Wednesday, January 29, 2014

News and counting...

Well...first of all...counting in Polish...since I counted in Amharic while I was in Ethiopia on this blog - I thought I might as well count in Polish!  I actually used it today while I was shopping etc...counting does come in handy - good to learn early!
1.  = Jeden - the j is like h in English...or similar to Spanish where it is 'silent'
2.  = Dwa - the w is like v in English and the a always has the 'aahhh' sound
3.  = trzy - good luck is all I can notes say 'th + shea'
4.  = cztery - cz is like 'chah' and roll your r!
5.  = piec' - pee + ench
6.  = szes'c' - shay + st (this one got me in trouble..saying this in German is a different meaning and we had a good laugh at that in class).  Sorry Joanna!
7.  = siedem - shed + em
8.  = osiem - I like this one...sounds like ocean :)
9.  = dziewiec - again...good + viench
10. = dziesiec' - best of + shench

My next subject is just funny, kinda personal but oh well...last blog said vulnerable right?  Just wondering - do you 'swish' your feet when you are in bed?  You know what I'm talking about...don't you (I'm hoping I'm not just cra cra!)?  Is it just in my family?    I'm so convinced that is an inborn thing.  Trust me - I have had this converstaion with family and I totally 'swish' my feet in bed (Mom says since I was born)...I guess it lulls me to sleep. I said I've had conversation about this with family and I'm not naming any names but a family member of mine is here in Krakow for a couple days and I heard some swishing!  Not just swishing...but fast swishing!  Mine is much slower...FUNNY.  That's what I say.

So I have some news...I'm moving to Poznan, Poland for a few (3?) months.  This conversation started a while back....some great folks (hello Tracy's!) that were volunteering in Poznan went back to the states in early January.  Plus a gal that was in Krakow last year came back yesterday here to Krakow for a few months so...I thought the numbers of volunteers were kind of out of balance and I offered to Bob to go wherever.  And...that is how it came about that I'm headed to Poznan.  There is a great family that has been there for a year (or more) already and there is a Sweet Surrender coffee shop as well so I can volunteer and it will be good!  The gal that is here in Krakow for a few months will use my apartment and I will find one in Poznan (fairly easy from what I hear).  My language class was a month intensive class so our last class is Friday.  It all works out and I'm headed to Poznan probably next week!  Phew...good huh?  Looking on the map (see side picture) - Poznan is in the western part of Poland...near Berlin, Germany and Prague,Czech  Republic.  I have never been to Berlin and was in Prague but for a very short time...sounds good to me to adventure out to some new places right?

And speaking of working...the past week or so I've been having some normal 'missionary issues' from what I understand.  The whole volunteering thing...which comes with it, in my case, some very generous folks supporting me.  It is humbling no doubt but it was bothering me...maybe I should be more independent etc etc?  And then the whole accountability thing with that - what exactly am I doing and how is this missions work etc etc???  In my mind I keep comparing Poland to Ethiopia...really two different worlds but I've got to tell you - Ethiopia is fascinating to people (including me)!!  Because of that, I can talk to folks about Ethiopia and it seems to be more 'apparent' mission work.  Does that make sense?  It is not necessarily...but in this case it seems that perception is very often reality (and please note - I'm speaking of myself here!).  Anyway...all this has been weighing heavy on my mind and heart.  Yesterday was our Tuesday prayer day and I was just in tears...I realized that it wasn't about me and my concerns.  I HEARD a call, I AM do my work, meet and love people, share my love of Jesus and that is what it's all about.  That's all I've got to say about that:).

I think that is it....the snow is here...more falls each day and it's not my favorite thing but with it brings water (need some CA?) and renewal and I can't wait to see the beauty in the spring!  That is true...I'm very excited to see Krakow, Budapest, now Poznan :) in the spring!  So I trust you are having a good week - January is almost over!  Thank you for being part of my is good, God is positively way better.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Loving Life!

