Tag Archives: ciocia Dorota

What (some) foreigners think about Poland

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Thanks to the fine investigative journalism of onet.tv, we are able to watch a video in which 11 foreigners pass on their words of wisdom about life in Poland and Poles in general. As Polandian is dedicated to bringing you all the latest (and more importantly – accurate) international insight into matters Polski, I’ve watched the video a few times now and even taken notes! At the end of it all I’m left wondering whether it is meant to be a; documentary, educational tool or a comedy. So far, I’m leaning in the direction of the latter.

Here’s what Polandian’s own Ciocia Dorota has to say about what they had to say, so to say………

Rafael, Spanish, 3 years in PL

  • When the Police stop me I  just pretend not to speak Polish or English, only Spanish. The police keep asking me for money.
  • When Poles go to Carrefour they only buy “two lemons and a little milk”. If they want to do that they should go to the shop downstairs. When I go to Carrefour I buys tons of stuff.

Rafael clearly needs introducing to Brad Zimmerman, Polandian’s own Law & Justice party, who will put him straight about how to handle the police and how not to meet them in the first place.

As for Carrefour, I don’t know what to say! Firstly, nobody in their right mind would buy fruit or veg in Carrefour and secondly, what is a “little” milk? What I enjoyed most about Rafael’s sketch was the way he says he has to “pretend” he can’t speak English. I couldn’t understand a word he was saying!

Analisa, American, 2 years in PL

  • Polish bureaucracy is a disaster! Nobody wants to help me and nobody speaks even a word of English.
  • Old women want to take my seat on trams and the metro.

I think foreigner’s impressions of our wonderful bureaucratic system depend on two things; what system they are used to at home and how much involvement they have to have with the Polish version. For example, Brits and Yanks whine on relentlessly about Polish bureaucracy because at home it’s made a lot easier for them. Ever hear an Italian or a Spaniard moaning about Polish bureaucracy…no, point made. Then there’s the obvious problem that most foreigners who want to stay in our beautiful kraj will need to go begging to quite a few governmental institutions. This is a bad situation to be in, even for Poles.

Old women, especially those with mohair berets and army-surplus boots, will want to take everything you have, Analisa, get used to it!

Vanessa, South African, 2 years in PL

  • In the immigration department nobody speaks English.
  • “Wow! Someone smiled at me'”
  • “People ask me if I’m from another planet” {she has slightly brown skin – ED}

Vanessa, darling. Regarding immigration you can read above about Polish bureaucracy but also understand that Poland does not actually encourage immigration. I think we’re worried they will partition the country.

People smile at me all the time but perhaps that’s because I’m such a happy person and I smile at them first! Don’t worry, be happy!

The “other planet” comment is really just a by-product of not encouraging immigration. We don’t often see brown people in Poland so unless there’s a circus in town you can expect some comments like this.

Nashuk, Bangladeshi, 4 years in PL

  • Poles like to drive “fastly” (100 km/hr)
  • Poles are sad people who don’t know how to smile or look at other people.
  • I like blonde Polish girls but the Polish guys get angry about it.

Gosh, we really do have some issues here, Nashuk! Driving is a subject often discussed on Polandian so my best advice is to read through here first. Generally I have to agree that Poles drive too fastly but it may be it seems faster to you because rickshaws are very much slower? You do have rickshaws in Bangladesh, right?

Poles are sad and can’t smile or look at people. You know this came up with another person of colour, Vanessa, could it be that Poles are either scared or shy of people who look different? Perhaps they don’t want to be accused of staring?

Our blonde girls are really very nice but not the brightest of the bunch. Having said that, our very own Doda has an IQ of over 700 so perhaps I’m doing blondies and injustice? I’m a brunette myself. Polish guys get jealous at the drop of a hat, don’t worry about that.

Samitra, Thai, 3 years in PL

  • Poles just go to bus stop, go to metro……..???
  • A lot of people try to imitate Chinese people around me.

I wish I could understand you better, Samitra, but Polish people have to get places and so they travel on buses and metros. Hope that helps.

Again we have Poles being ‘awkward’ around strange looking people. Then again, it may be that they are actually speaking Chinese and you just don’t understand? Might that be it? We Poles are very well educated you know!

Hussein, Turkish, 3 years in PL

  • It’s better to be English or American in Poland than to be an Arab / Turk.
  • Poles manage to find lots of vodka whenever anyone comes around and then they drink a lot of it in small glasses.

Hussein, bravo to you for speaking Polish so well after only three years. Running a kebab shop as you do is obviously one way to quickly get up the Polish język learning curve. Is it not better to be British or American in any country, other than Turkey or Arabia of course? Just a thought.

Vodka, yes, it’s a dying art but we are still quite good at that.

Yusif, Azerbaijani, 6 months in PL

  • Poles get aggressive when they get drunk.
  • Poles think everything in Poland is great.

Yusif, I think you just need more time. If you think Poles get aggressive when drunk, you should hear what my son has to say about living in England!

As for Poles thinking Poland is great, I would only ask what you think about Azerbijan? Perhaps not.

Marco, Italian, 14 years in PL

  • Something about not being able to handle 5 vodkas and liking to drink juice??

Marco, top marks for speaking Polish but after fourteen years I did expect to be able to understand more than 25% of what you said! Anyway, each to his own on the drinks front. You like juice, go for it, you’re Italian so you can probably escape the accusations of being gay! He he.

Robert, Austrian, 3 years in the basement, PL

  • Some people get drunk.
  • A lot of people say kurwa.

Robert, might I suggest that these two points are connected? Nice and concise summary though, as expected from a good Austrian!

Luigi, Italian, 4 years in PL

  • The espresso in Poland is horrible but the cappuccino może być.

