Goodbye Ziebice

I can’t begin to explain how hard this day was. Saying goodbye is never easy. I will miss my friends and family here in Ziebice so much. Thank you all for what you have given our students. As Mariusz would say “We may be miles a part, but we are close in the heart.” I can’t wait to see my friends again soon.

We leave for the airport tomorrow morning at 4:00a.m. We are flying on United flight # UA371 and will be arriving at 8:36p.m. In Denver. See you all soon!

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Well its coming to an end….

The trip to Worclaw was spectacular! We were on our trip for the entire day and spent a lot of the time visiting monuments and shopping. We visited a huge cathedral, one that was almost demolished after WWII, but has been completely restored. We were able to travel to the top and see the entire city of Worclaw. It was definitely an amazing view! After our sight-seeing the kids were able to have some free time and shopping in one of the malls in the city, after we went to the market square. This was my personal favorite because this was were the Euro2012 Fanzone was. This was AMAZING! There was a huge portion of the square blocked off just for football fans to come and watch matches. It was pretty incredible, and even better to be a part of it. After finishing our time in the square we had dinner at a really night restaurant and then went to a water fountain show. It was really neat.

Friday was probably one of the best activities we took part in on the trip. We all got together and met in the park to do some community work. We painted a mural in the park representing Ziebice’s sister cities partnerships. Of all the activities I feel that this was the one that all of the kids came together and really worked as a team. It turned out beautiful and we now all have a little piece of us in Ziebice!

Once again the weekend was spent with families. I believe most of the kids traveled on the train to a nearby town to goto the movies on Saturday. Saturday night was the big football match. Sadly, Poland did not win 😦 so they wont be moving on to the next round. We had a lot of broken hearts, mine being one of them. From what I have heard for our students, Sunday many of them went on small trips with their families. For example my family took Marshall and myself to the mountains. There we went on one of the most beautiful hikes I had ever been on. We were down inside rocks and up on the peak, it was just amazing. We followed this with the best waffles in Poland and fishing. Everyone does something different on the weekends.

Today has been our last official day with activities planned. Right now we are at the middle school sharing photos and preparing presentations for our good-bye party this evening. It truly has been an amazing trip. I will miss this country and town so much, but words cannot express how much I will miss the people. I will post one final blog tomorrow, highlighting the good-bye party and will provide information about our flight. See you all soon!

More is coming!

Hi everyone.. The craziness continues. I will be posting a full blog tomorrow, I won’t have access to an actual computer to upload new pictures until then. In the last update I informed you all to keep a look out for a special email, we had some technical difficulties, so instead check out the Brighton Sister Cities Facebook page for your special message! The link is http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sister-Cities-Brighton-Ziebice/122774667754290?ref=ts

We all are continuing to do well and are having a great time here in Ziebice. Like I said check back tomorrow for the full report! Love you!

You can’t help but adore Ziebice

Well we have officially passed the halfway point in our journey. We continue to have amazing experiences and develop new friendships. I am already starting to get sad thinking about leaving my friends behind here in a week. Last year at our gate unveiling Mariusz said it best, we may be miles apart, but we are close in the heart. That statement could not be more true and the more time I spend with these fantastic people the more real it becomes.

Weekends on the trip are spent with families. The host families have the opportunity to spend time with our students doing whatever they choose to do. We had some students go on short trips and others stayed in Ziebice. My family took me fishing at a place where you can catch your fish and then have it prepared for you right there. For those of you that know me well, you know that I am terrified of fish. Lucky for me I didn’t catch one! It was a lot of fun though and it was special to spend it with my family and new friends.

Monday we had a very unique experience in Ziebice. We all met at the city hall and local museum to learn a little bit more about the history of the lovely town of Ziebice. One thing that we can all say now is that we visited the worlds largest collection of irons! We also were about to learn about important events that have occurred thought Ziebice’s history.

After our museum visit, we were greeted by the Brotherhood of Ziebice! This was a group of individuals that did midevil reenactments. We walked to the park with them and there we had our try at shooting a bow and arrow, sword fighting, and playing games such as toss the nail and drunken knights. Don’t worry moms and dads, there was no alcohol consumed playing drunken knights. Basically the kids had to spin around several times and then try to slice an apple in half that was set on a post. I won’t lie, it was very entertaining to watch! We had so much fun in the park with our midevil friends. Sammi and myself were even knighted! This day was filled with laughs and good times.

