Saturday, February 19, 2011
i am writing it from xylokastro, greece where i am currently doing my european voluntary service. i am writing a blog from here too. it is in polish, but non-polish speakers tell me that google translator does a relatively good job in getting my stories across. find it here if you're interested. i will be in greece till july. after that i hope to continue my education by pursuing a master's degree in sports and exercise psychology. that would combine my ultimate love for the world of sports with a solid training in psychology i received from sfu. that's my wish for the next chapter. an idea of where i want my life to take me. a dream to pursue.
thank you very much for following this blog and reading my posts. i have really appreciated that. please, continue keeping your fingers crossed for me. it has truly helped.
best to everyone.
/grzegorz więcław, b.a.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
my mom was being a mom. knowing i was about to graduate, she requested pictures of me in the sfu regalia. when i told her that i was going to skip the graduation ceremony, because of terrible timing (it was in october 2010), she was almost offended. i didn't want to let her down and told her i was going to rent the regalia, go to a professional studio and get a private photo shoot session. then i discovered a price: $125 for renting the regalia and being able choose 7 pictures. "fuck it," i said "no pictures then. not worth it" so i went off to yukon (you can read about this adventure in the previous post), forgetting about the whole thing.
when i came back, my mom asked about the regalia photos again. i sighed and told her i'd find a way to get them. i remembered i had awesome friends (adam nowek and newby douglas, by the way!) who were interested in photography whom i asked to perform a graduating photo shoot for me on campus. they did it for a cup of coffee, literally, and they did it with great artistic pleasure.
the sun was shining, the suit i borrowed from fraser was way too big, but i had immense amounts of fun to be a model the first time in my life. adam even brought a polish scarf and flag! being sincerely thankful to both of these people, i present some outcome of their work below:
Sunday, January 09, 2011
part 5: yukon adventures
part 5: yukon adventures
after flying in from
meanwhile, my roommate, ta, and dear friend, jesse got a placement at the ubc medschool. having celebrated properly with many beers in black frog in gastown and later with a bbq in the backyard of our house, jesse told me that the real celebration is yet to come. jesse was going to
the scenes from sean penn’s “into the wild” came alive in my mind when jesse asked me if i wanted to join his crazy enterprise. at this stage, i must make clear that i had a week left in the
we left on saturday. we left confident, in the full vancouverite summer sun. driving north seemed easy at first, despite greater
cruising 120 km/h
we arrived in
first we entered highway no. 16, the so-called yellow head highway connecting
we rose up at 6am and drove on towards smithers. it was in burns lake, where we first learnt of wild forest fires raging on further up north. at one point a road sign said that there’d been temporary/permanent road closures along the stewart-cassiar highway, right before it reaches the junction 37, that is the intersection with the alaska highway. this is when i first though, i was going to miss a plane. in smithers we calculated: to continue on no. 16, and then 37 would take us about
it was getting smokier and smokier the further up north we drove. before noon we reached the junction of highways 16 and 37. we were about to enter the most remote highway of bc, the stewart-cassiar highway. driving through complete emptiness in an extreme hot sun, equipped with a 1987 Wrangler truck and zero experience with northern wilderness felt awesome. we were probably totally underprepared had something happened. but screw it, we drove on, up north, towards the wild fire, towards the
along the way there were only three or four communities and many abandoned towns. The whole stretch of stewart-cassiar was about
the further north we got, the more hope i had. listening to the locals’ info about the situation at the junction 37, we got to know that the fires had raged for one week on both sides highway before the firefighters were able to do anything!! in dease lake our moods were elevated up high cause we heard we were going to get through, escorted by a pilot car. excited, we decided to drive as close to the barrier as possible, sleep there and take off early in the morning. so we did - we camped the car in boya lake provincial park, had a refreshing swim in the crystal-clear lake, slept for good 7 hours and took off at 6.30am to line up for the escort.
