Carol Bontekoe

This blog has been keeping track of my adventures since 2004. The stories and the adventures have come from my college dorm room to Uganda, Peace Corps Kyrgyzstan, learning Dutch in the Netherlands to living in the wilds of Homer, Alaska. I went back to school in Amsterdam to study Theaterwetenschap (Theatre Science) at University of Amsterdam. And now my adventures as a Fruit Fly, a Sexy Unicorn, and creating a movement with Team Sparkle in Chicago.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Nun down

I can't describe how hard the wind was in Poland. I took some photos that I hoped would show it but they aren't even worth posting now. When I was getting some groceries before leaving Konin I wasn't sure if it was actually as windy as I thought or if I was a big wuss. It wasn't till a few days later when I finally got an English Channel (Sky News... It blows... only thing worse than CNN Headlines)that I knew. The weather man was all happy and giggles and as he scanned over the European Continent, "Oh, and it is extremely windy in Central Poland... and in Belarus...."
I stood up and grabbed the television.
I sat waiting for them to go back to the weather. When it eventually came back on I was on the edge of the bed about a half a foot away from the television, ignoring the fact that my mother had always told me to sit at least 3 feet from the television. Any closer and I would go blind... That is what I believed for a very long time.... But back to the weather.... Blah blah blah rain over all of England blah blah rain in Scotland too...blah blah of yeah Ireland has rain too... blah... to the continent it is really hot in the south blah... and then he laughed and said, "There are some gale force winds going on in Central Poland right now." back to blah blahing. I don't know what a gale force is, wait let me wikipedia it....
They didn't have anything.
I'll google it...
Found it on

A very strong wind.
Any of four winds with speeds of from 32 to 63 miles (51 to 102 kilometers) per hour, according to the Beaufort scale.

Well, now I know what a gale is but I didn't when I heard it on the news. I only had heard it from Owen Wilson in like every movie he has ever been in... look for it.. he likes to mention a gale blowing in a lot of movies....
It was nice to know my struggle against the wind was a very really one. These winds were so strong and I was going the completely wrong direction. If I had been biking from Berlin to Warsaw I would have claimed it was the best biking of my life. Since I was gong the wrong direction it became some of the most challenging. I had to peddle going down hill.
Down Hill.
Had to.
The bike would have come to a complete stop if I didn't keep peddling. I would be struggling to go down hill while I watched old ladies on bikes whipping up the hills in the other direction, big smiles on their faces. I believe there are few things in life that are more frustrating than that.
So, when leaving Konin I stood at a an intersection with my bike walking for a little bit- at least until I got some cover to get back on the thing. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a nun walking. Poland has lots of nuns and they are everywhere, just walking around, doing God's work. I have to say I don't have any memories of ever seeing a nun in the flesh in America, especially not with the outfit. So, naturally when I see a nun it grabs my attention. I could see that she was blocked from a majority of the wind by a building. I thought when she gets past this building that wind is going to hit her hard. And the gale did not fail me. The wind knocked the nun right to the ground.
I just stared on. It was one of my worst humanitarian moments but I was across the road, shocked to see a nun in the first place, and I went into an even greater shock to see a nun on rolling around on the ground. There were about nine of us who were in the general area looking on. No one moved. Were the others also Americans not used to seeing nuns and had been thrown into a temporary shock? Or was this a normal site for the Polish-a nun on the ground? Either way it took her sometime to regain herself and get back up, this time bracing herself against objects that could stand up to the wind.
If you ever question if it is windy and you see a nun rolling by like tumbleweed in the prairie the answer is: yes. Yes it is windy.


  1. Anonymous said...

    hahahahaah I'll remember that tidbit of advice.


  2. becky said...

    "If you ever question if it is windy and you see a nun rolling by like tumbleweed in the prairie the answer is: yes. Yes it is windy."