Title: So Many Places Left to Go!
It was really hard to write this journal. I don’t want our time together to be over, and I don’t want to leave Poland. The best thing about traveling is how many cool things you get to learn. The worst is that the more you travel, the more you want to keep traveling!
In just over a month, my husband and I will go back to the United States. I’m already applying for teaching jobs all over the country. I really miss my family and my friends, but part of me is so sad that I am leaving this wonderful country.
Last week, the student I tutor asked me to stay and Poland and become a teacher. A few of my co-workers and students at KUL have also asked me to stay. There is so much in Poland that I haven’t seen and haven’t done. I’ve made plans with friends that I haven’t had time to carry out because of my schedule.
There is so much about Polish culture I don’t know. I haven’t been to a Polish wedding, and I haven’t celebrated Christmas and Easter in the country. Summer in Poland is full of wonderful festivals and traditions, and I will miss most of them. I haven’t visited all of the Polish national parks, and I haven’t visited all of the countries that border Poland.
I really hope I get to come back to Poland someday. But more than that, I hope that I don’t forget why I came to Poland in the first place. I came to Poland because I believe it’s important to be curious about the world, and to make an effort to get to know people who are different than me. What I realized this year is that I don’t have to be able to afford a plane ticket to do this.
When I left China five years ago, I lost touch with my students and friends. I won’t do it this time. The internet is a wonderful tool for learning and communication. You can communicate with people all over the world, become friends and learn from them. I want to continue learning from my wonderful friends in Poland. I also want to use the internet and other learning tools to continue to find out more about Poland and to learn the Polish language.
The dream I have for myself is the dream I have for each of you. I hope each of you gets to travel abroad at least once during your lifetime. But even if you can’t, I hope that our travels together have made you want to learn more about other places and the people who live there.
My husband and I came up with a list of things you can do to be a world traveler, even if you don’t get to leave the United States.
1. Visit a new restaurant and try new foods.
2. Explore your own town. Visit places you haven’t visited. Take pictures, and write about your adventures!
3. When you’re in the car with your parents and you see a sign for something that looks cool, ask your parents to stop for a little while and check it out!
4. Someday, try to take an Amtrak train trip. Pretend you’re on the Orient Express. Trains are a fun way to see any country.
5. Read travel magazines. National Geographic Traveler has great stories and amazing pictures.
6. Go to your local library and pick up a book on a foreign language that is spoken in a country you have always wanted to visit. Learn a few words and impress your friends! You can also learn languages online.
7. Research your family history. If your ancestors came from a different country, try to learn about your cultural heritage.
8. If a kid moves to your town from a different country, or even a different state, try to make friends with him or her. Meeting new people is the best way to learn about different cultures.
Thank you so much for joining me on my journey. I wish I could have traveled more places with you this semester, but I hope you’ve enjoyed the places we’ve visited, and learned something from my everyday life here in Poland. Keep traveling!