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PS20 - Pluznica

Pluznica, of about 600 people, was our Polish phase host community. I love Pluznica! I think I got to know nearly everybody there to some degree. I had a wonderful host family and made a ton of friends. I'll never forget Pluznica.

Here we are on our first full day in Pluznica. To get us oriented, we're playing in a scavenger hunt.

My host brother Przemek, walking on our street. It was beautiful when the sun shone.

The main street of Pluznica, in front of the schoolyard lawn.

The fire department (downstairs) and development centre (upstairs). There's also a youth centre around back and a gymnasium (an actual gym, not a junior high school =) in the left section. This place was basically our second home.

And here we are in my host family's kitchen!

One day was dedicated to fundraising for WOSP, which had something to do with children's hospitals:

The countryside shot from a bus.

The dogs were always glad to see us making our rounds.

Artur and his buddies were kind enough to do most of the actual soliciting for us. My Polish linguistic legerdemain at the time was nie bardzo dobje.

That sight made me take two steps back, and take back anything I ever said about Golden Arrow. =)

As part of the day's activities, there was also a volleyball tournament. Memo to self: If you don't want to be stuck out in the cold for three hours, volunteer to play volleyball. =)

Here we are at our first EAD* in the youth centre.

(* - Educational Activity Day)

A photo from our first ICT*, which was done over at the local school.

(* - Information and Communications Technologies, about which we were required to have a weekly participant-led seminar)

Another photo from the same day.

Our first English "Class" for the community, in which we assessed everyone's needs:

Left: Artur, one of the funniest people I met in Pluznica. He was delightfully zany.

Kristof and Piotr, brothers to each other and friends of my host family. They were always keen, social, and helpful. I'll always appreciate them for that.

Ashley announces who'll be in which class.

Chip ingredients, in twelve languages!

Two beautiful dogs that lived on my street. Would that more Polish dogs were so gentle and personable.

Citing personal issues, Dave decided to leave the exchange after a month. We held a going away party at his host family's house, where he lived with Przemek, Ashley, Dima, and many ostriches.

Rear, left to right: Katarzyna (p), Czarek (p), Will (ns-pe), Roman (u), Monika (p), Przemek (p), Chippy the Ostrich Egg (p), David (qc), Olesya (p), Michelle (on).
Front, left to right: Ashley (bc), Miranda (ab-bc), Sophie (qc), Cedrick (ab), Dima (u).

This was my attempt at "cooking." They said they liked it, but I wasn't asked to cook again. =)

It's chili. What, isn't it obvious?

We got to have karaoke a few times at the youth centre. Marcin hooked the team projector up to his laptop and we had tons of fun.

Ja lebe polska karaoke! Jest bardzo dobje!

We held a few parties at that community centre south of Pluznica, in Orlowo. These pictures are from the integration party:

Here's Paulina, my host sister! She was great; she had a wonderful sense of humour and was an excellent communicator. I have a lot of good memories.

One of the local party animals. He was fun to be around.

Justyna and Kristof.

Some pictures from my 23rd birthday:

From left to right: Andrzej, Przemek, Krystynna, and me.

I really appreciated that. See that little statue Przemek picked out for me? It's on a shelf in my room as I type this.

This isn't really related to Pluznica, except that in Przemek's nieces' notebook, there were a bunch of Disney notesheets. Adding to my gender confusion problems is a  red-headed Witch named "Will." I actually think that's pretty hot.

Justyna at the gym entrance.

Roma coming in from a blizzard.

Our last English class:

We decided to play games at the end. Putting blindfolds on people makes for great pictures.

And that brought English classes for the community to a close. I'll always have fond memories. We had a great bunch of students. In fact, I think a few of ours could have been in a more advanced class, but we kept them back because we needed them so much. =)

Following are pictures from the unbirthday party at the youth centre. We had an unbirthday party in honour of everyone who wasn't going to have a birthday during the exchange. Many games were played, and when you won a game, we'd sing happy birthday to you, and then the remaining unbirthday people would play, and so on. Here's an interesting game:

One of the official group pictures. It was commented that it looks like I'm...

Przemek and his buddy who came to visit us. He was a really cool guy.

Pavel bulding a tower of piwo.

We had a Religion EAD, which included an outing to the local church. They have a beautiful cemetary:

One day we went out of town slightly to Macej's house, which used to be a school. He and his father showed us their beautiful estate:

Macej and his friendly dog. Again I'll say something like, "Why can't all Polski pies be like this one?" =)

Inevitably, the time came to say "farewell." We went back to Orlowo for an official party:

Paulina, Miranda, Przemek, and Krystynna.

Pablo, Miranda, Justyna.

It was suggested that we take a picture of the supervisors and just the female participants. So we did. It should be noted that enthusiasm dwindled when I mentioned doing the same thing for the males. =)

Cedrick and his host family. They had us all over for dessert one evening - delicious! His host mother made us sweets fit for royalty! They were so genuinely and warmly hospitable. Thanks so much!

Finally, the unofficial farewell party at SMGP: =)

I really liked this guy. He was really well educated and he always liked to talk to us in French. I appreciated his company greatly.

I guess the question is not so much if I get back to Pluznica, but when. I want everyone there to know how much I appreciated their frienship and hospitality. You've made more of an impact on me than you'll ever know. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You all put the spark back into my existence. I love you all.

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