It’s alright! (Yes, I know that’s not the first time I’ve referenced the song, so what??) 😉
Today was our last full day in Warsaw. At this point in the trip, it’s hard to say much, since all of us are pretty beat. Check the odometer–that’s a good 1,200 miles we put on our Polish Mission-mobile from Bielsko-Biala, to Gdansk, to Warsaw, and all the stops in between. It was pretty intense, and though we utilized every moment we could for relaxation, it usually came in the twilight hours, and in short bursts, with the great need for sleep. Not that I’m complaining–far from it actually. It just goes to show how much we like and live what we do. We’re excited to bring the best of Polish culture to the US by going on trips like these. Being here, even though we move with the logistics of a M.A.S.H. unit on tight schedules, anyone can see that we’ve done quite a bit of business here for our mission.
Today was one of the busiest days of all, and as always we brought our A-game to the meetings.
First stop was the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for a meeting with Mateusz Stasiek. He’s director of a specific department of the ministry devoted to cooperation with Polonia Abroad. We also met with our long term friend Joanna Kozinska-Frybes, who is deputy director of the same department, as well as a Presidential Ambassador. We had worked with her in the past when she was Consul-General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles, so it was great to catch up with a friend! We introduced The Polish Mission to Director Stasiek, and without a minute to loose, it was off to the Polish Senate.
We hopped a cab to Smolna street, for our meeting with Karolina Orzechowska. We had a limited amount of time, so we were sure to have a productive discussion about a critical topic: grants. We depend on the Polish Government for not only cutting-edge cultural programming, but also financial support for deserving projects. A perfect example of this is the Dziennik Polski newspaper: Many are aware of our long-standing work to digitize the Dziennik Polski, Michigan’s oldest Polish daily newspaper. We’ve invested a considerable amount of our operating budget, and even with the great support of our donors, at the end of the day, we’ve been saddled with quite a big chunk left to pay for. That project and many others in the works will be screened by the Polish government, and if they’re deemed valuable for Poland’s national heritage, it’s our privilege to execute them back home in the States.
After that, it was time for a cappuccino, as is the usual custom, before going to the United States in Warsaw! It was sure nice to speak English at one of our many meetings this trip–it was only too bad that it had to wait until the end!! We all introduced ourselves and our mission to Alison Dilworth and Aaron Fishman, putting special emphasis on some very cool student exchange programs that we have cooking for the future. Introducing ourselves to the US Embassy was a strategic move that will hopefully be very helpful in what we expect to be a future rich with more cross-Atlantic cultural swaps.
And THAT was our last official meeting of the trip! Of the printed presentations, the copies of the Mission, issues of Tygodnik Polski (the Modern-day Dziennik Polski), and the many other documents, publications, and gifts, they’re all gone now (and most refreshingly, off my back).
We’re exhausted, broke, and missing friends and family, but I have one more important thing to take care of in Saska Kępa before I leave this country. Since my suitcases are already packed, I’m about to hit the beach with an old friend and burn the midnight oil. Why go to sleep if you have to wake up at 3:30 am<x-apple-data-detectors://
Thanks for the memories everyone.