AU in Krakow

6 American University students, 1 coordinator, and 1 professor--in Poland. This should get interesting.

Monday, July 26, 2004

When We Became Old Polish Women

July 20
As I have said before I feel as though sometimes I am in a fish bowl, being watched and questioned. I especially feel this as I walk in and out of our flat each day. I am so used to this, I would actually be concerned if I didn’t see a little head pop up behind a window. But as I have come to live and understand Poland’s culture, identity, and history I can forgive the nosy neighbors. Our next door neighbor has been in our flat complex since she was born. She survived World War II, communism, and the filming of Shindler’s list. Poland has a history of occupations, partitions, and redefinitions. She and the others that peer through windows have something at stake-a feeling that what they have could be taken away in the blink of an eye. They have not fogotten the recent history of Krakow and greater Poland.
       I too can relate to this staring in a smaller way. I came back late Sunday night with my flatemate Brooke. As usual I was tempted to wave at the woman in the corner unit, who yells at us in Polish when she’s not passively staring from a window. As Brooke and I waited late Monday evening for our other 2 flatmates (Monica and Agnieska) to return from Warsaw we became those old Polish women. Every noise in the corridor and central quad made us curious when noise did not produce Monica and Agnieska. It wasn’t a paranoia. We just wanted to know what to expect, just like the other Polish women in our complex. When you know what to expect you’re better prepared for what lies ahead. I guess it is only human to want to know what’s or who is coming into the quad of the flat complex.


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