To love life is a gift.  I have been given that gift.  I seem to be reminded through various people that this is the year that I will turn 50 years old.  I love that.  I am tearing up writing this as I think over those 50 years and the love that I have for each year.  True, I dont remember each one but those that I do...I do love.  My childhood was amazing growing up in a tiny little town in Eastern Oregon.  I had pretty strict parents that expected much but oh what joy we had in living life!  My parents are still enjoying and loving life.  Even through Mom's cancer and her month of radiation that started Jan. 13th...they love life!  My siblings?  Well - I'm the youngest and that is the best place to be.  My oldest sister (Phyllis) I dont really remember much until she left for college and then it was like we were instant soul sisters and really has been that way since then.  I love that.  My brother (Bob) - beyond words really.  He let me hang out with he and his friends, took me everywhere, used me as a sled (literally) on our 'snow' hill, taught me how to drive and took me on adventures untold.  A true model for me.  My sister Susan is only a year older than me and we shared a bedroom for many years of our childhood.  As I stated in other posts - we shared hospital experiences, we shared many experiences...there is a bond there that is beyond description really.  We never fought, that is until my Junior year in high school and then I'm not sure what happened but now that I look back it was probably me deciding selfishly that it was time for her to go; this was my high school and my time :).  Oh so many great each one!
Then we all grew up, my siblings got married and had kids.  That was more than I could take really.  The love they must have with and for their children is beyond me...because I am the Aunt to those kids and the love is so strong I'm sitting here in tears just thinking about each one.  I have several Aunts and Uncles...and really a different kind of bond with each one - each one precious.  My Aunt Sue is the closest to me - geographically because of California and the bond that I feel with her has a very tight weave.  I truly believe she would do anything with me and for me; and absolutely vice versa.  She is amazing.  But my other Aunts and Uncles are just as precious; we have a reunion coming up this summer and I am truly just longing to see each one again and literally 'feel' the love flow around.  My 18 cousins and their kids will hopefully be at the reunion as well - again, just amazing family to be a part of and I can hardly wait.
So loving life continues here in Poland.  Truly it has been an indescribable dream.  I have met some amazingly Godly people that are leaders in my new work, seen countries and cities that are so beautiful that I still pinch myself when I look through pictures and realize that I was actually in Turkey, Hungary, Poland and Austria all within a 2 month period!  Yes,  I have been overseas for two months now.  I left my job on November 1st and have missed my friends and co-workers terribly but also enjoy seeing them on FaceBook or sending e-mails back and forth.  I love that!
Work in the coffee shop is excellent.  I work in the kitchen preparing food for the shop - desserts, soup, sandwiches when ordered etc.  I also am working at the bar making coffee drinks - that is just beyond loveable to me.  Making coffee for work!  Ha:)....good stuff.  I do the laundry for the coffee shop; that is easy and I am even enjoying folding that laundry (as my personal laundry does not get folded quickly at all:).  I do some accounting tasks...not really though.  There is a gal that is coming back next week who is the expert and has been doing a lot from America so she is  the 'real' person.  Language school has been a great experience as well...3 days a week for 2 1/2 hours each time.  Coming home and doing homework, trying to re-type words, rules etc to get it into this 49 year old brain! it.  I will love it more when I can naturally form a sentence but...hopefully that will come.  Small steps I guess.
Beginning a youth night at the coffee shop with games, dancing, food, music, crazy kids...that even and those kids are easy to love!  Such good times and hanging out with the adult organizers is just a kick - fun people.  So that is work too...right?!  We are starting a worship night in early February...I call that work too...awesome!  Having a prayer group meet on Tuesdays that started this week...also my work here and yet so easy to call loveable.  All these things I enjoy and love doing!
And the most loveable and enjoyable part of all this 'work' as it is for me now are the people.  Getting to know people more each time I spend a moment working, playing, learning, praying, whatever with them.  THAT is the most important goal of this new life for me.  It is more intentional that I knew at my previous work.  Before it was getting to know an employee so we coudl work on a computer together.  I would glean their background and their experiences so that I could try to relate to them easier as we went through learning this crazy software together.  Some hated it from the get go and it was my goal to help them learn to at least like it, but really I wanted them to love it!  Others were fairly accepting of it and it was my goal to show them how they could really use that software to get info for their jobs so that they would love it!  I made some great friendships through those doubt about that in my mind.
Now my intentionality is not hidden behind a computer or a software program.  It is truly a one on one relationship and perhaps there are 'tasks' that need to be completed but making myself vulnerable to that person at each moment is newer to me.  I don't tend to be a real 'vulnerable' person.  I do love life; and I enjoy sharing the joy I have from life but being vulnerable and all that entails?  Not so often and to be honest not quite sure what that does entail at this point in my life.  How do I make myself vulnerable to my Polish language teacher that I have such respect for...or the office manager at the Polish school that tells me after reading my blog that she prays when she hears sirens as well?  Or how about being vulnerable to the gal I met my first day here in the mobile carrier shop at the mall?  All three of these ladies' names are Joanna...which I find fascinating but how am I vulnerable to them?  I don't think I have a clear answer but I know I can pray, I know I can enjoy their company, laugh with them, talk with them, give them a gift of chocolate and a note to join me at church...but it doesn't seem quite enough or maybe vulnerable enough?!  I'm just not sure but I will continue to work at it.
All that to say...I love life.  I love life here in Krakow, Poland and am learning a new way of working and living.  Yes, this is the year that I will turn 50 and I love the fact that I have started in a new direction at this point in my life.  Some have told me I am brave, adventurous, and even crazy but I love it all.  I love the tears that have been on my face while writing this because that makes me vulnerable.  I want to be more vulnerable....I need to be more vulnerable.  That scares me a  bit but that is how I see it.  Life is good but God IS way better.  And to add even more to that...knowing and loving God is even way, way, way better!

