Unfortunately, the time has come to end our love affair. The time we've spent together was nothing but romantic and enchanting, if at times challenging. I attempted to learn your language, a skill I never completely accomplished, but what do you expect when there are 17 different ways to say the number two? There is no doubt I tried because I can hardly speak English now. However, at the end, an understanding grew between us that no language barrier could prevent. You taught me so much about myself and for that I am thankful. Let us not part on sorrowful terms, but rather laugh about the good times and remember fondly those times when we annoyed each other so much we could have killed one another.
I will miss your romantic cobble-stone streets, late nights in cafes, markets and your history. Words cannot express the joy I felt meandering around the vibrantly green planty this spring, or gazing upon Wawel Castle during my Polish lessons. Your pierogis, kiełbasa, potatoes, cutlet and borscht warmed my entire being on those hard winter days when I felt nothing could lift my spirits. Parts of my soul are left in your cafes where I spent hours reading and studying, where I drank a cappuccino everyday. I will miss how inexpensive things are here. Please do not take offense, because if this were not the case the opportunities I had to try your food, drink your beer and enjoy those daily cappuccinos would be non-existent. One thing I will miss most is the ability to walk everywhere. In the states, everything is located so far away that it is necessary to have a car, but here I walked everywhere all the time.
The people I've met here are truly some of the most amazing people I've ever encountered. Their stories never failed to fascinate me, especially those pertaining to how they came to be here. Thank you for introducing me to people I never would have met under any other circumstance. They've truly impacted my life.
Traveling around, exploring new cities and places only makes parting even harder. Your countryside is breathtaking, your cities inspiring and your people charming (most of the time.) I did not get to see every city or town, but I suppose that is reason enough to return one day. For what I did see, it is permanently imprinted on my heart and mind.
The proof of my love lies within my ability to overlook your flaws. I will not miss your post offices, lack of customer service and I will certainly not miss the demand of exact change. I will not miss living in your communist dorm where scheduling a time for laundry is a serious hassle. I won't miss your questionable fashion choices, well perhaps I will, because they provided some excellent entertainment. Speaking of fashion, no matter how hard you tried, you did not break my love of sweatpants or sweatshirts. Once home again, I will no longer feel uncomfortable wearing a hoodie in public. While your food hit the spot on many occasions, I will not miss constantly eating carbs or searching out specific places just to get my vegetable fix. I will not miss sarcastically repeating the phrases "welcome to Poland" or "only in Poland." I especially will not miss days where the sun suddenly disappeared at 3:30 pm, where my mood matched the rise and fall of the sun. I won't miss feeling that curling up in a ball and sleeping is the only way to get rid of my, quite frankly, bitchiness. However, I will admit, now that the warm weather arrived, so have the tourists. I am so happy I reached a point where I no longer feel like one.
So here we are at the end. I earned my diploma, made friends and experienced a year I will never forget. I cringe at the thought that I wasn't sure if I really wanted to return this time around. I'm thankful I did, because this year was exactly what I needed. I know I am not your first, nor will I be your last love affair and I accept that. I consider anyone who has a chance to get to know you the way I did lucky. You will never be forgotten and I hope one day we will reunite.
Until we meet again...
Laura Noelle Mikulski
** To my faithful readers. Thank you for being a part of this experience. I hope I provided some entertainment and fun facts about Poland. This blog would have been pointless if you didn't take the time to read it. Thank you and hopefully there will be other exciting things in my future to share.**