Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Zoom zoom


Took my first trip on Eurostar this afternoon. Boy is it fast! 300km/h feels like the train is constantly plummeting downhill or about to take off. Going alongside the motorways the traffic looked as if it was barely moving, even at the speed of French motorists...

I'll be in the Alps for the next 5 days and probably offline in case you desperately want to contact me! Staying in Paris is primarily a cost-saving measure.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


I officially graduated on Thursday and got to wear a silly cape and hood as well as a suit in order to shake the hands of the Pro-Chancellor of the University (who?) and collect a certificate. I was pretty excited as you can imagine. In case you missed the self-deprecation there, here's a video of me riding a horse for the first time.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

An Englishman in England


I made it back home after a reassuringly non-eventful journey on Friday. The sense of relief when the train conductor looked at my ticket, stamped it and gave it back to me was palpable. (Note to self: never catch train in wrong direction again.)

Anyway, I now have a room full of stuff to sort out and 10 days to sort it out before I'm off... again.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

What a mistake-a to make-a

Krakow (finally)

An interesting weekend, all told. Eight modes of transportation, one wrong turn, one small-world moment and several goodbyes.

On Sunday I was staying with a Polish couple in Wrocław who put Josh and me up after Camp Arka. We went for a cycle ride in the afternoon and were alongside the river Odra when Andrzej spotted a boat. "I have a friend who owns a boat like that," he said, and led us down to the bank to have a closer look. Sure enough, it was his friend's boat - imported from Florida - with his friend's family on board for a Sunday afternoon cruise. Andrzej waved them over to the side and we put our bikes on board to go for a spin. The man's wife, Ula, is an English teacher so we were able to have a good conversation. She asked me where in England I'm from and when I said "Reading", looked amazed. Did I know a man she and her husband had met 20 years ago in Poland and stayed with in Reading 16 years ago? Well... as it turns out, yes I do. Small world eh?

Rode a horse for the first time ever on Monday while taking Rachel to her horse camp near Opole. They're bigger than they look, or maybe I've just not been paying attention.

Today I went to the dentist in Wrocław in the morning for a check-up. That cost a whopping 20zl ($6) and then I went straight to Głowny to catch my train down here. Unfortunately I had a slight mix-up between Departures (wyjazd?) and Arrivals (odjazd?) which led to my catching a train from Krakow heading north. The Polish countryside all looks the same so I was as surprised as the conductor to discover I'd been on the wrong train for nearly an hour! I just missed the train back to Wrocław, then just missed the train to Krakow, then the 15:00 train was 30 minutes late... all told the 4-hour journey took over 8 and cost an extra 70zl in tickets and bribes. Oops!

I'm in Krakow until Friday. The weather is going to be scorchio so I'll scoot down the 15º salt mines for a day and find shade the other day. Needless to say, neither the trains nor the hostel have air-conditioning...

Saturday, July 14, 2007

O co chodzi?


Well, camps are over for another year. We arrived back from Kudowa this afternoon on a beautiful day - ironically much better weather than we've had during the camps. This was a frustration especially last week with younger kids who could get antsy without enough activity. Thankfully all the camps' kids were great and there was very little whining about the weather or anything else.

My blessings from the camps are mainly developing friendships and deepening relationships: with the other 11 native speakers - 8 of whom were here for the first time, with the Polish staff, most of whom I knew from previous years, and of course with the kids, especially the older ones. (You guys rock!) It is wonderful to return every year and see the growth in some of their lives and my biggest prayer request is for them, that they might find good fellowship and solid friendships based on Christ, and grow together as a community of young believers in Wrocław. Some of the Polish staff have this on their heart too so hopefully in the next year a program might get off the ground which takes root and which the churches support (traditionally they hold on to their youth and don't like to see them leave).

I'm staying with a Polish couple tonight, and then on Tuesday will head down to Kraków for a few days, before returning to England on Friday.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Arka update

Dańców, Poland

This is a very quick update using slow internet access here in the Polish mountains. The camps are going very well - we have a great team of Americans, Brits and Poles and good groups of kids. Last week the teenagers were fantastic and learnt a lot. This week the kids are younger so our teaching is less interesting and the connections are harder to make. Many of us are getting pretty worn out so please pray for energy, enthusiasm, blessing on the Bible studies and for good weather - the last week has been quite cold and rainy which is a bit oppressive for too long.

Thanks! Back in the land of internet on Saturday evening.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Camp Arka 2007


I'm getting a sense of deja vu here, you might recognise this blog post from others I've made in the past. I'm off to the hills of southern Poland today to teach English on summer camps again, this will be my fourth year at Camp Arka. I'll try and write a couple of posts while I'm down there but internet access is likely to be pretty sketchy. In any case please be praying for me, the other native speakers (mostly Americans again), the Polish staff on camp, and of course the campers - 50 teenagers this week, 50 10-12s next week. Gulp - I want to both improve their conversational English and build relationships with them to introduce them to Jesus. They all know who he is, but very few actually know him at all.