Yesterday we met up at the high school here in Ziebice and were taught how to make the traditional Polish dish, pierogis. I want to send a special thank you to Barbara for teaching me how to make pierogis for our annual auction because the Polish chefs were very impressed with my pierogi making skills. I didn’t know this, but there is another exchange group in Ziebice and they are from Germany. So our American students were able to mingle and make friends with students in Germany as well as the ones here in Poland. It was really neat.

Today we ventured to a gold mine here in Poland called Zloty Stok. This was a very entertaining tour. We were able to learn about the history of the mine and have fun as well. The neatest part of this tour was seeing the worlds largest underground waterfall. It was beautiful!

We are currently on the ride back to Ziebice now. Tonight the students have time to spend with their families and tomorrow we a headed to Wroclaw for the day. This is one of the four places in Poland where Euro2012 is being held. Poland played last night against Russia and once again ended in a tie! Many of the people here were anticipating that Poland would lose so at least the game was better than that! Let’s go Polska! Next game is on the 16th so make sure you all have your red and white ready! Kocko Kocko Euro Spocko!

Check your emails for a special message home from all of us- we love and miss you!

We are off and running!

So sorry everyone! We have been soooooo busy I have hardly had anytime to sit down and write about our trip. We spent two days away on our trip to Krakow and the rest of the time has been booked with parties and meetings with families and friends in Ziebice. SO MUCH FOOD! And the biggest problem with all the food is that it is by far the most delicious food ever….. Its amazing, everytime I go anywhere I sit down and food is immediately brought out and everytime I think this has to be the best thing I have had yet in Poland.

The trip to Krakow was amazing. We got up really early and all met at the middle school in town. From there we traveled for about 3 hours to Auschwitz. Words cannot even begin to describe the experience. Our students really took advantage of their opportunity to learn and we all shared tears and hugs walking throughout the concentration camp. I can’t even think of what to say about our time at Auschwitz, but Kayla posted about it on Facebook along with a photo she took and I feel that it describes it best.

“Visiting the Auschwitz concentration camp was definitely a tear jerking and humbling experience. As we were leaving one of the bunkhouses, tear filled my eyes, I looked down and found this little guy. As I picked it up I was suddenly put to ease and felt a sheet of comfort cover me. It was definitely a changing experience, one I will always keep dear to my heart.”

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After Auschwitz, we traveled to the Wieliczka Salt Mine. This place is still one of my favorites one the trip. It is a beautiful mine, rich with history and breathtaking sculptures made from the salt. This mine still operates today, providing tours and producing salt. We walked down 386 steps just to begin our tour! Very good for all that Polish food they are giving us!!

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We spent the night in the town of Wieliczka in a quiet little hotel right off the town square. There we also enjoyed dinner and breakfast.

Day two of our trip we were off to Krakow. If any of you ever have the opportunity to visit, I highly recommend it! I will say this again and again, but there is just so much amazing history here in Poland. Many legends and stories fill our tours, it makes our experience even more special. In Krakow we toured the Royal Castle, the underground city of Krakow, and was able to enjoy the market square to get our fill of culture and purchase souvenirs. One of my favorite parts about this day was going to the courtyard where Eva- one of the Polish teachers- told us that there was increased Positive energy in the corner of the courtyard. There we took this picture.

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We spent all day in Krakow and then traveled back to Ziebice late in the evening.

Thursday was a day spent with families in celebration of the religious holiday, Corpus Christy. I saw some of the kids that day throughout town, but if their day was anything like mine it was spent with their families celebrating the friendships and bonds they have created. As a matter of fact I do know that we had one special celebration that day in addition to Corpus Christy- Andrea’s Birthday! Even though, her actual birthday was two days before, her family had a little party to celebrate. This is just a small example of the hospitality we are all experiencing in Ziebice.

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This bring me tone to yesterday. Once again we all met up at the middle school, today to learn the traditional Polish dance- the Polanez. It was a great experience to be taught by our Polish friends a very beautiful dance that is important to their culture.

Yesterday was also the first day of the Euro Cup! Go Polska! Red and white filled the streets in preparation for the big game. The spirit for the country is incredible and even more so to take part. Polska tied their first match against Greece. I believe that the next game is on Tuesday- lets all hope for a big win!

Ok I think I am now all caught up! Don’t worry, now that we are back in Ziebice it won’t be as long till I update again. We love and miss you all!

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Off to Henrykow we go!

