Tuesday with Students
Hey everyone! Its Graham. I am doing the blog for today and I am super excited to share what I experienced today. The first thing we did that day was eat breakfast at the church, which was always delicious. After that we went around the Jewish Sector in Bedzin, Poland. Asha, one of our schoolteachers we kept in contact with, was our tour guide in this sector. The Jewish sector was absolutely beautiful and rich with history. There is a sense of unsettledness and relentlessness walking through the sector, however. There was a sense of surreal sadness that this beautiful area full of history has been run down into many abandoned buildings and degradation of acid rain. This was once a wonderful, vivacious piece of land, and there was a sense of that. There was also a sense of fear and terror. Due to the Holocaust causing so many deaths in the Polish community, it was hard not to get over the feeling of terror and sadness. After we walked through the main part of the sector, we found ourselves in a castle. Which, that was pretty awesome for me. Castles are something of tremendous historic value and pristine beauty. It was not open to go inside, but we got to go into the corridors of the castle and see a smaller courtyard. After our castle tour, we then saw a Polish cemetery. Let me tell you something, that was an experience. There were so many rise tombs in that place, it literally felt like a dead city. The decorations on all the tombstones were gorgeous. It had a beautiful renaissance feel, with a Polish twist in it. It was pretty cool to experience the differences in cemeteries culturally.
After our tour in the Jewish Sector, we went to a Polish Market. LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING. IT WAS SO COOL. The way I would describe it is if you put a strip mall, a Lowes, Walmart and target together. Inside of the market was overwhelming at times because of all the selection they had. The biggest difference is the pure freshness of everything, almost nothing was in harsh plastic bags like they are back in the states. In the states, everything at least has some type of preservative, but in Poland there was not a lot of that. Also, everything was so cheap. Cases of water were .25 cents, jams and jellies were only .50 cents. Candy was about .50 center per pound. Everything there was pretty cheap and that was pretty cool. After the store we had dinner and it was PEROGI night. I was so happy, and I was so full after dinner. I think I ate about 16 perogies. I couldn’t stop myself.
After all of this, it came to my favorite part of the day. Around 6:00pm Polish students from Asha and Kasha’s school came to just have fun with us. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 virus causing useless utter panic, we could not go to our schools on this trip. SO, this was the first time we could meet our students we have been in contact with all this time. One of my students showed up, but some of them did not. While that was a little sad, I was absolutely blessed to have met so many wonderful Polish students. They were HILARIOUS. So kind and gentle with everyone around them, and so mindful in trying to get to know us. That was heartwarming to know they wanted to know us, and not just our culture. We first started by just conversing with all of the students. After we did that, three students from the Milligan and Malone team shared where they are from and gave a sliver of their testimony. When that was all over the floor was opened for questions where Polish and American Students exchanged questions. There were some stereotypes from both sides that were hilarious to hear, because they were not true. It just goes to show you how stories that influence these stereotypes are mainly skewed. After some laughter with questions and fun information. Some of us from the Milligan and Malone team showed them the southern line dance, “Cotton Eyed Joe.” They were all mesmerized by this dance, and many of them wanted to learn it after we did it. They then showed us a traditional Polish dance. After all the dancing we hung out, and just started to play games and have fun. Today was the best. It called me to love more and more, and get to know people more and more.