Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More Things I Have Learned in Zory....

 1) Read a package of Cheetos very carefully....they could be flavored with ketchup.

Yes, I somehow bought some ketchup flavored Cheetos. It didn't even occur to me to look for that. I did check because I didn't want the flaming hot bag, but wow...ketchup? Now learning a bit more, I think the people of Poland just like ketchup more than I do (by the way, I hate it). One day ordering a pizza the waitress (kelnerka) asked if I wanted ketchup. When I said no thank you, she went on to explain it was free and seemed a bit surprised I didn't want any. When she asked me about ketchup I thought she meant extra tomato sauce...but no, it is ketchup. I saw her bring out a bottle of real tomato ketchup to another table and they squeezed it all over their pizza.

2) You can use jumper cables to fix a washing machine.

The laundry and washing machine had been a huge problem, but it is all fixed now. So, first I didn't even know how to use it. So Agnieszka gave me a quick tutorial. Then when I went to do the laundry it didn't work. I didn't turn the water on. So did that. Still didn't work. Agnieszka came over and she couldn't get it to work either. So she called her friend who is very Mr. Fix it. He's about 80....so don't get your hopes up. He comes over after work....but does not speak English. At all. Oh...except for one phrase that I will come to later. Agnieszka couldn't be here, so Aneta came over to translate. Basically the knob to turn the water on/off is a piece of crap and it broke in the off position. So he is asking if I have a wrench or pliers.....but Aneta translates this to scissors. I DID have scissors, but saw what I was holding up and said "nie" (that is no....but it is pronounced in such a way it kind of sounds like nyet). I realized he was talking about tools and told Aneta that I didn't have those. So he goes down to his truck to see if he has anything. He comes back and has....jumper cables. But he clamped it onto the little valve with no knob and got the water in the on position. But it is broke....so if there is ever an emergency I will have to turn the water off for the whole apartment. After that he held up the crappy knob and said, in broken English, "made in China". So I guess that's the same anywhere! LOL. Anyway, did some laundry. It seemed to take 2 hrs!!! Agnieszka says that is normal. So put the clothes on the line and went to bed. But have done a few loads now, and it works just fine.

3) My couch is a sofa sleeper.

I have a "guest room".

4) The hardest thing to say in Polish is "chicken wings".

At the time of the last post I didn't think I would ever be able to say "thank you". Well, I can now say it perfectly... and I say it quite a few times a day. But chicken wings is going to be tough....but I am sure I will get it eventually. In the mean time pizza and lody (ice cream are very easy to order). :-)

5) The bus to/from Zory to Rybnik (the closest mall) is the number 52.

That's self-explanatory.

6) There is a Chinese restaurant in Zory.

I don't know anyone who has tried it, so no idea if it is good. Right now not craving Chinese...but one day it might come in handy.

7) There are more people in Poland who know how to play Euchre than there are in California.

Okay, that might be completely true...but I have MET more people in Poland who play Euchre than my 10 years in Southern California. (And that is true.)

8) Some people who have a flat, also have a garden.

In Poland it is typical to have a lot plot of land to have a bit of the outside space....mostly people in apartments do this (and it seems almost everyone lives in an apartment or a flat...that might not be true, just my observation so far). I consider it somewhat similar to a Russian style dacha or country house...but most of the time these gardens are in the same city. Most have a small structure that has a kitchen and bathroom. A few people build a bedroom too, but mostly it is just to be used for the day.
Agnieszka's parent's have a garden space, and this past weekend there was a BBQ get-together. It was a lot of fun and I got to meet a few more people. It was a great way to spend a summer day.
That's all for now....hope to do some exploring this up coming weekend!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My First Days in Zory

So much has happened in the past few days, I don't even know where to begin. But here are a few things I have learned so far...

1) While at the bank, if you don't drink coffee while waiting for all the paperwork....they offer you beer.

2) It is tradition to have a house-warming party.

3) The washing machine has "flaps" you have to close before you can close the top lid.

and 4) I don't think I will ever be able to remember how to say "thank you" in Polish.

Of course I will eventually learn. Every time I hear it....I can repeat it back perfectly. I just can't remember it 10 minutes later. I do have the equivalent of "thanks" down though. So now I don't have to appear as a deaf mute when I go purchase a bottle of water or a piwo (beer) at the local shop. I used to just smile at her. Now I can say thanks. I was told that if I said "thank you" in English that almost everyone will understand that. But I WILL remember how to say it.

As for the beer at the bank....that was a special circumstance. The bank manager is good friends with Paul and Agnieszka (one of my new bosses and his wife) and it was a social visit as well as me becoming a new client of the bank.

So far I have: opened a bank account, registered at city hall, have a cell phone number (but still need to actually buy the phone), have the internet hooked up, and gone grocery shopping. A few more things I still have to do though...but thanks to Agnieszka I have a translator for everything and she knows what we need to do. She even taught me how to use the washing machine in my apartment. Who knew there were "flaps" that close down over the clothes. I get it now though....it is for the spin cycle. Since the basin of the machine is so small it spins more like a Ferris Wheel and not around in a circle.

 My overall impressions of Zory (there is a dot over the Z to give it a Jah sound....but I am not able to make that symbol on my American laptop....or if I can, I don't know how to do it) are great. I love it. It is clean and super cute. The people are very friendly....even though I can't communicate with them. (There are more pictures on Facebook, and more coming soon.) I love all the beer gardens and pubs on the main square and the cobble-stone streets.

My apartment is great. It is close to the city center/market square and work (well, the school is on the main square). The bathroom is lime green. At first I thought it was going to be a little bright....but I love it. I love how bright it is. It is small, but it has everything I need. The rest of the apartment is very open, light, bright, and airy. It is small (only 356 sq ft), but has everything I need. The mattress is on the floor...but I will be getting a frame soon. The feature wall is bright yellow with some zebra squares (they are panels that had a peel off backing and are arranged on the wall). The zebra squares are not my favorite...but are growing on me. But the big windows, morning sun, and balcony more than compensate for any decorating flaws.

Also, as I expected, no garbage disposal. I will have to get used to not putting the rest of dinner down the sink. The dumpster is also a bit of a hike....so taking out the trash in the winter won't be much fun, but I'll survive.

As I get settled I will update with more specific stories and experiences. So much has been happening it is hard to get my head around everything. I do have a journal going...so I am making note of it all. But I wanted to get something going to let everyone know I am here and doing well!

And I will let you know about a house-warming party......