Cultural Musings

Do you really live in Poland if you’ve never…

Have you never spent a night – or every night of your entire existence – on a futon? Eaten żurek in a bread bowl? Stood awkwardly in an entryway waiting for someone to just leave already? If you’ve never done the 30 things in this article, you might not live in the same Poland I do.

1. Seen an apartment (or lived in one!) with a shower in the kitchen. One of my friends sent me a video of her new place… the shower is in the kitchen.

2. Had your day made by the discovery of a prawdziwek.

3. Hiked to in the Tatras alongside people wearing sneakers.

4. Gone for a vacation nad Bałtykiem only to have it rain the entire trip. 

5. Enjoyed a zapiekanka or kebab after leaving the bar in the wee hours and really regretted it in the morning. 

6. Drunk coffee with the coffee grounds mixed in. 

7. Eaten kiełbasa your neighbor made from scratch. 

8. Worn a mask to protect you not from Covid-19 but the killer smog. 

9. Been stuck in summer traffic for hours at the tollbooths on the A4. 

10. Been jealous of your neighbors because they got a new whatever. 

11. Felt really awkward giving a couple wishes at their wedding. Ditto for Christmas Eve.  

12. Collected a bucket of wild blueberries in the forest and couldn’t get the blue off your fingers. 

13. Lived in a place with purple, orange or lime-green walls. (My first apartment had all three!) 

14. Realized your neighbors know everything about you and you’ve never even met. 

15. Asked “kto jest ostatni?” even though you have an appointment at the doctor at a specific time. 

16. Danced drunkenly and ironically to disco polo at a wedding. 

17. Waited in traffic to get to the ski slopes, waited again in line to buy a ski pass, waited again again in line for the ski lift x number of minutes and hours just to ski 500 meters 5 times. 

18. Used the word “masakra” even though it really wasn’t that bad. 

19. Gone to Mazury for a trip, again it rained the whole time, but you realized Polish sailors really know how to party. 

20. Had a bad day and said to yourself “Rzucam wszystko i wyjeźdżam w Bieszczady.”

21. Gone to enjoy nature on Majówka only to realize half of Poland had the same idea.

22. Paid a security deposit on a flat only to never see it again.

23. Been asked if you’re in line when, yes, you are clearly waiting in line, you’re just not breathing down the neck of the person in front of you.

24. Taken the train with a family who brought an entire picnic lunch along for the ride.

25. Tried to enjoy some true Polish cultural sights only to have it ruined by stragany full of Chinese junk.

26. Had someone suggest that perhaps you’re sick because there was a draft.

27. Visited a babcia with a credenza full of crystal that never actually gets used.

28. Wanted to scream because the person who’s behind you in line keeps touching you with their shopping cart.

29. Had someone ask you why your kid isn’t wearing a hat.

30. Made your own kiszonki. Hello, ogórki małosolne!

Got any ideas of your own? Leave them in the comments below!

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  • Reply Kasia 29 May 2020 at 13:48

    1. Seen an apartment (or lived in one!) with a shower in the kitchen. One of my friends sent me a video of her new place… the shower is in the kitchen. – never heard, never seen, 23 years in POland
    8. Worn a mask to protect you not from Covid-19 but the killer smog. – never heard, never seen, 23 years in POland

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 29 May 2020 at 13:56

      The first one is a lot of fun! You’ve got to experience it 🙂 The second one probably only happens here in Śląsk 🙂

    • Reply Dxxs 29 May 2020 at 20:03

      I also have never seen shower in kitchen, only in Internet as jokes – they do exist. It’s probably because really often kamienice (tenement houses?) etc. didn’t have bathroom or even toilets – there was one in stair case, so people just do them in kitchens – because pipes was there.
      I am surprised you haven’t seen people in masks because of smog – that’s normal in Śląsk, but also Kraków and more and more popular in big cities with air pollution.

      My experience about the things in the list: I was never in Mazury! I always spent my summer vacation in seaside, then abroad or polish seaside… Maybe this year as going abroad may not be possible…
      And for “Gone for a vacation nad Bałtykiem only to have it rain the entire trip”- there is solution, you just have to stay long enough to have better weather 😉 maybe I have some luck, but only once I had 2 weeks of rain with only 1 sunny day – our last one in Gąski XD

    • Reply Jakub 29 May 2020 at 22:23

      Well I wanted to say the same. I am native and live there 25 years. I have seen a lot but NEVER SHOWER IN KITCHEN. Yea I saw laundry machine, but not a shower xD

    • Reply Jakub 29 May 2020 at 22:27

      What about smog masks – it is common only in one voivodeship (province/state)… and probably only in Winter. Rest of the country, most of the time has good quality of air.

  • Reply Milosz 29 May 2020 at 16:03

    Yeah, and people usign swearwords every second word and having tons of different ways to use it. Love it, tho

    • Reply Konrad 31 May 2020 at 21:12

      Hehehehe yea that’s true! Word “kurwa” is almost like “the” in English language hahahaha.

  • Reply Konrad 31 May 2020 at 21:09

    Went to visit family or close friends, even for short and quick visit, and right after walking in being asked “co zjesz” or “napewno głodny jesteś” And even though you answer that you’re not hungry and just ate, all kinds of food will be given to you no matter what you say! And you will eat it!

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 24 June 2020 at 09:10

      Hah seriously – I love the pushing to eat thing. I see it with my kid all the time. His grandparents are always like “zjedz ładnie”, “skup się na jedzedniu” and lots of similar things.

  • Reply JohnnyG 23 June 2020 at 23:09

    Point 7. People in Poland make their own sausages, like people in US make their own beer.
    Point 15. Because even if you have an appointment at a specific time, a doctor doesn’t open a door for you at that time, because he/she is always late.
    Point 30. Ogórki małosolne są zajebiste. ?

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 24 June 2020 at 09:09

      Doctors are always late. It’s incredible. I know they have jobs in multiple places but come on! I also love that they have like 2 hours once a week at a clinic. Then they’re late and it’s like ok so you have 30 minutes here?

  • Reply Kaja 1 July 2020 at 13:29

    This is my home, I love it and cried to tiers reading the above 🙂 this is how we train the survival skills! 😉

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