…the time lapse between 1998 and 2003 was a quick one. Looking at this period of time, nothing much seems to have changed.
In May 2003 some great changes were awaiting me. Only a couple of months earlier I had applied to and been accepted to university in England. Right after receiving that letter of acceptance I had some sort of an epiphany on a bus – I decided to take a year off after graduation in order to have the first adventure of my life. In Poland.
In May I worked, saving money for the great adventure and also for a trip to Hungary at the end of July. At the end of the month I graduated with good marks, being among the top 5% students in the country in English and Swedish. Now it seems quite incomprehensible that I managed to get good marks in German and French as well. One reason for pride then (and why not even now) was that I took the national exams in five languages; in all languages except French did I manage to squeeze myself into the top 20%. In French, I was 1 point away from reaching that limit.
Back then I read a lot. In the winter of 2002-03 I had had an enormous fall-out with some of my best friends. Over a boy, what else? I felt lonely and depressed. Maybe that was the reason I yearned for some adventure in unknown lands. England was unknown, but not so out of the ordinary. Poland sounded far cooler.
I was very restless back then, and far too cocky for my own good. I was happy to finally get rid of the place where I’d grown up and felt like an alien most of my life. The feeling of adventure was strong, the world was lying at my feet. In many ways that lonely spring of 2003 was an important one. Had it not been for the emotionally shattering events, I might not have ended up in Poland and started discovering and unveiling my fascination for Central and Eastern Europe.