CF Goes To Poland (Part 1: Warsaw)

It’s a little after 5am here in Warsaw and I’m just wrapping my head around what I want to do today as I enjoy a cup a coffee on my apartment balcony.

Warsaw, Poland, 5am on June 23rd, 2022.

I’m surprised, honestly, how many people are already up and moving about in the street below me – feels like I should already be out there.

Visiting Poland has been on my bucket list since I was pretty young. Back in my early 20’s I had mapped out a whole Euro-trip for myself that would take me here, through Germany, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Austria. Every year after planning it I’d hope would be the year I actually make the trip but it never came to fruition. There was always something in the way (usually money) that stopped me from doing it.

Today’s a funny day for me so I can’t help reflect on what finally brought me here this time.

It’s June 23rd and tonight I’ll be bobbing my head along to Jimmy Eat World as they play the local Klub Proxima here; Suffice to say I never thought that would be the event that finally made me buy the plane ticket, but here we are.

A park near the Vistula River – Warsaw, Poland.

I got married on this day back in 2018 and if you’ve been following my blogs for a minute you’ve probably already caught the one about my wedding – the short version of the story is that it wasn’t a great decision and in retrospect I never should have gone through with the whole thing. We lasted just about 2 years before I pulled the plug on it and the 2 years that followed that decision to lead me here have been… well, interesting.

One of many churches here in Warsaw.

One thing always leads to another and so the sequence of events for me was something like:

1. Not so great marriage related thing happens.

2. Make the decision to get divorced.

3. Commit to that divorce and move out of shared home.

4. Move home to mom and dads to get things sorted out.

5. Move out of mom and dads to become an independent self sufficient adult again.

6. That whole Barrieland thing.

7. Unforeseen circumstances that lead to moving back home with mom and dad again.

8. Finding out Jimmy Eat World are playing in Warsaw on the same calendar date I got married and finally saying: hell, it’s been long enough.

9. Use up the last of your Aeroplan rewards points to buy that coveted ticket to Poland and turn the original Eurotrip into a solo-1 week in Poland.

10. Being here, on my balcony, listening to Something Loud as I get ready to start my second day in Warsaw.

And that’s sort of the funnier part to me. How many things I can attribute to being inspired or in some part led by a band to finally accomplish goals I’d set out for myself when I was much younger.

Vistula River.

It may seem a silly thing to come all this way for a rock show, but it’s really about a lot more than the show for me.

In a perfect world, when I envisioned myself ever getting married (which is not something I spent a whole lot of time thinking I would ever do), I’d imagine that the person I decided to marry would have the same interest in travel as me and that we’d plan all sorts of great trips to Europe, including one to Poland where we could explore and immerse ourself in the cities and culture together.

I had also hoped that the person I chose to marry would have the same interest in concerts and art and we’d have no trouble deciding on what shows to buy tickets for and both be equally excited to watch them.

Neither of those things ended up being the case in my marriage and in hindsight I have no idea how I ended up with someone so unbelievably so unlike me in those key areas.

Part of the Warsaw Ghetto brick wall dividing the Iron-Gate Square.

So, here we are, alone in Warsaw, doing those things I thought I would have spent the better part of the last decade doing and reflecting on why I stayed with someone for so many years that did not share the same goals or ideas as I did.

And I don’t quite have an answer for why it lasted as long as it did or why I let so many things go in the moment for the sake of not starting an argument, or under the assumption that one day things would be different.

I was right about that last part at least – one day things would be different but it wouldn’t be until I decided to live the life I wanted to live for myself, even if it meant doing it alone.

An alleyway full of graffiti in Warsaw.

So what’s on the agenda for today?

Well, after I finish up this coffee, I’m going to get myself cleaned up and put on some new clothes I’d bought a while back but haven’t had a chance to wear yet since it’s been so cold in Canada. Then I’m going to wander around the city, maybe check out a museum, and grab some pierogies for lunch to see how the real deal here compares to grandma’s and the ones I get in Roncesvalles in Toronto.

Then I’ll probably just wander around some more, go to the park to unwind before the show tonight.

Warsaw.

That’s really what I’m looking most forward to right now. Being at the show and not thinking about any of these other things on my mind tonight, enjoying a band I love to watch live in a new venue with a bunch of people I don’t know yet and the only thing that I know we share in common is that we all love Jimmy Eat World.

If I’m lucky, I’ll run into the band today and be able to say hi to everyone – another mild comfort from home to bring with me on my remaining days in Poland here.

So far everyone has been super nice here and it’s been pretty easy to get around, so hopefully that continues and I’ll have some stories to share by the end of this trip.

That’s all for now – time to get this day moving!

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