Monday, January 26, 2009

Personal Space (Or the lack thereof)

I've blogged before about "personal space" and how it doesn't exist here, at least not in any form that we Americans can appreciate. This time I'd like to show you. The video is of the kid's preschool program yet I couldn't help but pan the crowd. I counted somewhere in the neighborhood of two hundred people crammed into an area a little larger than an American living room. I am taking the video with my back pressed up against the back wall of the room. The final line from an old soap commercial popped into my head. Aren't you glad you use dial--don't you wish everybody did?

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Trip to the Consignment Shop

This is a little footage of a used clothing store here in Siedlce. It's Ginger's favorite store because every Wednesday they get in a huge shipment of slightly used designer clothing from America and Great Britain and sell the designer clothes for $1 or $2. Since the clothing is so nice and cheap it has begun to cause quite a stir and the large store is "standing room only" on Wednesdays. As they dump a new barrel out onto the table it can get quite physical. Ginger has seen wrestling matches over handbags and she's been hipchecked by a Grandma on more than one occasion. All that to say, that we had hoped to get some great footage to share, but the manager was having none of it. In fact, after only about 15 seconds of video footage, Ginger and Sarah were called upstairs to the manager's office where they were faced with the decision of deleting the video or dealing with the police. Unbeknown to us, a few weeks earlier a story, with pictures of the wrestling that went on, had made it into the town newspaper, so the owner's were on edge. The girls handed over the camera and an employee deleted the footage, or so they thought. Long story short, 15 seconds of footage remain, it's not much but you get the idea of the amount of people we are talking about. If you ever make it to Poland, you need to visit Krakow, see Old Town in Warsaw, visit our church, and visit the used clothing store in Siedlce. You'll never forget it, I promise. I just hope my new jeans Ginger bought for me don't make me look fat.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Polish Wedding

Forgive me for posting this a day late, but we're busy getting ready to return to the States the beginning of February and my post got pushed back. A few months ago Ginger and I were invited to our first Polish wedding. Our language teacher married a soldier in the Polish army and we were honored to be invited to the ceremony. I have a couple of observations about our experience. First, the woodwork, stained glass windows, and metal work in the church were spectacular. The attention to detail was astonishing. Second, the greeting of the bride and groom at the close of the ceremony was not for the claustrophobic. Finally, artwork aside, the building felt large, cold, and empty. Certainly a metaphor for the Roman Catholic Church. We were saddened to see so many bowing to man made idols and clinging to family heirlooms for some kind of hope. The dedication of some RCC followers is both convicting and heartbreaking. I watched as people came in off the street to the confessional. Instead of being told of their need for the Savior they were sent away with prayers and penance to accomplish. In some ways they are so close to the truth yet their continued belief in justification through righteous acts will damn them. II Timothy 3:7 came to mind "ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." Pray for the people of Poland.