Belarus? Not today Satan.

 This week I started my internship at the POLIN Museum and everything has gone about how I expected it to. As of right now, I am organizing the data of the participants of the conference that is in August. Honestly, I am surprised by the age range of people that will be attending because when I came in I thought that it would be people the same age as me. That is not the case because there are people who are getting their bachelors and masters so I think that will be interesting to see how they come together to learn about their common history. Next week, I will begin to proof read the professors biographies and plans for the conference because I will need to create the day by day itineraries.

I haven’t experienced much of Warsaw yet because I have been settling into my apartment, but I have met all of my flatmates and they seem very nice. It is cool to live with people from all over the world. As of right now, I will with someone from Ukraine, Russia, Poland, and France.

This is a view of the Palace of Culture and Science, but it was originally known as the Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science until his name was revoked.

Yesterday, my friend Abby (who is also a UofM intern here in Poland) and I planned on going to Belarus for the weekend because it was easier than getting into Russia. Through our research, we found that we could enter Belarus for five days without a visa, which was perfect for a weekend trip. We decided to take the Polski bus system because it was significantly cheaper than flying there. Around midnight, we passed through the Polish border control just fine. When we tried to pass through Belarus border control… well that is a different story. Apparently, the five day visa only counts if you’re flying into Minsk, not taking public transportation. So, we got denied entry into Belarus and one of the security guards put us onto a bus with two random strangers to go back to Poland. Of course, this was not ideal because we were both very scared on how we would get back to Warsaw in the middle of the night.

The Jewish Cemetery that is located near my flat. This cemetery was established in 1806 and tt has over 250,000 graves, some including those that lead the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.

Well, we had to wait three hours just to go back through the Polish border control and then the drivers took us to the train station (thank god). After that, it was another three hours until we arrived back into Warsaw where we slept for a good part of the day. People have asked me on if I want to try to get a visa and visit Belarus again. As far as I am concerned, Belarus will be the last country I plan on going to any time soon.

However, I did not waste the weekend because I have been exploring Warsaw’s museums like the National Museum, the Polish Army Museum, and the Uprising Museum.

One thing that I have noticed about Warsaw that is completely different than Ann Arbor is that no one jaywalks when there is no traffic coming their way. What I learned is, is that people have to pay a fine if they are caught jaywalking so now I dutifully wait my turn although my Ann Arbor habits tell me to go.