April 24, 2011


Yep, I definitely have all the reasons to miss it.

April 22, 2011

City on the edge of forever

Remember that South Park episode when the boys relive landmark moments in their lives while the school bus is teetering on the edge of a cliff?
Although in a less dramatic situation, I've been having quite a lot of flashbacks lately, for no apparent reason. And where there's no reason, there's obviously room for speculation.
The other day I was talking to a fellow expat who told me that while he did miss his country and his friends and the things they did together, he had no flashbacks because Warsaw did not remind him at all of his hometown in Portugal. In my case, it's not so much a matter of Warsaw triggering memories of Romania, I think my brain has reached a stage where it would have the exact same reactions in any other city.
A sunset on a Friday takes me back to Bucharest on one of those early evenings when the air smells like spring and endless possibilities. I walk the streets of Warsaw and suddenly remember the long walks I used to take with my Gran on Sunday mornings, the smell of lilac reminds me of my orange room back at my parents’ place, I hear Cohen while shopping for dance shoes and suddenly waltz is the last thing on my mind, as I find myself daydreaming about Vama Veche, drinking coffee in the sand with salt on my lips and sand in my hair. Walking back home from work I'm reminded, again for no apparent reason, unless the sight of a white fluffy cat counts, of the nights spent with A. pretending to be studying for our exam in linguistics while actually watching movies about the fall of communism and planning to do some serious writing about it.
So here's my theory: if it's true what they say and love does indeed last three years, then my love story with Poland is about to come to an end. Exit passion, enter a more domestic-friendly feeling of settling down. Very home-like. And that, of course, brings back memories of the other place that has functioned in a similar way a few years back. And it's exactly at this point that I feel like making a change. Much like in all other aspects of my life, when it starts feeling too comfortable I feel an impetuous need to try out something new. (In other line of thought, that’s why dancing might be something I’ll be doing for a long time from now on, because it is far from feeling comfortable, and as I'm writing this my body is still recovering after today's rumba). I'm well aware there are still a lot of things to do in Poland, so many options to be explored and discovered and enjoyed to the fullest and that's one of the reasons why I'm not packing my bags yet. But I can't help but wonder if I could start over in a completely different setting. And just for how long can this game be played before it becomes boring, or tiresome, or both.

April 15, 2011

Field trip

Until recently I used to think that the Masurian Lakes were a Polish urban myth. In summer, everyone escapes from the city and runs up north to spend a few quiet days in nature, in “the district of one thousand lakes”, as travel guides like to call it. Every year I’d hear at least half of my friends planning to spend a week “na Mazury” but I was never quite sure where that was or what was happening down by the lakes, so amazing as to be an obligatory holiday destination.
So when I heard there was an international ballroom dance competition held in the Masurian district, I figured it was a sign I should finally take another step towards becoming even more Polish and hopped on the bus to Mikolajki.
I obviously arrived too late to see the first part of the competition and too early to meet my friends who were still dancing (full reports of the competition, pics, videos and my random ramblings, here), so I decided to check out the wonders the city has to offer. I had to cope with the idea that there are no maps because apparently nobody needs them - true, the city is really small, but a map would come in handy, as there's more than just a yellow brick road to follow. And it’s a tough call, especially since all roads look almost identical and street lights are pretty uncommon, much like bars or any other coffee-serving facilities that are still open after 10 p.m. After a lot of walking – which also appears to be rather out of the ordinary – I finally found a Drink Bar open 24/7. The only customers were two very drunk middle-aged men and two not-so-drunk-yet middle aged women, quietly enjoying their drinks surrounded by plastic flowers and posters of football players who were probably famous before I was born. While drinking my coffee I realized that being out of my comfort zone – defined by huge crowds in the streets, full bars, cute bartenders and colorful outfits – makes me feel uneasy and that was a conclusion I was not ready for. To double the fun, I think I have overdosed on cop novels and detective stories in the past few months and, as always, fiction leaves very strong traces on my reality. Needless to say in the latest novel I translated a lot of creepy things happen in a small, dark town, with lots of bridges and narrow streets. Those creepy things usually involve young women being kidnapped, sexually abused and eventually murdered in well hidden basements. Not the best scenario to think about when walking over a bridge, hearing nothing but the wind and my own thoughts. Still, I think it is a major improvement, as I’m officially over The Book With No Name episode and vampires are no longer an option if I want to scare the hell out of myself.

April 12, 2011

Someday I will miss today

A day that had nothing out of the ordinary. Early morning coffee and a good read, a work related project I actually like, midday dance lesson with Mirek and a lot of effort put into getting the Waltz right, lunch with Magda and Przemek and a walk in the rain, a bit of studying for the exam in visual anthropology, long talks with some of the people I miss most these days and again too little time to get everything done and get some much needed beauty sleep.
Then found the inscription "dreams are coming true" under a bottle cap. Decided to keep it.

April 3, 2011

And then spring came

And smoking was once again allowed in bars - actually, still outside of them, only in the past few days it went back to being a guilty pleasure next to morning coffee rather than a sneaky tool aimed at singling out smokers as a lower species whose sole purpose was to be despised by the passers-by. Warsaw became colorful and sunny and multilingual, street artists went back to work and fruit started tasting like fruit again. And so my mild depression or whatever it was that prevented me from being me, making me perpetually sad and discontent and disoriented has started to slowly fade away. It finally left room for other activities, more pleasant than hiding under the covers, hating people and starting all my sentences with "no".
Although it's still a long way to full recovery and my happy moods, at least I can see the levels of grumpiness and negativity diminishing and that is enough of a reassurance for the time being.
And so, I am pleased to announce my new project - a chronicle of my dancing, my struggles to figure out all those spins and turns and muscle coordination, partnerwork, dance related events and competitions and of course a step-by-step recording of this year's highlight, my trip to Cuba in search of rumba: My Everything Is Perfect.