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You've been in Poland a while if ....


Jimmu 2 | 157
7 May 2012  #1
In a thread titled "You know you're Polish if..." or some such, someone said they thought it was about ex-pats who had been here a while. It got me thinking:

- you no longer blush when someone says być or fakt
- you get angry at the slow pokes going only 5 kph over the limit
- it's not petrol or gasoline, it's benzene
- you know that 'bry is not a kind of soft cheese
- you know that klan does not imply ku klux
- you see Kaczinsky on TV and you know it's something about Smolensk
- you feel you didn't park well if you didn't run over the curb
- you know pieśi is not the plural of pies
- you say pierogi when you mean pierogów and smirk at people who say pierogis
- you don't ask "How are you?" because you know they will tell you in detail
- you don't say "Dzien dobry." to people you don't know in the city. In the village you should know everyone.
- you know that any alcohol other than beer or vodka is exotic and expensive
- you have stopped asking for milk in a restaurant
- you have stopped looking for iced tea without lemon or peach flavoring
- you think sushi is the opposite of mocre
- cholera is an expletive, not a disease

strike any chords????
InWroclaw 89 | 1,915
7 May 2012  #3
- take old, folded carrier bags with you every time you venture out to a supermarket.
NorthMancPolak 4 | 648
8 May 2012  #4
... you always have lots of very small, near-worthless change in your bag/wallet.

Because, even if you have just spent a mammoth 575,12 PLN on your weekly shopping, you know that you simply cannot answer "No, I don't, sorry" to questions like "do you have two groszę?" - as the trouble this reply will cause simply isn't worth it :)
isthatu2 4 | 2,708
8 May 2012  #5
- take old, folded carrier bags with you every time you venture out to a supermarket.

Wow, was my Grandad Polish then? I did not know that :) Maybe Bonny Prince Charliski had it away with a great great great great gran of mine during the '45 :)

Sorry, after 8 years of being familiar with Polish I still chuckle at Byc .... so schoolboyish,but,hey ho.
Milk? I gave up on that as soon as I cross into Germany from Holland or as soon as I get on the ferry to calais TBH.

The shocking thing is when first in the Wild East is getting through that first breakfast.

A nice bowl of *CornFlakes*, "Ok, wheres the milk and why is there a big bowl of vile pink looking yoghurt,ewww,no, theyre putting it on their cereal....argh, never mind, I know Mleko ?Mlekom,sod it, I can mime milking a cow if it comes to it, i'll ask a waitress for some milk for the cereal."

"Lovely,here she is,OK, WTF is the milk warm love?"
Stupidly you send the piping hot milk back and eat a few rolls and some tastless rubbery cheese then decide to have a nice cup of coffee, " Milk ,two sugers" or " Moo Moo,erm, dwa sucre,azucar,suger,sweetex...oh,yes,on the table ,jenk koo you "

Coffee comes back, black,two sugers,some bag of baby powder,chalk dust, ricin which you geuss is what passes for milk .....well, I learned my first 36 hours behind the Iron Curtain that its SOP to get a black coffee with some splodge of yellowish powdery slime on the top and have it be called a nice cup of coffee. What makes me laugh is the whole " Poles are the best coffee makers in the world ever,thing in Pan tadeasz :)
Krakman 4 | 58
8 May 2012  #6
These may or may not be applicable to other people:

You raise your eyebrows and question 3zl as being expensive for parking.

You can select a wicked bit of kielbasa/szynka just by looking

In your mind, LHD cars make more sense than RHD's.

You know Poland has the second oldest constitution in the world.

You actually greet and are greeted with Dzien Dobry (as opposed to the incorrect stereotype in England, where your neighbour of 20 years has never said 'good morning/afternoon/evening'.

You eagerly await truskawki season, picturing a carrier bag full of strawberries for 6zl.

You know who Boleslaw Chrobry was and have wondered (at some stage) if he was chronically ill.

You know at least 3 x of each of the following: Anna, Iza, Magda

25% of your time is spent speaking about your building project (out of the city)

You're blase after seeing a particularly shocking piece of driving

Roads wouldn't look complete without Reklami
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
8 May 2012  #7
-when staying over someone's house, you stopped asking what's for breakfast. you know what's for breakfast.

-you're actually starting to believe that all the fatty food in Poland is healthy because it's natural

-you feel completely sorry for all the those beautiful Polish girls having to deal with such slim pickin's

-you keep asking yourself, "did I drink this much back home?"

-you constantly wonder, "man.....this would be SO much easier if I could only learn this damn language"
PlasticPole 7 | 2,649
8 May 2012  #8
Here's a good one!

You know you've been in Poland a while if you can

Speak Polish Fluently
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
8 May 2012  #9
dude, the thread doesn't say "forever".....:D
natasia 3 | 368
8 May 2012  #10
and if, as a female ...

You have come to understand that eating is an entirely unnecessary activity.
You appreciate the colour white as a fashion statement.
You only feel fully dressed when sporting matching shoes, gloves, hat and belt.
You feel naked without your slippers.
You feel a mixture of rage and panic when your child is not wearing their slippers.
and
You are able, on receipt of a large bunch of flowers from a visitor, immediately to unwrap them, cut the stalks off and arrange pleasantly in a vase in c. 3.4 seconds, whilst also serving up a delicious home-cooked meal with the other hand. (as opposed to the English skill of putting them gratefully on the draining board, drinking too much wine and finding them all wilted and surrounded by washing-up the next morning ...)
jon357 63 | 14,110
9 May 2012  #11
and if, as a female ...

You have come to understand that eating is an entirely unnecessary activity.

And if you think it's not unusual to sit at a restaurant table with a glass of still water whilst your man stuffs his face with three courses.

And whether male or female, you know you've been in Poland a while if you think table napkins are wafer thin, 5 inches' square and always in a fan shape.

And if the waiter in a restaurant vanishes for half an hour, brings something totally different to your order, vanishes again for half an hour when you want to pay the bill and you think that's perfectly normal.
jasondmzk
9 May 2012  #12
You feel a mixture of rage and panic when your child is not wearing their slippers

We got a revers-o sitch, with that one. My wife allows my kid to go barefoot willy-nilly, and it drives me batshit. It's a holdover from my childhood conditioning. If my grandparents saw me without socks, they were CERTAIN that a myriad of blood diseases and pneumonia was inevitable. Although, in my wife's defense, it's rilly-rilly hard to keep socks on a baby.
Krakman 4 | 58
9 May 2012  #13
Couple more...

You expect meat to taste like meat and are shocked when it's chewy, tough, etc

You expect women to act like women and not like drunken men looking for a fight

You expect kids to be reasonably polite and not act like little hooligans/thugs

You expect the driver behind you to overtake at the first opportunity (even if it's on a bend)

You expect to be ripped off when you attempt to buy something used (car, flat, etc)

You expect to be ripped off when you attempt to sell something used (car, flat, etc)
unique_username - | 4
9 May 2012  #14
When you purchase something like a set of pots and pans or toaster oven or some electrical device(radio/tv), you can be sure that the box has been opened and everything examined by

a- curious shoppers before you looking for something they need to complete their set
b- yourself to make sure that the set/item is complete
c- finally the cashier, with or without the security guard to make sure all parts are in the box and that you are not stealing anything.

this really ticks me off when the box is taped shut on all flaps, and tamper-evident strapping is still in place 4x.

The strapping makes big boxes so much easier to carry, and they remove it all :/
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All the cashiers at Biedronka will be so pleasant to deal with.
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You plan your city movements to avoid getting on stinky buses and trams, where the traveling public has never heard of a shower or deodorant.

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You anticipate getting mowed down in a zebra, even by police.
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You anticipate getting a beat down by those tracksuit wearing, shaved heads, walking like a scouser, tattooed up idiots.
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You can be sure that such a simple thing as getting a stamp from the post office will take 10-45 minutes. Why is it that Zabka or other kiosks don't sell stamps????

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You can be sure that you stay home all day for something important to arrive in the mail, and by 16:00 you give up and leave home. When you arrive home at 17:30, there is an Awiso waiting for you and the postie wrote that he was at your home at 12:00 and you know full well that no one buzzed your door.

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You know full well that from October to April, the Aptekas will be overloaded with people suffering with an everyday cold or sniffles, but they are such Hypochondriacs, they think it's the most serious thing and need to get medicated.

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If you speak English when entering a disco, you can be sure that the cover charge is higher than for a Pole.
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If you need help buying a train/bus ticket, you can be sure that there is not one single attendant who can speak anything but Polish

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when you ask a store worker "do you speak English?" they will say 9 times out of 10 "of course" with a smile.
InWroclaw 89 | 1,915
9 May 2012  #15
Wow, was my Grandad Polish then? I did not know that :) Maybe Bonny Prince Charliski had it away with a great great great great gran of mine during the '45 :)

Prince Charles was thinking of buying somewhere in Poland, if I recall.

