Homecoming Story

Okay, so everyone has wanted to know what really happened to me when we landed in Chicago coming back from Munich, Germany.  Sorry it took me a long time to post this.  I needed a lot of time to work on this because it is super long and I haven’t blogged in a long time.  So you might as well get some snacks before you begin reading this.  Anyway, it’s a real funny story because everything that happened that Friday night and Saturday morning, I experienced a lot of new things and moments where I question if it was coincidental.  Okay, here it goes…..

            So I did not feel sick whatsoever while I was in Poland.  Every chance I got I would call or email my mom to let her know that I was okay, because me becoming very ill while in Poland was the biggest fear she had while I was gone.  That being said, if there is one thing that I would never want, it would be for my mom to be scared, worried, depressed, or hurting (This includes my dad, brother, and the rest of my family.  It’s just that my mom does what every mom does best and that’s worry about their children.)  I’ll also admit that I am a big “Mama’s Boy”J.

            Anyway, so once the day came to leave Poland, I was anxious to see the beautiful faces of my family once I get home.  We flew from Krakow, Poland to Munich, Germany.  I can’t remember much of the flight because I fell asleep before the plane even left the ground.  I believe I speak for everyone as well because we all stayed up very late the night before to pack and get everything prepared to leave.

            Getting back to subject…We arrived in Munich and I felt so good, especially after getting caught up on my sleep.  After a few hours of waiting, we finally boarded our next flight to Chicago.  Knowing that this flight was going to be about 10-12 hours, everyone was dreading it so much.  Even so, I still felt physically fine.  About 8 hours into our flight, I began feeling a little dizzy, so I went to the restroom to wet my face and walk around for a little bit.  Nothing changed.  I could feel myself becoming weaker, but I just figured it was from being on the plane for so long.  It didn’t make things any better once it was announced that our landing would be delayed due to snowy conditions in Chicago.  I just wanted to get off that plane.

            We finally arrived.  I remember thinking at this point how funny it was that even though Chicago is miles and miles from Hereford, I have never felt so close to home.  That’s because I used to think San Antonio was far from home.  Anyway, once we arrived, we walked toward baggage claim.  At this point, I became so weak that I began slouching, but I still tried to maintain a positive and strong attitude because I didn’t want to make it seem like a big deal.  Then, it finally hit me.  We were waiting by baggage claim for our luggage, and I became so dizzy and weak that I just had to sit down.  Soon, an unbearable pain struck my stomach.  I was very cold, but I remember Kendra asking me if I was hot because I began sweating badly.  My body was then becoming so numb, that I couldn’t control the cramping of my hands.  I would try to extend my fingers, but I couldn’t.  They just stayed in a fist.  We then knew it was the effects of dehydration, so Kendra gave me bottled water to drink.  Even so, the pain was too much that I then had to lie down.  I was very embarrassed that I had to be seen this way in front of everyone, but the whole group’s support and care made me feel so much better.  It was almost like my mother was there taking care of me.  It’s funny how I can remember our first meeting as a group.  I did not know any of my Readership WT Ambassadors.  It only took a handful of Mondays, 10 days in Poland, and already we have grown to love and care for each other like brothers and sisters.  It’s a very beautiful thing.  I’m very fortunate to witness and be a part of this miracle of angels.

            After a few intervals of sipping water, paramedics showed up.  They had me use the oxygen mask and asked me a few questions.  Then they asked me, “Do you want us to transport you to the hospital?”  So much shot through my head when that question was asked.  I remember thinking that if I go to the hospital I won’t leave Chicago until Saturday morning.  I will also have to call my mom and let her know that I’m in the hospital, and that would be bad because I know how worried and scared she can get.  If I fight through it and don’t go to the hospital, I can get home early and get checked-out and treated in Hereford.  I then decided to fight through it and stay with the whole group.  Also, the water seemed to make me feel a little better.  Just one more flight, a bus ride, and then I’m home-free.  I honestly thought at that point I would make it through okay.

