Pygmy Jerboa

I discovered this video on Cute Overload. This is my way of trying to solicit comments.



I'm less disappointed now. :) More details later.


As you might guess by the title of this entry, I am disappointed. I am disappointed in you. I ask for one thing. A few minutes of your time to update me on what's going on in your life. I didn't receive a single message or e-mail other than my regular mail from Mom. I boycotted the blog for a week in hopes that maybe someone would do as I requested. It hurts to not be connected with all of the people I love and care about. This week, Larry Barlow died. I didn't know him very well at all and what I did know, I didn't particularly like. I'm an honest person so I don't instantly forget all the negative qualities of the dead and act like we were best friends. I can say this, he was 21 years old and we went to school together for 7 years. One third of his life, I was at the same building 5 days a week. It's very sad and it's in a moment like this that I want to be connected to my loved ones. I want to let everyone know that I love them and part of that love is wanting to know how your day went. What's important to you right now? What makes your heart race this second? What is stressing you out and what do you want to talk about? One of the main ways that I define myself is as a friend and confidante. I love being the person that you want to talk to when you had a really shitty day or the guy you like gave you his number. I feel like I have lost that identity since I've been here. I'd really like it back.
Another disappointment, the trip to Gdansk was canceled. There weren't enough people who signed up so it was called off. I guess this is a blessing in disguise because that gives me more time to work on my International Economics paper. It shouldn't be that difficult but it's just a matter of motivation and sitting down to do it. It's 5-15 pages on the impact of the financial crisis on the United States and the measures being taken to reduce and alleviate those effects. It is even more boring than it sounds.
To cover the past week, I didn't do a whole lot out of the ordinary. On Friday, I went to Alex's flat. Alex is a girl from California who is best friends with Tiki. Tiki is a badass who is studying at UJ. She is also American. She was born in New York, lived in Japan (speaks fluent Japanese) and goes to university at Durham in England. Like I said, badass. Alex is here teaching English and she invited some of her other English teaching pals over. They were 3 guys from Scotland. One of them is half Asian. It turns out we met him a few weeks ago at Carpe Diem but we thought he was just one of the 80 gazillion British people here on holiday/ for a stag party. Cheap vodka has a way of attracting people. Then, there was Tom and Doug. Tom was shy and quiet but he is really sweet. Tiki refers to Doug as the Keebler Elf (not to his face). This is fairly apt description though I can't speak as to his affinity for baked goods. He is short with a fairly elfin appearance in a Down's syndrome kind of way. His accent is nigh unintelligible. He was really outgoing but as he became drunk, extreversion quickly turns into pesky gregariousness. Just to let you know, I did not use a thesaurus for this entry. I just need to use big words when I get the chance because I have to speak slowly and with teeny tiny words for non-native speakers.



Tonight, I am meeting with my group for Economic Growth. Because I'm me, I offered our flat and I am making dinner for everyone. Greek couscous salad. Celebrate the season and all that. I saw strawberries at the market for 7 zloty/ kilo today. For those of you playing at home, that is about $1/lb. Yeah, tough life, I know. Anyway, I know that my life here is a lot more different than those of you at home but right now, I'm kind of doing the same thing I was doing last week and the week before that. In other words, not every entry will be something new and exciting although I am racking up sightings of the woodland creature collector set. We already established my hedgehog encounter but when I was in the park with Konrad a few weeks back I saw my first squirrel in Krakow. I also saw a chipmunk and last week, I saw a ferret or possibly a weasel. I don't know exactly which one it was but it was long and weasly looking and running around at 2 a.m. Back to the original point, I want news from you guys. All I get from most of you is the occasional greeting with no details about life. Maggen, you didn't tell me that you gave away Yoru. I know you may not think that things are important especially compared to all of the experiences that I am having while I am over here but they are important to me. I care about the little details of your day. News doesn't have to be earth shattering for me to want to know about it. Fill me in! I don't want to be completely unaware of the state of things when I come home.


Mr. Pibb and Red Vines Equals Crazy Delicious!

