Thoughts on Winter in Gliwice

According to my students, Poland is having an unusually “warm” winter this year, or ciepły (roughly pronounced like: chEp-weh) in Polish.  All throughout the fall season I attempted to “mentally prepare” myself for the looming -20 (degC) winter that was coming !  Students would smile and appear quite amused when they’d report to me that it snowed on Easter last year.  They’d wait, wide-eyed, and excited, to see how the news might settle with a desert-native.  Disappointed, if I didn’t express some sort of fear, and these are the adults I’m talking about.

But, here we are, at the end of January and not a single -20 temp yet !!  Thankfully.  It finally snowed last week and it’s been cold enough that the snow hasn’t melted.  I love it.  I think it’s beautiful.  The wind- ehh I could do without it, but hey, I think I am taking my first real winter pretty damn well.  The great thing about snow is that it makes everything look brighter.  A city starts to look and feel like a mini winter-wonderland.  This might sound weird, or obvious, but when it’s cloudy most days of the week, any form of shine is welcomed !  Oh, and I don’t have a car of course, so I never have to shovel any drive-ways [one of the biggest complaints I hear about snow].  🙂

I am from Arizona, I like to be outside, in the sun.. a lot.  Gliwice has given me an entire new outlook on life during the winter-time.  For example, people’s moods seem to be 100% dictated by the weather, if not that much, then 90% at minimum !  If there is sun in the sky- BAM everyone is happy.  If there is wind and rain, op- not so happy anymore, and Poles love to complain.  Several students have jokingly admitted that it is part of the culture, and there is a sort of pleasure that comes from having a little moan and a groan.  Almost like it’s fun.  At first I thought, wtf.. that’s awful?!

However, as my storage of vitamin D power from AZ seemed to be depleting faster and faster, I found myself in the same boat as the Poles: a complainer.  Tired from the dark, cold, and wanting to do nothing more than complain about it!  I kinda like blaming my laziness on the dark though, always having a semi-legit scapegoat for sleeping-in, it is fun.

BUT as the new year rolled around I started thinking about my goals for 2014.. I know, I know, very original.  One thing I like to work on is reminding myself to be grateful, being more grateful.  There is always something to give thanks for, especially the little things.  Like being able to make small-talk in the awkward elevator ride up five floors… can’t do that anymore, and I miss it.  It is easy to complain, that’s why everyone does.  I decided to resurrect a challenge I’ve tried before:  to find something positive in everything I do; anything that brings joy.  It simply is all about perspective, no need to breed negative energy.

The good news: in spite of the negative temperatures lately, Max and I have still been engaging in outdoor shenanigans !

We went to a charity music festival a couple weekends ago which had several stages, one in the park near our flat and also in the city centre.

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Sunday fun-day:  Playing badminton at a park near the Gliwice music school

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