            After the paramedics left, I still had to go though security.  Russell and Kendra helped me to my feet, but I had no energy to even stand up.  So one of the girls who worked there at the airport, Ashley, was nice enough to get me in a wheelchair and push me through the crowds of people that filled the airport (Not to mention that this is the Chicago Airport, one of the busiest airports in the whole country.  Spring break didn’t make things any better either.).  It was a good thing we found Ashley because she knew her way around the enormous airport and got us through the crowds of people.

            Once we finally arrived at our gate, I stayed sitting in the wheelchair.  My whole body soon shot with pain.  I had a huge headache, my body was numb, I was shivering, I couldn’t control my hands, and it felt like my chest was caving in.  Russell and Kendra kept giving me water and orange juice for energy, but the pain was too much that the water and orange juice seemed useless now.  At this point, I knew I had to go to the hospital.

            After a short while, they laid me down on the floor.  Everyone was very generous to help me with a pillow and jackets to keep me warm.  I kept trying to drink water, but now the pain disabled me from even taking anything in.  After a few minutes, the pain in my stomach became an urge to throw everything up.  I quickly moved all the pillows and jackets out of the way and threw up everything I had in me.  Embarrassed as I was, Kendra was very sweet to humor me and keep me in spirits by saying, “Hey well at least that takes care of your stomach pain.”  Something was still very wrong.  The pain in my stomach became worse.  I threw up again, but this time it was blood.  This really scared me.  Seeing my own blood caused me to blackout for a short time because everything in my site faded to where I couldn’t see anything, but I was able to hear what was going on around me.  I could hear Russell call paramedics and everyone else worry, which saddened me because I didn’t mean to scare anybody.

            Once paramedics arrived, I was put in an ambulance and rushed to the hospital.  I remember Kendra telling me that it wasn’t a long drive to the hospital, but gosh it seemed forever.  We arrived at the hospital, where I was then rushed to the ER.  After I was settled in, the most coincidental thing happened.  The nurse asked a series of questions of my medical background, but as she asked me where I was from and I replied, “Hereford, Texas,” she looked at me in disbelief.  Then she asked for my address.  As I replied my address to her, total amazement came across her face.  “My grandparents actually live a few houses down from you!”  I couldn’t believe it, but get this…her and another doctor told me that they had two patients from Hereford earlier during the week of Spring break.  What are the odds of that?!  Russell joked around with me by saying, “Now they’re definitely going to take good care of you!”

            After all the testing for other possible illnesses, they left me alone to rest.  It took a very long time to fall asleep because of the pain that still continued in my stomach.  After a while, I finally dozed off.

            After a good hour and 30 minutes, I finally woke up feeling back to normal.  Russell stayed with me in the ER while Kendra went to get us a hotel for the night and to find a way for us to fly home the next day.  Finally recovering and able to know what is going on, Russell and I talked about the whole craziness that just happened in the past couple of hours.  Then, it was time…the moment I had to call my mom and tell her that I was in the hospital.  Russell called her, told the whole situation, and let her know that I was okay and safely recovering.  Then as he gave the phone to me, I could just feel my mom’s worry travel through the phone.  I reassured her that I was okay and to not worry because Russell and Kendra were taking great care of me.  Even so, I could still hear the fear coming from her voice.  I remember thinking, “Gosh, what luck I have!  I was fine throughout the entire trip, but I just had to get sick right before our last flight to Dallas.”

            After two full bags of fluids, they finally released me and cleared me to fly the next day.  Russell and I got a cab and finally left the hospital to the hotel.  Once we arrived, I was amazed with the hotel.  I couldn’t believe Kendra and Russell went through the trouble of getting a really high-class Hyatt just for the night.  I would have been fine staying in a Motel 6 or something really cheap.  As we checked-in and got our room keys, we went to our rooms.  I was also surprised that Kendra and Russell got me a whole room to myself (I cannot brag enough of how awesome Kendra and Russell are.).  As I walked in my room, I was struck with awe.  It was almost like I experienced another cultural shock.  I just got back from Poland, where I stayed in a dorm with a twin size bed, a table, two wooden chairs, a closet, and a small window to look outside (That’s because I didn’t have much of a view, just the back alley of the medical school.).  I was stranded from cell phones, TV, computers, ice, internet, and more.  I walked in my room and I had a refrigerator with drinks and snacks, TV, internet, a working desk, soft-carpet floor, an iHome deck, a queen sized bed with about five pillows, and a wall-sized window to view the city.  It felt so wrong and awkward to room there for the night.  I honestly felt like I was committing a sin.  As I put my stuff down to relax, I sat on my bed and turned on the TV.  It was weird to be watching the NCAA basketball tournament, the Weather Channel, and the current news.  After about ten minutes, I just had to turn it off because it just felt wrong.  I quickly got comfortable and fell asleep after this whole chaotic day.  It was about 1am.

