5 Things You Must Do In Warsaw

5 Things You Must Do In Warsaw

Pierogi and pączki aren't all Poland has to offer.

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This summer, I finally had the opportunity to go to Poland and visit my family, a trip I was always desperate to take but couldn't due to finances or simple bad timing. My entire family lives in the country, so, as a resident of America, I never had the chance to meet my grandmothers, my cousins (I have over 40 of them), any relatives at all.

Fortunately, in the summer of 2018, I took a plane and met everyone (or as many as I could). There is truly no feeling similar to seeing an aunt that you only knew through a few brief Facebook chat, or seeing the town that your mother's lived in as a child that she always described to you.

I was initially frightened to enter Poland, because although my Polish is pretty good, reading the language is often difficult for me. I did not know how I was going to navigate my way through the streets, especially in a bustling city like Warsaw. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that almost everywhere you go, English translations are easily accessible. This is what made me realize that Warsaw is basically the perfect vacation spot, and after exploring virtually the entire city, I figured out the best places to go.

Explore Łazienki Park

Also known as Royal Park, this is truly one of the most breathtaking areas I have ever seen. It was once one of the many houses the King owned. As you walk around the park, you will not only see beautiful fountains and flowers everywhere you go, but you have the opportunity to view the inside of the building where the King resided. The area holds a lot of historical significance for Poland, and it's the ideal area to get your Instagram photo.

Visit the Center for Contemporary Art

This is the type of museum that I have never been exposed to in America. Although it may seem a little scary or creepy at first, the exhibits are so enticing and intricate that one could literally spend hours investigating just one piece. It makes you appreciate art and the broad spectrum that word includes. From disfigured human sculptures with two heads to dark rooms filled with balloons meant to replicate limbs, the center provides viewers with an experience they could not forget even if they wanted to!

Shop at Blue City Mall

The Blue City mall is the best place to get some of your own European style clothes or to get a gift for your friend back home. It's over seven stories tall, so you can really spend all day there. There are plenty of food courts with international cuisine (if you're already sick of pierogi), clothing stores, and even an area to mini golf! No matter what age you are, you'll find something you enjoy in the Blue City mall!

Eat at Tel Aviv Restaurant

For my fellow animal lovers who think that Poland won't have any options for them, Tel Aviv is a perfect restaurant for both meat-eaters and tofu enthusiasts! Located in what's known as the "Vegan District" (or, as my Polish uncle refers to it, the "Hipster District"), this is a great area to pick up a delicious dinner. The Mediterranean style food is not only delicious, but both kosher and vegan! When I visited, their specials included dishes such as an "Insta-Friendly Salad" and an "Anti-Trump BLT Sandwich."

Walk Through the Old Town Market Place

The Old Town Market Place is traditionally referred to as Rynek Starego Miasta, located near the center of Warsaw. After World War II, the entire area was completely destroyed, so it is incredible to see how everything has been rebuilt into a bustling district filled with activity. Whether you prefer listening to street performers play the accordion or just need a place to get your pączki, the Old Town has everything Poland has to offer.

Wherever you end up in Warsaw, there is always something entertaining to see or do. Baw się dobrze!

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To The Girl Who Hasn't Been Herself Lately

Your spark return, and you will shine like you were meant to.
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Life gets tough. Life gets too much to handle sometimes, and those times make you stronger. However, right now, it seems like you have lost yourself.

It’s difficult when you catch yourself not being you. When you do something or act a certain way and just wonder, “what did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening? When will it get better?” The way you’re feeling is not so much that you’re unhappy, you just feel weird.

Your day will come. I promise you. This is just a phase.

The day you realize how much you have grown from this point in time will be your reward. It is so hard to see now, and I feel your pain.

Your light will return to you. Your pure bliss moments, they are seeking you. Your laughter where your tummy aches is in your reach.

Our moods change far too often for us as humans to understand why, but the encounters you make every day have this effect on us.

You must remember the pure happiness you experienced before your first heartbreak, before the first friend became someone you thought they weren’t, before you lost your innocence. That was a time of true joy as you had not a care in the world for the things that would harm you. Better yet, you didn’t have the option to experience them because you were just a child.

The world can be an ugly place, and your attitude towards life can change every day. One thing is for certain: you did not lose who you are internally. We all put on a face for the world. For the people who we try to impress. For the life we want to live. For the things we want to achieve.

Your definitive personality is still in the works. Believe it or not, it always will be. Times like this change us for the better even though we can’t see it.

Your happiness will return. You will be a better, stronger version of you. In fact, you will be the best version of you yet.

Once this phase is over, you will be okay. This I promise you.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Sutton

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What It's Like Being A West Coaster Attending College On The East Coast

From California to New Jersey, here are changes I've encountered and how I've handled them.

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Aside from better pizza and bagels, I've encountered a lot of changes since I've moved to New Jersey. I'm from the coastal side of Los Angeles where rain doesn't exist and you could wear either shorts and a tank top almost everyday of the year and be comfortable.

There's an abundance of coffee shops and little boutiques that occupy some of the coastal front. We don't go "down the shore," we don't have to pay to get on the beach, and we don't have debates on whether it's called pork roll or Taylor Ham. It was nice knowing that the weather ranges from 65 to 75 about eighty percent of the year. But, at the same time, I like having a variety of seasons.

Apparently leaves falling from trees is an annual thing. Southern California has a small number of deciduous trees, so I experienced a real fall last year. I picked a pumpkin from the vine instead of from a tub at the grocery store and got farm fresh donuts from an actual farm with fields and animals.

I was able to witness a first snow and how pretty the trees look when they're covered. I made a snowman in the back of campus and had a snowball fight with some friends.

I also experienced a terrible snowstorm where my umbrella turned inside out and smacked me in the face and then hit the person behind me. I then tried to go after my umbrella and slipped on some ice which the person also saw...so after that I died of embarrassment in my dorm for the rest of the weekend. There were a lot of ups and downs.

Everything in suburban New Jersey is spread out, so it's been a struggle not having access to a car. Back home in California, a CVS, Target, Office Depot, and even a Spencer's (if you're in that weird shopping mood,) was right around the corner. The other night I tried looking up the nearest Mexican restaurant and it was 15 miles away. The Uber was expensive so I canceled it and decided my basic white girl order of plain chicken tacos with a side of guac wasn't worth the trip.

I've tried remembering major cities in Jersey so that when I meet someone and they talk about where they are from I can say, "Oh, I know where that is!" I try asking about their town, how school was, or their family. The only question I've been asked when telling someone I'm from LA is, "do you know any celebrities?"

I don't really mind the question, I've actually come up with some pretty good fake stories on the spot. I just can't believe people think that the famous actors of Beverly Hills just randomly walk the streets. But just for the record, one time I met Wee-Man from "Jack-Ass" at his chronic taco shop. And yes, I got plain chicken tacos.

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