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).

Statue of Woodrow Wilson in Woodrow Wilson Park

Garden and statue in front of Palmiarni Poznańskiej

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.