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My (short) Poland experiences - bad luck?


Teffle 22 | 1,321
30 Aug 2010 #1
Hi

I'll start by saying that here in Ireland I know quite a few Polish people - about a dozen or so fairly well and of those, a few that I am proud to call friends.

However my experience of Poland (2 trips, about 5 or 6 days each and 2 years apart) has not reflected my expereince of Polish people here at all.

I'm trying not to insult but basically this has been my experience:

Aesthetically, generally bleak soulless and depressing atmosphere.

Many people have a chip on their shoulder about Poland - we are great everyone else is crap - type attitude. From food to architecture to education ... anything really.

Homophobia, racism and a vague sexism seems to be rife.

Stony faced, almost silent population when going about their daily business

Appalling customer service in shops - even if you try in broken Polish.

Non-verbal rudeness - lots of disdainfull looks, people looking you up and down, turning their noses up etc - even in cities.

I don't really want to go on...

Does the above make any sense?

I should add too that some of the Poles I know agree with the above.

No offence intended and I fully admit that this was only based on 2 short trips but there you go. Trips involved cities, towns and villages by the way.
Wroclaw Boy
30 Aug 2010 #2
When in Rome.... You get used to it after a while and it becomes the norm, would you rather fake people asking how your day has been knowing full well they dont give a flying crap.

Swings and roundabouts i say.
wildrover 98 | 4,451
30 Aug 2010 #3
Does the above make any sense?

Yep...You seem to have learnt a lot about Poland in your few short visits and i have to agree with your observations..

I am an Englishman who has lived here for five years , and i have learnt to live with the bad things about Poland , and grown to love the great things about Poland , its not Ireland , its not England , its Poland...Here life is different , the people are different , and it takes time to get used to it....

I have just returned from a biker rally here , run by the club that i am a member of...during the party i danced with a Dutch girl who was a friend of a club member and her friend who was a brown skinned girl from Bangladesh , my friend Valery from Russia danced with her too..People from all nations , united by our love of motorcycles , and accepted as brothers and sisters no matter where they are from....I met many old friends , and made many new ones , its a very different picture from the one you were shown on your visits...

Polish people have good warm hearts , but sometimes it takes a little while to melt the ice on the outside , you need to spend a little more time in Poland , or maybe just become a biker....?
Seanus 15 | 19,706
30 Aug 2010 #4
I completely agree with the OP, Teffle. The silence is deafening at times. My mum could never function in such an environment but she'd have to grin and bear it. I'm similar too but I've lived in Japan where they are decidedly more stony-faced and, well, poker-faced really. It hasn't stopped them from being virtually the model of technological progress! I learned, largely through living in a quiet town there, and even before in Scotland, to find my own inner life and could ignore that which was around me. Many Poles are as many Poles are. Scots tend to be more optimistic but still, the enthusiasm level in many places in Aberdeen often made me depressed if I thought about it too much. They are not much better at times.

Maybe you should talk about the cities and towns and NOT the villages, Teffle ;) ;) ;)

Anyway, in conclusion, I agree with what you said. There is a nothingness to the place but there are hidden gems. I'm lucky enough to have met them. Can you get blood out of a stone? You know, I think I might just have managed ;) ;)

Oh, edit time. As ever, Wildrover is spot on (WB too as it happens). Just as black/death/heavy metal unites Slavic people FAR FAR better than any politicians will, bikers have the same. It's an institution and they all nod at one another on the streets. It's the same in Scotland. These people can rise above it all (często mają w dupie, i dobrze w tym przypadku).

Teffle, where did you spend most time, may I ask?
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,883
30 Aug 2010 #5
Seanus wrote:

Can you get blood out of a stone? You know, I think I might just have managed ;) ;)

when i hear comments like this, i can't help but wonder why you would live here then. is back home in Aberdeen THAT bad?

5 years so far Seanus? will there be a 6th? 7th? 10th?

it's really depressing sometimes to read posts on this forum. i can't imagine being in Poland and thinking to myself that it's better here than where I came from.

bummer.
mafketis 34 | 12,231
30 Aug 2010 #6
For me, Poland is a great place to live, but I wouldn't want to visit here.

In short doses the things you describe are going to be what you notice most, the shorter the visit the more prominent they are and the more they form your impressions.

The longer the visit, the less they stand out or matter and other aspects of life here come to the fore.

Not everything changes, the climate will never be as attractive as Spain, the architecture will probably never equal Paris, public places will never be as clean as middle America etc. But certain kinds of behavior or body language that seem rude or unpleasant to the newcomer cease to be that when you live here (and pick them up yourself). I haven't been bothered by customer service here in a long time. It can also be liberating, if the service bothers me I don't hesitate to let my displeasure be known.

