Thursday, 28 July 2011

re: first thoughts from Poland

I can't believe it is already Wednesday - the day we launch our programme and welcome over 40 participants!  It has been a whirlwind few days since Sunday and I feel I have already gone into my discomfort zone which means that I am learning stacks.  Let me share some of my journey with you.

The lead up was frenetic which is why I missed the email from my good friend Eileen offering to pick me up from Warsaw airport.  I did email her but only six hours before I was arriving so needless to say there was no welcome committee.  I was incredibly fortunate however because Tania, my girls' au pair, travelled with me and speaks quite a bit of Polish so we managed to navigate our way to the appartments.

One of the first things I realised was how important physical environment is to me especially when I am not at home.  It is something that I coach people on a lot and now I recognise its significance for myself.  Let me share a couple of examples of what I mean.  The first thing I noticed about the appartment was its newness and the size.  It is just big enough to fit my husband, the two girls and the au pair but it will be a squeeze when Mum gets here.  Now I reframe that first reaction and say it will be cosy.  The initial concern however was over the lack of cooking utensils for a three month stay with my family.  Luckily my husband has brought over some of the smaller items and with help from the fabulous Ops Team for Genesis Park, more stuff is beginning to appear.  We are in the process of getting oven-proof dishes so that I can cook for the girls.  It has taken a lot of effort from various people to get this sorted; and that's largely because they are service appartments used to people doing short-term stays and so eating out a lot.  We will be here for three months - an altogether different proposition.

What I have also realised is the importance of adaptability and flexibility.  At lunchtime on Tuesday, I found out about the local culture in terms of dress.  If wearing a skirt or a dress it is essential that women also wear tights - not something I tend to do in summer. Additionally whilst it is okay to have open toes, all shoes have to have backs which means I can only wear one pair of shoes on formal occasions because I mainly packed a selection of sandals.  An excuse to go shopping this weekend!

As you can see I have already learnt a huge amount and it is only day four.  It just shows how valuable it is to place oneself in new cultural settings and how important it is to appreciate difference and maintain a sense of humour.  So I am curious to find out if you have had similar experiences in new environments and how you coped with them?

1 comment:

  1. Happy mums make happy children. Enjoy your stay!