Monday, July 21, 2008

First Days' Adventures

We arrived at Reymontowka about 1:30 on Saturday afternoon. We were greeted with the traditional ritual of bread and salt which serves to tell guests that they will be fed well while visiting. This time we also were served homemade vodka, part of the upcoming wedding reception that would start about 5:30. The vodka was unusually good, but I still can't get it down with coughing! We went to obiad, what the mid-day meal is called in Poland. Then I showed everyone around the Reymontowka grounds. The rest of the afternoon was spent with unpacking and napping, as everyone else on this team had flown all the night.

Sylvia, a volunteer from Pennsylvania, and I went out by the pond about 5:45 to see what we could observed about the wesele-- the wedding reception. Guests were arriving, all dressed very elegantly. Then the bride and groom arrived in a restored 1930s covertible. Their arrival celebration included a toast with vodka and the singing of Sto Lat. Then the bride and groom shared wine together and the bride tossed the glass over her shoulder to the ground, where it broke obviously. The bridegroom carried his bride over the threshold and the party began.

Soon after we went for our evening meal. In Poland this is usually a small meal. We had all the salads, again thing elegantly prepared, that the wesele party was enjoying. We also got the same luscious dessert. Live music lasted until about 11:00 when I fell asleep. During the night I could hear CD music and people walking up and down the stairs, my room by the stair landing. I didn't sleep well, but the others slept through the whole thing!

When I got up on the morning about 6:45, the staff was busy turning the large tent over from a place for a wedding reception to a place for 60 kids to have a language camp. They had already done a remarkable piece of work, for a dance camp had only ended on Saturday morning, too.

On Sunday we did the usual Global Volunteers stuff- setting goals, describing an effective team, etc. After 8 trips this is old, but at the same time, it does serve to get everything and everyone off on the right foot. At 3:30 we all gathered in the tent for a meeting of all the students, teachers, and counselors. Dorota interviewed each student briefly to assess their English levels, and then assigned them into classes.

At 4:45 I met my class of 8 students, all from Siedlce, so I don't have to learn to pronounce the names of new towns! They appear to have good vocabulary, but now need help in learning what to do with it. So I'm guessing we will work on creating sentences. It's always a guess. By tomorrow I'll know much better what their skill level is and what they really need.

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