I’ve written like 30 versions of this post. They all start with “I effing loved Krakow, I’m probably moving there, real sorry parents/boss/plants” and then they deteriorate into some made-up story about a juggler throwing his underwear at an accordion trio, which makes no sense and isn’t entertaining, even in my brain.
Truth is, nothing particularly exciting happened in Krakow. I hung out, I saw some stuff, I met some people.
Other than hanging out with Anna and Bibhu (who are both amazing) and eating my weight in soup (which was also amazing), the most story-worthy thing I experienced there was that I spent a good deal of time awkwardly chatting with my ex-husband’s doppelgänger*, who was staying at my hostel and was always sitting right next to the only power outlet in the place. “Wanna charge your phone? Gotta talk to your ex-husband for a couple of hours. Or at least a guy who looks and talks and moves and is supertall just like him.”
*He was real cool, don’t get me wrong. Totally enjoyed talking to him. Not that my ex-husband wasn’t real cool – he was. Is. He’s still alive. I’m shutting up about my ex-husband now, this is getting awkward. Back to Krakow.
It was nice there, ya know? Really beautiful. And chill. And maybe the sliiiightest bit grimy.
*By grimy, I mean I watched a man poop on the sidewalk while yelling** at me.
**I think it’s important to clarify that he wasn’t yelling at me BECAUSE I was looking at him. He was yelling at me SO THAT I would look at him.
For some reason I can’t explain, I just totally freaking loved it*.
*Krakow, not the pooping guy.
I’ve been thinking a lot about why I loved it so much, and I think it has something to do with the history of the place. It’s hilarious that I just wrote that, because up until like two weeks ago, I didn’t actually know the history of the place (thank you, Mesquite Public Schools). But apparently the city has had a rough go of it in the past 70 or so years – Hitler and all that*. And it’s still sort of there, I think. You can kinda feeeeel that some bad type of craziness went down there.
*In case you also went to Mesquite Public Schools, Krakow is like an hour from Auschwitz. A really, really bad type of craziness went down there.
It’s like – you know how sometimes you meet someone and you can just tell they’ve been through the shit? Like on the surface, they’re all, “Yeah, cool, welcome to Poland, look at this stuff you can buy at our big market.”
But the subtext is “We wish we weren’t stuck selling this crap to rich American jerks like you. Also several of my relatives were slaughtered for zero reason, and we both know that’s the only reason you came here.” Except they’re totally nice about it and instead of saying that, they bring you a bowl of borscht that makes you want to slap someone, it’s so good. And then also a plate of pierogis and these potato pancake things and some sort of plumb tea concoction and the WHOLE THING only costs like $3, total, I’m not joking.
Back to “the shit.” I’m a complete sucker for people and places that have been through it. I want to move to them and make out with them and hear all the horrible stories of the things they’ve seen. Don’t know what that says about me, but I’m choosing to embrace it. Cuz listen, here’s why:
Most of the people I know who have been through the shit and come out the other side are fascinating. They have a perspective that you can’t possibly have, and they can teach you to see a whole different part of life if you listen. Maybe sometimes they haven’t worked through it all the way and they’re a little confused or angry or resigned or name-your-frustrating-emotion. Whatever. They are people, like me, and you, who are trying to do life. Their shit, and my shit, and aaaaall of our shit are a reminder that WE SHOULD NOT BE CREATING SHIT. Not for anyone else, and not for ourselves. That we should be intentional about that, and actively, thoughtfully do the opposite.
I was only in Krakow for like 3 days, so I have no idea if what I’m saying is even close to right – maybe I’m full of crap and it’s the happiest place in the world. It’s just a feeling I got. What I DO know for sure is that there’s something really fucking great about that city. And I’ve got $18 in Zloty’s left which could buy about a thousand pierogis, sooooooooo… bring on the shit. I’m moving to Krakow.