Monday, January 13, 2014

A few of my favorite things...

A few of my favorite things (we watched Sound of Music over Christmas...):
1.  Making my own vanilla latte! - I've trained 'on the bar' and I love it...I need more training but that will come and I enjoy it all so far!  Work at the coffee shop is going well...continuing to do the laundry since I have the washer/dryer combo deal.  I did train once in the kitchen as well so I have more to learn there...but I am enjoying working there very much...hoping to get more of a routine down but sure that will come after coordinating a bit more with the gal that makes the schedule:).
2.  Pieroigi, golabki and Krakow czekolada (chocolate) - Joanna took us to an awesome pieroigi place (often potatoe dumpling but usually filled with other things here in Poland and they had dessert versions which were amazing!)  Golabki is stuffed cabbage - I tried a recipe...had good flavor but not as good as the restaurant I had it at here in Krakow...that was amazing.  And there are a couple chocolate places here on the Old Town Square...very good!
3.  Things happening at the coffee shop! Having a youth game night this coming Saturday...hope that goes well and plan to have that about every 4-6 weeks.  There are a several people part of the planning and I met some new people through that was awesome in itself (see #4).  I'm going to work on the brackets for the X-box games....pretty simple right?  We have 2 X-boxes and so I'm hoping we will have a lot of kids rotating through the brackets!  Music, food, board/dice/card games going on...should be pretty good chaos hopefully:).  Also we are going to have a worship group once a month...Second Saturday Gathering (sound familiar Sacramentans?)!  Met another gal through that  works with YWAM (see #4) and so this too should be a good time at Sweet Surrender.  Different musically talented people leading songs, having prayer, parables, proverbs, testimonies etc....nice!
4.  Meeting new people .  A gal who has been here almost 2 years with the Wesleyan National Church and knows Polish very well!  I'm impressed...she was great to meet and chat with a bit.  Will be good to see her again Saturday.  They have their church earlier on Sunday so I think I will see about making it over there (all in Polish) and then head over to Sweet Surrender for church that is in English and Polish:).  The gal that works with YWAM (Youth With A Mission) has been to Ethiopia also!  It was good to talk to her; she was mostly in the South East part of Ethiopia so different people groups and climate etc.  Good stuff!  Joanna - there are 2 in my Polish life now...the gal I met the first day which I had coffee with on Friday and she is awesome. new Polish teacher!  She is great, so patient and very good.
5. Eating with friends here in with Joanna...then the volunteers that live in the lofts with me - dinner Saturday night and tonight as well as a big group of us after church on Sunday.  What a great way to get to know people...
6.  Learning Polish - Joanna is my teacher and she is a linguist so she shows us how to pronounce words...with the mouth, with 'vibration' in our throat or not is pretty awesome.  We are learning vocabulary, started on case/singular/plural today.  We (there are four of us Americans in the class...all people I work with currently) have 3 classes a week for 2 hours and 15 minutes.  So 9:30 - 11:45 a.m. (or 12:30 - 2:45 a.m. for you in Pacific time zone) on Monday/Wednesday/Friday - feel free to pray!  I need it but I do love it.  I can say some basic stuff like - good are you...what is your name...please do you say...etc etc but the answers come back so fast in 'real' Polish it makes me crazy.  So today we learned the word for slowly...wolniej.  That is my new favorite (volnea...the w is our 'v' sound and j is silent like in Spanish).
7.  Learning I'm the 'oldest' of our group of workers here in Krakow :)   Crazy but I guess that is what I get starting a new phase of my life at this point.  And volunteers in missions etc are usually people just graduating from college so there you have it.  I'm the old one.  I'm okay with it so far...I feel young just starting so many new things I guess!  With this colder weather (no snow yet but man it gets cold) joints are acting at least my age but that too shall pass:).
8.  Hearing from people that I miss!  I do enjoy receiving emails and I even got an actual Christmas card in the mail over here...loved that!  Thank you for your communication - any and all of it.  It makes me feel more 'connected' and I like that.  I know - out of sight, out of moves on but I do enjoy hearing from you.
9.  Music and concerts available here in Krakow!  I found a website that has musical activities so I have on my calendar different nights that have concerts at the Old Town Hall, Philharmonic Hall, Cathedrals etc etc.  My first adventure was last night...there was some vocalists singing in a monastery and I was assuming it was going to be like a vespers service (monks singing) and I went to that in Seattle back in the day - loved it.  I was excited so I headed phone died which had my map but I remembered the address so I found it early and had time to walk around the square for a bit etc.  Went back - it was at a church and it ended up that I was in the church but didn't go far enough back -- the monastery was further back so I sat through full on Catholic mass!  It was beautiful, sat in those old seats that are on the side that look like the choir lofts...loved it.  After the first service there were more people coming in so I thought I'd see what that was all about and it was the 'contemporary' service...they had guitar (instead of organ) with several vocalists for the songs and had the LCD projector with the words on it etc etc.  I loved that too because I could actually sing along!  So my concert night ended up being a cultural experience alright...2 full mass services :).  Next one on the calendar is at the 'Cloth Hall' - the main (huuuge) hall in Old Town so we'll see if I can find the right place that night. 

