Saturday, November 22, 2014
It is Saturday, November 22, 2014. We have now been in Poland a bit over a week. For Alicja, it is home and a strong feeling of happiness. She is now near her parents and brother and son. For me, it is still a matter of cultural and geographical adjustment. I am, of course, very far from my daughters and grandsons; but; thanks to the technological wonders of facetime and skype, we can communicate quite well. I remember when I was in the Navy during the Vietnam conflict and a letter home would take seven days to arrive. Things have certainly changed.
Geographically, I am still trying to get my body clock to adjust to this very northern latitude. When it is nighttime dark by 4:30 in the afternoon, my body clock keeps trying to convince me that bedtime comes soon. It is easy to see how people could be affected by seasonal affective disorder. But, overall, it is impressive that everyone goes about their business without apparent regard to the very short days. And, of course, most days in northern Europe this time of year are gray and cloudy all day long. Yesterday, in Gdansk, the sun came out for a few minutes and it was a very welcome sight.
Being exposed to this makes me think about my father. He was drafted into the army in 1942. First sent to England and then Europe and assigned to General George Patton’s Third Army. Almost three years of this climate, I now wonder how it appeared to a young boy from Paden, Oklahoma who had never previously been out of the state.
We have spent most of our first week here doing ministerial things and trying to get settled. The paperwork is done to register me as Alicja’s husband so I can get a permanent resident card. We went to the bank to arrange our joint account. It is a small branch of Millenium bank and Alicja has been a customer for years. Everyone knew previously that she had met some crazy American and married him. So, needless to say, I was a bit of a sensation. Each clerk, teller, etc. had to find some reason to come to the desk where we were just to look at me. I felt a little like I was from Mars. Alicja told me I am the first American customer they have had at that branch.
We also arranged an appointment to talk to the lady who operates the school where she wants me to teach English. I have not yet warned her that I do not speak “English”, only Okie. She may be scandalized.
Yesterday, we went to Gdansk to do some shopping. Gdansk has big stores. IKEA, for instance, as well as a hardware store called OBI and a French chain called Leroy Merlin. IKEA has a cafeteria which serves the famous meatballs. But, Alicja promised me they have stopped using horsemeat in them since the scandal a couple of years ago. Regardless, I had galonka instead.
Since I am still a total neophyte at blogger and blogging, I still have much to learn. I hope to start incorporating some pictures and things into my posts soon.