How Beautifully Unexpected

10. A little bit of Poland and a little bit of Guben

(Actual Trip Date: September 18, 2010)

Because Guben, Germany was on the border between Germany and Poland, we thought, why not walk to Poland just to say we have been there? Haha. It was great. Basically, after the Plastanarium and a delicious pasta lunch in Germany, a couple of us headed across the bridge connecting Germany and Poland.

Finding ourselves feet in Poland, we laughed, took a few silly pictures, and headed into a Polish grocery store. We were immediately disappointed, finding you had to pay in their currency in the store. (We found out later people paid in Euros at a restaurant in Poland so who knows?)

As we walked to the exit of the grocery store, we realized we really couldn’t get through without buying something. Uh oh. We don’t have any of their currency! What resulted was five girls standing dumbly near the exit moving around in circles and nervously laughing while the Polish people stared at us until a police officer came by and let us out.

There you go. My only Poland experience before we crossed over the bridge back to Guben, Germany.

As you must know already from reading my blogs, I’m the type of the girl that rejoices in the smallest of things. On our way back from Poland to the Plastanarium, I was expecting nothing except going back, letting my friends buy souvenirs from the Plastanarium, and heading to the train station. But out of the corner of my eye, I spotted two lonely archway structures molded together, facing one another. One was being slowly consumed by olive green leaves and foliage and the other stood proudly in pastel orange and red bricks. Lovely green grass blanketed the area, complemented by black metal benches and cobblestone walkways.

Our eyes lit up and we ran over, carelessly dropping our bags and purses, only taking our cameras with us as we frolicked into a scenery that would totally come out of a Taylor Swift music video. (Yes, don’t worry, I did remember to pile our stuff together and keep a close watch on them so no one would steal our belongings).

Doing a mini-photoshoot and laughing was the highlight of the afternoon. It also helped that I got to know another girl I’ve never really hung out with better. Experiences like these (finding fun in the middle of nowhere, seeing things you would never expect in a small German town, and making long-lasting connections with people on the trip) is what makes this Maastricht study abroad worth it.

I’ve always been the one to tell people that you should have no problem having fun despite the surroundings if the right people are with you and you have the right mentality. One of my biggest pet peeves is being somewhere that lacks people’s expectations and people incessantly whining and complaining about it. Appreciate what you have and what is around you. You never know when the things around you will extirpate, disintegrate, explode, and fall apart. Especially now for us travelers. (FOXNews issued a cover story some days ago about a travel alert now be issued to all travelers in Western Europe due to reports about Bin Laden’s suspected Mumbai-style attacks on Western Europe).

So there in the middle of a small German town, illuminated in cloudy light, wrapped in scarves were five students, forgetting the stresses of life and school and expectations, and just absorbing what has been given, letting their musically tinkling giggles permeate the air.


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