Note: See more of Tara’s photos from Poland.

Today at work, Piotr & Mariusz invited me to come to their bi-weekly English lesson with them at the office – haha. I wasn’t doing anything particularly important at the moment, so I went. The teacher was a funny British guy who made frequent cracks at America. He asked me how I liked the spelling when he wrote the word “humour,” haha.

I also found another spider in my bathroom today! I bought some Raid. Greg is cooking again tonight – chicken fajitas and pierogi. I really miss Mexican restaurants. There is one on the Square that we tried, but it was underwhelming. The nachos were good. Greg has been cooking for all of us frequently – who knew he could cook? It’s a good thing – I’ve been spending too much money eating out. I’m slightly addicted to a local pierogi place on the Square. They also serve chocolate pancakes!

Polish lessons
My co-workers invited me out to a cafe last night. I met with all of them, including my manager and his wife (yay, another female to talk to!). It was so much fun, and I learned a lot of interesting things from them:

– The wedding ring goes on the right hand in Poland.
– “No” can mean “yes” in Polish (that could cause some important miscommunications)
– Polish people (at least these people) think highly of our tolerance for race/foreigners in America – i.e., Michal was surprised at how people did not mention his thick Polish accent and were patient when trying to communicate with him on his visit to Southlake, Texas.
– They don’t mind standing extremely close to people in a line or in public.
– Drinking and driving laws and practices are much stricter in Poland compared to America.
– In Poland, it’s common to put juice in a beer.
– It’s also common to put ketchup on your pizza.

Another interesting thing about Krakow – the beggars. In the Square, beggars dress up in costumes and pose for money. There are lots of them out every day. We’ve seen a knight, a tree man, a grim reaper, Darth Vader and plenty that we had no clue as to what they were. Those are some motivated beggars.

tara-euro1.jpgSoccer fans
A couple weekends ago, Greg, John, Austin and I all went to this outside area with a big TV to watch the Euro Cup Soccer final. It was so much fun. We decided to root for Spain (over Germany), so we bought red and yellow paint and painted our faces. I had 2 flags, one on each cheek. John completely covered his face in paint, and wore a yellow towel for a cape (and no, he was not the only one wearing a cape)! This face paint made us a lot of friends.

John and Greg went earlier to get seats and met a guy and his kid from New York. He said he’d buy them food and drinks if they’d save 2 seats. He was very cool, and his little boy (9 yrs) was adorable. He painted his hands red and yellow, haha. Other people also wanted face paint, which we had with us. We made a lot of friends at that game.

The game was good, and we had good Polish sausages. When Spain scored, we all jumped up and cheered, of course, and a guy from the crazy table next to us was jumping and yelling and jumped/tackled John a little in his excitement, haha. They crashed into me and I was almost knocked over (bruise on my leg). There was so much singing and yelling in Spanish, it was great. We sang along, pretending we knew what we were saying. Then, when Spain won, that was NUTS. The guys next to us broke the really sturdy table into 3 pieces by jumping on it!!

tara-saltchandeliers.JPGTrip to the Salt Mines
Also on that weekend, we visited the Salt Mines, which were pretty cool. We went 135 meters underground to the 3rd level (there are 9 levels). That’s a lot of stairs to walk down. The air down there is great for your lungs. They advise people with asthma to visit, and even stay the night. They have rooms made out of salt that you can sleep in! The most amazing part for me was the chandeliers made completely of salt crystals. They were huge and very intricate. Luckily, we got to ride a cramped, speedy elevator back up, rather than taking the hundreds of stairs we took down there.