it was really frightening to see the remainings of the beautiful forest on both sides of the road. Some parts were still smoking, but nothing too extreme. this way, on day 3 we reached junction 37. alaska highway, babe! the
in the afternoon we finally reached
the next day we went to the takhihi
these days were full of excitement, joy, happiness, fear and anxiety. some people thought i was stupid to spend 200$ on a journey to
Sunday, December 19, 2010
day 21: montreal, qb
breakfast on emily's porch+walking up the mont royal and getting a wonderful panorama of the city+montreal allouettes vs. hamilton wildcats: canadian football game+cheerleaders are here!
day 22: montreal, qb to quebec city, qb
allo stopping to quebec city with serge in his oldsmobile (allo stop is an organized and legalized hitch-hiking agency, i truly recommend; too bad only qubecois people are smart enough to get it running)+listening to live jazz in the park at night+couchsurfing with alex and simon
day 23: quebec city, qb to riviere-du-loup, qb
amazing breakfast prepared by simon, our couchsurfing host+walk around quebec vieux+loads of tourists and cycling races+orleans express taking us north to riviere-du-loup, qb, where we stayed auberge de sojour (the only night during the whole trip we paid for)
day 24: riviere-du-loup, qb
getting to see st lawrence river (in a local language "quebec" means "where the river becomes narrow" referring to this very river)+tim hortons+pfk=kfc in quebec+waiting for a train at 1.09am
day 25: riviere-du-loup, qb to moncton, nb to saint john, nb full-service in the train (soooo comfortable!)+catching the bus to saint john, nb in moncton, nb (barely)+@ saint john tourist info being offered to hitch-hike with some random guys who were going to the same campsite+camping in the rockwood park (sausage dinner and gazing at the stars)
day 26: saint john, nb to digby, ns to annapolis royal, ns arriving at the docks at 12:05pm and catching the ferry which was supposed to leave at 12:00pm+sunny ride on the atlantic waters+again, getting offered a hitch-hike ride from digby, ns to annapolis royal, ns (the first european settlement in north america where settlers survived for more than a year)+candlelight graveyard tour (!)
where people had lived for longer than one year
day 27: annapolis royal, ns to lunenburg, ns 50c showers at the campsite+farmers' and traders' market+hitch-hiking to lunenburg, ns (done in 3 cars, the last being driven by the president and ceo of "clearwater", one of the largest lobster-fishing company in canada)+l-u-n-e-n-b-u-r-g at last (unesco heritage site, btw)+seafood stew for dinner, mmmmm...
day 28: lunenburg, ns to halifax, ns talking to a retired fisherman at the farmers' and traders' market+atlantic shore+sleepy ride to halifax, ns with "kiwi kaboodle" shuttle+ couchsurfing at luke george's and participating in a random party..
day 29: halifax, ns waterfront+pier 21 museum (this is where european immigrants landed when they first reached canada)+looking for a halifax souvenir+finding one in a second-hand bookstore (1942 edition of town's best stories)+public gardens+visiting alexander keith's brewery (the moment i had been waiting for most impatiently - only then i realized that we had made it all the way across!)+midnight walk to catch the airporter
day 30: halifax, ns to toronto, on (through montreal, qb) to niagara falls, on sleeping at the halifax, ns airport and catching the early plane to montreal, qb and then continued all the way to toronto, on+greyhound bus (again!) to the niagara falls, on+camping by the youth hostel+niagara falls (majestic, but crowded with people)
day 31: niagara falls, on to toronto, on the last trip with the greyhound bus+street caring around (no, it's not called a "tram" in toronto. street car ffs!): toronto downtown, business district, younge street, chinatown...
day 32: toronto, on buying a "toronto star" from a newspaper vending machine and getting decadent and pseudo-intelectual in a "second cup" cafe+toronto cn tower (3 hour long experience, not sure if worth all the waiting)+preparing dinner at anne's and jp's
day 33: toronto, on to vancouver, bc early at the airport with male+immense sadness the trip is over+5 hrs flight back to bc+bussing back to east pender street where everything begun a month ago... knowing that nothing will taste the same ever again...