Also, language matters. In Poland more than a lot of places, the language you interact with people in changes your perceptions - basically Poland in Polish is a lot more interesting and fun than Poland in English.

Now it's true that some things will still drive you crazy, but different things. (No matter where you live in the modern world some things will drive you crazy, you just need to find things that drive you crazy that you can live with more easily.)
poland_
30 Aug 2010 #7
Does the above make any sense?

I should add too that some of the Poles I know agree with the above.

You make sense, well at least you know you could never live here,so that is one thing out of the way. I would agree with the three musketeers and their words of wisdom, There are some hidden gems in Poland and you have to know were they are, or have a guide showing you the real places to visit. Some of the best scenery, I have ever seen is in Poland.

Furthermore, Poland can do one of three thing's to you when you live here, you either become stronger, and more assertive because, of the daily challenges you face, you end up treading water, waiting for the next option to come along, or you go back to were you came from, blaming everyone for your failure.

If you decide to take another trip to Poland, ask some of the members of PF for places to visit ,and I am sure your next visit will be the special one.
plk123 8 | 4,148
30 Aug 2010 #8
I'm trying not to insult but basically this has been my experience:

<snip>

I don't really want to go on...

so, what did you like about PL?
OP Teffle 22 | 1,321
30 Aug 2010 #9
Some scenery. Some prices.

Not a lot, sorry.
plk123 8 | 4,148
30 Aug 2010 #10
Teffle

you gotta be kidding me.. a whole long list of complaints but 2 or 3 good things? wow.. maybe it's your outlook?
lowfunk99 10 | 397
30 Aug 2010 #11
I never found this to be true. I found people to be warm, friendly and helpful.

They say what you see is often a reflection of self.
OP Teffle 22 | 1,321
30 Aug 2010 #12
you gotta be kidding me.. a whole long list of complaints but 2 or 3 good things? wow.. maybe it's your outlook?

They say what you see is often a reflection of self.

Well based on this:

Yep...You seem to have learnt a lot about Poland in your few short visits and i have to agree with your observations

I completely agree with the OP, Teffle

You make sense,

...it's not looking like it.
poland_
30 Aug 2010 #13
you gotta be kidding me.. a whole long list of complaints but 2 or 3 good things? wow.. maybe it's your outlook?

Maybe its Teffle's culture, he comes from a country were people will go out of their way to be friendly, I think his comments are on the money.

The question I would like to ask, is who were you traveling with Teffle?
OP Teffle 22 | 1,321
30 Aug 2010 #14
Travelling with my wife and most (but not all) of the time with Polish friends - which made thw whole thing even more difficult and awkward really.

Our Polish friends actually seemed to change (for the worse) the moment they arrived in Poland - I'm not kidding!

Areas visited by the way: £odz/Pabianice, Wrocław, Krakow...and a south central village that I can't remember the name of.

Warszawaski, re Ireland/expectation of friendliness etc, I really don't think that this is the case. I've lived in a few different countries, I have friends and in-laws of many different nationalities so a 'friendliness' culture shock wouldn't really apply.
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,441
30 Aug 2010 #15
Maybe its Teffle's culture, he comes from a country were people will go out of their way to be friendly, I think his comments are on the money.

I find Irish fairly friendly, yet they can stand up for themselves when needed,(attended Polish - Irish wedding in Poland this year - had more fun with Irish) some Poles are just miserable/hostile and suspicious towards people they don't know.

ur Polish friends actually seemed to change (for the worse) the moment they arrived in Poland - I'm not kidding!

I can see that.
landora - | 199
30 Aug 2010 #16
Aesthetically, generally bleak soulless and depressing atmosphere.

There are ugly and beautiful spots in Poland, like everywhere.

Many people have a chip on their shoulder about Poland - we are great everyone else is crap - type attitude. From food to architecture to education ... anything really.

Try to talk to some Brits about the UK, or French about France, or Italians about Italy... shall I go on?

Homophobia, racism and a vague sexism seems to be rife.

It's more that people are not used to he variety of nations you get, for example, in London. It will change, with time.

Stony faced, almost silent population when going about their daily business

Well, we don't smile to every single passer-by - that's just so fake! But "silent"?? Never noticed that!

Appalling customer service in shops - even if you try in broken Polish.

And that is simply not true - service happens to be terrible less and less often. And we still get the benefit of your local friendly shop! Also, my fiance gets by in his brokne Polish and people really appreciate the fact that he's making an effort!

Non-verbal rudeness - lots of disdainfull looks, people looking you up and down, turning their noses up etc - even in cities..

