Another video to get more info on Polish history & its relationship with neighbouring countries
ARTICLE BY Karolina Goralska
1. Poland is not located in the polar circle.
There are no polar bears roaming free through snow-covered plains. It’s not freezing cold all year long. And no, we don’t all wear those ridiculous fur hats with earflaps. (Well, we didn’t before they became trendy.) Poland has a moderate climate with four properly marked seasons and summer here actually gets hot.
2. We’re not all communists.
In case you missed that moment in history, it’s been over 25 years since Poland transformed quickly and successfully from a communist regime into a Democratic republic. Our parents and grandparents experienced the severe repercussions of a failed attempt to put the noble foundations of Marx and Engels into practice by violent imposition. And so, majority of Poles actually hate as little as the mention of communism.
ARTICLE BY>>Karolina Goralska
1. Carp swimming in your bathtub.
Your dad shopped for carp days in advance before Christmas, trying to avoid crowds in shops and make sure to get a big healthy fish. You loved playing with your new pet who had to live in the tub until Christmas and you would spend hours skimming your fingers on the water surface for carp to chase.
Before bathing, you would have to catch the fish in a bucket, drain the tub, wash it, take a bath, wash the tub again, fill with water and release the carp back into it. On Christmas Eve’s morning, you heard splattering and then a heavy chop. Next thing you knew, fried bells of fish meat were served on your Christmas dinner plate.
2. Whining over milk soup.
Your Polish mom always insisted on serving you hot milk, whether in a glass, over cereal, or worst of all, made into soup with fusilli pasta. You didn’t mind the heated milk as much as you hated the skin forming on the surface. You pushed the film of fat to the edge of your plate, but it often stuck to your spoon and you tasted its mucousy texture anyways. Thinking about this gives you shivers to this day.
3. The hateful eyes of the cloakroom lady at school.
Uniforms weren’t and are still not required in the majority of Polish schools, but you needed to change your shoes for clean ones to walk around in the primary school building. You left you regular shoes in the cloakroom guarded by the cloakroom lady, who spotted anybody who dared not change his or her shoes. Tears still well up in your eyes thinking back about how she yelled at you that one day you forgot your clean shoes at home.
4. Setting a rag doll on fire and throwing it into the river.
Every March 21st, you made a doll out of hay, scrapes of fabric and colored paper in class. Then, together with your teacher and classmates you went to the nearest river in the park where you recited a farewell poem dedicated to Marzanna, the doll representing winter. Your teacher set the doll on fire and threw it into the river while you and other kids cheered. This is how you would expel winter and welcome spring. The tradition is now disappearing due to obvious environmental concerns, but you hold the memory dearly, as it filled you with the expectance of warmer weather.
5. Hoping schools would close in winter.
When you were in third grade, temperatures dropped below -20 Celsius degrees one winter and flu epidemics roamed in your city. As a result, all schools closed for two weeks. Every following winter, you hoped that it would happen again so that you could use the additional winter break weeks to stay at home and watch Cartoon Network all day long.
6. Eating dozens of donuts in one day on Fat Thursday.
The name practically obliged you to eat as many spongy dough balls filled with sour cherry or strawberry jam as possible on that day. Your mum additionally made heaps of faworki the night before and you devoured on the sweet crunchy fritter when donuts ran out. Your parents didn’t worry at all about you being hyper on all the sugar.
7. Celebrating spring by missing school.
In secondary school, instead of drowning a doll in the river, you celebrated the first day of spring by escaping from school. Your whole class agreed that none of you would show up for lessons on March 21st. Instead, you went to chill in the park altogether and enjoyed the first warmer beams of sun. Most of your teachers were aware of and accepted this tradition, but some still got mad and tested the whole class on the following day.
8. Weekends in the countryside.
Every few weekends you visited your grandparents or uncles in the countryside and it was a time of complete freedom. You climbed countless trees and ate apples and cherries straight from the branch. You biked to the forest edge and searched for the best spots for poziomki (wild mini strawberries), and once you found them, you cleared all the bushes of the delicious tiny fruit. You played “police and thieves” on bikes with your cousins and neighbors’ kids, chasing each other on the dirt roads in between immense fields of wheat and barley.
When the family made a fire outside at night, you stuck sausages on the end of a long stick and grilled them over the fire until crunchy on the outside and soft inside. You inserted the sausage in between two slices of sourdough wheat bread and devoured the thing in huge bites.
9. Looking for amber at the seaside.
When you happened to be at the Baltic Sea during summer vacation, you spent hours searching for the precious orange stone that the sea abounds in. The souvenir stands along the promenade sold heavy strings of the stone, some of them containing a fly or a small spider. You were totally possessed by the idea of encountering a piece like this. All you ever managed to find was sea glass.