So, I had a pretty hard core couple of days with Phil and friends so last night, I just hung out with CTatch for a calm night. She was pretty sick the past few days. Melanie, in her infinite wisdom in all matters medical, decided that Chelsea had swine flu after hearing the she had a fever. Yeah, she's just a few weeks away from the correspondence course medical degree with two n's in University. We had a party on Friday night that ended up with me being really unhappy. Our neighbor came up and told us to quiet down so we tried to herd everyone out of the flat but drunk people aren't known for their rational compliance so that was quite the task. I tried to bat clean up and get people out starting from the bathroom and pushing them out from there. People kept begging me to let them into the toilet but I told them they could pee outside. It was kind of working when the cops were called.While we were inside, dealing with the authorities, the party continued on the police van. Thanks, Erasmus friends!
We got a 200 zlotych fine. We were still in the hallway when Tomek, who during the night wrote all over our cabinets with marker and brought several drunk Polish people who no one else knew, decided to come back up to find his wallet. I told him to stay out of our flat and we let him find it after the police had gone. He started saying that he's Polish so he should be in the flat talking to the cops for us (we already had someone interpreting for us) and in the end, he was making a bigger noise than it was worth so I just let him in. Everyone else went to Kitsch but I stayed home because I knew that I wouldn't have any fun because I was in such a bad mood. Saturday was spent on clean up. Melanie left that morning so she did most of it before she went because we couldn't have a full group time to clean. As previously mentioned, Saturday night was chillin' with my twin. Today was ridiculously lazy (thus the title of the blog; Mom, ask Dad what it means). I tried to download the movie that Dad posted for me but that hasn't worked so well because anytime the connection is interrupted (which if I'm in my room is a lot) it has to start all over again. Instead of seeing Keanu Reeves as an alien, I have decided to learn French. Therefore, I am downloading Coffee Break French from the Radio Lingua Network. I also got the One Minute Polish thing from the same people and it was very helpful for the bare bones survival stuff when I first got here. Soon, I will be able to spy on Nicole and Thibaut!


Oak, Some Pine, and A Handful of Norsemen

Melanie and I went to Ikea yesterday. The slats in my bed were already dodgy when I moved in but as the semester has gone on, more of them have broken and become detached from the frame of the bed. Turns out, the middle of the frame bows out in a big way which is the heart of the problem. I have been sleeping with my mattress on the floor for the past week but I am now up off the ground! We also got a garlic press for 13 zlotych and I bought some fabric to use as a curtain. The curtain I have right now is red which is nice but it's not really me. So, instead, I got this fabric. I was going to get this black and white print of line drawings of little birds with some of them colored in green but they were out of it and weren't going to have it for 10 weeks so I opted for this one instead. I figure I will take it home with me so I can use it at Campus View as well. After that, I had some dinner which was just leftovers but they were kickass leftovers. Last night I made a sauce from ricotta, Gouda and brie. It was basically fettuccine alfredo but I put in some fresh chives and sauteed onion. Not terribly healthy so I also made a salad by doing a kind of onion ceviche and then adding tomatoes and cucumbers. The light acidity of the salad was a perfect complete to the richness of the pasta. I'm kind of a BAMF when it comes to stuff like that. Then, I was online and I got an invitation to go out with Tiki and her flatmate. It is his birthday today so his friend and his sister are here. They are hilarious and even though nothing was really open so we ended up at Carpe Diem II, the night was fantastic!


Where's Chelsea?

So, as previously mentioned, there were a shit ton of people in Rome due to the fact that it was Holy Week. Therefore, we had the opportunity to take picutres of the Where's Waldo? persuasion. I realized that I forgot to post them in "Back From the Dead" so here they are now.