            Saturday morning quickly came as Russell woke me up at 7am.  I remember asking Russell if everyone else made it home safe.  He said that everyone arrived in Canyon at 6:30am.  At that point I thought, “Aww man, I should be home by now.”  I finally got up and got showered so we could leave to the airport (Gosh and that shower felt so refreshing, especially after a full day of flying and being ill.).  Before we left the Hyatt, Russell treated me with a Gatorade and fruit to keep hydrated and fueled.  We loaded a shuttle bus and drove to the airport.  The airport was just as busy as it was the night before.  I’d say it took us a good hour just to get our tickets and go through security.  Oh and within that hour of waiting in line, we found out that you can mix a Labrador with a poodle.  We came across a lady with an Australian Labradoodle…yeah, something that really struck our attention.  Anyway, after security we picked up some quick breakfast and boarded our plane to Dallas Fort Worth.

            Once we arrived, we picked up a cab and drove to Dallas Love Field.  At this point, it felt like I was going through another cultural shock because of the weather.  It was warm and beautiful!  After being in Poland’s cold and cloudy weather, I guess I got used to that already.  Russell, Kendra, and I felt so good to finally be on Texas ground and to feel that sunny 75 degree weather.  Once we arrived at the Love Field Airport, we had time to eat lunch at a Chili’s.  I thought about a lot of things while we were eating there.  While we ate, we were watching the NCAA basketball tournament on TV.  As I have mentioned before, it was so weird to watch TV again.  I almost didn’t want to watch because it felt so wrong, in which Russell and Kendra agreed.  As we were finally served, I noticed all the small things.  Kendra was not served first, nor was she first asked about her order.  I also noticed that our food was quickly made and didn’t have a significant place on the plate.  That’s when I began to miss the beautiful culture of Poland.  Even so, I was great to eat American food again, especially Chili’s.  After our lunch, we finally began our final stretch…next stop, Amarillo, Texas.

            Once we arrived, relief filled my entire body.  Knowing that my family was waiting for me, a big smile shot through my face as I exited the plane.  I walked through the airport and immediately noticed their beautiful faces: My mom, my dad, and my brother.  So many emotions were going through me as I finally embraced them.  My mom looked so happy to see me feeling better and back home safe.  When she finally got to meet Russell and Kendra, she embraced them with so much love because of all they had done for me.  I told Russell and Kendra “bye” and “thank you,” as I finally left with my family to good ol’ little Hereford, Texas.

            Well…that’s my homecoming story.  I still find it kind of funny that all of this happened to me.  Now that I think about it, my whole story ended perfectly.  I’m glad how all of this happened.  You may ask, “What are you talking about?”  Well, I experienced a lot of emotions and thoughts before, during, and after the trip.

            The day before we left for Poland (3/11) was a very special day for me.  After I finally finished all my midterms, assignments, and quizzes, I finally felt stress free.  Now I can finally enjoy this time I have and just soak in everything about this trip.  After our “Send-off Reception,” I drove to Best Buy to buy some soothing music (my thinking music) by Explosions in the Sky.  After that, I drove all the way out in the country to my old house 14 miles north of Hereford.  This is a very special place to me because this house was where I spent my entire childhood.  No sounds of cars passing by, no houses close by, no distractions, and no paved roads.  Just the open wheat fields, the sweet touch of the wind, the music from the birds, my footsteps in the dirt roads, the clouds in the sky, and my childhood memories that were made there.  I decided to come here to let my inner-child come out of me, but also to find my special stone.