Roads wouldn't look complete without Reklami

You've been in Poland a while if - you drop Polish words into your English sentences repeatedly

.

when you ask a store worker "do you speak English?" they will say 9 times out of 10 "of course" with a smile.

Not sure that statistic holds true for here, even some of the younger ones here don't speak it. I would say more like a 50:50 chance on my shopping trips.
natasia 3 | 368
9 May 2012  #16
My wife allows my kid to go barefoot willy-nilly

wow - get her DNA checked - you absolutely sure she is Polish??? Unless ... oops ... you've got one of the reactionary ones! Better keep a close eye on her ... They can be troublesome ; )

You've been in Poland a while if ... you think wearing seat belts is for pussies. (so you fix your car so that the seatbelt beep doesn't ever go off)
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
9 May 2012  #17
You know full well that from October to April, the Aptekas will be overloaded with people suffering with an everyday cold or sniffles, but they are such Hypochondriacs, they think it's the most serious thing and need to get medicated.

hahaha, and you can also be sure that they have been sitting at home with full pay for at least 2 weeks for that sniffle.
pip 10 | 1,661
9 May 2012  #18
choosing a fabric soften takes longer than a half hour and requires the opening and smelling of each brand, colour, smell of fabric softener---and this happens each and every grocery day. (not in my house-just my observations)
isthatu2 4 | 2,708
9 May 2012  #19
... you realise that Elbows are not just the bendy bit of your arms but the most potent weapon and the main use is getting on or off Trams, Oh, and that that sweet little old Nun who barely comes up to your chest has the sharpest Elbows of all....
donlou31 1 | 30
9 May 2012  #20
Personal ones to me....

* when you finally realise that not all the older generation are foul mouthed and you actually catch the end of the word....they're saying Kurda NOT Kurwa

* when the car almost vanishes down a pothole in the road and your first reaction is no longer "for f*cks sake" while taking the crash position.

* You accept that simply going to post a letter takes half the god damn day.

* You are no longer bothered/shocked/infuriated by shop assistants using mobile phones or having an in depth conversation with each other whilst serving you....good customer service- What's that?

*You understand that people aren't staring at you because you are a freak/Alien - being female with visible tattoo's is apparently fair game to be rude and show disdain.
jon357 63 | 14,110
9 May 2012  #21
You expect meat to taste like meat and are shocked when it's chewy, tough, etc

Or you expect a lovely juicy steak to be fried for twenty minutes instead of four until it's indistinguishable from any other meat.
vndunne 43 | 279
9 May 2012  #22
- You go live in another country after 6 years in poland and you refuse to cross any road until the little man turns green.....even if hoards of people pass you by!!!
pawian 157 | 9,053
9 May 2012  #23
Do you mean in Ireland people don`t abide to traffic laws like Poles do?

Or you expect a lovely juicy steak to be fried for twenty minutes instead of four until it's indistinguishable from any other meat.

Correct. Either raw or extremely well-done. Rare, bleeding steaks are horrible perversion for my Polish taste. I am not a vampire.

* You accept that simply going to post a letter takes half the god damn day.

Depends on the damn day. Sometimes it is 1 minute, sometimes 15.

* You are no longer bothered/shocked/infuriated by shop assistants using mobile phones or having an in depth conversation with each other whilst serving you....good customer service- What's that?

You must have been to Poland long ago. I haven`t seen such incidents for years now.

... you realise that Elbows are not just the bendy bit of your arms but the most potent weapon and the main use is getting on or off Trams, Oh, and that that sweet little old Nun who barely comes up to your chest has the sharpest Elbows of all....

Not in Krakow. I seldom use public transport but whenever it happens, I feel people are quite considerate.

choosing a fabric soften takes longer than a half hour and requires the opening and smelling of each brand, colour, smell of fabric softener---and this happens each and every grocery day. (not in my house-just my observations)

That`s sth new.

You've been in Poland a while if ... you think wearing seat belts is for pussies. (so you fix your car so that the seatbelt beep doesn't ever go off)

A thing of the past. I knew a young man who played a bravado with seat belts but that was about 12 years ago.

Today my passengers don`t need reminding and they dutifully fasten seat belts.
natasia 3 | 368
9 May 2012  #24
Today my passengers don`t need reminding and they dutifully fasten seat belts

i still have that problem with some of my Poles in England ...
donlou31 1 | 30
10 May 2012  #25
Pawian-You must have been to Poland long ago. I haven`t seen such incidents for years now.

