatical errors. i didnt check it. no need to. i am the expert here.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

can we have blue toilet paper like she has?

there are moments in life when one says something, then questions what it would sound like out of context.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

one lump or two?

Ridicule is how I show my love. It is a trait of my entire family. A sarcastic quip, is as good as an “I love you”, and if you are not mocking your significant other you are not a Saucy. The fact that my boyfriend is currently my only lifeline in a county where I couldn’t even ask for toilet paper if I needed it does not stop me from making fun of him at every opportunity.

Patryk and I went out for coffee. I had a regular coffee, and he had a shot of espresso. Then he proceeded to empty the entire sugar container into his little cup of espresso. I was shocked that such a heap of glucose was able to dissolve in such a small amount of liquid. Without even thinking I said, “Why don’t you have some coffee with your sugar.” That is not even a clever remark; it is the kind of sarcastic statement akin to saying, “NOT!!” after a compliment. But I said it none the less without even realizing it.

Then he got quiet, and told me that communism didn’t fall in Poland until 1989, and before that they could never get sugar or sweets. Now that he can he puts in a lot because it meant so much to him in his childhood to get even a little bit of sugar.

I hate it when he does that.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

there is a man under the table.

I resent small children. This is a realization I came to yesterday. Don’t get me wrong here, I like children, I want children. Not now, but some day. Let me clarify: I resent Polish children. It is in no way their fault, so I cannot hold them in any way responsible for my resentment, and I recognize that is comes completely from my own inadequacy.

Yesterday in the Kiosk there was a small child in front of me. This was one of the stores where everything is behind the counter, and you can’t just grab what you want but instead you must know the word for it and be able to ask. This small child wanted a candy bar, asked for it, paid, and when on his way with his new bit of chocolaty goodness. At this point in my life here this is an accomplishment that is well beyond my current capabilities. When it was my turn at the counter, I made a series of grunts and poorly pronounced words that I had thought were Polish but apparently not. After a few hand gestures and pointing, the candy bar I wanted was placed on the counter. To pay for it I was unable to understand the price, so I held out a palm full of change so that the man could pick through to find the appropriate amount. I know logically that I should not resent the child for the ease in which he received his candy bar for the difficulty which it took to receive mine, but when I five year old is more capable than I am in the world it does hit the pride a bit. Though I am sure that I appreciated the chocolate reward in a deeper way. At least that is what I tell myself.

Polish is a difficult language and I am trying. I have a computer program to help me learn, but it is a slow going progress. My Polish consists of a series of words:


Then I have a few words to connect my nouns:


So far is has proven difficult to enter into conversation. Two days ago, we went to the home of someone who had a cat. This was my chance. I knew how to say cat. So I waited…….
Finally my moment came! The cat leaps up onto the table! At that moment I proudly told everyone, “the cat is on the table!” They were very impressed. And with great luck the cat jumped down, and I quickly said, “Cat jumps!” For one brief moment, I was a hit. But it quickly passed and my moment forgotten.

So I continue to wait for such moments when my Polish skills with pay off, but these moments seem few and far between. I can tell you that the girl walks. That there is a man under the table. And my personal favorite: Patryk runs like a woman. But I am not allowed to say that in public.

Monday, October 09, 2006

It's a gay hair cut.

Poland is cold. I need a heavy coat. And a pair of slippers, but that is another blog. Today I will stick to the coat. Anyway, I have been looking for a good coat that I like and is warm. This is a more difficult process than it may first appear. This is a coat that I will be wearing for a good portion of my days here, so I want it to be one I like a lot. So every time I pass a store window I am looking inside to see if they have what will one day be my winter coat. The problem is that I would like one that does not have a dead animal glued to the hood. I know this may be a lot to ask but I was raised in the northwest and there are a few things we will not do. We will not pump our own gas, and we will not wear fur. I have no problem with others wearing fur if they so choose, and I am not trying to attack Polish fashion, but I find it ridiculous that there is not a hooded coat that does not have fur, or fake fur stapled to it. That said, I have begun to try to understand Polish fashion.
Patryk cuffs his jeans. I haven’t the foggiest why people do this. It happens in the states as well, so we cannot blame Poland. But the man cuffs his jeans. So I started to look for it on others. Low and behold every once in a while there is a well dressed, attractive guy who has his jeans cuffed as well. So I suppose it is safe to trust Patryk’s sense of style here because mine has apparently not adjusted to the time zone.
Later the same day I saw my coat! It is a brown coat that is mid-thigh length, heavy but not fattening, with a fur and fake-fur free hood! I try it on and it fits perfectly! But Patryk’s face does not support my find.
“What’s wrong? Is the coat not good?”
“You don’t want that. It’s a gay coat.”
I quickly remove the coat to check for rainbow patches on the back which I might have missed, but found none.
“What do you mean?”
“The buttons. They are gay looking buttons.”
Besides the fact that I am indeed a homosexual, I have never been one to “flame it up”, no matter what Lauren says. So I put down the furless coat which I had previously thought to have buttons of an ambiguous sexuality back on the rack, and Patryk and I went off to get him a haircut.
I waited patiently while the flamboyantly gay hairdresser cut Patryk’s hair. I guess that stereotype is true in Eastern Europe as well. He might as well have been wearing my coat. When he finished, Patryk’s hair could only be described as a glorified mullet. Short on the front and sides, and fuller on the back and top. Not what I would call attractive by any means, but Pat was thrilled with it. I asked him why he would do such a thing to his head. He told me it was a gay look.
I looked across to the man who just cut his hair. He had the identical cut. I looked down and saw that his jeans were also cuffed.
I think I will go buy that coat after all.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

failure to communicate.

i have come to believe that there are two kinds of Polish people: those who find it amusing when a foreigner does not speak the language, and makes a fool out of himself making hand signals and noises, and those who do not, seeing it more and an un-needed interruption in there otherwise uneventful day.

Case in point- there is a small shop below our apartment. the women there are defiantly part of the second group. the shop is incredibly handy for its closeness. it doesn't have many options when it comes to any single item, but the variety of merchandise is quite impressive given its size. one may purchase chocolates, bread, wine, vodka, pasta, magazines, cigarettes, tampons, eggs, fresh veggies, cheese, milk, pastries, and meat.

the final item is what i was looking to buy. so i did what any self respecting person does when trying to buy pork, but has no idea what the word for pork could be. i squished my nose with my finger and snorted a few times. needless to say, the woman was not amused. she looked as though i were just one more rotten meat ball in her spaghetti bowl of life. but this is something one must expect from life as a foreigner, that if you do something strange it is inevitably the fault of your country, and has nothing to do with your own strange personality.

Luckily there is an actual butchers a few blocks away where the ladies love me. the meat is better, and when i make funny noises they laugh with me. There is a look of sympathy and understanding from behind the hanging sausages, and i take my pork and head home.