April 18, 2003 - Personal Web Site: Entropy - a Peace Corps Zine

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Entropy - a Peace Corps Zine



Entropy - a Peace Corps Zine

Entropy
. . . hypothetical tendency for all matter and energy in the universe to evolve toward a state of inert uniformity . . .
Volume I March Ď97 Number 1
34-483 Lipnica Wielka na Orawie Poland

General News

My computer is here! My fingers are now dancing on the keypad, and my butt is sore from sitting in front of it for so long. Iím not complaining though: Itís a joyful pain, one Iíve been waiting to experience . . . (Well, Iím going to stop now before that goes too far.)

While waiting for my computer it was at times like I was an expectant mother. The time frame was almost perfect: eight and a half months. And any time I saw people who knew of my plight, they would ask, "Howís the computer coming?" with such a look of compassion and genuine interest. They would stroke my belly and ask me, "Do you know if itís a boy or a girl yet?" I had even begun picking out names for it. And of course there was the morning sickness . . .

Seriously, this whole experience has been rather ironic. Here I was, a Peace Corps volunteer, upset because he didnít have his computer. When I first decided to give "The Toughest Job Youíll Ever Love" a try, I imagined myself writing in my journal with a leaky pen by the bouncing light of a kerosene lantern somewhere in Africa. "Peace Corps is about doing without," I thought. (Little did I know . . .) And of course I assumed that I would be without my computer. But once I found out I was going to Poland, and once I read that PC administration recommended that we bring a laptop if we had one, I realized that nothing was really going to change as far as my writing goes: I would still rely on my computer. Continued


Contents

Polish Word of the Month

Quote of the Month

Random Thought

Transitions

Why It Takes A Day to Get Anywhere

Policing the Free Market

How To Say "Yes" in Lipnica

Note about the "primere issue" of "Entropy"

Transitions or "That beer costs how much!?"

Iím in Poland during in a time of change. Of course thereís the change from communism to good ole red-blooded American capitalism, but this brings with it a whole host of other changes. For one, there is a great change in national priorities. Getting into the United Europe Gig is of great importance. And this in turn creates its own problems, because like any big bureaucracy, the EU has a huge list of regulations which nations applying for membership must meet. One of the most contentious issues is currency. And before Poland could even consider itself likely for membership, its monetary system had to undergo a huge change. Continued

Why It Takes A Day to Get Anywhere

The preferred mode of transportation in Poland is the bus. There are city buses, intercity buses, minibuses, and international buses, to name a few. The other main option is the train. There are four kinds of trains: two of the four are slow; the other two are equally fast, but one costs a little more than the other. (Ironically, the slowest train is the "osobowy pociag" which would translate to "the peopleís train." No comment here on the various meanings of "slow.") For getting around town, though, nothing beats a bike. And of course there are the growths we toter around on and call legs. Most people rely on all of these forms of transportation, sometimes within the same day: I could walk to get my bike, then ride my bike to Jablonka to catch a bus to Kraków to catch a train to Warszawa. Continued

Polish Word of the Month: zamek

It means three things:
a lock
a castle
a zipper.
All three are means of security, I guess.


Random Thought . . .

No stream rises higher than its source. What ever man might build could never express or reflect more than he was. It was no more than what he felt. He could record neither more nor less than he had learned of life when the buildings were built ... His philosophy, true or false, is there.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Policing the Free Market

Capitalism is a fairly new concept in Poland, and it has brought about changes in Polish stores: you can actually find things to buy. My friend tells me of times when store shelves were empty, and anytime you saw a line in a store, you simply queued up even though you had no idea what you were actually standing in line for. It was something, and thatís what mattered. But now all that has changed. Bananas were scarce even in big cities; now theyíre in almost every little corner market. Capitalism has brought availability in a way that communism never did. (Notice, I said "Never did," not "Never could.") All the same, this does not mean that all things are available every day. In Lipnica, anyway. Eggs for example might be Jim Neighborís "Impossible Dream" one day, and the next day thereíll be at least 1x1023 on the counter. Capitalism has improved availability, but consistency still needs a bit of work. Continued

How To Say "Yes" in Lipnica

"Oh, they donít speak Polish there," said my counterpart English teacher on the way to Lipnica for the first time. "They speak Orawian, a mix of Polish, Slovakian, and a bit of German." "Great," I thought to myself. "I just spent three months studying Polish, not Orawian . . ." Of course everyone knows "proper" Polish, for Orawian is only a dialect, so it has only created minor difficulties. But unfortunately, one difficulty is with the simple word, "Yes."

In formal, "proper" Polish, "yes" is "tak." It is said quickly and with a softened "k" at the end. Orawian for "yes" is "hej" which is pronounced just like, "Hey!" And usually with the same enthusiasm. My first encounter with "hej" was in the shop near my apartment. I was standing patiently in line when suddenly, behind me, there erupted a loud, "Hey!" Of course I didnít know that the lady was saying "Hej!" in answer to the shop keeperís question. I only thought that someone was trying to get my attention. I looked around quickly to see if something was about to fall on me or hit me, but I saw nothing. Still, I was a little confused . . . Continued


Quote of the Month

On a test containing items about the first conditional, students were to put scrambled words into the correct order to form a sentence. One student, instead of writing "If you have a problem, I will help you," wrote "You will have a problem if I help you." (Since it was grammatically correct, I gave her credit.)

Note about the "primere issue" of "Entropy"

This comes from a desire to wax eloquent about my time in Poland and is by no means an accurate reflection of the silliness I can sink to. I had a lot to say in this first issue, so itís a bonus "double issue," for the same price as a single issue (available at newstands throughout Lipnica). Future issues my be shorter and therefore easier to handle . . .

"You Want Me to Eat What?"

How to Drink in Lipnica

The Night God Came for a Visit



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Story Source: Personal Web Site

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Poland

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