Poland 2

   Ada made a delicious pickle soup yesterday . I had discussions with some of the folks about the use of “dinner” and “supper” , during which I realized that I haven’t heard the word supper used for a long long time . Is it used in America any more ?  And , even before it went out of use , I used it interchangeably with the word dinner . Sabina the English student was significantly shocked with our sloppy use of perfectly good words , shocked when I told her that , as far as I knew , “supper” was out . She complained about her English-Polish books not telling her what I was . Language changes , girl , and so it goes .

   Sabina wants to be correct in her use of English . Exceedingly correct . She asks me grammar questions that I can’t answer . ” Do you use past perfect conjunctive superlative infinitive in a sentence like that ? ”  I don’t admit that I never even learned such grammar terms in school if we ever studied them . What I tell her is ” Americans don’t care ” . That never seems to go over well with serious Polish studiers of English . I’ve told her several times that , as fine and diligent a student of language as she obviously is , she must have missed that day of class when they said that Americans don’t really care to be exactly correct on points of grammar . Some of them live an entire life without knowing genitive case , past perfect , or conditional this-or-that .  Amazing !

  And then there’s the guy named Wesley who I met years ago , before so many Poles began to learn English . He was brought to me as the local speaker of English . Wesley had worked two years for an old Jewish tailor in New York . He made a sign of rolling up his sleeves , Wesley did , and said proudly to me , ” I warsh the schtinkin’ shoits ! ” to explain what work he did in America . It was great . Great accent .

     I’m not being critical about Polish English students . Most of the young people I’ve met speak at least some English without a noticeable accent . I speak about ten words of Polish and no doubt with a goofy accent .

    I wanted to mention the sidewalks here in Szczecin . They are made of large stones laid out with smaller stones or bricks laid in between . Have heavy shoes to walk them in , I would say , if you come . I brought sneakers [ I use the word “sneakers” because you will know what they are ; but my family always said ” tennis shoes” . Same thing . I never used the term ” sneakers” before . I think it’s East coast usage and sounds strange to me even now ]. And watch for the cars because they pull right up there on the sidewalks , over the curbs , to park . The word ” sidewalk” loses some of it’s key meaning when the walking place becomes a parking place . Oh well . Just be aware that a driver might nose up into your sidewalk space at any moment , hunting desperately for a piece of sidewalk to squeeze his car in to .

   Back to the pickle soup . Ada’s mother brought over a package of something wrapped tightly in a plastic bag . To me it looked like a clump of little white dumplings . Ada boiled them . She and her mom peeled them , one by one , and slipped the ( slimey !) little lima bean out and popped them one by one into their mouths . Oh , so good ! A pile of bean skins piled up on each of their plates . I never saw lima beans served this way . Ada says that the Armenian stores in L.A. sell  lima beans like this . I won’t go after them when I get back . I hate lima beans . I’ve always hated lima beans .  

   Last night there was a traffic accident outside on the street . A couple of young women all dressed up for a party ( it was Saturday night !) tried , I guess, to out run a tram and didn’t quite make it . The tram hit their rear fender (Do cars still have fenders ? ) , spun them around a couple of times , squished the corner of the car and knocked off the bumper . No one was hurt [ at least not until she tells daddy what happened to his shiney new car ] .The cops were on the scene immediatley . An ambulance seemed to have already been  there , by coincidence , and it left after checking things out .

  I am drinking my bottle of Bosman and then going to bed . My heels hurt a little from walking the rough sidewalks in tennis shoes but I switched to sandals with heavier soles and all is well . I’m looking forward to having more of that pickle soup in the morning . With a piece of good Polish bread .

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