That is it for now - hope it gives you some insight to my view on life here in Poland.  I love it...feel safe, sound and warm in my loft apartment for sure!  It is convenient to my work, school, shopping, public transport etc etc so life is good and God is still proving to be waaaay better.

Hugs (yes...hugs) to all!
ul. Zablocie 25 - #30
30-701 Krakow, Poland

Friday, January 3, 2014

Yummm...stuffed cabbage (Golabki)!

Golabki!  Polish stuffed cabbage...well at least I'm calling it Polish.  Many countries 'claim' this dish but I had it in Krakow and loved it.  So the friends I had it with found a recipe and I attempted to make it here in Budapest.  It seemed okay to me...not as good as the restaurant in Krakow but it definitely had good flavor.  Along the process I learned I could keep a 'recipe book' online at  Now - that is kind of ironic to me since I don't consider myself a cook much but to have recipes available online is awesome...I can take them anywhere:).  So yes...I signed up and created a recipe book...woo hoo!  I'm growing up...I hope my Momma is proud! Ha!

Since the 21st of December (last blog post) lots has happened.  Christmas and New Years was amazing with family.  We took a side trip to Vienna which was over the top!  There I sat in a beautiful little church (St. Ann's) listening to a string quartet playing Mozart.  Did you catch that?...Mozart lived and composed much of his music in Vienna and there I was sitting in that very city and listening to music written by him!  A couple days later we went to the Opera House in Budapest to see The Nutcracker.  That was another new experience for me.  I have never been to an Opera House.  I've been to see The Nutcracker in Sacramento, Chicago and San Francisco but never in an opera house.  It was absolutely beautiful, a great experience!

It's Friday night here...Mom, Dad and Robby are all back in the states.   Mom and Dad are in a consultation right now to find out what treatment Mom will go through.  It was great to have them here for Christmas.  I'm worried it was a bit much for Mom so I trust she can get well rested before all this treatment 'stuff' is to start.  She and Dad were both troopers...just a lot to take in within the 15 days they were here.

Sunday night I head back to Krakow...and I"m excited to do so.  It will be good to get into a more normal routine.  A doctor visit Monday to get papers signed off for working in a Polish kitchen.  Then start some 'normal' shifts at the coffee shop, and language school starts on January 9th.  There you have it! is good and God is mucho better!

Happy New Year to you...have a great 2014:).