I really think you've got a huge chip on your shoulder yourself. People in the cities have their own business to mind and in the villages they are just curious.
OP Teffle 22 | 1,321
30 Aug 2010 #17
There are ugly and beautiful spots in Poland, like everywhere

yes, fair enough. Didn't see much of it mind you but I did go on to say that some of the scenery was nice.

Try to talk to some Brits about the UK, or French about France, or Italians about Italy... shall I go on?

Indeed. Doesn't make it OK though. Most reasonably people do not go on like this - in Poland my experience was that most people did.

It's more that people are not used to he variety of nations you get, for example, in London. It will change, with time

Well I really hope so - for Poland's sake as well as everyone elses.

Well, we don't smile to every single passer-by - that's just so fake!

Of course, I don't expect you to but I wasn't expecting most people to simply look so miserable either. And yes, silent - when walking along busy streets or in a galeria I woiuld expect a certian level of background noise or babble - it just wasn't there

And that is simply not true - service happens to be terrible less and less often. And we still get the benefit of your local friendly shop! Also, my fiance gets by in his brokne Polish and people really appreciate the fact that he's making an effort!

Well my broken Polish ddidn't do me much good. I admit I didn't get bad service all the time but yes, a lot of the time certainly.

I really think you've got a huge chip on your shoulder yourself. People in the cities have their own business to mind and in the villages they are just curious

Where do you get the idea that I have the chip?!

Come to my town and I'll arrange for you to have a short bus trip and I'll plant a dozen or so actors on the bus who will stare at you continuously at the same time for the duration of your trip and you might know what I mean. This was in a city by the way.
plk123 8 | 4,148
30 Aug 2010 #18
...it's not looking like it.

actually you just proved that it is.. i didn't say i didn't agree because i do but i asked you about the positives and you couldn't really come up with anything.. so, your outlook may be something you ought to look into.

£odz/Pabianice, Wrocław, Krakow

pretty friendly places.. hmm

Maybe its Teffle's culture, he comes from a country were people will go out of their way to be friendly,

even more so.. if he's from "happy" culture then one would presume he'd look for "happy" things yet he all he did was concentrated on the bad stuff. just my observation.

Try to talk to some Brits about the UK, or French about France, or Italians about Italy... shall I go on?

not really comparable.. all those you mentioned are more realistic about their countries then most poles about poland.
simon210483 - | 1
30 Aug 2010 #19
I've just moved here to Poland and I love it here!the people yes can seem different to what one is use too but what would expect?get to know people here and they are mostly warm,friendly and kind.
OP Teffle 22 | 1,321
30 Aug 2010 #20
Well plk I honestly don't think I have a problem with my outlook. As I've said, I have lived in other countries and visited many and have enjoyed the experiences - sometimes loved it.

I'm aware that what I have said sounds very negative but it was my experience. I'm struggling to find positive things to say simply because I struggled to find positive things.

Again, I reiterate that the Polish people I know, I really like - in fact I would say that I love a few of them. My times in Poland were not completely terrible and I did meet some nice people and was treated with hospitality generally but for the most part, what I posted was what I encountered. Put it this way though, I don't think I would ever go back.
PennBoy 76 | 2,436
30 Aug 2010 #21
It's hard to understand Polish people if you're not Polish, we have a different mentality, being loud on the street yelling or talking loud means being trashy, you don't stop or bother someone you don't know, or stare at them. But people should smile more, it's kinda depressing looking at that, some have a look like they've just about had it with life and wanna commit suicide, their depression can make you depressed.
mafketis 34 | 12,231
30 Aug 2010 #22
I don't think I would ever go back.

Understandable, as I said, Poland is good for long visits/stays/living, not so much for short visits. It's just not that kind of place.
southern 75 | 7,096
30 Aug 2010 #23
I as Balkan feel great in Poland.Poles are quiet like us.In slavic countries you feel a phantastic sense of freedom apart from the mysterious attractive architecture.
jeden - | 226
30 Aug 2010 #24
Aesthetically, generally bleak soulless and depressing atmosphere.

True, it is famouse slavic melancholy. You are not used to it so you called it depressing atmosphere.

Many people have a chip on their shoulder about Poland - we are great everyone else is crap - type attitude. From food to architecture to education ... anything really.

True, We can complain about oureselfes but if foreigner try, we will be very angry ;) it is like telling jokes about jews onle they can do it. ;)

Homophobia, racism and a vague sexism seems to be rife.

maybe homo... and racism but sexism??? could you explain?

Stony faced, almost silent population when going about their daily business

linked with melancholy.

