In The Driver's Seat of Wroclaw

Trip Start Oct 06, 2012
Trip End Aug 19, 2013

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Where I stayed
My home :)
What I did
Policja, Rynek, Honey Beer

Flag of Poland  , Western Poland,
Saturday, October 20, 2012

So the past two weeks have been the adjustment phase and I feel I'm finally getting into a routine and have stories worth telling. Last week after two days of sleep and jetlag recovery I shadowed the mother of the children I am looking after to learn the children's routines and gain comfort driving in the city. Saturday, the 13th was my first day alone and a fun day was planned. We were to go to an Autumn Festival at one of the children's schools which would include arts and crafts, a raffle for the children's art work and a bake sale and then meet up with the mother at Skytower for lunch and then swim practice. 

At the Autumn Festival the kids made a bird feeder, painted their own mushroom crafts and made a tree dog. When we were about to leave we received a phone call that the eldest daughter had gotten into a mild fender bender and we were to go pick her up. I learned when I got to the site of the accident that they are handled very differently than in Poland. The ambulance came right away but we waited for 4 hours to have the actual police arrive and the report took less than five minutes. The other person involved in the accident spoke with the daughter, whereas in the U.S. usually those involved in the accident are kept apart for fear of negative actions or inaccurate reporting for possible law suit occurrences. Afterwards we went to the Skytower for lunch, and since it was 4 PM we were absolutely famished since we usually eat at 2PM. I had beef in a red wine sauce which unfortunately tasted like a bed stew and was covered in sliced pickles which is one thing I just cannot stand the taste of. That night it was so nice the mother and I stayed in and split a bottle of wine and had great conversation. On Sunday I took the daughter into the city and she helped me fill my tank for the first time. My car runs on Gas and Gasoline so I have to ask for the first to be filled as well as fill the Gasoline tank myself. The Gas tank that they fill due to the high risk since it is so flammable can run 300KM per tank roughly. I then dropped the daughter off and turned to make way home after following the bridge. I saw a man wave a stick with a circular mark at the bottom but did not know what that meant.

I proceeded on down the road only to notice blue sirens in back of me and immediately pulled over. The policja officer kept waving me on as he stood on the sidewalk, my silly American brain just took that as he wanted me to move forward until he finally stomped and pointed downward. I realized he was asking me to pull onto the sidewalk itself. He then came around to the front and introduced himself in Polish and I understood the words"dokumenty" as documents and reached for them frantically. I explained I spoke only English and apologized, and he responded "only English"? He looked at me travel documents and car insurance and then said, "Thank you" and walked away. I have only been pulled over once in the States and thought when he walked back to his car he would be processing my plates like they do in the States and writing me a ticket. Instead after a 10 minute wait that felt like 30 minutes to my restless and anxious mind, another officer came to me. He said "you can go" and I replied "Did I do something wrong?", he smiled and said "You broke the law". When I asked what I did, he got his phone out to translate and then quickly gave up hunched his shoulders, laughed and said "you can go, bye". They followed me as I pulled out and I felt now even more nervous, finally when they turned off my shoulders relieved their tension. I spoke to the father when I came home and it turns out the left turn my GPS told me to make is now illegal due to increasing traffic in that area. Luckily the Polish Policja are human beings here and understanding of my stupid American driving. All I could think about was how that situation would've played out in America, especially since I found out this would have been a very expensive fine. This was the end of my brush with the law.

Monday-Friday was my first week learning the kid's routines, in order to slowly acquaint myself I am only picking up the kids and not dropping off. I am slowly learning the routes and not relying so much on my new best friend "Tom-Tom". I pick up the eldest daily and we go have lunch at Cynamon Bar in Wroclaw and then pick up the youngest before Tennis Lessons or Horseback Riding. It allows me great time for reading and to do my course work for the three Psychology courses I am currently taking online. I also booked my travels for London November 9-13 to stay with a co-worker Rosanna and see Imagine Dragons in Camden! I cannot wait to revisit the city that became my home. I am looking forward to feeling that way about Wroclaw and getting acquainted with it. The car and distance from the city makes it difficult. I am so fortunate that the eldest daughter and I are only one year apart and get along so well. On Friday she invited me to go out with her boyfriend and best guy friend. We went to three bars and I got to see a gorgeous romantically beautiful bar in the Jewish district, a brewery featuring delicious beer and another bar which had Czech honey beer. It was so nice meeting her friends who spoke perfect English and only made me want to learn Polish more. Each one of them speaks 4 languages fluently, and I feel so unaccomplished comparatively so. I regret not dedicating myself more to my Spanish courses and this year made me more ready to start my Polish courses and enroll in Spanish courses when I get home. Yesterday the mother held a ladies night in where we had her homemade pumpkin pie and enjoyed a fine bordeaux. Tonight we are going to a sold out concert in the city, Kari Amirian, who is a Polish artist who sings in English. Tomorrow is the first day I take the kids to school myself. I look forward to spending the day in a cafe tomorrow (in between dropping off and picking up the kids), intaking the Polish language and fitting some homework in on the side. 

That's all for now, sorry it's so overdue and I'm sure most of these details are overkill but at least I will remember them when I look back!
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