Friday, December 17, 2010
where were we..? ah, saskatoon! the prairies! the flat lands of canada and the bread basket of the world, where you can grow anything you'd like, but for the most part the farmers stick to wheat, corn and canola. blah. anyways, let's move westwards:
day 11: saskatoon, sk to wasagaming, mb riding mountain national park (> banff national park)+swimming in the clear lake (really clear!)+getting eaten by mosquitos, which in some cases resembled birds not insects+thunderstorm in the tent (we have gotten washed off and decided to leave one day earlier)+but seriously, if i was to choose one favorite place i had visited during this trip wasagaming would top it!
day 12: wasagaming, mb to winnipeg, mb
packing in the rain+meeting a crazy couple offering us a place to stay in their tent for the second night and then travel on with them to winnipeg (we refused for time was pressing, but i admit it was very tempting)+ discovering the kindness of the canadian people (yet again!)+to be specific we had gotten our food microwaved in a grocery store...
day 13: winnipeg, mb to gimli, mb & back
some city life again+saint boniface cathedral in the french part of winnipeg, looking well medival and celtic+the forks and the granville island-like market (that's where two rivers meet in winnipeg; it was named hastily, but the name stuck)+amazing couchsurfers baking muffins for us+trip to gimli (the icelandic settlement at the shore of the lake winnipeg with the largest dwarf statue in the world)+checking out the theatre fringe festival in the forks ("look ma, no hands!")+exchange district
day 14: winnipeg, mb to thunderbay, on
nightbussing to thunderbay+crossing the midpoint in the middle of the night
day 15: thunderbay, on
true "middle of nowhere" kind of experience+the great lakes start here (lake superior first!)+watery coffee at the only coffee shop opened downtown+3 hours spent in the local library (plane tickets from halifax to toronto booked!)+lunch in the park+frustration with lack of food (as defined in the former post)+dinner at the bus station
day 16: thunderbay, on to sault-ste marie, on "velorution" campsite for free (one of the couchsurfers recommended us this campsite run by a bikeshop, outside sault-ste marie; usually they host bikers who travel across canada, but since we had no car they accepted us as well!)+rotary festival in town+going back into the 50s with an awesome dinner at Muio's restaurant in a booth+long, long stroll along st mary's river banks
day 17: sault-ste marie, on to ottawa, on (through sudbury, on)
walking the empty streets of sault-ste marie to catch the early mornin' bus+wandering around the capital+stinky place of a couchsurfer (cat pee is not fun when it is not cleaned up), fortunately only one night there
day 18: ottawa, on to kingston, on bridgehead cafe+walking the streets of kingston (very victorian, you must realize), the first capital of canada+canoeing around in the lake ontario+sunny, sunny, sunny+couchsurfing+playing boardgames and drinking beers
day 19: kingston, on to ottawa, on to montreal, qb much traveling, lots of walking & in the meantime checking out the parliament buildings in ottawa (the clash of glass and steel with victorian bricks)
day 20: montreal, qb
confronting the french speaking canadians+lunch at soupe/soupe+montreal vieux+cars getting smaller+chilling with anna & emily, co-years from uwc+quebecois cinema: "les amoures imagineres"
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
right after dialogue finished i had only couple of days to hand in the assignments, pack up my stuff and move out of the magical house at east pender street. at the beginning of july i was already leaving vancouver for the greatest adventure of my life. goal? to swim in the pacific and the atlantic waters in the same month... more seriously, the goal was to cover the distance between vancouver, bc and halifax, ns by land, on budget, without renting own car and within a month or so. this summer to large extent was to be a realization of my dream to hitchhike across canada, get on a fishing boat in halifax and sail to iceland. i needed to modify it a little bit (ie., cross out the iceland part), cause i still had one final at sfu in august.
in the posts concerning the trip, i will use mostly key words, but also many images (after all, one picture is worth a thousand words!). i will throw in a comment here or there to enrich what you see, or describe an experience that wasn't captured with a camera.
let's go (with a greyhound bus for now)!
