Tonight, I raced cows. A particular cow, to be exact. I was finishing up a whimsical and winding bike ride with host sister, host sister’s boyfriend, and host father, filled with wheat fields and windmills (how many “w” words can I use in one sentence?) when we (there’s two more) came upon a string of cows being herded home from pasture. “Silly cows,” I thought fondly, as many are apt to think whilst watching cows walk in a straight line upon a dirt path. One of those cows must have been telepathic, and she must have been insulted by my private ruminations, because when I glided past her on my bike, she broke into a run. We raced down the path, cow and I, sweat glistening on my brow, milk glistening on her udders (not really.) The race ended in a tie. At its conclusion, I had some sort of profound thought along the lines of “This is why people travel. So they can race cows through the European countryside on a yellow bike.” This may not be a widely accepted statement, but at the time it seemed very deep indeed.

My thoughts from teaching this week are varied. Here are a few:

You can never go wrong with “Old McDonald Had a Farm.”

I taught the high school students a poetry lesson today, because I wanted to, and even though they struggled through it with pained faces, I like to think they were appeased by the obvious glee on their young teacher’s face as we talked about words like “strife.” I also realized that both poems were about peace and being an active citizen, and wondered if perhaps fair Harvard is turning me into one of those “bleeding heart liberals,” as my Constitutional Law professor so cheerfully called himself.

Best question: “Miss Kate, can I write a fantastical animal?” “….sure, S…” Runs to board, prints “dragon” in chalk, skips back to desk.

Best answer: “So what do we call a baby cat?” 8 year old A. raises a hand, yells confidently: “Horse!!!”

Small town news:

I’m getting tanner, or so says my host mom. Good to know my pale mug is no longer such a disgrace to the family.

I went to the library and checked out one of the four English books available. Two were shoddy dime store romances, and I shed a pretentious tear for such a representation of English literature being circulated around the world.

Yesterday my host dad set up a ladder so that I could climb over a fence and onto a local boarding school’s fenced off track. Another man was running on it, so it was fine, right? NO GUILT HERE. I got a good mile and a half in before the cops showed. Back over the fence I went. Please note that I have been in Poland for less than three weeks and have closely interacted with policefolk twice, which is extremely impressive!

Off to bed, until I’m awakened by a rooster’s crow…

-Kate, WT Alumni Poland Summer 2014

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