The Spanish Steps
Moderate DifficultyPiazza Del Popolli
Easy Difficulty

The Colosseum
"Spell The Word COW" Difficulty

St. Peter's Square

The Pantheon

Il Duomo in Milan
Quite Literally Impossible but Still Quite Pretty


Why You Should Never Light Spirytus On Fire

Last weekend, all of the flatmates and I went over to the Greek flat. It is called the Greek flat because Ilias (the guy who Mom thinks looks like Mark Ruffalo), Antonis (actually from Cyprus but he speaks Greek so close enough for our purposes) and Maria (Italian but she gets overruled by the two boys for the name of the flat) live there. We went over for what we were hoping would be Greek or Italian food but it was not to be. Maria made potatoes, kielbasa, and two different salads. One of the salads did have kalamata olives which made me happy. Later in the night, we got to beverages. Eventually, they cracked open the Spirytus. Apparently, that is Polish word for rocket fuel because it is 95% alcohol. I generally avoid it for what turns out to be a good reason. Being 190 proof, it doesn't take a whole lot to light this stuff on fire. I was just wondering how long it would take for it to burn out but that was not for me to know. I'd never lit alcohol on fire in a glass before so this was new territory for me. I stole Thibaut's lighter and set it aflame without difficulty (big bloody surprise there). I just let it burn and it was going for about 3 minutes when Thibaut asked if I was going to drink it. I said no, that I was just going to watch it burn. He said something to the effect of "You can't do zat. Ze glass, she will break." Literally, 5 seconds later...
Yep, cut in half as if by a light saber. It was scary but also really cool. Later in the night, as punishment for breaking one of their shot glasses, Antonis and Thibaut (French shower bag, that he is) made me do a shot of Spirytus. My stomach isn't terribly strong in the first place and I had been having stomach cramps and general yuck type feelings earlier in the day. I was not keen on the idea but they made me do it anyway. I took the shot and obviously wanted to chase it with something as I had just drank something not intended for human consumption. I had my little plastic cup of water right there for support. Went to grab the cup but Monsieur Le Douche held my wrist down. I went for the cup with the other hand and he just slammed his hand down on the cup, breaking it. Needless, to say, I am not Thibaut's biggest fan. Well, I was planning on going over to Chelsea's flat while everyone else went to Kitsch. I had to drop by our flat to drop some things off but as soon as I walked in the door, I puked. I wasn't even drunk! Heavy, greasy Polish food + Spirytus + bad stomach as preexisting condition= spew in the hallway. Fail!


I am sitting in my own bed (which is currently a mattress on the floor until I go to Ikea, but that is beyond the point) and I am able to post on my blog!!! Melanie's flavor of the week is a guy who goes to AGH, the science and technology university in Krakow. He was quite puzzled about my internet connection issue but he is a badass because he finally got me connected to the web! Words cannot describe how happy I am. I now have no excuse to not post on my blog.
Now, it finally seems like I am at school. People are freaking out about writing papers and taking their finals. It's so strange to know that all of the folks up at GV are already done with their semester. I'm going to do the next few posts in installments to catch up on things etc. Pictures a plenty!


Ransom Demand

This is a picture of the box once it finally got to me. I was in my room, chilling and most likely reading (I've read all the books available to me in English at least twice) when Melanie came in to tell me that a man at the door has my computer but he wants 290 zlotych in cash right now before I can have it. After a frustrating exchange wherein I explained that I didn't have the money in cash on me and the postal guy tried to explain something to me in Polish, I had to run (literally and I didn't have time to change out of my PJ's or put on a bra or anything) to Kefirek which is the closest ATM. On my way back to the flat, a car honked but I assumed it was directed at someone else. Turns out, it was the Post Guy in his Post Van with Stan in tow. He had to fill out his Post Form so I could pay the Post Extortion to finally recieve the package. I know that this is all over and done with but it still pisses me off. Still working on the internet in the flat but I have Stan in my hot little hands and I can connect at other locations (i.e. Chelsea's flat which is where I am right now). Today was Polish Independence Day and Friday was Labour Day. I spelled it the British way because it is basically a continent wide thing. Tuesday marks the beginning of Juwenalia, a huge festival for students with lots of concerts and parades. It promises to be all sorts of fun!