(Sunrise 2003 in Bolivia on the way to Argentina)

In Poland, all women’s names ending in the letter A. Malgorzata, Magda, Anna, Karolina etc. 100%. Bet on it. Men have a touch more variety but almost all names are derived from the Bible. Have a stab at translating Tomasz, Piotr, Mariusz, Lukasz, Jacek. have noticed a slight leaning towards Scottish names as well. The Prime Minister is called Donald. I know a few Roberts too. But I have yet to meet a Bruce. One reason for the ubiquity is the tradition of name days. Everyone in Poland has a name day. At least everyone I have met. It’s more important than a birthday. Presents are given, friends meet up and toast the name-holder.

I have a name day too. Unlike my birthday, I can’t ignore it. Being a known person is an effective tool of communication in my job. I would let it slide by unnoticed but gratefully received some beer and pens. Pens. Like biros. Might sound tight but my chewed pens are well-known here. Their broken spines and knawed tips raised eyebrows. I thanked all and passed the pens into the bottom of my bag. I prefer the weathered look.

It gets light very early in Poland more than I am used to. 4:34AM is my regular waking time right now. Despite going to bed close to 2am each evening, my body clock registers the first light as an overwhelming signal to lurch me into consciousness. The sky is pale, tinted with rouge. It doesn’t impact my eyes but dulls my senses back to sleep. I have no need for 4:34AM. Closing the blinds might help but I fear I will sleep straight to a more preferrable hour. 9am or so sounds rather attractive on a week days.

I am not for flogging myself for this company. I do my work, do it better than anyone before me according to my colleagues. I am part-time psychologist, part story-teller, intense relief from work and a goal to focus at outside the daily drugde. I enjoy my work, guiding people to better opportunties in life, opening minds and possibly, possibly inspiring them. It’s not really work at all.

Right gotta go to bed. Don’t wanna not wake up.


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