No time like the present!

Trip Start Nov 24, 2009
Trip End Dec 09, 2009

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Where I stayed

Flag of Poland  , Central Poland,
Sunday, November 29, 2009

So I keep getting the question "Why Warsaw?" Even the locals were girl kept asking because she didn't believe me, hoping I would eventually tell her about some sort of secret plot I was involved in. It was simply outside her reality that someone would visit Warsaw as their first stop in Europe. I must admit that Europe itself was further down the list than say Africa, India or Colombia, let alone Warsaw. To answer everyone's question: I wanted to learn something about myself.

In the past year or so I've been intrigued by the concept of presence. When an acquaintance of mine, men's group leader Sean told me he was offering a workshop on this topic for basically cost I was all about it. The only catch: it would be in Warsaw where he lives. His previous course offering in SF several months before had a price tag of $2000, so the way I see it the $2k savings on the workshop would subsidize my vacation and I would be richer for it!

The principle idea of the course is to create stronger connections with others from a centered sense of self and focus on the moment, but the details were shrouded in mystery as Sean tends to improvise based upon the needs of the attendees. When we all settled into the conference room the charge of anticipation was in the air. No one really knew where we were heading but instead just handed Sean the reins and enjoyed the ride. What I can say about the workshop without getting into drawn out details is that the primary components were meditation and prolonged eye contact exercises. It all was fairly intense, very much so at times, and by the end of the day everyone was emotionally drained (some even had to leave early because of this.)

We all met afterward at the hostel's pub in an attempt to collectively go out on the town. As with big groups this proved to be futile logistically so after much waiting and little planning I turned to a few cohorts and said I was leaving and they should come. Jason (an Aussie and overall awesome dude) Tom, and Kuba (a local Pole and Sean's roommate) all followed and we were finally off. Kuba led us to a place called The Jazz Club, which in the basement was a Salsa club complete with a dance floor full of locals and their moves. We take on shots of Polish vodka, a bit of dancing with local girls, more vodka shots and eventually absinthe shots! I thought it was rather smooth having no trouble with the 55% alcohol rate, but others were not so fortunate. We lost Jason toward the end of the night, and once Tom, Kuba and I left Tom was pretty blitzed. Still we somehow managed to meet some strangers on the street and soon we were their guests at an after hours club communist style with our hosts buying rounds of vodka! It was 4am by then and the place was just getting started, but soon thereafter we loose Kuba and Tom capitulates and heads back home leaving me there with Anna, one of the people we met on the street. The two of us decide to stay and soak in the energy for a few more hours. By the time I got home it was 6:45 am. I needed to be up by 9:30.

Despite the next morning coming all too quickly, I managed to make it back to the workshop on time. When Sean starts the workshop he proceeds to tell us he found Kuba passed out on his bed with his pants half off!?! "I don't know what you guys did to him, but he was getting in just as I was getting up!" I could only sink in my chair with a sense of guilt that I drove him too hard. Jason eventually sneaks in 30 minutes late with a sheepish look on his face and giving me a smiling nod of recognition. That of course wouldn't stop us from being coerced into ordering full liter beers over our meal break. (Hey, they were only 60 cents more than a half!) Nor did it stop me from drinking shots with an aggressive local in order to get him off Sean's back for not drinking. I suppose I literally took a few for the team there as Sean deemed me his "designated drinker!"

The night closed down with those who were moving on saying goodbye and making the last of their connections. I myself stayed up late into the night with several of my new friends discussing the weekend and it's meaning among other things. Overall it was an intense experience where a group of guys went in total strangers and came out with new trusted friends, many whom I feel I will know for many years to come!
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Mr. Hanky on

Gee Brandon, shouldn't you have leather pants on if you're hanging out with guys and drinking heavily?

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