Hello friends! Welcome to my last study abroad blog post. Can you believe it?
This last week was definitely full. On Sunday, I spent the day with my parents in Old Town on their last full day in Poland. We went to English Mass at St. Giles in Old Town, and enjoyed shopping and exploring the area. We ended with dinner and good conversation before I went back home to let them sleep before their early flight the next morning. When I was about five minutes from home, I ran into some of my friends who were walking to the movie theater to go see the new Downton Abbey movie, so instead of going home, I spontaneously joined them! (I know this isn’t a movie critic blog, but I absolutely loved the second Downton movie, and highly recommend seeing it if you’re a fan of the Crawley family! Now back to Krakow…)
Monday through Tuesday were our last days of classes, and full of lots of paper writing. We also had our last community night on Monday, which was bittersweet. On Tuesday, we were able to meet with Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, who was John Paul II’s personal secretary from when he became bishop until he died. He was so sweet and kind and asked us how we liked Krakow before giving us each a rosary, and some candy. On Wednesday, we had some fun taking pictures as a group in front of the statue of John Paul II on our campus so that a picture of our group can hang on the wall along with the other groups who have done the John Paul II Project!
Thursday was our last full day as a group since the first of our friends moved out on Friday. We spent a lot of the day packing before heading downtown as a group to get ice cream, and having Mass in John Paul II’s personal chapel when he was bishop. It was a great time to have a Mass as a group one last time, and in such a special place because this was where John Paul II was ordained a priest! We went on a carriage ride after that to take us to our dinner location, where we had one last dinner as a group. After that, we went home, where we had invited some friends for a farewell dinner party. It was definitely a full day!
On Friday, some of us went to Auschwitz. It was a very real experience. It wasn’t as heavy and hard to handle as I thought it might be, but walking through these places where prisoners lived and died was a real reminder that these horrible things can happen. We need to know our history and know the truth because false ideology can lead to awful things like this if we aren’t fighting at all times for what is right. It was hopeful when we were there, to see the starvation bunker where Maximilian Kolbe died. It was like the Cross in a lot of ways. A place that on the outside means death, yet was the key to victory and entrance into Heaven. After returning home on Friday, we got pizza as a group before heading to bed.
I woke up really early on Saturday to catch the first of my flights. I flew to Amsterdam and then to Dublin. Unfortunately, I got to Dublin only to find out that my flight that day had been canceled and no one had informed me of this. Of course, I had to end my study abroad with a bang, an easy trip home would be too dull! Fortunately, of all the places to get stuck, I have friends in Ireland who put me up for the night before my flight back to the States the next day.
This experience has been so amazing. The Lord has slowly drawn me closer to His heart and helped me get to know Him, myself, those around me, and those heroes in Heaven so much better than I did three months ago. I’m so grateful for these last three months, and I’m excited to go home and share my amazing time with others. Thank you so much for following me along during this journey! Your prayers and support were well received, and I hope you enjoyed learning about my adventures. May God bless you! Czesc!