I’m finally in Poland. I spent the last to weeks on the IHCYLT (teaching young learners course) in a town (or is it a city?!) ,called Bydgoszcz around 301km north of Warsaw. I was kindly greeted at the airport by Gregorcz, the director of International House Bydgoszcz and shown to my temporary digs, where Char (temporary flatmate) and fellow course mate was waiting.
The hospitality was amazing. They had provided me with all the basics: bread, milk, cheese and ham. Granted I wasn’t going to be able to eat it, but its the thought here that really did count.
I was really apprehensive about meeting everyone on the course the next day. Initially, I’m not good with people I don’t know. My introvertedness tends to take over and I’m a bit of a tortoise hiding in my little shell. I needn’t of been worried. The other 7 people I’d not yet met were instantly likeable.
The course was an intense 10 day slog of observations, portfolio tasks, input sessions and of course – teaching practice and we were all so tired, but what I did notice was the camaraderie between everybody. I’d never had that type of support within the work place before and I really felt a sense of family which made the fact I was going to be ‘Teaching in Toruń‘ a bittersweet pill to swallow.
During the first weekend, I took the opportunity to venture into the old town. Shops close here on Sundays, which was probably a good thing as it meant I wasn’t then tempted to go buying things I simply didn’t need. I did enjoy wandering around the river and looking at the few churches that were dotted amongst the green river beds and bustling trees.
On the last night, some of us ventured out for a burger and then a few drinks. It was really nice to figuratively let my hair down and just chill with this new crew. I’ve always been slightly overwhelmed by loud,bubbly and outgoing people. Not just because I’m a natural introvert who hates company. On the contrary, I enjoy the company of others, but the small doses is a must. I never thought I’d gel with anyone, as the majority seemed to fit into that remit that just didn’t boed well for me. I’m glad I’m getting out of my comfort zone and learning about different personality styles and how they can actually instil you with the longing to be a little more out there and outgoing. Obviously, being introverted is a part of me and I’m by no means condoning trying to change your whole persona to “fit in”, this isn’t high school, but I do think surrounding yourself with people who are cheerleading you on in life is important. I have a close circle of friend in the UK that do this for me, but being able to emulate that same sense of pride and belief with new friendships usually takes a while. I didn’t feel that. It almost felt like knowing people forever. Do you know that feeling?
I’m kind of gutted I didn’t take the opportunity to get a selfie of the group, but I am pleased that Bydgoszcz is just 1 hour by bus, so I feel I may be wandering my way back there soon, for fun, frolics and to try out the next best vegan foods.
The Saturday morning saw JJ and I moving on back to Toruń to prepare for the welcome meal and meeting the other new members of staff that would make up our teaching team this term. I was nervous about building a rapport with another set of new people, but knew this adventure and personal growth was needed.
When people talk about travelling around or even hopping from place to place, you tend to get this rose tinted glasses effect of everything being amazing and wandering God’s earth is just fun, fun, fun all of the time. Not true! Anyone who says otherwise is totally lying to you. True story! It a miss mash of emotions and that roller-coaster is one I never seem to jump off. I was looking forward to the thrill of teaching somewhere new, but also those butterflies were beginning to stir in my stomach again. But I had no time to worry about the fit, I had to go try it for size. Toruń was waiting for me.