December 17, 2008

The time has come

I've been talking about it quite a lot.
So here it is:


After the trip to Gliwice, which as I previously mentioned has no Christmas fair and, as far as we could tell, no notable art galleries, today we went to Krakow. Which has a lot more to offer (obviously it does, although I still think it's overrated). For example, a dragon & his cave, a crypt under a church (that we could actually visit and I thought it was so cool because it reminded me of some crappy detective novel I translated once, in which some people were killing some other people six feet under the church, during Sunday mass), fabulous earrings, horses (the first time I was in Krakow I was on the phone with my Mom on the very moment that I entered the main square, and when she asked me how K. was, the first thing I said was "it has horses"), cozy coffee-shops and let's not forget Vistula river, which I kept staring at, with just one thing in mind: it's going to Warsaw.

So after we successfully managed to do absolutely nothing the entire day, walking aimlessly in the streets, chatting and laughing and stopping every time something seemed worth taking a closer look at, Maciek came up with a plan for our next trip to Krakow, which I totally agreed to. But given today's experience, I'd say failure is almost guaranteed (unless we'll be on speed or something) since next time we're supposed to be visiting Wawel Castle, Muzeum Czartoryski, the Benedictine Abbey in Tyniec and make it back to the centre just in time for a performance at the Old Theatre.

Field trips rock!

Back on track

The worst part is now over. The past few days (the past two weeks, actually) have been surprisingly pleasant, and if it's true what they say, that good things come to those who wait, well... it was about freakin' time, after that November I don't really want to think about.
One good reason may be that on Saturday I'm finally going home where I hope I'll no longer be dyslexic (after three months of mixing & matching languages, I do feel the need to take a break), I'll have lots and lots of books to read (without a dictionary), I'll enjoy the pampering I deserve and I'll catch up with all the stories.
But I refuse to think that I'm giving Kato a chance just because I'm leaving it, at least for a while, thus focusing on the bright side as to have some nice memories and stories to share once I get back home. I want to believe I'm giving it a chance because I'm beginning to get used to it, to be part of it. If Warsaw taught me a valuable lesson about falling in love with a city, Katowice is the place that taught me the real meaning of "being fond of". There is no better description for the relationship I've developed with this city. Or, for that matter, with the people here. I'll stop before this post gets really cheesy, and hope I'll soon regain control of my sentimental-melodramatic tendencies (how the hell did they show up in the first place?)

December 15, 2008

Kato events

Yes, I did complain quite a lot because of the lack of events here in Katowice.
Today, something did happen, and even though for a few seconds both me and Maxi thought we were insane / delusional, she double-checked it and we were right: there was an earthquake.
I was quite excited about it (you'd have to live here for more than one month to figure out why an earthquake can be so much fun), and just thought to share my enthusiasm with you.

December 13, 2008

Stranger than fiction

It's not a secret anymore that I've become somewhat obsessed with The Book With No Name. If you still don't know what that is, you either close your browser and never come back here again, or you go back to reading the letter I wrote to the Anonymous author of the book, check out the website, order the book - the English version is available here, or if you're interested in my remarkable Romanian translation, you can find it here.
Last week, when I was still fighting my mild depression, two events considerably helped me improve my condition:

  1. I found in my mailbox The Eye of the Moon, i.e. the follow-up to The Book With No Name, so Sanchez the bartender was back in my life, to set the new standards for the job, to act as a role model, the Bourbon Kid was back, the vampires, the killings, the crazy quest for the precious blue stone. For two days, Iwas the happiest kid in town. That's how long the miracle lasted, but I was still happy when I finished reading, because I knew there's the translation process waiting, so the following months will be totally entertaining, although I must admit that the walks home from the bar are like a shot of adrenaline, since I'm quite sure there's vampires in the woods, and they'll be after me at some point. Especially since a few weeks ago I found in the bar a ring with a huge blue stone, which I took home after a while, since nobody claimed it. We'll have to wait and see.
  2. He read my blog!!!!! He knows I exist! And he called me "a very pleasant lady". Thank you, I think you're pretty cool too (I probably made it very clear by now).
Ladies and gentlemen (drums, lights go dim, smoke) ... ANONYMOUS:

p.s. I would also like to announce the inauguration of a new category which, under the label "Bourbon Kid & co" will keep you all updated with everything related to the books, the author, my translation, the vampires in the woods here in Kato, my blue stone and the teachings of Sanchez put into practice in my very own Tapioca.

