So much for regular blog posts. It’s slightly ironic that as life gets most exciting there is less time to think about what’s happening, or even to record it. Then again, I probably could have found time for a slightly shorter blog post, so I do apologise for not writing earlier.
Life in Warsaw has taken a bit of a tighter hold in this past month though and so many things have come and gone that I won’t even attempt to write them all out here. However, I am at that lovely stage of optimism during studies, when there is so much going on, exams are distant enough in the future that I don’t think about them, but there seems an endless swathe of possibility for the future even further ahead than that. The only thing that marres the optimism is the slight fear I’ll not be able to take advantage of all the doors that are seemingly at least half open now.
I’ve been lucky enough to have had 2 sets of visitors since my last post. A wonderful weekend with Dan and James early in January was spent visiting new parts of Warsaw, including Wilanow Palace (with a hearty pierogi lunch at the Zloty Kroll after) and the extremely comprehensive and well done (albeit rather exhausting) Museum of the history of the Polish Jews. Over 1000 years of history in about 3 hours even exceeded the feats of pace of Professor Butterwick’s European Civilisation lectures during the first term, but it was very interesting. Dan and Nathalie then came last week: we definitely made the most of the bar (until at least 4am: I did say there would be dancing) still managed to see a lot of culture and history (the Gestapo HQ museum was sobering but incredible) and sample a fair variety of the local grub.
The new courses are also pretty interesting for the most part, although much more specific than last term, with a lot more independent work. Trying to make the most of the reduced contact hours (of course working intensively on my thesis too… 😉 ), we’ve been trying to see a bit more of Poland.
It was rather frozen but I had the most fantastic 2 days in Wroclaw with Ronan: we tried a few new things (opera, the impressive Racławice Panorama and dwarf-hunting) and enjoyed quite a few others (very good vin chaud, free walking tours and food). It’s a really interesting city with a fascinating past: we learnt have been the city’s symbol since 2004 after they were chosen in memory of the little ‘orange dwarf’ that symbolised the local protest movement against communism). Although if you do go dwarf hunting, bear in mind there are over 400 (not 7) dwarves presently round the city…
College life never stops of course either and even if you try to take a step back, someone will always be organising something. It’s a blessing in reality and so I’m really trying to make the most of every bit – but it definitely tests the ability to keep your own rhythm and ensure you get enough sleep. Last Thursday the College showcased its talent with another poetry night. I’d not yet been to one, but I’ll definitely come again next time.
Francis played guitar whilst students read out poems in their native languages, sometimes with translation. It’s actually a really enchanting experience and makes you think, even if poetry (like for me) isn’t normally something you know or ‘care’ much about. A particularly pertinent one for me was Diego’s: originally in Spanish it translates as ‘Dies slowly‘ which sounds morbid, but is actually very passionate. Cankat and Gabriel’s Simon and Garfunkel-esuqe music was equally awesome. Simone and Liz also performed the first sketch from our theatre group, which was met with howls of laughter as it parodied life in College. We’ve also had the first national day, spending the evening learning Chinese calligraphy, origami and throwing balls into water with chopsticks: let’s see what the Frenchies do next week.
The next few weeks are rather charged up. As of tomorrow, my 2 weeks of near complete respite (meaning I’ve actually made a bit of progress at last in Russian: хорошо!) and I’ll be back to 7 days in a row of courses, before a quick trip to Brussels, more courses, then Oxford and finally a voyage to Vilnius with a group from College. I’m sure it will be incredible, but future posts will reveal whether I’ve made it out the other side!