Friday, June 13, 2008

Welcome to Poland!

It has been a really crazy past few weeks. Apart from dealing with the financial aftermath of the arbitration (thankfully, it could have been a lot worse!) there’s been a lot of logistical work and planning for this season. As the beginning of my campaign for 2012, the season is all about laying the groundwork for the next three years…and naturally, it begins in Poland.

Poland is definitely the place for me. Everything about this country is helping me to further both my sailing and personal goals. I’ve been making great gains in my sailing here, facilitated by the excellent team I’ve been working with. Not only are they super sailors, they have big personality as well. I’m also working on the goal of learning their language, which is definitely not easy. In college I took Chinese…and I think Polish is actually harder! The other thing I like about being over here is it promotes self-sufficiency. Although I’m already very self-sufficient, everything is just a little more challenging when you’re alone in a foreign country. The language barrier is hard to overcome and it can get extremely lonely. I did withdraw into myself quite a bit last year and experienced some culture shock coming back to the States. Everyday tasks are much more difficult, and without transportation, logistics become complicated. Your life adapts to the bus schedule, you learn to bike 2 km from the supermarket balancing 3 bags on each handlebar while carrying a case of water in one hand.…on a bike with no brakes!

It is true that the last summer I spent here was a summer of adaptation. I’ve figured out what I need to stay happy. It will definitely be lonely again, but I’m planning on getting a beater car and making sure my schedule is full so I have exposure to people. As I will have a few more resources this year I can join the gym and take classes, and make sure I’m on my toes all the time. In addition, I just flew my shortboard quiver over…now ALL my gear is in Europe!

The team will be busy this summer with training camps and regattas. Kiel Week in Germany is just around the corner, and so are some regattas in Sopot. It will be a great summer to lay a foundation for the future, and one in which I am sure I will grow a lot.

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