in Toruń
international student blog

It has been two months already since I came here, two months since the very first day Malgorzata taught us how to pronounce her name, since the very first smiles we gave to each other during the Orientation Week. It has been two months of a lot of experiences, happiness and love.

I still remember the first week we met, when every day started with one hundred of new friends, every day was all brand new day with new beginnings of friendships, we have greeted each other in a very cheerful and friendly way, we introduced our names (and how to pronounce it), where we came from then we gave ourselves awards as “the first Vietnamese I have met”, the first Croatian girl I have talked to ”, “the first Hungarian girl I have known in my life”, etc… and we were so happy about that, about being the first friend who came from our countries, of one another.
And because we are all different so we were all curious about the food that we were preparing together in the kitchen, I was asked to try “just a little bit” from the others and I asked them to try my food as well, then we tried “just a little bit” of everything, we had the very first international dinner unexpectedly. The unexpected thing is always the best thing.
We all have our own language and we are so excited to learn them from our friends. I love to say “Merhaba” to my Turkish friend, and then joke that “Seni sevmiyorum” (I don’t love you) to make them frown and ask me why don’t I love them and then I get a chance to say that “Seni seviyorum” (I love you). Because “I love you” is not something easy to say immediately :P.

When Ceren’s mother came to Torun from Turkey to see her, I was very happy and very proud to greet her simply in Turkish “Merhaba teyzecim!” (Hello aunt!). She laughed out loud and immediately gave me a big hug. We sang the Turkish song “Mini mini bir kus donmustu” together and it erased all the distances between us, even that I couldn’t speak any Turkish words more and she doesn’t speak English. On that day, we decided to go to the restaurant where Ceren and me met for the first time, for dinner. There is a very big and impressive mirror in restaurant that we took the first selfie together there. It was not really like we liked each other so much but because of that big and impressive mirror, we just wanted to have a “cool photo”. And now, two months later, when we came back, looking at the mirror but we didn’t care anymore about it, we smiled because at this time, the different thing we cared is our friendship, we are family already in Torun. We took another selfie with the mirror again…for this beautiful reminder.

And in this big family, I also have Sanda, my chocolate-girl who always prepares hot chocolate for me when I come to her room. I have my flatmate Busra is always better than me in cooking and cleaning the room but never complains about me like my mother does home. I have Tulay who is the most serious girl from Turkey but always enjoy doing crazy things with me. I have the Spanish friends on my floor that whenever you see them, you can hear their music and see their smiles together. I have Omar, the excellent chef who is expert in cooking chicken rice and always asks us to join him in every meal. We had many other international dinners unexpectedly together. The dormitory receptionist who takes care of our stay here also became our private practical Polish teacher that every time when we learned something new from the Polish class we always try to speak to her. A little bit farer from the dormitory, we have Malgorzata and Nina who are always there on the 5th floor of the Rektorat building watching us and helping us with all our problems. We have ESN UMK Torun with all the best volunteers in the town who will never stop to organize the best activities for us and support us as the best they could. I don’t know if there is any definition of HOME that I couldn’t find here in Torun.

Have you ever said ‘Home, sweet home’ when you are back in Torun after travelling around? Because home is not simply a place, “home is where: love resides, memory are created, friends always belong and laughter never ends”.
And if there is a place I call home in Poland, it must be Torun.

Ngoc Quynh Anh Nguyen 2017-05-15
Konferencja w Toruniu