Polish poetry and European musings

Trip Start Sep 06, 2004
Trip End Nov 23, 2004

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Flag of Ireland  ,
Friday, October 22, 2004

From my diary at breakfast:

"Back in soldiering-on mode. Shower helped--this morning it was actually halfway decent. Also sleep. I am condemned to another week in the hostel (because of not finding a flat)--I'm used to it now, but it still wears on me. I need a 'room of one's own' with a desk in it. Is that so much to ask? Now I have to wait another five days before there's even any hope of moving out, and longer before I actually can. I guess I should go back to daft.ie (roommate-finding online database) in the meantime. Why is it that I'm the one who can't even get a room in good time like absolutely everyone else?

This won't do. I'm off to Hotlines after breakfast--I must project confidence, not this crushing self-condemnation.

My Polish roommate (whose name I never quite caught) read 'The Snow Queen.' She says it's 'not just a story,' it's 'quite personal somehow,' and there's no sense of the passage of time, which is apparently good because it means the story continues after its end. I think I'm flattered. Since her English isn't fluent, she sometimes comes up with poetic turns of phrase. For example, she's going back to Poland next week--she just felt it was time to go because she felt a 'wind,' like sailing. After Christmas she is going to Madrid to study and brush up on her Spanish. For EU nationals, the borders between states are fluid. (By the way, my Aussie roommate Kristen also read 'The Snow Queen' and didn't understand it, I suppose because she's hardly ever seen snow.)

Galway is into cool, rainy, blustery weather. It seems that autumn shades imperceptibly into winter here, no drastic marker like snow to highlight the changing season. Mikkel wrote me that in Edmonton, autumn lasted about a week--he didn't notice it had started until it was ending. Although that may have more to do with his state of mind than the weather! However it happened, they're deep in snow now. I'm not missing that at all, and the weather here suddenly seems less objectionable. I suppose in a few weeks or a month I'll start to wonder when 'autumn' will end and 'winter' (i.e. snow) begin. This weather is quite nasty enough, and sometimes it's still not something you want to go out in, but at the moment it still beats snow.

Am I really living here? Is this really Ireland? Then why is it so much like Canada? I suppose I should have gone to Thailand instead, for that. Except for all the pubs, which actually are gathering/socializing places--there isn't anywhere else, no BP's or Tim Hortons and few cafes."

To continue...I tried to get hold of John, the cybercafe boss, but he was busy, so I left him a note on the progress of my projects. (Not much.) That was about all I accomplished in the day, except for making supper. I'd been alternating pasta with instant rice and pre-cut vegetable stirfry ever since I got here, and I was heartily sick of it, so I made salmon and potatoes. The salmon was pretty simple, just dill, and I overcooked it, and the potatoes were new potatoes already seasoned with herbs, but it tasted wonderful!

In the evening, Carla, Rashelle, and I braved the blustery rain to walk out a few blocks past our usual radius and go to the movies (called the cinema here). We saw Alfie, a new film with Jude Law. Started out boring and then got more interesting as the hero's good life starts to fall apart and catch up with him.

Back at the hostel, I MSN'ed Pat, who had just acquired a webcam. There was no sound to go along with it, and the picture was jerky, but it was great to see her. She was babysitting Haley (her granddaughter) too...haven't seen her in ages and she's getting so big! The hostel computer didn't have a webcam so Pat couldn't see me, but at least it worked one way.... I also MSN'ed Mikkel, Kim, and Arvin, and got homesick talking to everybody from home. Sigh....
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