Monday, 4 June 2007


The language school I attend is really very good at ensuring that the misguided bunch of foreigners attempting to limp through their Polish courses have at least some form of social life. The last event involved oversized cheesy wotsits and 'wystko w porzadku'. This time, it was a special Polish picnic, to celebrate the beginning of summer with grilled kielbasa (smoky sausage) and gallons of polskie piwo, in the garden of one of the teachers, out in a suburb called Pokocim.
Together with two other Brits (actually ex-students of the school, either because they already know all there is to know about Polish, or because they despair of ever knowing it), we planned our trip out to the suburbs, charting tram times and line numbers and generally preparing for the journey into the unknown.

At least that was the plan. Polish weather, showing an uncharacteristically British streak, had other ideas.

Earlier that afternoon, the storm broke. I was high and dry on the ninth floor of the (slightly swaying) university languages building, sitting with headphones on while eight Polish interpreting students interpreted a speech about Ukrainian independence into Polish. There was an almighty explosion. I just managed to stop myself from bursting into 'Grandola, Vila morena' (the only revolutionary song I know the tune to), while the oblivious students continued talking until the end of the tape (exams are coming up, and people have priorities).
Rushing to the window, we saw that it was neither a new Chernobyl nor the Orange Revolution, but worse: torrential rain.

Determined to have my kielbasa and eat it, five twenty five (I can say this in Polish now, but it will take me half an hour to work out the conjugation, thus defeating the object somewhat) saw me standing at the arranged meeting place by the tram stop at the Theatre Bagatela.

We had only been on the tram for twenty minutes when the message arrived that the picnic had been cancelled due to poor weather.
- Now what?
- Should we get off the tram?
- I think it's stopping again soon
- Is it?
- Quick, get off, get off!
(Cue much scrambling and falling down steps).

Upon our return from this festive little joy-ride, we decided to go for sausage in Plac Nowy (and, in my case, a gherkin- I seem to be the only British person in the whole of central Europe who can stomach things that have been pickled in vinegar), and several beers, a more than adequate compensation for the lack of suburban barbecue. A date has yet to be set for the re-match: perhaps this time we can creep up on the weather and surprise it...

No comments: