/ A recent visit to Poland. First time after 12 years.
1. While abroad, Poles still pretend not to be Polish. How sad.
I don't know about every Pole, I guess its like that with every nationality. You will have Germans, French, British, Americans, Filipinos, etc, pretending to not be their nationality. Its in every country and culture. But maybe a reason as to why some Polish people pretend not to be Polish could be because of an inferiority complex. I used to be ashamed of being Polish, but not anymore. I WILL admit, there are certain things about Poland which I am ashamed of. I wish Poland could be like a normal Western European country, which is highly developed, wealthy, with less backwards peasants, and less clowns in the Sejm, and less Catholic influence in politics and society, but right now its not. In the future it will be normal, hopefully. But overall, I am not ashamed to being Polish, but there are certain aspects of Poland which I am ashamed of.
2. Other than more signs advertising everything from "Instalacja Kotlow" to "Biuro Rachunkowe Estimate," a bunch of new banks and car dealerships, everything looks the same. In fact, the school I used to go to actually looked better back in 2000.
Hmm, I disagree with you here. I have been to Poland in 2001 and 2011, so I have seen some big developments and changes in these 10 years. yes, there are still things which have not changed very much, but regardless, there were changes. New motorways, Stores, bridges, airports, train stations, and many renovations to buildings and the parts of the old town. Although one thing which I believe Poland needs to do in 30 years time is demolish commie-towers. Many of them look decent with renovation, but many stick out like a sore thumb, and it gives Poland a poor and cheap look and feel. There are tons of new modern apartments and houses being built fortunately.
3. The use of English words is as ubiquitous as it is ridiculously out of place and incorrect (Biuro Rachunkowe Estimate - wtf?!)
I noticed this, but to be honest, it doesn't bother me. Its a bit strange, but I wasen't too bothered.
4. People are just as rude and wary of strangers as before. One simply sticks out.
Hmm, this one, you are somewhat right. I found that the most rude people were the older people, over 50 years old, and the very elderly. But the good news is that the young generation are changing. The teens, 20 something year olds and even people in their early 30's are nicer and friendlier than the older generation who lived through communism. Communism had a part in this I believe. For example, customer service. When my dad had to buy something in a store in the Galeria, the people working in the store were in their mid 20's, and they were very friendly, and the customer service was pretty good! I noticed that the older people working in stores provide ****tier customer service. But it is improving with the younger generation.
5. Nobody thinks twice about littering in the street, flower borders and containers are conspicuously devoid of vegetation but instead full of trash, There's spit on sidewalks. Nothing changed.
I didn't notice any littering when I went. Poland was actually pretty clean IMO, there was not much garbage and litter on the street.
6. People complain about everything, as always. They were very proud to tell me about the new Galleria (a mall) but then proceeded to ***** about the prices there, in the very next sentence.
Sadly, I agree with this. It is improving with the younger generations however. They do not complain nearly as much as the old people. But the older generations complain way too much. Thank God my parents are the exception. They never complain, and they got annoyed with relatives who were complaining. They just had a neutral face on the entire time, telling them to stop complaining and to actually do something about it :)
7. Roads are just as bumpy and narrow as before, sidewalks just as crooked.
It's quickly improving. By the end of this year, and the middle of 2013, there will be a lot of new motorways opened up, and I noticed local roads are improving as well. New sidewalks are being built, as well as tram lines. The roads are **** when you get to the small villages however. In the big city they are good, and getting better, but there are the occasional streets where they are incredibly bumpy. My uncle went on a roadtrip with his friends a year ago to Ukraine, and the roads there were like Polish roads in the 1970s lol, actually even worse. So he isn't complaining :) I still think however, that the motorways should be built faster, but hey, at least its getting there.
8. Everyone wanted to know what kind of car I drove and how big my house was. As if they were keeping score.
I noticed this as well. I actually sensed a hint of jealousy at times, when they asked me on the vacations I went on.
9. When I was trying to tell them a little bit about the life in the US, it was either, "Oh, yes, we have that, too..." or "Stupid Americans." I gave up.
I didn't notice this. I didn't notice them bashing Americans.
10. All the programs on TV were copied from western stations. Seems like there was no original programming, other than the news...
There are some Polish tv shows on air you know lol. They may not be the best in the world, but there are Polish shows.
11. Clothes continue to be a status symbol. At the same time, everyone shops in consignment stores.
Well obviously Polish people aren't exactly the best dressed Europeans, they are poorer people. At the same time, if one has the money, nothing wrong with buying nice clothes. Nothing wrong with wanting to dress good and wear the latest styles.
12. Travel agencies seem to focus mainly on third-world countries.
I didn't notice this. I'm sure some Polish travel agencies focus on all countries in Europe and abroad. But I did notice that my Polish relatives and a few friends over there, when they go to countries in Europe for vacation, they went to the poorest European countries for vacation. Instead of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Holland, etc, they went to Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Macedonia for Euro trips. They don't have much money, so they can't afford to have a 3 week Euro trip in Western Europe.
13. Finally, people look tired and pooped. My peers look way older and they seem disheartened. Nobody seems to truly enjoy their lives, everyone is worried and constantly fretting over everyday stuff.
Its usually the poorest people in Poland who look grim and tired looking. With a **** salary and unemployment, I'm not surprised really. But the middle class Poles and younger people look normal.