October 16, 2005

Polish lesson Part II

Spent a great morning with Beata and her husband Janik (which, I learned through my Polish lessons, means “Little John” – there are apparently 25-odd other versions which I cannot and will not go into now, leaving that for another visit, perhaps one to learn some more Polish). Also present was 8 (and-a-half) year old Julia, Beata and Janik’s daughter number two, who speaks French with an accent I would be proud of, understands this Scotsman’s elaborate English with apparent ease and who says prszeprasam (please) and djinkuje (thank you) at every opportunity. She’ll go far. Her older sister was going to arrive at Krakow Balice at the same time I was about to leave, coming back from a £14,000 scholarship to learn through English (CLIL en place, if you will) and who looks like she is on the way to a second year in Ipswich doing much the same. Another Pole to look out for, methinks.

Beata and I worked on the geoblogs project together and are trying to find something else that might work. This morning was spent sharing our photos and talking about all the wonderful places both of us would like to visit in the future. But an exchange will happen soon. Trust me on that.

We had a coffee in a cool little café down a pasaz. On leaving we heard the most atmospheric street music for this cold and crisp season. I recorded some on my mobile phone Quicktime:

Download Record000.amr

After a quick stroll back round the city walls they were kind enough to deliver me to the airport – so no more of that mad Krakow coach driving that seemed to get me there on time but put me at more risk than seemed reasonable.

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I think what strikes me most about all this is how the connection with local people and the ability/willingness/brass neck ;-) to communicate with them enhances any activity in a foreign place - whether it's finding the cool cafes in the first place or simply feeling that you've actually slipped into their world, albeit briefly.
Maybe all the world will end up speaking American - but if there was a reason to make *this* non-professional linguist keep trying, that enjoyment factor would be it!

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Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

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