Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Tuesday in Warsaw

I'm going to start you off with a commercial. A Polish commercial that an Ocean  commenter brought to my attention (I don't know you -- or do I?? -- but thank you!). In a way it's a sweet but unimportant clip. Yet in another sense, it perhaps allows you to think differently about Poland. I loved it -- see if you like it too:

Now onto the day. Oh, what a day! First of all, it's cold, but oh so sunny! I'm thrilled with that!

Breakfast. As you can see, I'm growing into my new environment. There are flowers. There are also tomatoes, but that's because I plan to cook tomorrow and so there must be tomatoes.


And then I set out for a walk. 45 minutes, google tells me. Damn that google. I walk faster than most people I know, but it takes me way more than 45 minutes to reach my destination. Oh! Perhaps it's because I pause along the way? To take this photo:

(Just up the hill from my apartment)


And this one too:


I'd heard that Warsaw had a particularly lovely holiday peacock display just by the "lesser" park. It does. Here it is:


And then I am in that park and I am lost in memories and thoughts and all things that emerge only when I walk the great parks of my life. Most (though not all) of which are in Warsaw.


(A little girl studies a red squirrel... her mom reassures her that the squirrel only wants food...)


I hurry now and I pass the Foreign Ministry where my dad once worked and I think -- you know, I had such a good life in this country. My parents, each in their own way, created that for me. I am so grateful for it.

I have a goal this morning: I'm to meet a friend. Well, of sorts. He and I went to school together some 55 years ago (the UN International School in New York). He was in my sister's class, but classes were small (what New Yorker would send their kid to a decrepit building for their schooling, where half  the kids were from suspect countries?). We knew of each other. (My sister orchestrated the meeting and was with us for the extended coffee hour.)

He's from Denmark, but married to a Swedish diplomat and it's all very complicated but so very straightforward too. Because of her diplomatic appointment, he is  now in Poland (sort of like the First Lady of Sweden in Poland except that he's neither a woman nor from Sweden).


We review our lives (of course we do! It's been some 55 years!) and we talk politics and of course, it's always, especially in trying political times,  so good to be in a conversation with someone who shares with you some things and then offers a new, refreshingly new way of looking at the world.

My sister and I walk back to my place then, stopping for lunch/or is it dinner/or is it just a big meal with no name/ -- at the new market place (Koszyki, for the few Warsaw cognoscenti here). We want nalesniki. Blintzes. Crepes. Call them whatever you want: mine are made with beet dough and they are stuffed with spinach and salmon and blue cheese and they are excellent!


Twilight. Yes, it grows dark fast in northern Europe...

(The main commercial drag...)


But we have a spark here! Many sparks! The obvious -- the proliferation of holiday lights...


... and too of cakes and sweets things to satisfy our stomach...

(Picking up pastries for the evening...)


(These make the cut...)


And perhaps this is the most important: we know that the social encounter is important.  As important as anything else that we have going for us in life.

My huge evening spark comes from a meeting with my architect extraordinaire -- pani Karolina, except we've dispensed with the "pani" by now -- and her husband, and her young daughter (I'd not met her family before).

It is a grand evening. Karolina brings lights for the apartment that expertly match the lamps over my table (of course they do... she is that careful in her design ideas)...


We open champagne to celebrate (the end of a trying autumn for them, and the complete success of the apartment work). Her husband takes this photo of Karolina and me.


And now the clock is racing toward midnight again (oh! Did it pass it?) and that's okay. I'm rested. I've walked for hours, but I feel strong. Mistletoe (from Karolina) reminds me that we're in the thick of a holiday season. My apartment is quiet. The old residents above and below are long asleep I'm sure. Time to turn on some music and let it all sink in.