Received your postcard of the statue in Torun today. It was written on Jan. 26th, postmarked Feb 3rd, and reached Souris Feb 15th. Par for the course, I guess. Glad to hear that you're getting along well. Don't spend too much time working at the school. It's a habit which I have had little success in breaking ... unless I take the entire year off ...
It's been a great month for skiing. A good base of snow and very calm winds. Shirley has been out quite a bit and I have made it once or twice a week. The temperature is going up this evening. We hope that it doesn't rain. -10 or -15 is much better for outdoor activities.
Shirley's at work. I have to do some class preparation and then head to the arena for hockey.
Actually, I was just concerned about budgeting... it's 3zł to send mail to Canada, so I had a bunch of postcards written that I was reluc- no, wait a second. The hoarded ones haven't been sent yet! But I've just discovered that I'll have enough money to send a postcard to everyone on my list and still have lots left over.
The school... well, I haven't been there since Tuesday as I came down with some kind of lung infection (as did Monika, who travels to work with me, and she has it much worse) and have been home sick since then. Feeling much better today... just weak. They've got me on a LOT of pills. No fever today, sinues okay, just some coughing stuff up here and again, especially after I take the pills. Yesterday I didn't get enough to eat (my fault, I kept thinking supper would be served) and I ran a 39. Today I've been under 37 all day, so I am quite happy.
I went to the doctor in Płużnica on Wednesday afternoon. This was a less-than-two minute drive in Marcin's car - literally up the street and around the corner, like driving from your house to the hospital. The wait to see the doctor was less than five minutes. Minutes later, I was at the pharmacy waiting in line for Marcin (our Polish supervisor) to get the perscription filled - this took about five minutes. Then there was the 90-second drive home. So I think Polish health care is generally okay. Funny thing: The pharmacist was fluent in English, but the doctor couldn't speak a single word and Marcin had to translate words like "cough."
The group is in Gdańsk today, but I asked Czarek to pick up some postcards for me. I'll send them to some of the girls on my list and say that I was sick yet summoned up enough strength to write them. Alas, I scheme too much. Anyway, I'm missing Gdańsk, but most of the group (actually, everyone but me) are just excited about seeing a large body of water. I admit that would be nice, but there's plenty of opportunity for that in the Maritimes... Moreover, it gives me more motivation to visit Poland again, and this time without a crammed-full mandatory activity schedule and self-granted permission to go where I want to go. There's a total stigma against doing *anything* independently on this exchange, and I hate it. I will be happy to leave that part of my experience behind.
Well, if I keep typing, I'll have nothing left to talk about when I return to Canada! =) But thank you for writing - I actually had a dream last night about driving up to Ross Haven in Aunt Shirley's car. Not that they are more important to me than my more immediate family by any means, and my daytime thoughts often contemplate how I'm going to run a presentation in your living room. Since Aunt Shirley is so well-connected with the hospital, we can advertise it as a therapy session for insomnia sufferers. (I hope you pardon my presumptions, but I really do miss PEI quite a bit. I mean, I haven't seen Ila or Rae in over a year, which is really not cool.)
I've been thinking a lot about my future and what things I want to do, but I'm just not sure what order I should do them in. It's like the Mega Man video game series where you use the weapon of a previous boss against the next robot boss. The trick is, you have to figure out the easiest order on your own. Certainly, you should defeat Lava Man with the Aqua Ray you obtained from Bubble Man, but what do you use to beat Bubble Man? Wouldn't the Flame Gun from Lava Man be useful? Ah, a paradox! Andrew would understand.
I think most people would agree that it's a little unorthodox to be analyzing my future with a video game analogy. Anyway, I'll fix up my résumé when I get home and see what happens. I'm really not enthused about going back for English Honours, especially now when there's no Creative Writing left in it, which frankly was the only reason I was ever there, even though I wasn't particularly good even at that. But I have thought about what I would like to do and where my passions really lie, and frankly the result (acting mixed with writing, because writing alone is much too lonely an occupation for me) is embarassing.
I've also thought a lot about people I'd like to speak with again, things I never before thought of doing... who knows where any of it will lead me, really. Sometimes I think I'm a (dare I say it) total loser with no prospects whatsoever. All the other Canadians on the exchange have never worked for less than $10 an hour. But then again, they are in economically better-off parts of the country. It's easier to find some kind of obscure job or to start your own obscure business in a major, major city than it is even in Halifax. Halifax is too crowded with artsy people - more than the economy can reasonably support. Realistically, I'd need to go elsewhere. A lot of acquaintances from high school ask me what I'm still doing there. I tell them that it's all I can do. But now I'm beginning to doubt that, finally.
A lot of this spiel is motivated by guilt, because often Aunt Shirley will ask me about getting a job, etc.. (and I don't want her to think that my plans for 2005 involve an extended period staying at your house and doing nothing) well, all-in-all I had a decent job this past summer, by my standards so far. It didn't make me any happier, though, not in any ways besides the obvious ones. It filled a need. I have a phobia that inside I'm extremely lazy and will never amount to anything, and now I have the opportunity to try and make that self-fulfilling prophecy *not* come true. One day I walked down the street and was literally smiling ear-to-ear about possibilities. I will try to remember that more.
I think I'm also a lot happier during the summer. This past year I had a fantastic summer - maybe it's the lack of sunshine and activity during the winter that can make me depressed. I clearly have no reason to be right now, for reasons which I can elaborate upon another time because I don't want to sound like a conceited brat. I see the television ads on CNN International, BBC World, CNBC Europe (the only three English channels on my host parents' 500-channel DTS system) for Maldives, for Greece... ah! sunshine! I wish there'd be sunshine. It's always cloudy here, and it gets dark at 5. It's almost as bad as Grande Prairie, which at least got more sunshine.
So yes, I'm just as mixed-up as ever =) and I appreciate your ongoing love and support. See you soon!
* * *
So that was the letter - I then read an e-mail from Aunt Shirley about how excited she was that I was coming over, and that I could stay as long as I wanted, and she hinted at all the people we could visit. This made me happy. So now I regret over-spilling my fears to them. Well, they're my family, so I shouldn't worry.
Secretly, I'm really starting to wonder if I should have gone to university at all. Well, I needed it to be qualified for other things, but most of my really important education has originated elsewhere.
There are a few things I really want to do in life:
- Get TOEFL certificate (so that I can:)
- Teach English in Pacific Asia
- Come back to Poland again
- Teach English in Poland
- Visit England and Wales again
- Visit Scotland
- Get a car
- Get a place to live
- Get more education?
- Upgrade my degree?
... but I don't know which order I want to do them in, as I've said.
Curse being sick and having so much time to lay in bed and think, too sick to read a book! =)
Anyway, overall, I am happy and it is important for me not to loose sight of that. I'm pretty sure that this was a momentary depression brought on by my sickness.
There's something I need to tell people concerning that Valentine from Martyna, but I don't know what it is yet. I think I'll spill my guts to my groupmates about it somewhere over Belgium. Oh! that reminds me:
- Visit continental Europe, at least partially
- Visit Ukraine, and witness the 80% female population in the Foreign Languages Department at Ostroh, virtually all of whom will be able to speak some English
For better or worse, my "to do" list no longer includes:
- Get a Ph.D in English (Are you kidding? I hated getting a B.A. in English!)
- Going back to Saint Mary's only for its inherent security and comfort
Not to say that I won't do those things, but I'm not going to wait until I do them to define myself as a complete person.
I don't think I want to post this publicly anymore. Hello, Friends-Only! There's too much self-doubt in it, and some of it could be taken out of context. I'll make a better, more cohesive update soon. See you!