Lets go to Poland! (with Bride from NZ)
So, this is my entirely predictable blog where I will (hopefully) post regular updates about all of my Poland adventures. I will try to update you as much as possible simply because I know how much you’ll miss me all because I’m just so popular and everybody loves Bride and everyone will just be sitting on the edge of their seat, waiting for my next post with a bucket of popcorn in their hands. Especially my mother. Hi, Mum.
So this first blog is just going to be an introduction to how this Poland adventure came about, as I actually haven’t left yet – 13 days and counting, guys. Let’s try not to panic yet. So, here’s the beginning of my Poland story:
I’m not gonna lie. At the beginning of 2012, I had no idea what I wanted to do after I finished high school in ten months’ time. I spent the first three-quarters of the school year doing my best to ignore the fact that I was terribly behind in all of my assignments and I should probably do something about that. (*SPOILER ALERT* … I passed Level 3!) So as you can probably guess, I hadn’t really put much thought into what I would do when my secondary schooling came to an end. I had the general idea of going to uni, and studying something vague like philosophy. But it seemed a little bit too much like going through the motions; the stages of education: kindergarten, primary, intermediate, high school … and then uni is the most natural next step.
It was March, and as I walked up to the Year 13’s hang out at lunch time, a friend of mine, Matthew Joils, called out to me, saying something along the lines of ‘Hey, are you interested in volunteering overseas next year?’ Of course, I’m paraphrasing, so it could have been closer to ‘Gurrrl, how’s abouts you stop makin’ all them milkshakes, them boys are really starting to fill up yo’ yard quite quickly. Maybe get yo’ ass outta here and help out overseas, you lazy-ass, crazy-ass, daisy-ass honey boo-boo chiiiild,’ to which, I probably replied ‘Ain’t nobody got time for that!’ Again, I’m just paraphrasing.
Whatever the particulars were, Matthew and I ended up having a talk to a representative from Lattitude Global Volunteering. The general idea of Lattitude is that people from 17 – 25 years of age get sent overseas (there’s about 20 countries you can choose from) to volunteer in a school, a community center, or a camp for generally 6 to 12 months. You pay for the flights, insurance etc. and a Lattitude fee, and get provided with free accommodation and food. Pretty sweet deal, huh? So, in this classroom with this Lattitude representative, I already knew that this was what I wanted to do next year.
Originally, 3 others and I were interested in Lattitude, and we were coming up with all of these ideas about how to fundraise the money for the fees; a while later, it was just me and Ashley, and in the end, it was only me. It seems that I have the best family ever who provided me with financial assistance, even though I’ve been saving up since I decided I wanted to go overseas in March.
Initially, I wanted to go to the UK. I think it was just because it seemed not that far out of my comfort zone, and seemed like there’d be really cool student life, and to be honest, I heard them British boys were fiiiiiine. I ended up not getting a UK placement, as it was the most popular option, and then settled for Poland. I say settled, but I am so glad I didn’t end up going to the UK. I mean, anyone can go to the UK when they are 18-years-old. That’s kind of the cool thing to do. But who can say volunteered in Poland for six months when they were eighteen? That’s something to tell the grandkids.
So now I leave for Poland in 13 days. Let me just emphasize how huge this is for me. I have lived in the same house in the country my whole life. I’m going to be living with a family in an apartment block in the middle of Warsaw. I have never been away from home for more than a few weeks. I’m not going to see my family for six months. I have never been on an airplane. My flight goes from Auckland to Sydney to Singapore to London to Warsaw. This is massive. And I am absolutely, ridiculously psyched.
I have no idea how I ended up in this situation. I didn’t really have any plans to go overseas immediately after high school, but I couldn’t be happier. Life is weird. Now let’s go to Poland.