            One thing we were told was to bring a stone that really means something to us because we were to leave our stone at the memorial in Birkenau and at the “Wall of Death” in Auschwitz I.

            So as I walked around the fields and my old house, I found my two rocks.  As the sun began to set, I knew it was time for me to return to Canyon to finish my packing.  But…I decided to stay and watch the sunset for a while because I felt like it symbolized something.  I saw that beautiful Texas Panhandle sunset as a symbol of closure.  I saw it as a closing of my old-self.  In the past, I have studied many tragic events and looked up discrimination that continues to exist among the world.  I was well informed, but I was never truly aware.  I knew when I looked into that sunset; I was to come back as a changed and aware person.  This sent me chills because I knew this trip was going to be a trip I would never forget.

            When we arrived in Munich, the first thing everyone saw was a beautiful sunrise.  We even have great photos of it.  As soon as I looked into that sunrise, I knew it was put in front of us as a symbol of rebirth.  We were to be in Poland, a country totally different than the U.S.  More so, we were to visit Auschwitz and Birkenau, the death camps where about one and a half million men, women, and children were killed.  We all knew this happened, but to actually be there was a reality.  I think this entire trip was a true reflection of where my head is at.  This changed our way of treating others, talking, thinking, and acting.  More so, it changed our lives forever.

            Ironically, on the drive back to Hereford from the Amarillo airport, the sun began to set over the plains.  “An end to the Holocaust experience, but a new beginning for the ‘Agents of Change’” I thought, as I stared into that sunset, and smiled.

 

-Ricky Mariscal

Published in: on April 24, 2008 at 3:19 pm  Comments (2)  

10 Days…….

So much can happen in 10 days. One thing that I am sure rarely happens in 10 days is becoming best friends with a group of strangers in a different country. I never thought that I would feel the way I feel right now after coming back from Poland. While in Poland I became better friends with some of the students that I was already friends with here in Canyon. I became friends with some students that I had never talked to before in class or anywhere else.

In the process of ten days you learn a lot from these people. You learn their habits, their way of laughing, their fears, and their dreams. You also learn a lot of things that you wish you didn’t know about them. I believe that this is what made us grow closer together. In the end I was glad to be around with these students and teachers.

Together we made a lot of new memories, memories that we will never forget. Most of the memories are in our hearts, and a lot of them have been captured in pictures so that one day in the distant future we can look back upon our memories and laugh and maybe shed a tear or two.

Right now I am sitting in my room back in Canyon all alone. My roommate is asleep, so technically I am not alone. What makes me feel so alone is that I woke up this morning and Brant wasn’t here doing something funny. Monica and Adriana weren’t waiting for me to walk to the Rynek together. Neither Lindsey nor Caitlin were laughing to the point it became our background theme if we had a movie or T.V. show.  Oh yeah, today is Easter Sunday, which makes this day worse. For the first Easter in my entire life I am not with my family. It is depressing actually.

10 Days can dynamically change someone’s life for the better. I am thankful to God and that he allowed me to meet these amazing people and travel with them to Europe. I am thankful for all the memories we made, all the pictures that will remain with us forever, and all the laughs we had while in Poland.

-DAVID MERAZ

Published in: on March 27, 2008 at 12:58 am  Leave a Comment  

“All my bags are packed; I’m ready to go…”

Okay, so my bags aren’t really packed yet but, I am already beginning to gather up things that I know I will need in Poland like, toothbrush, credit cards, underwear, shoes, etc… I always, anytime I go somewhere forget something, usually it is my toothbrush. I have so many toothbrushes from all over because I always have to buy a new one anytime I am traveling. LOL. Last week I even began a list with the things that I am going to be placing in my suitcase and the things I am going to carry aboard with me.In less than 24 hours from tonight I along with 19 other WT freshman and other WT students and staff will be leaving on a jet plane to Poland! Well maybe not a jet plane, but in a small plane to Dallas and then an enormous real plane to Germany and then to Poland.

