Grace is a new guest on Polandian. Apparently she’s living across the water in god’s own country and fears for those Poles foolish enough to venture back home.
Tormented by the realities of emigration, Poles often meet together to share their nostalgia for the homeland they’ve left to provide some serious financial injection into their accounts. While enjoying Polish beer in Polish company they cry for “bigos, pierogi”, not having to twist their tongues in order to produce a Polish version of ‘th’ or the rolled ‘r’ that seems to be easier for the Polish mouth!
Sooner or later the time comes for many to go back to Poland. Oh, what a relief! No more changing weather, queues everywhere, council tax, driving on the wrong side of the road, long application forms one has to fill in to get many things….
Easy Jet, Wizz Air, Ryan Air have worked hard in the past few months bringing all the ex-immigrants back to their homeland.
Now, sitting, possibly over the mentioned bigos, pierogi, or anything else that smells and tastes of Poland, the Poles suddenly realize they are baffled with the known realities seen now through eyes that are used to foreign sights.
What are some of the things Poles returning to Poland may miss about the UK? They don’t have to go very far from their homes to start feeling a different nostalgia…. Crossing a street, for example, suddenly is not as obvious as one might expect; here you are approaching the traffic lights, let’s say, somewhere in Wroclaw and want to press the button for the light to go green for pedestrians…. Sorry, love! No buttons provided (they are an extremely rare occurrence in Poland)! You are subject to the timed traffic lights… Just a little thing, but gives some sense of control to pedestrians so often ignored or even bullied by drivers….
Back in Poland no more pressing buttons to announce your desire to cross a road!
While in the UK many of us Poles complain about the numerous breaks during work hours. We just like getting on with it, don’t we? Now, having come back to the longed for Polish ways of life and work, one begins to want to go out of the work place to eat lunch with friends or colleagues and let the pressurized brains rest… Yet, it is hardly ever practised in Poland, so you may as well forget about the one hour lunch break and e.g. baked potatoes of all kinds common in the British Isles.
So, you are coming back from work, having spent long hours in the office of your Polish employer. You want to do some quick shopping, or perhaps eat your lunch 5 hours after its due time (in the British reality)… the first thing that may strike you is the gloomy, if not hostile, welcome you get from shop assistants or restaurants’ workers. It strikes you because you’ve gotten used to the proverbial British politeness. Now, you’re not thinking about how genuine the politeness of the Brits is, just that it actually makes getting through your days easier and more pleasant when you deal with people who, at least, make the effort to seem friendly. Perhaps the clouds are less frequent in the Polish skies, but they are regular on Polish faces…. and now it annoys you more than before!
Many ex-immigrants hear a cry in their minds:
Well, it’s not impossible, you know! Practise the friendly, polite attitudes observed in the UK and you will surely get a positive feedback… sooner or later (maybe later rather than sooner, but someone has to start the manners reformation, right?) ;)
One last thing I can think of now is the multicultural society. Many Poles will miss that for sure. That makes mixing with people the whole lot more interesting, probably more challenging due to cultural differences, but certainly mind opening. If all the Poles going back to Poland manifest enthusiasm about foreign cultures, we may soon see our society transforming into something like this:
Tolerant Poles, open for immigrants from overseas to come and settle down in Poland, would surely be one of the most positive fruit of Polish people mixing with other cultures while staying in the UK! :)
As they say, the grass is always greener elsewhere. When in Poland we tend to moan about everything around us, so we leave… and then we miss what we had moaned about… So, we come back and miss what the foreign lands had on offer…. There is just one word to call it – LIFE!