Learn Polish with Sam and Bilus

Back in the days when I started learning Polish, when I still had major issues with the aspect of the verb and with the cases, I was also quite impatient and wanted to know everything at once, and lazy enough to organize all the information in the grammar books. So I assumed somebdoy must have put things in order before me, in a simple, user-friendly manner, that would make the learning process easy, fun, fast, to the point, without all the details that grammar books provide and that beginners don't really need, and yet comprehensive. So i found this: the Learn Polish with Bilus blog, which became one of my most important resources in the learning process.
In the meantime, Bilus started his doctorate (his research blog, here), add that to some other projects he already has, and it's quite obvious there was not much time for this blog. So he asked me to join the team, which made me really happy, since I had becme quite fond of this project - as with all beginnings, you remember what was indeed helpful - not to mention it's a great opportunity for me to put some order in the materials I have by now, especially since, as I just confessed, school is not that exciting and resourceful.
So wish me luck :)


Normally, there's two possible reasons for not writing (be it posts on this blog, diary entries, articles, the book, shopping lists, homework, you name it). I'm either uberhappy and busy doing something that keeps me uberhappy, or not so happy, fighting my way out of a mood that might be described as a mild depression. I wasn't exactly uberhappy in this place. After a first month of excitement, discoveries, new people & new places, I found myself somewhat trapped in pattern that resembled very little to what I had pictured before leaving to Poland.
  • school: except for a very cool and entertaining Theory of Literature course, school is not at all challenging. It's not the place to remind me I have a brain that I can actually use. And I hate the Polish language course (which was supposed to be the core structure of my education here), because these people don't really have a method. Plain and simple. And they're against dictionaries, which I think is the dumbest thing ever, since most of the times I need to know the exact meaning of the word, not just some vague definition that's also in Polish. They also appear to like people who are into group activities - singing Polish carols, acting in the Christmas play, all the elementary school crap which I don't give a rat's ass about.
  • work: the tent lost its magic, but gained consistence. I'm somewhat part of it, not just an observer, and that helps documenting the book. It also nurtures my obsession for The Book With No Name and for Sanchez the bartender. But there had to be life outside the tent, as well.
  • my personal projects (the tons of translations, the book about Poland, my final paper, and let's not forget learning Polish) - just couldn't find the energy for them. I knew I had to do something, I just couldn't pull myself together.
But I did. Because I hated this pattern and I hated being so completely miserable. So now I have a new pattern.

  • the library: worth spending time there, especially when there's a paper to be written. I already have the plan (3 pages, in Polish, about the image of Warsaw between the two world wars and in the occupation years, reflected in poetry).
  • new places: Kato is not a bad place in itself, it's just that once in a while you need to get out of it, and that's that. So last week I was in Bielsko-Biala at my first punk-rock concert (Koniec Swiata, which in Polish means the end of the world. Well, if this is how the end of the world looks and sounds, what can I say, full speed ahead!) and then with Asia, Jarek, Adam, Ania and Rafal to a party in an art gallery, which was quite fun despite the not so numerous crowd. It was back then that Ania told me I should stop being depressed and start climbing :) After Bielsko, it was time for Gliwice, which is one of the prettiest cities in the area, even though it does not have a Christmas fair. I think Maciek still hates me for dragging him around the center, in a quest for something that does not exist, but overall the day we spent in Gliwice was so nice that I decided to skip classes. As far as the Christmas fair is concerned, we're going to Krakow on Thursday :)
  • climbing: Ania was right. While trying to figure out my next move up on the wall, with my hands shaking because of the complete lack of excercise (all my life I've been running away from sports, this is the proof that wheels do turn) I couldn't think of how depressed I was. And I couldn't think about it the day after, as well, because I was focused on the new pain sensations that were going through my body, especially my hands. Trafo kicks ass!
  • work: since I found out there is life outside the tent, I've become much happier with my work, which is now just one of the sources of entertainment, not the one and oly source. Again, I've learnt that overdosing (on anything) is not ok.
  • school: I'm not in the Christmas play (I keep thinking about this episode of South Park whenever I hear about the play), I'm not going to the party on Wednesday to sing Polish carols and speak about Christmas traditions in our countries, and they'll probably end up not liking me, but that's ok, since I'm not exactly their #1 fan.
  • the rest of the projects: I did get back to translating, I'm trying to put together some material for the book, and yes, I still love learning Polish, and if school is not the best place for it, then the tent definitely is, and there's also a new project that might just do the trick. I'll be back with the details.