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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Warsaw

          After arriving in Warsaw on Saturday afternoon, we dropped our bags at the hotel and considered our options. Conscious of what little time we had in this city, we couldn't waste the afternoon. So we decided to head out into the Old Town and get a feel for Warsaw. The day before our trip, we had watched the movie "The Pianist" in preparation. The movie provided a bit of background to the city and the specific events throughout WWII that took place there. We learned that Warsaw had a Jewish population of 350,000 pre WWII, but by the end of 1945 it had been reduced to 11,500. Along with the Jewish population, the city of Warsaw had also suffered. So many bombs had rained down on the city, that it became the most destroyed city in world history. On a guided tour throughout the city, were shown picture after picture of comparisons from pre WWII destruction, post WWII destruction, and then the reconstructed city in person. It amazed me how closely they had replicated the destroyed buildings. Churches, castles and apartments had been put back together again brick by brick to once again resemble the original.


Aside from the constant fact that "yes, that was rebuilt after being destroyed", Old Town, Warsaw was quite pretty. Particularly in Old Town Market Square, the renewed buildings were vibrant and patterned. It did not disappoint me and I enjoyed the European feel.


Elena

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Chopin Museum - Warsaw, Poland

Before arriving in Poland, I did not know much about the pianist Frederic Chopin, except that I could play one of his Nocturnes on the piano.


As I discovered quite quickly upon arriving in Poland, Chopin was from Poland, and the Poles are very proud of sharing their nationality with him. You can find information about Chopin all over Warsaw—for example, there are 15 benches around the city dedicated to him; each bench plays one of his pieces and gives a little blurb of information about him.


The most interesting thing that I found out about Chopin in Poland is that he died and was buried in Paris...but his heart is in Poland. He was terrified about being buried alive, so he ordered that when he died, his heart should be cut out and brought to Poland. Now it is inside a pillar in a church in Warsaw which we visited.


Our last day in Poland, we visited the Chopin museum in Warsaw. It is in a beautiful building, the Ostrogski Palace. The Chopin Museum outlined the history of Chopin's life, and it contained various letters from Chopin to friends and family, many original manuscripts of his work, and multiple pictures and sculptures of him. My favorite parts of the museum were the manuscripts and the opportunity to listen to many of his pieces, which were so beautiful.






Though this trip to Poland was mainly about getting Polish Pottery and learning about the war, I loved learning about this amazing composer!

~Maddie

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Crazy Guy

"This is not a test, this is not a test." rang through our apartment tonight.  "There is an intruder on compound..."  As I closed the drapes I stole a glance at the playground.  It seemed so still, so silent.  The moon sparkled on the fresh layer of snow blanketing the earth.  As I drew the curtains I thought about our RSOs and Marines out there searching the grounds.  They do this for me.  They take their safety into their own hands to protect me and my children.  I thought about my husband, already called to the med unit.  His skills are needed because we do not live in a world of peace.  I do not know who is hurt or how bad.  It is either one of my friends who are my co-workers or the intruder.  My husband's calm and gentle hands may be helping someone who just compromised our safety.  I'm in a bit of shock.  When I am in an emergent state I tend to freeze up.  My mind stops working.  I like to keep my hands busy.  I cleaned the kitchen.  I try to pray but honestly, my robot mentality in these times can't even get words or thoughts threw to God.  He knows.  He knows I'm nervous.  He knows I'm incapable.  Tomorrow will dawn anew.  Life will go on.  But in this moment I am still before God knowing that only He is in control.

The next morning.  My husband came in after midnight.  Some crazy guy decided to climb the wall and cut himself up on the razor wire.  Brilliant.  But it's the crazies in this world that make me nervous.  Thank goodness that this crazy guy gave up.