So what do I think about Polish music? Well, if you were to explore my Spotify account right now, you’d see a lot of indie rock and indie pop. So right now I’m listening to BORNS, Grimes, Best Coast, Halsey, Purity Ring, Churches, and lots of others that are very similar. Here I wanted to discuss a few Polish bands which I’ve been listening to that I think everyone should know about, Polish speaking and non.
While preparing for my latest trip to Florida, I was wondering what crazy things people would ask me this time about Poland. It’s always fun to go home and talk to people about it because there’s always some question which should be really embarrassing for the person asking. But, shockingly, they go ahead and ask it anyway. Read on for all the best questions I’ve been asked.
I know foreigners speaking Polish is some sweet, adorable thing that Poles almost never get to hear. I know, I get it. When someone speaks English as a foreign language it’s totally normal and obvious. And I understand people are shocked when you attempt to speak Polish and some people are so so nice about it. Like when our friends get drunk, take my hands in theirs, and say “Leah, to bardzo fajnie że próbujesz mówić po polsku. Na prawdę.” That, I love. But these other things… please consider how irritating they are before you do/say them.
A typical winter conversation with my mom. So what’s the temperature? Well today it was 0 (or 32, which is what I actually tell her), so not too bad. “32? brrr, well it was 80 (30 degrees celsius) here today. It’s so hot, I’m sweating.” ::mimes shooting myself:: It’s not that winter in Poland is a tragedy. The past few winters have been really rather mild and I can’t complain too much. But then again, I can because I’m a Floridian. It’s my right.
As you know, I’ve lived in Poland for 5 years. However, I’ve only experienced 2 real Christmases. It’s really special in Poland because of the traditional dishes and sometimes there’s actually snow, which is a treat. I think it’s only snowed on Christmas once maybe since I’ve lived here? So it doesn’t seem too common. But considering the fact that we can usually wear shorts on Christmas in Florida, it’s kind of a change. I have to say though, I think I need another few Christmases to get used to some traditions here.
When you live in a foreign country, you sometimes don’t realize the effects it has on your daily life. When I meet with my American friends nowadays, they think I talk funny. Poles have their own way of speaking English and when you hear it all day, every day, it starts to wear off on you as well. For example, I say “for example” way more than I used to or I use “this” in situations when I know I should use “that”. Polishisms. But there are innumerable other ways in which Poland rubs off on you. How? Read on.
Deep-fried turkey. Marshmallow-covered yams. Green-bean casserole. Cranberry sauce. Pumpkin pie. These are just a few of the essential Thanksgiving dishes. If you’re a Pole, you may be asking WTF is casserole? (It’s like zapiekanka.) But really, why do we celebrate Thanksgiving? Why do 3.6 million people fly home the day before just to eat turkey? And why is it more significant than Christmas for many Americans?
I’ve been teaching English in Poland for the last 5 years and I’m extremely satisfied with my decision. I couldn’t ask for a job which suits me better – so much so that I got my Master’s degree in linguistics here in Poland. I get to talk to people all day, help them, learn all about their lives and opinions. I feel like I’m half linguist, half therapist with all details I know about my students. Sometimes I think I know my them better than my friends. I certainly talk to them more often.
Poles and Americans aren’t so different. All in all people are similar, especially young people, but there are some differences in culture which can’t be ignored. Growing up in the States, we’re encouraged to embrace our individualism. This is evident in how we name our children. We invent names for them or simply use names of common objects. Rain, Pilot, Apple, whatever. Poles, however, stick to Polish names. If you use an English name, it’s a bit ridiculous. It’s better to have a normal name like everyone else than to stand out in the crowd. This is just one of the many ways in which our cultures differ.