The Last Hoorah

12 09 2008

Torun, Poland

All good things must come to an end, and so we have spent our last days in Torun. At least last for a while. I don’t think we’ll be able to go very long without going back. Torun is home. It really is. We spent the last several days saying, “I can’t believe we’re leaving home.” It was exactly the same feeling that we had when we left San Francisco to go to Romania. I know we’re on technically on the road right now, but after staying in Torun for over a month, we had gotten into a very comfortable routine. Mainly that Monika would go off to work, Gage and I would wake up, watch the news, work out, practice some Polish, read, do some errands, and then come home in time to make dinner for Monika. Weekends and evenings were spent chatting over drinks or going out to the city center to see what trouble we could get into. In short it was a wonderful life, but they don’t extend visas for the sake of your good time, so the journey had to come to an end. But what a wonderful end.

On Monday night we had to say goodbye to Monika’s sister, Dominica. She was heading off to Cyprus for 4 months of study. We had a little send off party for her at Monika’s parents home, where we grilled keilbasa and pork. The company consisted of Monika, her parents, Dominica, her boyfriend, and the two of us. Talk about feeling like family. Monika’s mom did her motherly job of giving us more food than any human should ever eat, which we happily scarfed down. We had a blast trying out our new and very limited Polish skills to the amusement of our native Polish friends. It was bittersweet seeing our new sister Dominica go, but we know she’ll have a blast.

Gajewska BBQ

Gajewska BBQ

The next night we headed over to Ola’s house where she made us a fantastic dinner. We polished off her collection of wine, listened to a little of every CD she had, and I even did a bit of dancing. Although the dinner was quite awesome, Ola outdid herself by setting out a platter of gingerbread for my dessert, knowing that I was addicted to the stuff. Needless to say, Ola instantly reached the rank of One of Jen’s Favorite People.

Dinner at Ola's

Dinner at Ola

On Saturday Monika and Ola took us to Bydgoszcz, Torun’s nearby neighbor an arch-rival. Monika made sure that we were well aware of this rivalry. When we crossed the bridge into the city, she turned the car down a lane that went under the bridge, saying that if we were going to go to Bydgoszcz, we had to be reminded that Torun was better. When the car stopped, both she and Ola got out, went to the trunk and as we got out of the car wondering what the heck these crazy girls were doing, they handed us gift bags filled with Torun T-shirts and bandanas for both of us. They were perfect and we absolutely love them.

Representin' Eastside

We walked around Bydgoszcz, which calls itself the Venice of Poland, for the afternoon, snapping pictures of the postcard-worthy market square and city streets, in between comments of “How ugly,” and “Not nearly as nice as the _____ in Torun.” We ate linner in a charming little cafe called Oranzeria where we each ate mouth-watering salads, and I sipped rum tea with gingerbread syrup. Of course, it would have tasted even better in Torun. For more Bydgoszcz pics, click here.

Tight-Rope Statue

That night we pre-partied at Monika’s place and then continued to Enerde, Monika’s favorite club. While I avoided the dance floor due to a slight revulsion to the DJ’s crappy music (though normally Enerde has better DJ’s), Monika, Gage, Ola, and Monika’s travel buddy Tomek, tore it up. A bucket of sweat and 10 ringing ear drums later, we stumbled home.

For our last day, we packed up our bags and drove to the center city for one last walk-through. After the obligatory stop at Kopernik for some gingerbread, we went to Monika’s friend Lucyna’s house for a glorious lunch. Polish people just really know how to cook, and Lucyna is no exception. After a walk through the woods where Gage and I proved again that American’s can only find poisonous mushrooms, we headed back to the cars and said our tearful goodbyes. As we drove down to Warsaw with Tomek Monika called us to remind us that she hated us for leaving and I said thanks again for what we could never thank her enough for.

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