So last week in class Dr. Clark came to class and basically left me feeling really clueless and very upset about not being able to communicate with the Poles during our trip to Poland. Well except the lucky Poles that are able to speak English. I really wish that we had been taught more of the language throughout the semester instead of trying to cram into our heads in 30 minutes. I really don’t think that anyone really got anything from it, if anybody did; I am sticking to them like glue. JK. I am however glad that Dr. Clark is going to be with us most of the time, still I don’t think that anybody is going to enjoy the trip as much as we would enjoy it if we knew the language. 

 Russell told us that our research papers were going to be due Monday. I couldn’t wait to start my essay, I think it was a really good thing that we got the chance to research these places and write an essay before we arrive in Poland so that we know a bit about the places we are going to beforehand. Lindsey and I got together and did some research last week on the Wieliczka Salt Mines. We found some really cool facts and pictures about it.

Caitlin and Diana presented their PowerPoint on Safety, it was all very valuable information that we all should know before going to Europe.

The last time I was in Europe me and my friend were going to enter this museum when a few older women approached us and grabbed our hands and wouldn’t let go. They squeezed and read our future from our palms. It was all a bunch of nonsense though. Well, they wouldn’t let go until we paid them money. I gave the lady money and she said in Spanish, “Now give me your other hand,” I was like “yeah right.” Me and my friend then ran and the ladies chased us and cursed us and our families because my friends mom wouldn’t pay the lady for the job she did without being asked. They were gypsies. I really found them interesting after I found out who they were and how they survived. I really hope that we don’t encounter any of these people in Poland, if we do everyone guard your wallets and especially your hands!

This week in class it was all kinds of confusion! We talked mainly about the trip and the itinerary. Almost everyone had questions, they were answered, but I am pretty sure that we still have questions.

Tomorrow the amazing University of West Texas A&M is giving us an official send off! It is going to be a party/mixer. That sounds like fun, hopefully it is.

Tomorrow night, well Wednesday morning like at 3:45 we are going to meet in the AC parking lot and head towards the AMA Airport and from there to Dallas and then to Poland!!!!! I am so not looking forward to all the hours of flying, I like to fly just not that many consecutive hours. Oh well, I am sure it is going to be fun, I’ve already had tons of people that have requested to sit by me. HAHAHA.

Well that is all I have to report. I will write again hopefully from Poland!!!!!

-DAVID MERAZ

Published in: on March 11, 2008 at 6:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

IT FINALLY HIT ME!

          Oh my gosh!!!  It seems like yesterday; I just found out I was going to Poland.  I remember thinking to myself, “Oh man, Spring Break isn’t until WAAAYYY later!  These next couple of months are gonna seem like forever.”  I have mentioned this before, but throughout these past couple of months, it had never really hit me (about traveling to Poland)…..but now….it smacked me across the head with a baseball bat! Now it’s only days away!!  Now, everything is starting to fly by so fast and I don’t want it to!

          After doing my research over “entertainment” with Lindsey, I was stoked!!  Are we actually going to visit these beautiful places of Poland?   Will these pictures in front of me actually become a reality?!  What is very funny to me is that everyday I watch TV and surf the net.  I see tons of beautiful places like Canada, France, Australia, Italy, etc.  I watch TV and I see couples who visit Paris, France, spring breakers who visit Cancun, Mexico, and researchers who travel to see wildlife in South America.  I would always think to myself, “Wow, how sweet it would be to travel another country!”  I never actually thought that I would ever get that chance.  Actually, I thought I would never travel another country in my whole life.  Growing up on a farm 14 miles outside Hereford, Texas, I never really thought about big cities and beautiful foreign countries because I honestly felt it were a waste of time just to think about it.  Hmmm…..I guess that is why it took a while for the thought of traveling Poland to hit me.  Now it almost feels like I won the lottery!  It is too good to be true!  This is a definite blessing!

          Ok, so now that we have been shown tons of pictures of different countries around the world in Monday’s class; I just want to yell.  Now I feel like I’m being teased.  Why couldn’t they show us these pictures the Monday before we leave to Poland?!  Now, I’m just way overexcited about this trip.  (Breath Ricky Breath)  Just a few more Mondays, till then…….

