Last Full Day in Krakow
Jun 3, 2013
Tags: global leadership
By Anne Harmon
Last full day in Krakow!! For our last day every one was free to experience any last adventures in Poland. Personally my morning was filled with my first experience in a Polish Catholic Mass. It is so fascinating experiencing something you know so well yet can not cosmetically understand at all. As I sat there it was not the prayers I recited or the word I recognized, because Polish is not my strong point, but the mutual feeling that united the whole congregation that made it such a powerful experience. This leads me to the main topic of discussion for this blog.
As I mentioned we all did various activities for our last day so to blog about mine alone would be rather selfish so instead I will speak about our mutual feelings we felt as a group and the feelings that were expressed in a deeper level with the polish people. Throughout our trip here we have faced many language barriers. While many do speak English the sweet old lady on the bus a lot of the times does not. Many times the busses were narrowed to standing room only so naturally as a wiser woman or man boarded the bus many of us would allow he or she to have our seat. Such a little act had such a great reward. Many times the precious woman would respond with "Dziekuje", thank you. We would smile and node however then the ladies usually continued to lean in and make small talk. After smiling and nodding we would usually respond with "sorry only English" or "sorry no Polish". This would not stop them however it was okay because it was not the words they were saying but the meaning of them, that mutual feeling that we are all in it for the same thing and that barring all other barriers made us one, allowed us to have a mutual moment of sameness, a mutual moment of humanity. These experiences were not limited to the bus. They were experienced in restaurants when the waitress would do everything to make sure we understood each other but even in the end if we had some sort of miscommunication it didn't matter because we were in it together.
As leaders many times people get so caught up in how they word something or what cosmetic words they can use to express what they mean. However, many times just a look, a smile, a nod means more than the most eloquently spoke phrase. For us this trip was about experiencing just that, to get ride of the cosmetics and focus in the meaning behind our actions. In our wrap up farewell dinner we all spoke of how we have been changed from this experience and are going back a different person. This is not because of any genius speech we heard or any elaborate undergoing. Rather it is because of our interactions with other human beings not with words but with meanings and feelings. Isn't that what life is about, interactions with other humans. There is one thing that connects us all Polish, Czech, American, and it is not language, it is feeling, it is humanity.
Pictured below is a photo of my first bus encounter, I wanted to remember this experience so I snapped a shot as she exited the bus (lady in the tan coat). Also pictured is the Krakow tram and another photo I captured which I feel is a great example of our human relation.