Many people have said they wanted to hear stories from my European trip and I’d love to share them all with everyone. However, there are a LOT of stories and I’m sure I could talk about my trip much longer than anyone would actually be interested in listening about my adventures. For this reason, I’ve picked my top 10 moments or experiences from the trip and have shared them below, in no particular order. There are so many more I could have picked, these are just the ones that stood out a little above the rest. I hope you enjoy!
1. Polish food!! – Paczki (Polish doughnut), pierogi (Polish dumpling), kielbasa, zurek (sour rye soup), and more! Polish food is so delicious and I got to eat quite a bit of it these last couple weeks.
2. Exploring Toruń with Pati, Travis, and Pati’s cousin, Mateu. – Toruń is amazing! The polish architecture is beautiful and it was decorated for Christmas, which made it even better. We also took a tour of a gingerbread, or Piernika, factory because Toruń is famous for Piernika and the first gingerbread factory was actually in Poland.
3. Seeing a Polish church service – Travis and Pati’s church was really similar to many American churches except the fact that it was all in Polish. Their production team did a great job and their pastor had a lot of enthusiasm and passion when he spoke. The worship was definitely my favorite part, it’s always amazing to me hearing people worship in a different language. Especially when you recognize the song and know what it is in English, yet hear them singing it in their native tongue.
4. New Year’s Eve in Warsaw – this was my first time spending New Year’s outside the country and it was so cool!! We had dinner at a Polish restaurant with two couples that Pati and Travis are friends with, as well as Pati’s parents, and I had a traditional polish kielbasa. Then we walked around the Square and saw all the amazing Polish architecture, as well as the Christmas decorations around the Square. Then we went to this New Year’s Eve concert near the Square where we listened to the band, counted down to midnight with everyone else who was there, and watched fireworks all around us.
5. Playing games with Travis and Pati – they love games. Like a lot, haha. So we played a game anytime we had free time (even in restaurants while waiting for our food), which was a lot of fun. We’re all pretty competitive so it definitely got interesting sometimes.
6. Taking part in Journey to Bethlehem – This is basically a walkthrough live nativity scene that’s telling the Christmas and Gospel story to everyone who walks through. I met so many amazing people and was actually able to be part of both a record breaking night AND year. The record breaking night had over 2,800 people walk through in one night and then for the year (3 weekends total), they had 11,700 people walk through!! I got to be part of around 6,000 of those!
7. Helping with and seeing Gospel Joy – Gospel Joy is a Polish Gospel choir that I was introduced to the last time I was in Poland. While I was out there this time, I got to attend both the adult and the kids rehearsals, help with a Gospel Joy workshop in a kindergarten class, and get to know several of the people involved with the choir.
8. Spending time with Andrezj and Anna’s family – Andrezj is one of the founders of Gospel Joy, as well as a missionary who’s working diligently to further the Gospel in Poland, and I stayed with him and his family. Him and Anna are great, their kids are super sweet, and their dog is cute and fluffy.
9. Exploring London – I had a 15 hour layover in London so, although most of it was overnight, I was able to explore some before my next flight. I took a double decker tour bus so I could see as much as possible!
10. The people! – seriously, those I already knew, as well as those I met on the trip, made this trip what it was. They’re amazing and I’m so thankful for each and every one of them.
If you have any questions about my trip, feel free to ask! Thanks for reading this!