26 April 1980

East-West Seminar party and blind singer

Party at our university with the participants in an East-West trade seminar. The substance of the seminar is not so important as the opportunity for young colleagues from the two sides of the Cold War to mingle together and speak freely.

We are not official participants: those come from the many countries represented: Common Market, Comecon, North America. But everyone seems to be eager to have us around. It seems any opportunity is precious for most of our Polish colleagues to associate with Westerners. And we are very eager to be here. We can hear more candid talk, and learn more about politics and economics, in this kind of context that in any classroom.

Lots of flags hanging from the balconies in the inner courtyard of the university. I wish I could take some home for my collection but no chance. Just kidding. The flags are hanging in no special order, and the American and the Italian flag happen to be next to each other, how appropriate for the three of us!

In the evening we all go to the home of Karol, a blind singer. It's amazing how he can not only sing but actually have a very positive attitude to life in his circumstances. He can sing in English as well as Polish.

I end up staying out until very late with some friends, but Andrew somewhere else with some other friends. Because we did not coordinate Andrew ends up locked out of the dorm! The dorm door is locked at midnight but this is never a problem, a little tip and we are always let in.

But today somehow the porter woman, a gargantuan lady who never smiles, and who usually will let us in after hours for an American quarter, is not around. Probably fast asleep. I feel sorry for him, oh well not too bad, stuff like that can happen in college, especially in Poland, and I guess he was in good company.

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