Laundry Day

I am in the process of doing basically all of the laundry I have with me in Poland. Melanie is doing the same so Nicole and Thibaut's rooms both look like a swap meet exploded in there. It is wicked humid here without much wind to move it along so everything is staying wet. Not cool. Especially since all of my clothes have that gross mildewy smell because they take so long to dry. I have a hiking backpack that Chelsea gave me so I will be taking that with me to Budapest. I am in the process of putting my life into a suitcase again. It's so strange. I'm throwing out so much stuff and it is just bizarre. I know I have another 3 weeks before I go home but it seems so close now that the luggage is filling up.


Johnson’s Baby Wash for Erasmus

Emotional exhaustion has hit me full force. I have had to say goodbye to so many people over the past few days that I have actually become physically tired from emotions. I don't think I've ever had to do this before. Any other time I've had to say goodbye to large amounts of people at one time, there was always the comfort that at least we were still in the same country. Now, goodbye is in all likelihood a true goodbye without the possibility of "see you later." That prospect kills me. I know that I should not cry that the good times are over but smile that they happened at all. I knew it was going to have to come to an end but it still is hitting me much harder than I expected. I had to say goodbye to Thibaut, Nicole, Ilias, Antonis, Srdjan, Linda and Nelli all on the same day. I will see Nelli in Budapest so that is nice. It's especially good because I'm going there by myself so having a friendly face there will be great. Facebook and Skype are of particular comfort right now but it's not the same. I know that I keep saying that I am in love with Krakow, which is true, but I wouldn't have fallen so hard or so fast if it weren't for all of the amazing people that made this experience what it was. I'm trying to focus on the fact that I am less than 4 weeks away from coming home and seeing all of my friends and family. I've been trying to emphasize the positive because I think any one of us would start crying if we think about what we are leaving behind. Yesterday, we had a huge going away dinner at Pod Wawelem and Srdjan and Nelli's families were there. It was really kind of a cool representation of the transition back in to "civilian" life. Then, Tina, Chelsea and I went to Respect and we ended up meeting a group of Swedish people. It's really cool that we are still meeting new people and making new friends even with just a few days left here. I'm sorry that the past few entries have been kind of depressing but I'm just in a sour mood for the aforementioned reasons. It seems like the world just stopped while we were here. That is such an amazing experience. One that I don't have words for. I wish everyone could have the opportunity to do a study abroad semester but then I wish we didn't have the end bit. I know it's better to have loved and lost and all that jazz but it doesn't make it any less painful. In a way, it's a great thing to know the last time that you see someone rather than always assuming that there would be time to say all of the things you wanted to say but never found the right place for. On the other hand, hopelessness is a bitch. I know that I will have CTatch back at GV to reminisce with and that is of great solace at the moment. I just wish I didn't have anything that I needed consoling over. This entry has been terribly emo but I wanted to post something since it has been almost a week since I've written anything. I think it's just because Mom was at Cancer Kid Camp so I didn't have someone badgering me about writing.


"Anybody Got A Jet Ski?"

I'm an idiot and forgot to mention that I saw Lenny Kravitz in concert on Saturday. It was free! He was stoned out of his mind but it was still a good show. The location was great. The stage was on the bend in the Wisla and the audience was packed on the Wawel side. We got there about 4 hours early (in the rain) but we had an awesome spot. We includes Florence, her brother, Vincent and Tina. Since Tina was in Sweden for the past week and Chelsea is currently in Gdansk, I have been hanging out a lot with Flo. Another occurence of this theme, I didn't realize how cool she was until fairly recently. I guess the only thing to do is make the most of the time I have left.

Final Wishes

Ok, I have booked my hostel and bus ticket. I will be taking a 6.5 hour bus ride to Budapest on 1 July. I will be staying at Florian Hostel for 11 nights. The hostel is costing me less than 100 Euro so, yay Hungary! I still need to figure out where I can store my suitcases but I'm sure I will figure something out. Tonight is the last Monday at Pod Wawelem. I was there last night too because it was Victoria's last night here. I know I haven't mentioned her on the blog before but that's because I met her less than 2 weeks ago. It's so unfair that I keep meeting all of these really awesome people only to say goodbye so soon. Thibaut's birthday is this week so I think I will write him a poem chronicling all of the dumb Tibo stories into one rollicking work of verse. The brilliance will likely be lost on him but I will post it on here when I write it and all of you native speakers will likely pee your pants a little. I need to figure out what I'm doing for the rest of the time but I know that I will for sure be in Bavaria with Tina for a few days.


