I’m back in the Polish immersion program. Not only am I training with the Polish youth team (ages approx. 16-22), I’m living with them and traveling with them too. These kids can really sail but, besides that, they are pretty stimulating to be around. There is always action, whether it is joking, running around like crazy, playing games, or breaking equipment! If something is going on with your equipment and the coach, Romek, is helping you, you are sure to have an audience. They are bouncing off the walls until Romek, calls the pre-session meeting. Then they are all business about rigging and getting on the water.
On the water there is plenty of action. There are about 16 of us milling around the coach boat and Romek finds lots of drills for us to do. Starts are always interesting and there is a lot of shouting and heckling, all in Polish of course. In light wind we all inevitably end up at the marks in a big pack and rounding is always tricky and really entertaining! Training is very energetic and fast-paced, with lots to do, which I love.
The best thing about being with a bunch of Polish kids is feeling like one yourself. I’m learning the language more and more every day and lots of the jokes which I previously didn’t understand I am now laughing at. I always have thought that the best reason to learn Polish is to know what is so funny all the time. It’s basically impossible to be in a group of happy kids and not feel good. It brings out and sustains the happy, quirky side of my personality that sometimes gets lost in the midst of loneliness. Poland turned into my European home last season, and there is something about it that just feels right. I feel a lot for this country and being a part of one of their teams is like having a home wherever I go.