Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Arrival in Poznan

Getting Settled

We arrived in Poznan Wednesday, September 16, after a pleasant and uneventful journey – direct from Charlotte to Munich (about 8 ½ hours), a short layover, then a direct connecting flight to Poznan (less than one hour).  Weather through Saturday was quite warm and sunny – reached 88 F on Thursday (31 C).  Since Sunday, it’s been cooler but pleasant.

We’ve been quite busy getting settled in our apartment and making the necessary arrangements for everyday life: opening a Polish bank account, activating mobile phones, arranging for Internet in our apartment, etc.  Every step takes time to navigate.  During my military career, moving to other countries was fairly easy; we were stationed in Germany, England and Belgium for about 10 years collectively.  In each case, there was infrastructure in place to accommodate the transition for active duty military members.  With a Fulbright, we obviously need to be much more independent, and we find that our overseas experiences in the military permit us to be much more flexible and resilient now in that regard.  We expect challenges, and we’re prepared to deal with them. 

Nevertheless, because we enjoyed a 6-month Fulbright assignment here in Poznan in 2012, we feel very much at home here.  We’ve already reconnected with great Polish friends, and we comfortably use public transportation like natives.  Well, we did make one mistake our first full day here, taking the wrong bus.  Being flexible, though, we simply got off that bus, took the next bus heading back to the point of our mistake, then caught the correct bus – total time lost was around 10 minutes.  For convenience, there’s an excellent website for trip planning on public transportation in Poznan and even an “App.”  Click on the image below, then click on Journey Planner if you’d like to plan your route ahead of your visit to Poznan.

For example, if I enter my apartment as the starting point (by clicking on the map) and my host university as the destination, the site tells me instantly to walk five minutes to the Nr. 5 Tram, ride it for seven minutes to the St. Martin stop, then walk five minutes to my university – a 17-minute journey.  The site/app will also tell me when the next tram is due, but they run so frequently that I really don’t think about timing at that level.
Of course, living here ten months means we needed a “set of wheels,” and we have made that significant purchase.  The only “wheels” of our own we plan to use is this handy trolley.  It’s sturdy, lightweight and carries a substantial load of groceries and other purchases.  It’s easy to lift on and off trams and buses and folds conveniently for storage.  Excellent gas mileage as well.

Robin with our new set of wheels.

Enjoying Poznan

It hasn’t been all work.  We took advantage of the splendid weather during our first days as well.  On Friday evening, we made the 15-minute journey on foot and by tram to the Stary Rynek – the Old Market Square that is the heart of Poznan’s Stary Miasto – Old City – area.  For a good part of the year, the square’s many fine restaurants and cafés are augmented with outdoor seating where visitors can enjoy food, beverages and the picturesque setting.  We did our part.

Alan taking advantage of a pleasant Friday evening on the Stary Rynek -- Old Market Square

Next Stage

Next week, classes begin for the Poznan University of Economics where I will be teaching.  I’m slated to teach two graduate classes: one on Internal/Employee Communication Management, and one on International/Global Public Relations.  I will also be expected to provide regular guest lectures on a variety of public relations topics at PUE and at other universities in Poland, perhaps even in neighboring countries.  I will also be called upon to provide advice and counsel to graduate students preparing master’s theses and doctoral dissertations.  I have no doubt my plate will be full during our time here. 

Thanks for visiting my blog!  Talk to you again soon. 

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