Lucky you! I live in Warsaw at the moment. Take a trip to Tesco in Kabaty and see for yourself :)

Pawian- Depends on the damn day. Sometimes it is 1 minute, sometimes 15.

Please tell me which post office you use, I'm going there next time. I have never been close to getting out within 15 mins.
pawian 157 | 9,053
10 May 2012  #26
Lucky you! I live in Warsaw at the moment. Take a trip to Tesco in Kabaty and see for yourself :)

I reside in Krakow, and share my experiences in here.

The only problem with assistants I have is when some of them pass me a food product with their bare hands which earlier handled money. Then I politely refuse to accept it.

But it also happens very rarely now. Last time was on summer holidays 2011 in a small town near Krakow where a lady in an ice cream parlour tried to handle a waffle with bare hands.

Please tell me which post office you use, I'm going there next time. I have never been close to getting out within 15 mins.

If you live in a gigantic housing estate with one post office for a few thousand, it is possible, I suppose.
poland_
10 May 2012  #27
Prince Charles was thinking of buying somewhere in Poland, if I recall.

I believe Isthatu2 was referring to ' Bonny Prince Charliski' as the grandson of the Stuart King, James II and his wife Maria Clementina Sobieska and great-grandson of John III Sobieski, most famous for the victory over the Turks in the 1683 Battle of Vienna.

I guess you know you have been in Poland too long when you start quoting Polish historical facts at every opportunity LOL
Nightglade 7 | 97
10 May 2012  #28
donlou31: * You are no longer bothered/shocked/infuriated by shop assistants using mobile phones or having an in depth conversation with each other whilst serving you....good customer service- What's that?

You must have been to Poland long ago. I haven`t seen such incidents for years now.

No, it's a rather common occurrence. Most days, my local Żabka or Delikatesy 24h is staffed by employees whom I've likely never made eye contact with, except when I've offended them by butchering their language. (You know, those moments you go to say something you've said a thousand times before and have perfected the pronunciation, only to end up saying something like "ploshy" instead of "proszę").

isthatu2: ... you realise that Elbows are not just the bendy bit of your arms but the most potent weapon and the main use is getting on or off Trams, Oh, and that that sweet little old Nun who barely comes up to your chest has the sharpest Elbows of all....

Not in Krakow. I seldom use public transport but whenever it happens, I feel people are quite considerate.

You'd have a pleasant surprise in Poznań then. There a few stations notorious for being "difficult to leave the tram" at. For the Poznanians here, they would be: Małe Garbary, Most Teatralny, Kórnicka and Półwiejska. You have to be very strategic about your positioning on trams to avoid being in situations where you have to ram people out the way like an American football player, or where you could be the one being rammed, crushed or pushed by babcie frantically trying to get off or on in case the tram left without them.

A few other things:

* You think it's normal that if there are multiple cash-places but only one queue of 10+ people, it's fair to bypass them.

* Entering an occupied elevator without saying "dzień dobry" imparts that you are either (a) mute or (b) the spawn of the devil himself.

* When a tourist asks you a question in English, you instinctively respond "Niestety, nie wiem". I was sitting at a table in a mall last year when a man comes up to me and in English clearly says "excuse me, is this seat free?" - I responded with "to nie wolne" and he walked off while I pondered the reason I responded in Polish.

* You start calling your toes 'fingers' and assigning genders to inanimate objects. "Oh that's a nice phone" - "Yes, he's really good"

* You appreciate that it's probably better to treat your serious medical condition or injury at home, rather than take your chances with the Polish emergency services

* You grow a fondness for flavoured bottle waters - a la Żywiec

* You spend 300zł on window netting to prevent an invasion of mosquitos during the summer.
peterweg 36 | 2,316
10 May 2012  #29
You'd have a pleasant surprise in Poznań then.

I think I will be quite happy I live in Krakow, much more pleasant people here.
pawian 157 | 9,053
10 May 2012  #30
Yes, it is true. That is probably due to the beneficial influence of Krakow`s magic stone - Hindu Chakra. People must be good-natured and kind-hearted in such places. They are also more intelligent and have greater sense of humour than elsewhere. Simple.

chakrastone.eu/en_US/n/6

Chakra stone is believed to be a holy stone, one of seven mysterious energy sources placed in different locations around the world - the seven main energy centres of Earth. Chakra of Cracow is located on Wawel's hill - which was previously a centre of Pagan's worship, thereafter it turned into residence of Polish kings. The other six chakra stones are placed in: New Delhi, Delphi, Jerusalem, Mecca, Rome and Velehrad.


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