Tara in Poland

Tara is an SMU Distinguished Scholar and a junior majoring in computer science and math. This summer, she is one of five SMU students interning with Sabre Polska (the Poland office of Sabre-Holdings). She is working in Airline Solutions on the Crew Recovery Project.

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Adventures in Poland

tarawithbeggar.JPG Czesc! Our first couple weeks in Poland have been quite an adventure.

The 10-hour flight to Frankfurt wasn’t that bad. (Jon did fall asleep into someone’s lap though – haha.) At the Frankfurt airport, my shoes (just simple little flats) set off the metal detector, and I had to sit over on the side while they took my shoes away for a little bit. Apparently, they decided I wasn’t bringing any harmful objects with me hidden in my shoes, so I got to go on.

Arrival in Krakow
In Krakow, we were first taken to our corporate apartments, which are nicer than my apartment in Dallas. However, I did find 2 spiders in my bathroom, agh! I had the other guys come and take care of them. The apartments are in an amazing location, just off the Market Square (where just about everything is).

Magda (in charge of expats) then took us to get lunch at a small Polish restaurant on the Square. I had my first taste of real Polish food, a pierogi. Pierogi are basically flour dumplings stuffed with many different things. I just had the meat pierogi, which were delicious! Later that night we had dinner with our soon-to-be managers, though we weren’t too lively because of jetlag. Well, Jon is a different story. He hit up the town that night while the rest of us crashed.

Tara-StMarys4.JPGOur first weekend, we took a walking tour of the city. We went through the Market Square, learning its history, into a university building (they are scattered all over the city), down to Wawel (“vavel”) Castle by the river, and over to Kazimirez (the Jewish District). There is such beautiful, old architecture in Old Town (the Square and surrounding streets)!

Tara-clothHall2.JPGThis was one rare place that was not destroyed in the war (take a look at Warsaw, everything is completely new). The churches are amazing. We went inside the Franciscan Church; it had the most decorative ceiling I’ve ever seen. We also went to an art museum, where we saw a small Da Vinci painting. Lastly, we went to Cloth Hall (photo left). It is the center building in the Square, filled with small shops inside. I’ll definitely be going back there.

Meat and potatoes, but no Dr Pepper
On to food: Grocery shopping was interesting. We had one of our managers there to help us, but it was still difficult to figure out what exactly we were buying. I accidently got ketchup-flavored cheetos, and ground beef was hard to come by. Some things are the same though; they have Cheerios, Pepsi, & Fanta (Fanta is very popular here), but no Dr. Pepper!! How will I survive? They do have McDonald’s here, though, and I like it better than in America. The burgers are juicier. The rest is pretty much the same. The KFC here is missing my 2 favorite sides, biscuits and mashed potatoes. It’s just not the same without a biscuit.

As for more Polish food, we tried kebabs (they are served all over the Square), which isn’t anything close to what we call kebabs. It’s more like a pita. Greg is hooked on them; he’s had them the past 2 days now. Overall, I really like the food here. Most of the dishes include lots of meat and potatoes, mmm, but I could really go for a juicy Snuffers cheeseburger and their awesome cheese fries with a Dr. Pepper (heart attack on a plate?).

First day at work – with a detour
So Greg and I had an adventure on our first day of real work. We had taken the tram the day before with Tracy (a Sabre manager), so we knew we needed to take the #8 or #10. We walked to the tram stop that we had gotten off at the day before, knowing the #10 stops there.

The 10 arrives, we get on, and sit with relief, knowing we made it past the hardest part of the day, getting on the right tram. However, after 30min, we notice that nothing around us looks familiar, and the ride is only supposed to be about 15min to the office.

Our logic seemed so good at first, the 10 definitely stops at Buma, we took it from there the day before, and we got on it as it was going the direction that the #8 went to take us to Buma earlier. What we didn’t realize, is that the tram stop we used today, was in a different spot than the one we took to Buma before, and therefore needed a tram going the opposite direction. So, not knowing what any signs said, the tram driver speaking only Polish, and now being the only ones left on the tram, we were lost. We finally came to the end of the tram’s line, where the driver yelled at us in Polish, what I can only assume, “Get out of here!” We got off the tram, waited for the 10 going the other way, and finally made it to our first day of work 2 hours late.

I am working in the Airline Solutions department, on the Crew Recovery project. I am running tests and manipulating SQL statements to try to make this program run faster (it’s currently at about 30 min, down from 1.5 hrs). I had never worked with SQL or manipulating databases before, so I am learning many new things. I really like my team, though 3 of them have the same name (Marcin), and I am the only girl in the entire section of the building!

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