10. Playing outside with no adult supervision.
Growing up in post-communist utopian cities gave you the advantage of lots of green spaces and playgrounds in front of each apartment block. Together with other kids from the neighborhood, you spent hours after school, building “bases” in the bushes, trying front and backflips on trzepak (carpet-beating rack), doing cartwheels on the grass and rolling down the hills, playing klasy and treasure hunt or jumping rope all-afternoon-long.
11. Escaping from church.
Your family went to church together every Sunday morning. When you were in sixth grade, your parents started letting you go to church with your friends. You inevitably used this occasion to evade service, because the mass bored you to death at that age. You met your friends on the block’s corner, started walking towards the church, but never actually arrived to the mass. You found a great hiding spot in some park on the way and just sat and chatted for an hour and one day you even tried your first cigarette. You knew that your parents would question you about the sermon when you got back and you always prepared the perfect answers.
ARTICLE BY Karolina Goralska
1. You can’t figure out how to greet other people. Your friend’s grandparents give you three kisses on the cheeks — left, right, and left again. Their father kisses you on the back of your hand in an outdated fashion while their mother gives you a flimsy handshake and their brother just says, “Cześć” from a distance.
2. When people speak, all you hear is “shhh chhh shhh chhh.”
3. You have no idea what the deal is with those ą, ę, ó, ć, ł, ś, ż, ź letters. How are you supposed to pronounce city names like Szczebrzeszyn, Łódź, Wrzeszcz or Trzcianka?
4. There is a flat voice speaking Polish over the original voices in English in movies on TV. It’s the same voice that reads the lines of all characters in the movie: men, women, and children.
5. The Polish voice in movies heavily euphemizes the language. “Get the f*** out from here, you motherf****!” is read in a monotonous intonation as “Odejdź stąd, ty szarlatanie.”
6. You are required to take your shoes off and leave them by the door when you enter someone’s house. You get guest slippers to walk around in inside.
7. Buying bread becomes a mind-boggling decision. Bakery shelves are lined with a selection of bread you have never seen before. You find round brown whole-wheat bread, oval white with crunchy crust sprinkled with poppy seeds, square sunflower seed sourdough bread, rectangular soy or flax seed loaves, as well as croissant-shaped milky rogale and different flavored buns: cheese and onion, 7 grains, pumpkin seed and Italian herbs.
8. Your breakfast is huge. You get your favorite bread, spread some butter on it and prepare open sandwiches layered with ham, cheese or cottage cheese, lettuce leaves, sliced cucumber, tomatoes, radishes and spring onions. You then sprinkle some salt and pepper over. Instead of coffee, you drink hot tea with a slice of lemon in it.
9. You are grateful for the substantiality of your breakfast, because the main meal of the day isn’t until 4pm. Around noon you get “second breakfast” — a piece of fruit, a sandwich, or a sweet pastry and a coffee.
10. All the dishes in typical restaurants contain potatoes. Boiled, mashed, fried or baked potatoes accompany any main course, but there are also kopytka (Polish gnocchi), potato pancakes, pierogi filled with potatoes and cottage cheese.
11. With your meal, you are served a drink of warm strawberry water, a few boiled pieces of fruit floating in it. You learn that it’s called kompot and that it can be made out of any fruit.
12. You eat all kinds of food made out of “rotten” ingredients. Sauerkraut is just rotten cabbage, ogórki kiszone are fermented cucumbers, traditional barszczis made out of beets that had gone bad (now vinegar is used to gives it the sour taste), żurek is a soup based on fermented yeast dough.
13. You are surprised to discover that none of the “rotten” foods make you sick.
14. You go for a walk in the forest and run into people picking wild mushrooms and blueberries.
15. Everyone lives off seasonal fruit in the summer. You eat jagodzianki, blueberry-filled yeast-dough sweet rolls, every day.
16. You can buy beer and vodka in a shop dedicated entirely to alcohol sales. Any time, any day.
17. You order a beer at a bar and you’re asked if you’d like raspberry syrup in it. You decide to give it a try. Your beer is served with a straw.
18. You can never have another type of vodka again after tasting how delicious Żubrówka is.
19. You discover that Polish people indeed make great use of their seasonal fruit when you try nalewki, fruity spirits. Many households produce them for own personal consumption.
20. Zapiekanka is your anti-hangover food. At the end of the night, you eat an entire 50-centimeter long baguette cut open, topped with mushrooms and cheese and grilled, then served with cabbage salad and slices of ogórki kiszone on top and lots of garlic sauce.