Thursday, 15 October 2020
Hi there. It’s been a couple of weeks since I updated this blog and I have to be honest and say that I’ve been very lazy lately! I am the world’s greatest procrastinator and can usually find a very good excuse for putting off actually sitting down at my computer and beginning to write. Have just finished my daily Bible reading (Isaiah) and the message I took from today was that I must do what I know God wants me to do, while I still have the time – in this case, my blog – so, here I am…
I know I told you about my holiday to Shropshire last time and this already seems a long time ago. Such a lot is happening in this and situations change from day to day. In some ways, the virus that has taken such a tight grip on us all seems to have been with us for a lot longer than it actually has. I scroll through the news headlines, numb with horror and dismay, telling myself, “step away from the bad news!” I keep promising myself I will not read the updates – but I am drawn to them like a magnet.
Anyway, before I went to Shropshire, I was about to start telling you about my Polish adventure. I had been fortunate enough to have secured a two-year contract with a Christian language school in Wroclaw, a place I hadn’t previously heard of. In fact, I knew nothing about Poland, as I had envisaged my European adventures to take place in France or Spain, where I knew some of the language, or in Turkey, a country I have visited on holiday a couple of times. I was definitely set on Western Europe, not even considering Eastern Europe – but the Lord had other plans.
Wroclaw is a beautiful city in the south of Poland and I would eventually fall in love with it. During my two years of living and working there, I met some truly wonderful Christian friendships, had lots of adventures and made some lasting memories. It wasn’t all good – nothing ever is – but I am so glad I had the opportunity of spending time in this amazing place.
It was in February 2015 that I received the offer of employment for September and I was working as a personal assistant in a psychiatric hospital in Manchester at the time. As reported in my previous blogs, I secured a summer job in Brighton to refresh my skills and increase my confidence, as it had been several years since I had taught English in China. I began researching Poland and particularly Wroclaw and enrolled for Polish lessons in Manchester. Apparently, Polish is one of the three most difficult languages for Brits to learn and I can certainly understand why. Their grammar structure bears no resemblance to English and, for example, there are seven different words for ‘table’, dependent upon which context the word is used. It is a beautiful language to listen to but – in my case, at least – extremely difficult to produce! My lessons were with a lovely Polish lady but unfortunately I enrolled part-way through a beginners’ course and, despite my efforts, never really caught up with the rest of the class. The fact that the classes followed a long day at work and a journey into the city didn’t help, either. I am afraid that I gave up after a few weeks, telling myself that I would take up my studies again, once in Poland – ha! The best laid plans, etc….
I had been put in touch with Elaine, the English wife of the Polish director of the school, who was to become my best friend in Poland, and with whom I have kept in regular contact. I eagerly emailed her for details about my future life in the country where she had lived for over 20 years and she was a mine of information. The school took care of the arrangements for my working visa, and also provided me with a lovely apartment. I just had to book my flights, clear out my flat and decide what to take with me to Poland.
I returned from Brighton shortly before I was due to start my contract in Poland and had the time to say goodbye to my family, friends and church. I had become very good friends with Kev, who I am now married to, and had even started to develop feelings for him that were more than friendship but I had convinced myself that it was the wrong time for me to start a relationship, as I had two years of living abroad to get through. We had chatted on the phone all through my time in Brighton and he had actually visited me there, along with his little boy. I had been single for several years and thought that meeting Kev at this time was just really bad timing! Unwilling to admit to my feelings for him, I had tried to push him away but, thankfully, he hung around and I am so glad he did!
I now know that he was a huge part of the Lord’s plan for me but at the time I did not see how I could have my two years in Poland and still have Kev – but God did allow me to have my cake and eat it too!