First Day of Teaching In the Midst of the Tatra Mountains

The day opened with wisps of mist wrapping the mountains. It was another beautiful day In Zakopane. Even without sunshine, the view from our balcony is always lovely and green.  It promised to be a bit chilly and a bit wet and the promise was fulfilled.

After our morning meeting when Fran shared the message of the day, Lynn read her journal entry, and Dorota made a few announcements preparing us for the day, we had a lovely breakfast. If we ate quickly enough, we had a few minutes to catch our breath before we began our first day with the students. The day we had anticipated and our reason for being here, had arrived. Students and their volunteers were assigned to various places here at Pory Roku. Rob and I as well as Ken and Tamara met with our students in the open building near the main building. The air was fresh and a might chilly, but we enjoyed the first day. Ken 008and Tamara took their group of older boys outside to play game of soccer after warming up with a bit of tossing and catching an American football. After the spirited game, they settled at their table for conversation, an assignment for the next day, and a game of spoons. Rob and Fran’s group exchanged various types of information about themselves, a conversation that morphed into an intense discussion about pets. They shared amazing photos of their cats, dogs, and horses with each other. The students then took a short walk with each student giving clues about things they saw and challenging their mates to figure out what they were describing. We then locating those things nearby and gathered more details about them. The safety cone by the bus was one of the items they found and talked about. Later, they looked at and named various foods that Fran had prepared and photographed. Each photograph elicited a bit of conversation about those foods. In some situations, the students tried to teach Fran the Polish words for the foods. They finished the time together with Rob and the boys playing a word game on his Kindle, Fran’s girls playing Word Domino on the Ipad, and the entire group playing a quick game of Jingo. Other groups met in various other locations, upstairs and downstairs, and reported a successful day. We met for a hearty lunch of traditional Polish fare. Some of the dishes were familiar and some were new to me: tomato and rice soup, pig knuckles (golonky), boiled potatoes with dill, roasted chicken legs and thighs, shredded carrots, red cabbage salad, and thinly sliced beef wrapped around a gherkin with a gravy on it, were just some of the tasty options on the buffet tables. The students and some of the volunteers explored a nearby cave for the afternoon activity. Those volunteers and all of the students traveled by bus and made a tall hike to reach a cave. Exploring the cave and hiking proved to be a nice challenge and lots of fun. On the return trip from the cave, some of the spelunkers stopped at the little grocery market for some munchies and sweets. A light evening meal was perfect for those who hiked and stopped for goodies to eat. I especially found the head cheese and creamy cheese perfect for a sandwich.  After a busy day, it was time for the initiates to shower and clean up and the people like me to say, “and so to bed.”

Journal by Fran.

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