-Ricky Mariscal

Published in: on March 1, 2008 at 10:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

Time Begins to Slow Down….

Recent News: 12 Days till Poland!!!!

Well, of course time is beginning to slow down, just when the trip is almost at our finger tips. LOL. But, seriously, OMG, it’s almost here!

Ok, well I have mentioned that I am super excited about going to Poland like in all my entries. I have talked about the fun I am planning to have with my friends. I have also talked about the reason we are going to Poland.

The things I have not talked about at all in any of my entries are my fears. I am really nervous about going to a country that I barely knew existed before I read the book, Night. I love to travel, I have traveled my entire life and to each place that I have gone I have fallen in love with. I am planning to do the same with Poland nonetheless. Obviously these things are not a fear of mine.

One of my biggest fears is surviving in a foreign country and not knowing any of the language.  We are going to be learning a few phrases this coming up class, but I seriously don’t think that I am going to benefit from it, because it is impossible for me to learn enough of the language for it to ease my worries.

I love trying new things. Food is one thing that I rarely do because I am too scared to embarrass myself in public by trying something new and then fainting or worse. However, I cannot wait to try the Polish foods in Poland, even though it is kind of scary and nerve-racking.

Ok, so my fears aren’t exactly big or that great. My biggest fear however is going to the concentration camps and witnessing a part of history that many people will never see in their lives. Parts of history that many people don’t know exist or who simply don’t want to believe it exists. Many of the people that know about the trip have asked me to take tons of pictures of everything I do during the trip. I am really nervous about trying to capture such images and then have to tell people what it is that they are seeing only in a picture.

I know that I can do this; I have no doubt in myself. I just wish that it was easier. I know that I shouldn’t say this but it is something that I know will change my life and hopefully I can help people understand this history a little better.

The fact that we are going to Poland is settled well in my mind. The fact that we are going to see where one of the most tragic events in history took place is still something quite hard to really express in blogs and to actually believe we are going to be doing soon.

DAVID MERAZ

Published in: on March 1, 2008 at 10:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

It Won’t Be Long….. 20 Days!

Another week in history has been recorded thus it has passed, it has passed very quickly. Time sure flies when one is in college.  The funny thing is that it slows down when one needs it to go faster and it speeds up when it seems one doesn’t have any time for anything.  Usually when I am going to travel it seems as though my trip will never arrive. This trip coming up is different though, before I know it we will be on a plane across the universe, or at least across the world.

Monday in class we were given a lecture on how to better our picture-taking skills. It was quite helpful; at least I think I benefited a lot from it.  We were given some pointers on how and when and where some of the best pictures should be taken. I cannot wait to start taking pictures on our trip.

Marisela and Katie presented their PowerPoint on “International Flight Preparation.” It was a good presentation. Flying on an international flight isn’t anything new for me, but it does sometimes get confusing if one doesn’t prepare. The hardest part about traveling for me whether it is in a car, bus, plane, or boat is the time it takes to arrive at the final destination. I am not looking forward to being in the air for countless hours, but still I cannot wait to get on that plane and relax and then get off in Poland!

There are still a few things I need to do before we leave. I need a new suitcase because the one I have has broken and is too old. My mom has asked me to come to Dallas in a few weeks so that I can go shopping since Amarillo doesn’t have much of a mall. I am really excited to see my family before I leave to Poland. I have never left the country without my mom hugging me and wishing me a safe trip, so going home before the trip will put both my mom and me at ease.

My official countdown till the trip began the day after I was told I was going. As of today, February 20th, we only have 20 days till we leave! I am so excited, yay!

Published in: on February 22, 2008 at 2:19 am  Leave a Comment  

Here Comes the Sun

As the sun goes up each morning and then settles down each evening my level of excitement rises each time a bit higher. Our trip to Poland is coming up really close, in like 26 days as of today.