Appalling customer service in shops - even if you try in broken Polish.

yeahh

Non-verbal rudeness - lots of disdainfull looks, people looking you up and down, turning their noses up etc - even in cities.

so when we are looking is bad also bad is when we turning noses up? i don`t get it;)
tygrys 3 | 295
30 Aug 2010 #25
Does the above make any sense?

You hit the nail on the head. I visited Poland a few times also and you summed it up perfectly.
Nobody smiles there, but if you do, they think you are "nie poważny" - not serious, and think you are crazy if you smile.

The kids when taking pictures in school are always stone faced, never a smile.
They always complain, they are never satisfied, always want more.
Always pushing in lines, on bus, in airports.
Never a smile.
Sad
Avalon 4 | 1,068
30 Aug 2010 #26
FUZZYWICKETS

it's really depressing sometimes to read posts on this forum. i can't imagine being in Poland and thinking to myself that it's better here than where I came from.

What is wrong with that? I happen to believe its better here than the UK. I have a good life and I can earn money here if I want to. my kids can grow up safely and I have everything I want. 7 years now and I am not tired of Poland at all. As WB will tell you, you're in for a shock when you go back.
plk123 8 | 4,148
30 Aug 2010 #27
I don't think I would ever go back.

that's rather sad.. you needed better "guides" from what it sounds like.. next time you do consider going back, check back in and ask for help.. folks here won't steer you wrong.. also, there are quite a few threads asking for guidance for tourists here already.

It's hard to understand Polish people if you're not Polish, we have a different mentality, being loud on the street yelling or talking loud means being trashy, you don't stop or bother someone you don't know, or stare at them.

yes but staring is rather common, like he said.

But people should smile more, it's kinda depressing looking at that, some have a look like they've just about had it with life and wanna commit suicide, their depression can make you depressed.

i agree on the smiling thing but as others have said, it is not a polish thing either.. i have that issue still and i have lived in the states for quite a long time.. people still ask me why i am pissed off.. lol.. and i hardly ever am.

Understandable, as I said, Poland is good for long visits/stays/living, not so much for short visits. It's just not that kind of place.

nothing wrong with staying for short visits but one may want to read up on PL and the local customs so one isn't all surprised..

always want more.

is there something wrong with that?
zetigrek
30 Aug 2010 #28
Aesthetically, generally bleak soulless and depressing atmosphere.

true. that's why we invades Ireland ;)

Many people have a chip on their shoulder about Poland - we are great everyone else is crap - type attitude. From food to architecture to education ... anything really.

not true. they are complex-ridden at heart. Some are try to make a virtue of necessity and that's the way it looks...

Homophobia, racism and a vague sexism seems to be rife.

Absolutely bulsh1t. I'm a Polish women and I feel that Poles are real gentlemen. There are lots of racist louts. Homophobia is quite sophisticated thing. I have lots of gay friends and I don't see in my social circuits young homophobes. But it depends who you hanging around with.

Stony faced, almost silent population when going about their daily business

True.

Appalling customer service in shops - even if you try in broken Polish.

They earn little money so they don't have too many reasons to be happy and smile to you :)

Non-verbal rudeness - lots of disdainfull looks, people looking you up and down, turning their noses up etc - even in cities.

are you paranoic type? maybe some cultural diffrences. Many Poles living in Ireland are suprised that every stranger smile to them and say good evening. Its strange in Poland and no one smile to strangers. It's not rudeness.

Does the above make any sense?

I think that something had to annoyed you at the very begining of your trip and after you just have negative attidute.

I should add too that some of the Poles I know agree with the above.

with some of your statements yes. But mind that you have to kind of poles:
- openly complex ridden and very pesimistic about their country
- complex ridden at heart and too much optimistic about theit country. those ppl are often the ones who try to compare everything polish with other countries

No offence intended and I fully admit that this was only based on 2 short trips but there you go. Trips involved cities, towns and villages by the way.

Thank you for yout remrks, we will try to behave better next time ;D

PS
I've read your post in the thread about curing homosexuals. You are new here and you don't know that here is just a little population of native Poles. Most of PF users are: americans (many with polish descent), brits, dutch, canadians, germany (and some minors from other countries such as Serbia and Greece ;) Lots of ppl here are plain trolls just mocking around. So please take it easy what some american said about gays... ok? :)
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
30 Aug 2010 #29
Non-verbal rudeness - lots of disdainfull looks, people looking you up and down, turning their noses up etc - even in cities.

Purely out of curiosity - how were you dressed?
plk123 8 | 4,148
30 Aug 2010 #30
Its strange in Poland and no one smile to strangers. It's not rudeness.

right but it sure is perceived as such

I think that something had to annoyed you at the very begining of your trip and after you just have negative attidute.

that's what i am thinking too but he doesn't buy it.


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