Jasmin’s EVS in Zielona Gora, August 2019

Greetings! You know my name already! You can also assume which month this is about. This is the only month where there was no school-specific work to be done. A perfect opportunity to go traveling and an even better opportunity to plan my life after this EVS finishes.

          In the beginning of the month we will be going to check out the Southern Balkans. Specifically a little bit of Greece and a whole lot of North Macedonia. My cousin invited me and my girlfriend to visit him and his girlfriend where they live. We found pretty cheap tickets to Thessaloniki which is less than 2 hours away from them even though it’s Greece. Since we land in Greece, all 4 of us decided to stay for a couple of nights at the Greek seaside. We chose a small town near Thessaloniki which turned out to be a very popular touristic spot for people from Serbia. Almost everything was written for Serbians to understand. And since Serbians understand it, I understand it. On one hand, I liked it because I didn’t have to struggle with Greek there. On the other hand, the place didn’t feel Greek to me at all! I felt like at the Croatian or Montenegrin seaside. I didn’t come all the way to Greece to feel like home! But whatever, we had a good time.

          I’ve tried gyros for the first time and I liked it. We also managed to lock ourselves outside of the apartment with the keys being inside. Even though the first thing that was said to us was not to do that. That was the only rule. We had one job! So what could we do. We looked for ways to solve our predicament. After a while I remembered that the bathroom window might be opened (We were on the ground floor) and that we could squeeze through it and get inside that way. The window turned out to be open but there way also a mosquito net on it which was screwed into the window frame. So we went to all of our neighbors and asked them if they have a screwdriver. There were two bad things about this. First one was that we wanted to keep this process a secret, so less neighbors asked, the better. Second one was that everyone was there for a vacation. And who bring a screwdriver with them for vacations? Unfortunately for us the second thing meant that we had to ask a lot of people for help. The whole block found out about our situation. It’s not a secret anymore, it’s information now. Besides that, I would consider ourselves lucky because one apartment near us was being renovated and the guys there had all the tools needed. So we started the breaking-in process.

          The neighbors gathered and watched the spectacle that was being unfold in front of them. The mosquito net was unscrewed, the entrance was open. I went in easily (thank you climbing skills) and opened the front door.

          On the way from Greece to North Macedonia we almost got arrested. Our car stopped at the border, we gave our documents to the border patrol and after a moment the Greek cop started mumbling something in Greek as he was giving something back to us. That something was a 100 euros! Our friend forgot that she left it there for safety while traveling. We almost bribed a Greek cop with a hundred freakin’ euros! Luckily he didn’t accept it and didn’t do anything to us for that. Prison avoided. We were all shaking from adrenaline.

          The rest of the trip wasn’t so dramatic. North Macedonia was pretty cool. We were mostly in the region that’s bordering Greece and Bulgaria where my cousin lived. Other than that we visited Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia, and we visited lake Ohrid which was on my bucket list for a very long time. I was thrilled to finally see that huge body of fresh water in all it’s beauty. I saw my first tortoise that walked a long way . Never had a chance to see them that much out in the open. They usually disappear in the bushes. I also saw a guy who was working in a bar in the center of Skopje who didn’t speak Macedonian. How is that possible?! What if he gets local customers that don’t speak English? But whatever. The food was delicious everywhere! I loved it! Check out some pictures from the trip!

  

          Back in Poland I’ve arranged a small one-day climbing trip south of Zielona Góra.        It was pretty fun. I didn’t climb as hard as last time but I managed to do some things that I haven’t done before. One example being climbing a 17 meter high wall. I think my previous record was at least 5 meters lower than that. Quite the experience. The route felt like it had no end. The more I’m doing these outside climbing trips, the more I like them. The routes don’t change outside. What I’m trying right now is the same route someone else tried more than 10 years ago. There might be some slight changes because the rock is not indestructible. It’s weak to forces like wind, water and humans. Still, it doesn’t completely change like in an indoor climbing gym.

          In August I had a plan to go to Poznań with my bike. (SPOILERS: I didn’t go in the end) I’ve checked the map and it was “only” 140km away. Quite doable in one day. But for that I need to ramp up my endurance. I decided to go to closer places first to get used to long distance biking. I finally had a chance to go to Nowa Sól which was like 40km away (in my head). When I checked the path on the map I found out it was only 23km away. That’s so close! I would’ve gone there sooner if I knew that. But whatever. I’m going now. I’ve heard there’s a pretty cool looking park there with a zoo, huge skate park, dirt bike park and last but not the least, a bouldering park. So I went.

          And woooow. The city was amazing. I liked it very much. Especially the parks that I’ve mentioned. Their small zoo had even llamas and wallabies (small kangaroos). There was a bench right across the llamas so I used that chance just to sit there and chill.
Maybe see them do something cool after some time.

          The skate park also didn’t disappoint. It was huge! The biking track also. There was even a mini golf park which looked amazing! Just being there not doing anything felt good. I didn’t need to try out that stuff. One thing I did need to try out. That was the bouldering walls. It looked much better than I imagined. I expected the routes to be for kids, very easy. Turned out they are quite hard to do (albeit I didn’t have climbing shoes and had to climb with my bare feet). I did some routes, mostly I couldn’t finish. And I want to come back here with my full gear and crush as much of them as I can.

          During the month I started looking for job opportunities in my branch. I was looking for a job as a functional programming style programmer. It turned out those are quite rare. I managed to find 4 job offers in Europe alone. Warsaw, Stockholm, Amsterdam and Munich. No Berlin or closer Polish cities. I’ve created a LinkedIn account. I updated my CV. I went through those long and tedious application forms and generic quizzes. After some rejections, I was quickly losing hope. I was reminded how difficult it was to find a job through only internet applications. Those companies don’t know me. They don’t see me as special as I see myself. Why would they. It’s a hard job on their part to go through dozens or hundreds of applications of people whom they don’t know. One thing does make a big difference and that is a recommendation from someone they know. One recommendation like that is worth a hundred dry internet applications. Networking is important! Meeting people who share the same interests as you is important! People need to know about you somehow. Either through meetup or even through a lot of online activity like blog or forum posts. I hope I started job hunting soon enough to find something before my EVS ends.  

          To ease up my mind, there was a Polish wedding I was invited to. What better way to get to know Polish culture! One of our friends needed a +1 to come with here and I’ve managed to find a friend of mine from Zagreb to come to Warsaw for that. I was looking forward to the wedding but I was more excited about meeting my friend. He was supposed to come with the other guys back then for New Years Eve but he couldn’t. So now I had a chance to show some Poland to him too. As I’ve written, the wedding took place near Warsaw, near a small town called Płońsk. And my lord, the venue looked amazing.

          The food looked amazing! It tasted even better! At the bar was some well known Polish cocktail master. The drinks were delicious! The DJ didn’t accept any song requests. Luckily for them, I didn’t have a chance to order some Šaban Šaulić songs which are mandatory on Bosnian weddings. The music was good still. I liked it. The bride and groom looked as beautiful as ever. I almost cried with the bride as she gave her speech to her future husband. There were also some friends from Poznań so I had plenty of people to hang around with. I didn’t feel like an outsider, I felt like home. The wedding happened on the last day of August so I’ll write about the aftermath and things that happened after midnight in the next (and last) installment! Write to ya later!

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