My apologies for the misleading title. Something with click bite.. So, there are several topics I want to discuss. First about hiking in the clouds, and then, of course, something about the Polish cuisine! And I will end this post with sharing my experiences with the Polish bureaucracy. As a public administration graduate, my favorite topic!
When I decided to go on EVS, my idea was to pick a country with high mountains, a useful language, and sunny weather. I ended up in Poland and Poland is pretty flat. Perhaps not as pancake-flat as the Netherlands, but more pancake-with-raisins-flat. Fortunately, on the south side of this Polish pancake, an air bubble made the dough come up, and there was Zakopane! If you google Zakopane, you will find pictures like this:
But, as it is autumn, lets assume it will look more or less like this:
I always try not to have too many expectations. I like the surprise in the unexpected. This was my surprise:
The first month in Cracow has passed and many things have happened. First of all, I have forgotten the taste of the normal Dutch yogurt. Secondly, I am realizing once again how I should value the perfectly planned and safe bicycle lanes in the Netherlands. Together with my new wheely friend, I have faced several challenges: getting lost on very muddy roads for hikers on a “mountain” (mountain for Dutch standards, a hill for Poles), cycling over tram rails, and facing Polish wanna-be Max Verstappens at highway exits. Thirdly, I got introduced with Cracow’s smog. I downloaded an app that shows me the thickness of the smog blanket that covers the city, by using smileys. Most of the time, this smiley (let’s call him Bob) is orange and looking sad. At some days, Bob is happy and green. One evening, Bob lost his skin and only a black skull was left. Poor Bob.. At last, fortunately, I have found a similarity between the Netherlands and Poland: the amount of rain. This prevents me of becoming home sick.
After 10 days in Cracow, a period wherein my new apartment started to feel like my own place and my new colleagues’ faces became more and more familiar, it was time to exchange these novel familiarities with, again, something new. A new city and 25 new faces: it was time for the On-Arrival training for EVS-volunteers in Warsaw.
For 6 days 25 volunteers from different Polish cities (but mostly from Cracow) and two experienced trainers were staying in hostel Agricola in Warsaw. During these 6 days we would discuss several topics that would be useful for recently new arrived volunteers. In the beginning I was skeptic about the length of the training. Would it really be necessary to talk 6 full days about what to expect and what to do (and what not)? The answer to this question turned out to be positive.
The main aims of the training were to introduce the volunteers to each other, to Poland, and to give the volunteers tools and knowledge what to do during their projects. Because even though the volunteers work in different cities or villages, with different target groups and with different possibilities, there are some overlapping areas between our projects for which the trainers provided us (the volunteers) with inspiration.
Since a few weeks, there is this new face walking around at Cultural Club Przegorzały. This face seems not to be able to speak and she is sneaky taking pictures of you, which results in your face popping up on Facebook. Who is this person?
Surprise, surprise: this new face is mine!
Who am I?
My name is Iris Lindeboom, I am 24 years old and was born in the Netherlands. I have studied Public Administration in the Netherlands and in Slovenia, and before I even started to work in the public administrative sector, I decided to take a career switch into the cultural sector, here in Poland. I grew up at the countryside of the Netherlands which possibly contributed to my love for nature. Furthermore, I am interested in cooking, art, politics, societies and their cultures, and of course in traveling. Georgia and a trip through the whole African continent are on top of my list at the moment, but this list changes regularly.