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WrocLove <3 - Third Toastmasters' speech

Written by Alain Sanguinetti no comments
Do you know what happened on the 28th of September this year? This was the day I arrived in Wroclaw. After 18h hours of Eurolines's coach. I should probably have come by plane. But that is not the purpose of this speech to discuss errors of youth. I came here to study at Wroclaw University of Technology. Politechnika Wroclawska, as Polish people say it. Why Poland? Why Wroclaw? Let me answer this right away: why not?

I realized many people asked me this question. Not to be disrespectful or as a way of showing me the way out, but rather I felt genuine interest. People in Poland are really surprised that people come to this country. Maybe it's because you suffered contempt from some countries but I think it is also because you are very critical to your country and city.

This is why I decided to make an evaluation of Wroclaw. It's Toastmasters after all. However, I will make an exception to the way we provide feedback. I will only talk about what I loved here. I will leave it to you to find ideas about what to improve. I know you have plenty!

I'm going to go through 4 topics. But I won't reveal them now to keep some tension.

Fooooood

What do you think is the first topic I'm going to talk about? You see, you have some ideas! So let's start with the most basic topic in daily lives: food! I really enjoyed Polish food. It's very comforting and you have really good ice creams.

I say that it is really comforting because I must say that it is quite "rich". You know, this word that means fat. I'm not just talking about meat, I think it is a way of cooking that makes you oil generously your frying pans. Actually I don't even really care about meat because I didn't eat much of it but that didn't stop me from enjoying all the rest: pierogis, soup, frytki, etc And it was all very comforting and I would always smile when I was eating. I don't remember any bad experience with polish food. But I didn't go into the hardcore stuff. Actually, I was rather on the bright side of the fat.

And to me, the real Jedi of food know about it, the bright side of the Fat is desserts. Seriously, what can overrule a creamy pavlova? There is nothing more powerful than this! This is what I so much enjoyed in Wroclaw. I went quite often to bakeries or café and ordered anything "z serem", "with cheese". Or, most importantly, I loved going to a particular place, called "przelam lody", I subscribed to their FaceBook page and when there was something like "mascarpone, nut and honey" ice cream, I would go there and ask for a double serving with whipped cream.

I will miss those ice creams. Really.

Transport

That was the first topic. Connected to it, there is the second topic. And I said connected because the second topic is transport. Yes, transport. Transport that makes good connections between me and the ice creams.

Public transport is really good. The service is on time!
The service makes sense! The service is often! It's fantastic.
Also, among the features that impressed me: you can buy a ticket, in the bus/tram, pay with your card, even contactless. It's fantastic! In France, if you buy your ticket on board, this means, only in the bus, you pay by cash and you pay the double price! Of course, only one way ticket.
The other totally amazing stuff is "jakdojade". This is a common app, web service, mobile web service, that works for many cities. And it works great! I suggest, you go to France and try any app of a local transport service. You'll have a great deal of fun. Guaranteed.

But as good as this public transport is, what I enjoyed most, using my wonderful bike that I sold on Monday, was the broad "sidewalks". The term sidewalks does not fit quite well to describe this. Because the reality is that the street is small compared to the side, where you have trees, bike lane, pedestrian lane, dog lane, etc. This is great because you can ride safely away from the cars and away from the pedestrians. And even for disabled people this is better, because there is enough room for a wheeled chair and even two.

Clothing

That was second topic. Now, this is a clumsy transition to the third topic. I can say that the third topic is something you can observe when you are using the second topic.

I'm talking about clothing. I didn't expect such high level of refinement and interest in clothing. I would say it's mostly girls but some men, especially here are also very elegant. I'm not saying that I expected polish people in general and people in Wroclaw in particular to wear rags and that I would be the stylish parisian from Paris that teach style lessons. Firstly because I'm not that guy, and second because what I'm saying is that when I dress here casually as in France, I felt a bit clumsy, as if I was wearing rags. It is a positive point because it means that people are elegant. And there are polish designers that are making clothes, in Poland, and they are beautiful. So it's good, and I think you could export them because in euro, it's cheap.

Now there is something else I would like to mention about clothing. I would like to draw your attention to the fantastic clothes hangers that you have! When I arrived, I went to Carrefour, Carrefour, yes French brand, no comments please. I went there to do some general shopping to buy the stuff that I didn't bring with me. Clothes hangers in particular. I buy the first ones that I found. Actually there are the best ones I have ever owned in my life! There are made in plastic, in Poland, not China. I like them because they have a nice color and because you can put your clothes on it and pull the sleeves and it holds! So I'm coming back to France with 16 of them.

Wroclove Speakers

The last thing I would like to mention is you! Wroclove Speakers!

I say Wroclove speakers but Toastmasters clubs are more accurate. I think it's fantastic that there are so many clubs in Wroclaw and Opole! It shows the positive and self-motivated spirit of the city. I could see from Toastchristmas that in each club there are motivated people. But, of course, Wroclove Speakers is the best club! It's fantastic because it's in English and the people here are inspiring and really helping each other.

Now, at this point, I have reached my minimum time limit. Which is fantastic. It's fantastic because it's the first time that my speech lasts for the minimum time requirement! It's a gliterring example of the perks of participating in Toastmasters. It's the proof that I have learned and improve my skills, my confidence. I hope my evaluator won't say the oppposite ;-).

Conclusion

Now it's time to not exceed the maximum time limit and finish my speech.

I have told you about four things I loved in Wroclaw: food, transport, clothing and Wroclove Speakers.

There is much more I could say that was positive, I could also talk about negative or not so good experiences. But I know that those will quickly fade away.

I know that I will remember this time here forever and I know that this will define who I am, my actions, my professionnal future, my personnal life.

Now, if anyone asks me "Why Wroclaw", I will say "Because it's great, and you should go too". And in my heart I will remember all those awesome memories, I will probably smile too, maybe shed a little tear?

Notes

Speech given at Wroclove Speakers Toastmasters on January, 26th 2016 as the third speech of the Competent Communicator serie.

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