Warsaw. This is where Kitty R. was born and brought up. It is the capital city, yet she spent her childhood in a converted stable, where in the yard there was a dog on a chain and three greenhouses around (with cucumber, primosus and lilies). To this day, she loves the fact that her childhood was based on the combination of the big city and the village at the same time.
Today Warsaw is different for her. Since she is not in the city permanently, Warsaw has become a bit foreign to her. Continuously pulsing with its fast rhythm, today it gives Kitty R. a real challenge to discover it again (where to eat now? Where to go for a walk? Which bus to take to get somewhere?). That’s why to move around Warsaw Kitty R. uses the same applications as anywhere else in the world. The city is changing so much. Only for friends, time seems to have stopped in place. Regardless of its passage, it is the same with her friends as if the clock did not exist at all, and the events during the separation did not really happen or at least they did not change anything.
Kitty R. enters the small grocery in Praga District.
Saleswoman: Oh, I’ve been thinking about you lately! They showed a program on TV about this trolley, the one you’ve been using to play with kids here on the yards. I have not seen you for a long time! *
Kitty R.: Oh … well… that’s very nice … I have not lived in Poland for 3 years now, and actually last night I just came from Bangkok …
Saleswoman: Oh, that’s great! So what? I’ll give you some strawberries for homemade juice, no?
Kitty R.: Well, sure!
For Kitty R., it’s all like living in three dimensions. The first is life abroad that is in Bristol. The second is life on the go, like her six-month trip through Asia. The third dimension is Warsaw, that is her hometown. And here the puzzles of dialogues begin. How to talk about life in Bristol to friends from Warsaw, when the words of Kitty R. do not have specific references to memories or pictures for them? How to tell people whom she met in Bristol that she comes from Warsaw, when these words do not translate into any real ideas for them? Who will understand and truly feel how it really was in Laos? Or where is it best to do a picnic in Bristol? Or how pleasant to the heart Praga Disctrict can be? Who can understand, if not the one who has experienced all this at least?
This time, among the intensity of meetings and the real few week-long chain of hospitality, Kitty R. broke the three dimensions. Here, the Argentine, whom Kitty R. met in Laos, came to Poland to spend some wonderful days with her. That’s why when Kitty R. says: Hey L., in Laos they have a lush pumpkin soup! That is when L. knows what’s going on. Kitty R. does not need to make a further description, because L. knows the taste and smell of this specific soup. She just knows. Or when her friends from England, B. and M came to Warsaw and when she says to them: hey, let’s listen to Massive attack, they know what kind of music it is and where this band comes from. And the situation has its apogee in total when Kitty R. meets W. A few years ago she left Poland for him. And so he knows how life is in Warsaw, and how it is in Bristol. He also travelled throughout Asia, and now lives in Uganda. A real mindf**k (and what a pleasure and understanding in conversation at the same time!).
Kitty R. stands on Ząbkowska St. in front of a bar with a graceful name: In the vapours of the absurd. Inside the bar Kitty’s friends from England and Spain are waiting for her. Suddenly, a broad-shouldered man approaches her, he stops, and then looks intensely and defiantly into Kitty’s eyes.
-You do not recognize me?
-Well…you have a very familiar face- says Kitty R. carefully and the cables under the dome are almost burnt because she can not associate his face with any name.
-It’s me, you and T. used to provide activities for us from Brzeska St. Oh, look, and there’s my wife with our child, ha ha, the times passes quickly, right? And what about you?
-Oh, cool! Congratulations! I do not live in Poland. Everything is okay, ta.
-Well, I always knew that you would go once into the world, that you will move on.
And then Kitty R. remembers everything. This man belonged to her first group of pupils 10 years ago, when she started working as a street pedagogue. He was a young teenager then, and today he has his own family.
If you ask Kitty R. what she recommends to see in Warsaw, she will answer … It’s best to drop soap bubbles with B. and M. or play chess and backgammon with them. You can also lie on a blanket by the Vistula River and pluck the sun to bite some fresh sunflower seeds. You can also play badminton in Skaryszewski Park or go for a night walk and look at every Prague gate supported by a quart of flavoured vodka. You can also go for a long walk to the King’s Park, just to sit together on the bench and feed the pigeons around. And share your memories and at the same time build new ones together. And if you’re hungry, there is a simple choice: dumplings or ramen. Because as with B. everything should be just a pleasure. (Did you know that B. is Kitty’s webmaster?). And if you want to listen to some music then you can find a good American folk music on the Vistula boulevard or jam session in Praga.
Kitty R. thinks that when travel ticking off monuments and known places, f or Kitty R., the most important thing is to just stay in town, take a long walk and make things that you just like to do in life, in general. And then the memories will build themselves. And that’s how the memories will be based on what you like to do, so they will simply be the best! Kitty R. loves soap bubbles for this example. These can be played always and everywhere. And they are the best when done with great people!
*Kitty R. worked for several years as a street pedagogue, initially at the Mobile School project, later working with her own groups of pupils.