Leaving Paula’s this morning, the sky was grey and rainy. Fat drops of water hung from the trees as I walked towards the tram stop. So far, I had caught trams to and from larger stops and stations, where I could use a vending machine to buy a ticket in English, but today I would have to catch it from a normal street stop and purchase a ticket from the little shop on the street corner. Which meant, I had to buy a ticket in Polish. Oh crap. Think Michelle, think. OK, I know the words for ‘one’, ‘ticket’ and ‘please’. In my mind I put the words together and practiced the line over and over a few times, took a deep breath and stood in front of the kiosk owner to spout the magic words that would get me home. ‘Czy moge kupic bilet’. She returned fire with some more words, that I didn’t know, until something in my brain twigged and I responded ‘normalnie’.
I was so proud of myself. When I had finished smiling to myself, I looked up and noticed for the first time, one of my fellow tram passengers…
This little fella rode a few stops, holding his balance against the rocking and sudden stopping of the tram, before walking to the door, waiting for it to open and hopping off, out into the streets of Warsaw. I was loving this place!
Later in the day, I had another birthday to attend (now you know why I had spent so much time learning the Polish birthday song!) and I needed a gift. Today it was the birthday of Paula’s half sister Zuzanna and I had decided on a big bouquet of flowers, in her favourite colour pink. So now I just had to track down a nearby florist and order some flowers. Luckily a nearby shop was easy to find and the staff spoke some English, so I headed for home, feeling more and more satisfied with my day.
The guest list for the party was much larger than Grazyna’s a day or so ago and included the rest of Paula’s and Zuzia’s family, Paula’s stepfather’s sister and her family, some family friends and Zuzia’s boyfriend Dawid. I was lucky once again though as there were English speakers afoot, so the conversation flowed easily, helped along by vodka and wine. I had a fantastic night, and once again delighted in the fact that I was spending normal, quality family time with the relatives I hadn’t grown up with.