day 1: vancouver,bc to kelowna,bc
couchsurfing in kelowna at dillon's+tasting the wine from local wineries (for those who do not know, i want to inform that canadians make excellent wine especially around kelowna, in the okanagan valley)
day 2: kelowna,bc to calgary, ab (through salmon arm, bc)
hiking up the knox mountain+swimming in the okanagan lake
day 3: calgary, ab
the calgary tower and stepping over the glass floor at the top+alternative 17th avenue+heritage park, the largest in canada, where the wild west spirits were well alive
day 4: calgary, ab
olympic park 1988+getting frustrated with calgary virtually non-exisitent public transit system
day 5: calgary, ab to banff, ab
camping at the tunnel mountain campground+checking out the town of banff, which looked kind of like the alpine resorts except everything was oddly new+writing couchsurfing requests from the local library+netherlands 3-2 uruguay+asking a fellow camper for some boiled water and getting a whole gasburner
day 6: banff, ab to lake louise, ab to kicking horse valley, bc (& back)
whitewater rafting on the kicking horse river(one of the most awesome experiences during the whole trip!)+a hike up to the famous lake louise+troubles finding food at safeway (by definition food is something that does not contain corn syrup, guar guar gum and/or sodium glutamate)
day 7: banff, ab to edmonton, ab (through calgary, ab)
night walking (sleep walking) along the north saskatchewan river+sleeping over at lara's relatives
day 8: edmonton, ab
the 12 hour tour of the city with dana: whyte avenue and the old strathcona district, downtown, the university
day 9: edmonton, ab to saskatoon, sk
riding the nightbus+discovering saskatoon berries and what can be made out of them+checking out saskatoon farmers market+couchsurfing at johana's
day 10: saskatoon, sk
western development museum+fair of agricultural technology+netherlands 0-1 spain at winston's pub downtown+also at winston's: bison burgers and stew+also at winston's: meeting up other local and foreign couchsurfers
Saturday, December 11, 2010
i meant to write the final chapter of this blog right after i returned to poland in the end of august, but off-line life absorbed me and i had no time for blogging. still, i want to have the last word as the creator and the only contributor to this canadian saga of mine. so much had happened in the last months of my stay in canada that i could write a solid book about my experiences. i will try to summarize this magical time here, just to give you a glimpse. also i will tell you what's going on now and what i want to happen in the future (i will do that in parts, so you don't get overwhelmed by catching up with me :D). so. ready for a ride? here we go!
part 1: the end of dialogue
at the end of june, the wonderful dialogue course i have written so much about had come to an end. as a class we organized an awesome public event at emily carr university at granville island. we presented our group projects (remember? what matters most!) and i also installed my artistic collage there. it looked something like this:
this image shows the beginning of the working process. all the pictures of colorful produce and hands were eventually connected with a laundry string. the installation as a whole was some sort of free hanging.. something. :-) but looked well cool and i was impressed with my artsiness. next to the installation i wrote:
FOOD MEANS EVERYTHING
to survive and grow humans have to eat. but food has always meant more than just being a fuel for the body. it is more than a sum of its nutrients; food means everything and leads to things that really matter. food can be a driving force behind physical and mental well-being, community building, moment-to-moment experiences, enjoyment of living, connection to the earth, and keeping the bellies and brains full and satisfied.
alas, the food we eat today is nothing like what our great-grandparents used to eat a hundred years ago. the food-imitations and food-like products constantly scream at us from the supermarket shelves, “save money, time and effort!” we seem to believe them, buy them and eat them. that’s how modern business and hectic lifestyle have driven us away from eating the real food and as a consequence lead us to forsake the things that really matter.
our focus shifted from quality to quantity in many important aspects of life. shift it back! refocus on eating real food and everything else will take care of itself.
keep food simple, colourful and real. keep food yours. where else will it take you?
yes, it was sad the course had finished and i needed to say goodbyes to the people, instructors and the whole spirirt of living dialogue.. but i gotta say that it has been one of the best academic experiences i have had. i am grateful i had a chance to ask the question "what matters most?" and... get deadly confused!