Monday, 14 January 2019

Christmas in Pomiechówek

Since I first arrived to Pomiechówek I was eagerly expecting the Christmas period. Everyone talked about traditional dishes, snow and temperatures below zero. However, the most repeated event throughout these three months was the Art Bazar. This is a kind of handicraft market that takes place twice a year in the sports hall, before Christmas and Easter, and it is one of the biggest occasions in town.

It was celebrated on the 2nd of December, so Marine, the volunteer at Pompa, and I were in charge of some of the decorations for the place, as well as for the cultural center and the library. Therefore the two previous weeks we were super busy developing ideas and preparing all of the designs. I think in the end it looked pretty well and we had lots of fun.

 At the library there was also a lot of hustle and bustle since they would have their own stand to sell books as well as paint children’s faces.

Finally the day arrived and it was probably the most active day in my volunteering experience so far.

Two other volunteers from our organization had also come to help in two workshops, Origami and little plush toys. They had a table for them in the room for children and, next to it, it was the library table to paint children’s faces, where Ewelina and I were going to work for the next four hours. They literally flew by, for children came all of the time to get some make up on. They were so many it was exhausting! At the beginning I was a bit scared because I had never painted faces before, so I was quite slow but little by little I gained more confidence and the paintings looked better. Afterwards, I also had time to see all of the stands and to do some Christmas shopping. 
                                          It was a really crazy day!

Right after the Art Bazar things seemed to calm down a bit around Pomiechówek. However, just two weeks before Christmas, when Marine and I were going back home, the town became super active again! We were invited to a few Christmas events, starting with the Volunteers Christmas party at Warsaw. All of the group of volunteers of our association and a few mentors gathered around some food and mulled wine to chat and sing karaoke. It was a really memorable night!

I was also invited to join the library team in a dinner celebrated in Nowy Dwór Mazowiecki with some other librarians of the surrounding towns. It was a very special supper since it was my first time doing the  “opłatek.” This Polish tradition consists on breaking a piece of flat bread with somebody while you give each other your best wishes. I had no idea of this at first but when the girls started talking I was certainly touched by their words. I think it is a beautiful tradition that we should have in Spain! 

We repeated this ceremony twice more at the culture center since we also attended the Christmas dinner of associations and volunteers of Pomiechówek and the lunch of workers of the library and Pompa. So during our last week in town we ate so much traditional Polish food! My favorite without a doubt are “Pierogi z kapustą i grzybami,” this is, the traditional Polish dumplings filled with mushroom and cabbage. I also enjoyed very much the fish and the beetroot soup.

That same week, Marine and I also gave a presentation about the Christmas traditions in our countries, France and Spain, and cooked some typical deserts for Polish people to try them.

Moreover, when we woke up the last 2018 Sunday at Pomiechówek, we found out that it had snowed during the night, so everything was covered in white! We sure rushed to the forest to enjoy the day and it did not melted during the following days. Pomiechówek sure looks beautiful like this!


Now the Christmas time it’s over and, as Marine says, the volunteering period feels a bit like “chapter 2.” Everything is still under a layer of snow and it is likely to stay like this for the next two months, needless to say that the temperatures are dropping below 0.  However days are slowly getting longer and we already have some projects and events planned for the next months. 

    So let’s see what adventures will bring us this new year!