Today was a very nice  and relaxed day. We spent the morning in Henrykow, a small village outside of Ziebice. There we toured the Cistercians Monastery. It is amazing the history of this country! This Monastery was the place where the language of Polish was started. The first sentence ever in Polish was created and spoke where we went today! Pretty neat stuff! This place was gorgeous. The cathedral alone was incredible!

Let me just say that the people here in Poland sure know how to eat. If I were you I’d get your student a membership to a gym for when they come home because they are doing a really good job of fattening us all up here! Do not be alarmed if your son or daughter comes home with a few extra pounds in addition to their souvenirs! Polish people eat multiple times during the day and not just light snacks, I mean MEALS with an appetizer, main course, and dessert. Most of the kids have said that their families have two dinners- one around 5 and another right before bed time. The positive side is that we are walking everywhere. Hopefully enough to at least burn enough calories to even things out!

Tomorrow we leave for our trip to Krakow, so I probably will not have access to the internet for a couple of days. Krakow is about 4 hours from Ziebice and we will be spending the night in a town called Wieliczka. During our trip we will tour Auschwitz, Wieliczka Salt Mine (so beautiful, cant wait to post pictures!), and various sight-seeing in Krakow. Lots of amazing learning experiences for everyone!

Polski-Americanski

Wow, wow, wow. Growing up you often have experiences that you treasure and then revisit them later as an adult, and find that they are not always the same. For those of you out there that dont know, I came to Ziebice my first time right after I graduated from high school- nearly 7 years ago. I will say that things here in Ziebice are not only as wonderful as I remember, but even better! My gosh, the hospitality here is just amazing! I love that we are all able to make wonderful and life lasting friendships. For me personally. its wonderful to see familar faces from ears of friendship and even though I may have met some of these inidiuaduals once or twice, they still all know who I am and welcome me with love and warmth. That is what Ziebice is all about!

The first official day in Poland after our arrival we all got together for a traditional Polish meal and ameet and greet. The families that the kids are staying with are amazing. I had the opportunity to spend time with them all. They are fun loving and really value this entire experience that the exchangebrings. Fear not moms and dads, your kiddos are in superior care here!!

The country side in Ziebice is absolutely breaktaking. From the rollinggreen hills to the wild flower fields, the sights alone are one to charish. This part of Europe is one that most people imagine and is rich with culture and history. This place is simplistic in nature, but stll holds a unique ability to be extraordiary. In fact, I told my dad the other night that Ziebice is the only place I know that can compete with Brighton, but since we are both on the same tema we dont have to! Ah! I wish you all could be here too!

Since our arrival, we have been busy enjoy the city and thriving in the community festival called Ziebice Days. These two days are spent in the citiespark with live entertainment, faily fun, and culture. We began Ziebice day with a city council meeting where two of our founders, Susan Petrocco and Neil Fleshauer, were honored as honoray citizens of Ziebice! It was a great experience!

Ziebice days is fun for the entire family. The ctiy have rides and games set up for younger generations, great food and Piwo for older, and an amazing concert series for all. This takes place for two days and is a focal point for the entire city to enjoy. I know that I personally had an amazing time at this festival.

Tomorrow, we are going to goto Henrykow, a small village outside of Ziebice. We will tour a church and school there. The two villages work closely together, so we will be able to see this partnership in action. It will be a great day. I will update soon about the adventures in Henrykow! Following this event we will be headed to Krakow!

We love and miss you all out there!

Hello Ziebice!

Hi everyone! We made it all the way to Ziebice safe and sound! The travel experiece was great- no delays, everything on time, absolutely zero problems!

The travel time has definately taken its toll on us! I can tell you that we are all ready for some good rest after our long day of travel. We arrived to Wroclaw around 1:00p.m. and were welcomed with signs and gifts of excitement.

The rest of our day today was spent with our individual families. Tomorrow, we will spend the beginning of the day with families and then in the evening we are supposed to have a big welcome party. Having been to Ziebice before, I am really excited to see all of the faces of people I met when I was here 7 years ago. The city is just as beautiful, if not more so than I remember it. Smiling faces walk the streets and everyone says hello. This town is rich with history, you just cant help but immediately fall in love.

 

B Hearts Z

Hello Everyone! Thank you for taking the time to follow us on our adventures in Ziebice, Poland! This year we are taking 8 student ambassadors to Poland for three weeks of learning, fun, and friends! We will be meeting at the United ticket counter at 7:00a.m. on May 30th, 2012. Please make sure you have your passport and bags cannot weigh more than 50lbs. Cant wait to see you there!