Let me be honest about something. For me, being in a different country is hard. I’m incredibly shy to begin with and my shyness is compounded by being in a different country surrounded by a language I don’t understand. Adding to that is being in a city where I feel overstimulated by all the sights, sounds, people, buildings, traffic and smells. Some people would delight in this, the fact is, I don’t always enjoy it. Furthermore, my adventurous husband spends most of his days working. He’s my travel companion and with him, I love exploring and feel a whole heck of a lot less vulnerable which makes me feel more open, relaxed and curious. While he’s working, I’d feel more comfortable curling up with a good book rather than challenge myself to venture out on my own and try to navigate a new place especially in a country where I don’t understand the language. But as Michal kindly points out, that’d be wasting my summer (although I have to admit I have already finished several books…).
Yesterday I ventured out in the pouring rain to explore the Old Town. It was so wet and cold that the Old Town was mostly empty. I walked around a bit, took a few photos and had enough. On a side note, the Old Town in Poznań is gorgeous. The colorful buildings look like they belong in a story book. Later that evening we went to a birthday party for a friend of Tomek’s we met on our last trip to Poznań . Everyone spoke English there and it was nice to be able to socialize and enjoy delicious cakes.
Today was another gloomy day with a fall chill in the air. Michal and I began our day eating donuts and drinking amazing coffee at a nearby place. More on that later. It was so good that it is worthy of its own blog post. And we’ll be going back again on Friday when a new shipment of coffee arrives. After indulging in all things sweet and caffeinated Michal left to go to work with his brother. I had several hours to fill. I decided to check out Woodrow Wilson Park and the Palmiarni Poznańskiej (Poznań Palm House).
This was my first solo adventure in a foreign country. Ever. Yes, I realize that’s a tiny bit pathetic given everywhere I’ve been. I’ll be honest when I walked up to the entrance, saw a huge crowd and no signs in English, I almost turned around. But I pushed fear aside, knew enough Polish to ask for one ticket and spent the next hour or so exploring plants from various climates. During this time I realized that I’m pretty lucky. For every exhibit they had, I have had the opportunity to visit states and countries where these plants flourish.
This afternoon I took the tram to the center of the city to meet up with Michal. Tomorrow I’ve booked a two hour walking tour and found a couple other places to explore. My takeaways from today are that I can manage exploring on my own. I felt proud of myself for not letting fear win this battle. While it seems pretty insignificant to explore on your own, for me it was kind of a big deal. A right of passage of sorts. Despite this, I’d much rather share the experience with someone! Other takeaways were that after 12 freaking years, I should have learned Polish. I am also not convinced that sun actually shines in Poznań or that it is summer here.