Retraction/No Regrets

Alright, well, in Polish the word for 45 is pronounced "fifty." Actually, the little post count thing on my dashboard said that it was number 50 but I guess it counts the things that I have saved as drafts and such so only 45 posts actually appear to the public. Anyway, some of them should count as at least two entries because they were so bloody long. Then again, there have been some photo posts that really don't count as much even if they do give more information than words do sometimes. The fact that Andrea bothered to look at that and comment on the correction makes my heart smile. Anyway, I'm done with exams! I am absolutely certain that I passed all of them but I don't know what mark I got for them...not that it really matters.
Now for the "No Regrets" part of the post. Wednesday night I was at a flat party because it was Alex's last night and I needed to take a break from studying. I had two people recognize me from the "French Stereotypes" video and it got me thinking. For so long, I've wanted to be the person that everybody knew, even if I didn't know everyone else. Actually, having people recognize me or know my name without having the same information is kind of a thrill. I am "that girl" here and I have to say that I love it. However, I'm going to be glad when I can sink back into anonymity at GV. I know the people that I care about. The really important things stay close to my heart and I don't really need the validation from strangers seeing me and having some story that they heard about me or something. It's nice and I'm glad that it happened here but I don't want that to be my constant state of being. Erasmus life is a strange social sandbox because you start out with no social connections but an openness to meeting new people and making friends. Everyone starts on a level playing field and you get to see what you can do with it from there. Also, there is the lack of consequences in the long term. I can make a complete ass of myself and say all the things that are in my head that I normally wouldn't have the courage to say. There's freedom in that which is a really strange sensation. I get to prune my social attachments by keeping in touch with all of the people I want to keep in my life and just leave behind all of the others. I get to take back to the States all of changes that I have made to myself since I have been here without the baggage. Any changes I made that I don't like, I get to hit the reset button. What a difference a few months can make.


Grand Jubilee

It's my fiftieth blog post so...yay me! Also, I would like to give a warm welcome to Hania and Ania. Yes, you guys are allowed to comment on my blog. It's not considered stalking. It just demonstrates that I am cool enough to be on your mind even when I'm not in the immediate vicinity. I have my last exam today. International Political Relations. For some reason, I am stressed which really doesn't make any sense whatsoever because I'm an IR major and a native speaker so failure is not an option. However, I am feeling a lot of pressure to pull off a 5.5 on this one. Everyone talks about how it's not fair that I have so much going for me in that class but that's life. Fair is a place where a pig wins a ribbon. After that, I have no reason not to be amazingly blissfully happy. Other than the ridiculous amount of people that I have to say goodbye to in the coming weeks. Alex left today. That was the first one of the people I have really spent a significant amount of time with. I have a feeling that I will cry when Nicole and Thibaut leave along with Tiki and Phil and all of the kick ass UEK folks I've gotten to know over the past few months. I know I'm lucky to have had this experience but it's just not fair that I get to meet all of these amazing personalities that have so much to offer and then they get yanked away like cookies from a kid before dinner. Thank science for the internet. I couldn't imagine doing something like this and knowing that I would never be able to Skype or even IM with these people. I needs to get my shower on so I can be confident (read: not stinky) for my exam today. I'll probably write again tomorrow because I won't have to study!!!


Japanese Poems

In a haiku mood
Seventeen syllables to
Caption each photo

Kazimierz market
Polish obsession with smurfs
Gdzie jest Papa Smurf?

"Probably the best"
I like the honesty but
Confidence is key

See pretty orchids
At the botanical gardens
Jungle in Krakow

Strange spike ball flowers
Catch the sun through their green spines
Artsy photograph

Emo Chelsea T
Not on purpose, caught off guard
Dig the shades, home slice

Country garden shed
Or Stalin architecture?
Style is in the eye

Flower mode works well
Camera makes shots easy
Point and shoot, not skills


I Would Be A Lemming If Everyone Else Were Doing It

So, I just created a Twitter account. For those of you who don't know what Twitter is, it's basically Facebook status updates. You are only allowed 140 characters in each post so it's kind of fun to see what you can say in such a short space. Check me out at www.twitter.com/wideset
Today, a few girls and I are going out to see some of the sites around the city. Probably going to Kazimierz to check out the market. Hitting Schindler's factory and maybe the zoo or the botanical gardens. I was out until almost 5 last night so it should be interesting to see how I make it through the day. I promise to upload pictures from the day. I know I haven't been very good about that lately.


So Much Time, So Little To Do

Second to last exam today! I didn't go out at all this past weekend so tonight I am going to Mariko's final flat party. I think it will be fun. I'm ready to blow off a little bit of steam. Don't really know what else to say in this one. I will be staying in Europe for an additional 3 weeks. I can't believe that I am actually kind of sad about that. I was getting excited about coming home. It will cost way more to come home earlier. I think I will be going to Budapest for at least one week because it is hella cheap there. It will only cost about $25 to take a bus there from Krakow. I also got invited to stay with Tina in Bavaria for a while. Then, Chelsea, Tina and I would go to Prague together. I think that will be a fun time. I don't know what else I will do to pass that time.