Luigi, did we really need to add the word ‘Italian’ after that I wonder?! Last time I spoke to a coffee expert they said the stuff Italians drink every day was pretty naff but then you’re a lawyer so perhaps you can afford the good stuff and need it to stay awake! Anyway, try Coffee Heaven, we all love it. If that doesn’t work, find something more important to worry about or just stick to cappuccino.

Jure, Slovenian, 6 months in PL

  • There are too many people handing out flyers (fliers?)

Jure, after only six months you manage to come up with more  sense than the combined 38.5 years of your colleagues! Good for you, you see it takes a fellow Slav to really understand what’s going on here. Yes, this is a problem and we ALL hope it ends soon. Fiddling with other people’s windscreen wipers should carry a death sentence!

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Droga ciocia…….

ciocia_dorota

Dear ciocia Dorota,

I have just returned to Warszawa (surely the Venice of the North don’t you think?) after having spent a few days with my family in Pcim for Wigilia as well as the first and second days of Christmas. Before I go any further, I wondered if you’d be able to tell me, as a supplemental question, how Christmas Day and Boxing Day got to be called the first and second day?

Anyway. Nothing much changes in Pcim. I sat through the habitual festive family arguments; why does uncle Jacek drink so much? Who does cousin Ola go visit every Sunday after church? Why do we never seem to dig up as many beetroot as we planted? Is the Krakus red barszcz really as good as babcia used to make? Do the hens live longer when you add Tran to their diet? What is it that uncle Wojtek adds to his home made vodka that makes everyone so sick? The usual stuff….

As the arguments were raging around me and the smell of babcia’s herring-powered farts invaded my nostrils I got to wondering whether perhaps carp was not the best possible choice for the main dish at Wigilia? I have heard stories that there are places in Poland where carp is not eaten, also that it is not actually a Polish tradition. I’ve been told that fish is important but not which species exactly.

This year was especially bad for me as I’m having corrective treatment to my teeth that involves wearing braces. It seemed that every mouthful of carp left me with a few hundred bones stuck under the wiring! It is fair to say I spent the majority of my holiday fishing around in my mouth trying to remove the carp bones and so conversation was severely limited. I don’t have much to talk about with my family, so it’s not a disaster but it seems silly that families all around Poland can’t talk on Wigilia when all the animals can!

I would very much enjoy something as an alternative to carp at Christmas but at the same time do not wish to upset the family or go against strict Catholic laws or traditions, they are, after all, what keep all us Poles together!

Any advice will be gratefully received!

yours,

Gosia
Pcim (and Venice!)

Dearest darling Gośka!

Let’s get the first question of of the way quickly because it’s a pretty boring one, prawda? Calling these days the first and second day is just a way of celebrating our national lack of imagination and gift for stating the bleeding obvious! Christmas Day and Boxing Day are pagan names used by heathen tribes somewhere in the sexy West. Now those are people who know how to have fun! They give things strange names and then spend most of the time ignoring traditions, family and the church and just go around getting drunk on Bacardi Breezers and having sexy romps. They have sexy names for everything – here’s a test, which film would you rather go to see – “Ostatnie zlecenie” or “Bangkok Dangerous”? See what I mean?

Right, on to your main point about carp. I sympathise with you, princess, I really do and let me put your mind at rest, carp are not the only fruit!

You need to understand that carp are the spawn of the devil. They skulk around the bottom of turgid waters looking for the most disgusting sludge to eat so they can turn it into very small quantities of tasteless, poisoned meat and so many bones. They do this so they can get their own back for being caught at Wigilia time and confined to a bathtub before being slaughtered. Somewhere back in history, the carp realised that not only was this slaughter bad news in itself but also it was completely unnecessary as after the slaughter, nobody ate the fish! Such a ritual slaughter with no end purpose annoyed the fish greatly and so they all decided that instead of living in nice clean ponds and eating a healthy diet, they would all live in the Wisła right underneath the many sewage outfalls from the major cities along its banks. This has been going on for years now. The fish are still being slaughtered, but at least they feel a little better about it knowing how disgusting they must be for anyone who does try to eat them.

That’s not to say they are completely useless, not at all, all those bones do give the carp remarkable structural stability. In some Nordic countries they are even essential tools for self-defence. The village of Fropstroom, known for its dangerous packs of wild Dachshund, has a sign as you enter the village to remind you how important having a carp with you at all times can be!

dachund

Still, I’ve drifted a little off topic. What to do about eating the things, that’s the question! I have two suggestions for you, both will work very well;

1/ For Wigilia – make sure you get yourself some good filling food during the day, my personal favourite is a Big-Mac meal with super-size fries. In the evening, just serve the barszcz czerwony, the pierogi, the śledz and maybe a crabstick salad. When someone asks where the carp is, just tell them you bumped into some nuns who were out collecting food for the poor and needy. The only thing you had on you at the time was the carp and so you gave it to the nuns. The next day, the “first day” you can get back to eating proper food by saying you’re just following regulation 146 b of the European Union which states that “Member States receiving more than 1bn Euro in any three year period for infrastructure projects agree to assist with EU objective #32c of reducing the EU turkey mountain by 2018.”.

2/ Serve salmon steaks and tell everyone the fish is Carpus Różowus, imported from Thailand.

I tend to alternate between the two methods and have not upset anybody yet!

Two other words of advice before I go. Get rid of those braces! Heavens! How are you supposed to getting plenty of sexy-romps when your mouth is full of metal? Also, loosen up a little, girl! Get yourself down to the alleyway between Aleja JPII and Elektoralna any Friday evening after 23:00 and ask for Kazik, he’ll sort you out with some herbal remedies (nod nod, wink wink, say no more!)!

Hope this helps, Gosia and remember – you only have one life and it’s yours!

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