So our biggest difference is of course the language. When we walk out the door our level of understanding plummets. We knew this going in. No big deal...well I mean it is a big deal but we were expecting it. What I didn't expect was the amount of energy learning a new language would take. Most of the time when we are needing something we will start with "do you speak English"? But we really want to be able to move away from that and begin to speak their language. And we are. Most of the time the other people speak either a little English or very well but will encourage us on our language learning.
We have had 3 full weeks of language now. And our understanding of what people are saying has increased when we use the questions and listen for the answers we have learned. Ha! Our teacher is phenomenal. He comes to our house 2-3 hours each day except Wednesdays when he takes us out in the city and makes us use our language. We have had to ask for directions and listen for and then follow their directions to try and find certain landmarks, restaurants, churches, etc. Most of the time people will stop and help us. Some try to answer us in English...which I always wonder how they know we speak English and not Italian or French or Spanish but they do. We tell them, "Po Polsku" which means "in Polish." Some of them look surprised but are willing to tell us slowly. We talk to young people and people our age and old people. The old ladies are so sweet to let us butcher their language and then direct us. I think I have really enjoyed this most because it makes the Polish people around me human. We hear the language constantly and can pick out words here and there. But the people don't smile at you or greet you when you pass or get on and off a tram. This has probably been the hardest adjustment. So I just expect the people to be cold and not helpful. But it is quite the opposite. They are willing to stop and listen to our questions and then give us details back. And they smile and are so sweet. Just in their way. So after 3 weeks of language here are some videos our teacher took on our iPod that you can watch and laugh at.