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Kraków in Bright Colours

Kraków photo by Sandra Schögler
Kraków photo by Sandra Schögler

Kraków in Bright Colours – Sandra Schögler, 2015

Everything started at home, in front of my computer. Beside me, there was the list with ERASMUS destinations available. I couldn’t really decide where life should lead me the next half year. Too many interesting countries and cities – what now? My intuition for something hardly ever misleads me. That’s why I decided to open Youtube and put every city from the list, together with MUSIC, into the field of search. KRAKÓW and MUSIC made me watch more and more videos− again and again. The sound of Kraków Street Band and the atmosphere of the city, which I by that time only could see and feel in the video, made my choice clear: I would spend a little time in Poland.

The shared-flat-life in famous “mieskaniem 5”, together with my little Polish family, consisting of 5 lovely Polish geodesy students, was simply spoko=great. From the very first moment on, I knew that my decision to live in a flat with Natives, instead of in the dormitory, was the right one. My flatmates picked me up at the train station and at home, breakfast in our kuchnia=kitchen was already ready. What I could only assume at that time, was, that we would spend many great hours together in that kuchnia. One kuchnia-evening will always be stuck in my mind: we were just preparing Pizza and some of us wanted to go out that night, when suddenly there was no electricity any more. “Oh no, but jestem bardzo głodna, a wy?” (=I’m very hungry and you guys?), that was one essential question that night. The girls started laughing, because it was the first Polish words they had taught me. By the way, it was one of our favourite sentences, with the translation: Let’s meet in the kuchnia and cook something nice together! As we were still hungry, we decided to invite our handsome neighbour’s boys from next door to help us solve our electricity problem and finish the Pizza in their kuchnia meanwhile. Unfortunately, they needed some special tools for solving our problem and we had to wait until the next morning. The question was, what, to do without any light and electricity? We decided to make a candle-light impreza=party out of the evening. Alicja and I were playing the guitar. Martyna started playing the cajon and Hania, Paulina and Ania were trying to groove on the beer-glass-triangle. Altogether we were singing Polish popular songs, drinking vodka and beer, eating our homemade pizza and having good conversations. Most of the time, we were speaking in a mixture of English, Polish and German, which made everything even more special. Sometimes, we hardly could stop laughing because of rather funny sentence constructions, which definitely didn’t make sense all the time.

Even though I loved spending time in “mieskaniem 5”, I also spend much time outside, discovering Kraków’s magical atmosphere, together with my ERASMUS friends from Italy, Slovakia, Germany, Ireland and other European countries. We went to music festivals, had barbecue at Miastecko Studenckie AGH, went biking, were eating delicious Pierogi, had a drink in one of the nice bars or ended up dancing in one of the many clubs like Afera or Alchemia. Together with my international friends, we were travelling with Polski bus during holidays and on weekends to many new exciting places. These journeys led us to many Polish cities like Gdańsk, Gdynia, Sopot, Wrocław, Warszawa, Białystok, Katowice, Myślenice, Zywiec, Wadowice, Oświęciem or Zakopane. Not only once was I surprised by Poland’s landscape. Before my semester abroad, I couldn’t imagine how the country would look like. Now I know, that, Poland has nice mountains like in Zakopane, a lot of countryside with small wooden or brick churches, culturally-rich cities like Kraków or Warszawa and the picturesque seaside up in the North.

What I appreciate most about my time abroad, is, that, I learnt how to take life way more with ease than I did before. Sometimes it’s not necessary to reflect on every option and every situation a hundred times. I don’t want to state, that reflecting on your life doesn’t help you and your surrounding from time to time. Nevertheless, it often leaves you behind without any clever solution but a bad headache. Patience and trusting yourself might help you much more in unsatisfying situations, where you are longing for that change to come. I learnt abroad, that believing in myself, makes up a big part in my life. With that newly born insight, I didn’t even have to have a lot of patience. It felt like, for the very first time in my life, I stopped thinking about what could happen if…, and instead had confidence in myself. The happenings surprisingly started smiling at me, one after another. Happenings, I only was dreaming of before:

Suddenly, I was teaching without being stressed by things like time-management or a lesson plan. I learnt how to handle unforeseen situations in class with ease. The children’s feedback was also better than ever. Suddenly, I was speaking English fluently, without thinking about making Grammar and vocabulary mistakes all the time. Suddenly, I was talking to complete strangers on the street, without even knowing their language well. Suddenly, I found myself on stage at Harris Jazz Bar and in Beer-House Pub at Rynek, only one month after arriving in Kraków. I was singing there frequently from that moment on, together with many amazing Polish musicians. Suddenly, I was invited to my own vernissage at the Museum of Photography in Kraków. At first, I thought it was a joke. When I saw my personal little piece of art being exposed there, I hardly could believe my eyes. That was the moment, when I decided to paint my life in colours again.

Before Poland, I nearly lost my colourful sight on things, which I used to have and appreciate when I was younger. I started seeing things in black and white – honestly speaking, they started to become more black than white even. Now, I know that sometimes it’s important to see the many facets and colours of things. You should never forget that it’s you, who influences how your life looks like – black and white or within bright colours.

Kraków, I will never forget you! We will definitely see each other again one day!

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