In a way I feel as though I am being selfish about the trip. When I think about it I think about getting to go to another country, going to shops, meeting new people, tasting the food, and maybe doing some fun activities. Most of the time I don’t really think about the real reason that we are getting to go to Poland. This is the part that makes me feel ashamed about thinking about the other things. If it wasn’t for one man’s book, for his past, for his suffering, for his loss, and for history we would not be going to Poland this spring break. I then feel terrible and ask myself why I think more about the fun stuff than the real matter of why we are going.

I regret not knowing more about Poland’s history and its people. I feel bad that I don’t quite know all about the Holocaust, I feel as though I am lacking the knowledge that probably everyone else that is going already knows too well. I wish that I knew more about the Holocaust, I wish I knew more about the history of Poland, I wish I knew more about the people and their culture. Luckily, these past two class meeting we have been discussing some of Poland’s foods, customs, entertainment, and recent events. This doesn’t quite make up for everything I wish I knew more about, but it definitely helps.

This past Monday Cristin and I presented our PowerPoint to the class about Poland’s customs. We both really enjoyed getting to know some of Poland’s most popular traditions and holidays. Some of the kids in the class did too, or at least that is what they have told me. Lindsey and Ricky also presented their homework on entertainment, as well as Mandi and Desiree with current events. A lot was learned during the class meeting.

I look forward to Mondays, only for the reason that we are going to be meeting and discussing Poland and the amazing trip that we are about to embark upon soon. I and my friends leave that class more pumped about the trip than when we are first going into the class.

I can only say that once we have returned from Poland my perspective on many things will change. I believe that this trip will change my view on many things, including my life. I hope to learn much more before and while we are in Poland. I hope to understand more of the country’s past and its people.

For now I can only end this blog by saying that I cannot wait to see the sun settle down on Tuesday, March 11, 2008!

-DAVID MERAZ

 

Published in: on February 15, 2008 at 4:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

5 Weeks WHAT!?

CRAZY…only five more weeks before I embark on the first overseas trip of my life.  I cannot wait to share this experience with everyone else that is going.  Seriously….it’ll be such a great time seeing their excitement for the world during the trip.  Getting to see this is what I am most excited about.   I’m excited to be in a place rich with history.  A country that is close to 900 years old; such a hard thing to fathom. I’m excited to experience this trip with some of my closest friends.    Today, Marc and Allison presented about Polish Cuisine.  SOOOO GOOD! I cannot wait to go chow down on some tasty potato dumplings.   It’ll be an amazing experience all the way around. -Wes 

Published in: on February 5, 2008 at 1:28 am  Leave a Comment  

a traveler

We take on many roles in our lives. Some roles are forever. Some are only temporary. We don’t ask for all our roles. Some we acquire. Some we earn.

I am a student, a friend, a Christian, an aunt. I have been a co-worker, a teacher, a brides-made. I will be a wife, a graduate [eventually…], and in 39 days… a traveler!

In our class this week, we learned a little bit about the Polish culture. I feel inadequate to soon be in the midst of a population so rich in culture and history. I have learned the basics of American and Texan history throughout my education, but I do not carry the sense of pride in my country’s past as the Poles do. I can not wait to have a chance to learn about the lives of those we will be living near. In my “quick guide to POLAND” book, I learned that Poles are outwardly expressive [which means I should have no problem fitting in]. The Poles are also big into lunch time [my favorite part of the day!!]. They often will serve 3-4 course meals… maybe we will bring this tradition back with us?!

To become this traveler, I am going to have to be a learner, a group participant, an observer, a note taker, a positive representation of my university, and an ambassador.

I can’t wait to embark on this new adventure, and develop new roles in the future! [who knows… I may become a world traveler, post Poland that is!!]

-ALMiller

Published in: on February 1, 2008 at 3:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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…getting closer

Yesterday we all got together as a group to talk a bit more about the trip.    SO EXCITING!  Finals week is here so everyone was kind of blah.  However, after we left that meeting we were all reenergized to take on our remaining finals.  Finals no longer mattered.  We’re going to Poland! 

Making this even more real, our passports are beginning to come in. Everything is in order.  I cannot wait to go and experience this opportunity.  It’s three months away. I’m ready; however, It still seems so surreal that it is happening. 

-Wes