Oft Go Awry

I realized that I have information for next year's schedule. Thought I might drop that knowledge bomb on all of you. Here is the prospective rugby schedule for this season.
Sept. 5 & 6, 2009 Army and Penn State @ State College

Sept. 12, 2009 @ Eastern Illinois University

Sept. 19, 2009 Open Date

Sept. 26, 2009 Ball State University-Home
3rd Annual Women's Rugby Golf Outing

Oct. 3, 2009 University of Michigan – Home (League)

Oct. 10, 2009 @ Purdue University (League)

Oct. 17, 2009 Ohio State University – Home (League)

Oct. 24, 2009 @ Michigan State University (League)

Oct. 31, 2009 @ Indiana University (League)

Nov. 7, 2009 4 Quarterfinal matches (E-1 v W-4) v (W-2 v E3) /
(W-1 v E-4) v (E-2 v W-3) Highest ranked team to host each respective

Nov. 14-15, 2009 Midwest Championships (@ Univ. of Northern Iowa)

Yes, you read right. The first game of the season on Labor Day weekend will be in Pennsylvania. We are going to get our asses handed to us but hopefully we will learn a lot from those games. Also, here's my class schedule for next year.
PLS 283 Chinese Politics and US-China Relations
PLS 316 Human Rights in International Relations (super excited for that one!)
CHI 351 Practical Chinese
and here's one that's still in the air
either GER 101 Elementary German or
SPA 321 Spanish Composition and Conversation 1
I wasn't going to take any Spanish at GV but being here and getting the occasional bits of practice makes me want to pursue it further. I knew I wasn't fluent before coming here but now I realize just how not fluent I am. If I am going to join the Peace Corps, I'm sure have any additional proficiency in Spanish will be helpful.
HST 317 History of American Foreign Relations
HST 341 History of East Asia Since 1800
PLS 315 International Political Economy
IR 495 (capstone) Seminar in International Relations
After that, I'm done with my undergrad. That is so scary to me. I have had so much fun and made so many friends and turned friends into family over the past 3 years. I can't believe I'm coming up on the end of that.

Slowly Collapsed Like A Flan In A Cupboard

Sorry about going so long between posts. Thank you so much to Mikay, Ruthie and Louise! I don't feel quite so disconnected anymore. Keep them coming, ladies. I love the updates. I had my second exam today. It was World Economic History. That class was ridiculous. First of all, there was nothing "world" about it. At the beginning of the class, when we were talking about the economic reasons behind the fall of the Roman Empire, I asked about the effect of the Silk Roads and the amount of gold that went to the Kushans. She had no idea what I was talking about (not surprising because no one knows about Central Asia) and then said that China didn't have an impact on Europe until the Ming Dynasty. There are so many things wrong with that I don't know where to start. It's world economic history so maybe we should talk about more than just Europe. Just a thought. Anyway, any time anyone asked a question in lecture she would just rifle through her papers and act all flustered. Usually, she would just rephrase the question as a vague statement. It was frustrating. Meh, it's over now. As previously established, I only need a 3 out of 5 to have the credit transfer so I'm trying to be really chill about all of this. Prices on strawberries have continued to go down. The other day I got them for 2 1/2 per kilo and cherries for 5. Why does fruit have to be so expensive in the States?


Nothing To Get On About

I went to the market yesterday and I bought a kilo of strawberries for 4 zlote. So awesome! So, about that smiles entry, it turned out to be nothing really super exciting. I went on a date with Tom, the Scottish guy that I mentioned before. Although he is very sweet and mellow, I found out through the course of the evening that he is 31. If that were it, I suppose I could get over it but he also smokes a lot of pot at home and every other conversation he was bringing it up. I’m not OK with that.
I got my paper done for international economics. It was approximately 83% bullshit but I am fine with that. At home, I am type A and super hard on myself but here I am studying economics and I am applying those principles to my life. Marginal cost (effort/time of studying and worrying about grades) brings no marginal gain (i.e. my grades transfer back to GV as credit/no credit so it’s not like I can get a “credit plus” or a gold star on my transcript or anything). I had my Polish exam yesterday and I find out the results tomorrow. I also have my International Political Relations presentation tomorrow. I’m not really nervous but everyone has really high expectations of me because I’m a native speaker and an IR major.
The countdown has begun. I have decided to change my plane ticket to 29 June. I can’t believe that I have less than a month left here. It’s happening way too fast. I think the money thing will be less of an issue because we have a cunning plan. Seeing as the exchange rate sucks for bringing zlotych back to the States, we are going to try and have Serdar apply our deposit as our rent for this month. This way, I have my stipend to use for living expenses. I have about a week and a half left over after exams and I am talking to people to see who wants to go where. Laura, one of the Italians who helped me with the Rome trip, wants to go everywhere. She is so nice and bubbly. I think she would be great to travel with. I may not get to go to all of the places I want to see but I have a feeling that no amount of time in the world would be enough to see all I want to see. I can’t imagine going back home after living here. I miss all of you terribly and I am trying to focus on that so my heart won’t break.