I just waved good-bye to my Stalowa Wola host Anna and got on the very new, air-conditioned mini-bus to go to Kraków and then change to Zakopane. Hopefully everything is going to be smooth – too many uncertainties lie ahead: (1) I haven’t booked anything in Zakopane; (2) I’m not sure how to reach the Slovak side of High Tatras from Zakopane; (3) Nothing seems to materialize about Trenčín, Slovakia; (4) the Slovak schedule is very uncertain (with the mountainous parts, Trencin/ Žilina); (5) I’m not sure whether to delete certain Hungarian cities.
But the point here is that I feel sentimental about leaving Poland. I think I haven’t been feeling happy these days partly because I am to leave Poland as well as some people who have been taking such good care of me to the point of spoiling me. Of course, I am going to Zakopane (and have to withdraw more Polish złotes, which is annoying, since I have barely two or three days left in this country; I’ll have to change all of them into Euros for Slovakia), but I can no longer “fall back upon” certain reliable new friends I made.
It would be an exaggeration to say that everything in Poland is either ultra-beautiful or inviting, but I have spent more than a month here, and in some odd ways I have a bit of sense of belonging, almost. After all, there have been people who told me I could “return anytime I want,” and some have been so generous, smiling and accommodating. For special thanks, I would like to mention, among others:
- Max from Białystok, the ultimate gentleman who gave me a bison stuffed toy that makes me smile every time I think of him;
- Piotrek from Olsztyn with his singing tress right beside his big balcony, who made me feel like a king;
- Grzegorz who was simply everywhere and his very sweet Tomek – the word “generosity” can’t even begin to describe them; I especially appreciate how Tomek offers to explain many a thing to me while having to rack his brain for the needed English words;
- Mirek from Poznan, who beautifully showed me exactly how he to treat a guest as “the light in the house”;
- The American Erik in Wrocław, who never hesitated to share;
- The Taiwanese L in Warsaw, who knows what it means to be hospitable in the Taiwanese sense and can also lament/ complain about foods together with me;
- A young Grzegorz who found my blog posts concerning Sandomierz accommodation through a search engine; while he never intended to meet, he voluntarily offered to find and reserve a room for me.
And thanks to all those who probably didn’t see the most sun-shiny version of Damian, who actually tried very hard to combat the demon in his heart to emerge to be as brave as he should. There are difficult things for him, and he has tried to conceal his irritability and smile as he should.
As for couch-surfing, I like the cultural exchange parts, while (with a very naked honesty I have to say) it’s rather tiresome to hear questions for a thousandth time such as:
- “Is this your first time to Europe?”
- “So where did you fly in?”
- “Where are you going next?”
- “What have you visited?”
- “You should go to Wrocław! Oh you’ve been there? You should go to Kraków! Oh you’ve been there? Oh you should go to Gdansk! You’ve been there huh?..”
Granted, not everyone has to read every mundane word I write in this blog, but GOSH! At times I wish I had the liberty to just say, “Read! Read! Read!”
No, of course no one is obliged to read my blog. And maybe I have been too polite to be sociable – I really want to appear all sun-shiny and be liked, while I really want some moments of silence to listen to the winds and recuperate.
I don’t know how many of the angels I met will stay in contact; let’s hope many of them will. And now I have to be brave and go for the next part of the adventure. And of course, be ready to improvise.