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Polish community in Northampton (any success stories / bad experiences?)


Greta890 1 | 1
31 Jan 2011 #1
Hello,
I am studying geography and for my final project I am looking at the Polish community in Northampton, any success stories or bad experiences. Any feedback would be great. Have you found it easy to settle in? How do you feel you were treated by the British? Do you continue to only eat Polish food and shop in Polish shops or have you tried new things? What do you miss most about Poland? Where would you call home? Do you feel you have to change your identity to fit in, or have you kept your own culture? Really interested to learn more...I am learning more of your culture every day!!! Love to hear from anyone. Thanks, Greta :)
Christy 2 | 12
1 Feb 2011 #2
Hello i am not Polish but my b/f is 100% Polish. I am British. I cant speak for him, however I feel he has settled into this community very very well. He speaks perfect English with a tiny accent. We go to all types of Resturants. I know for sure, what he misses the most is his family back in Polish.

Regards
chichimera 1 | 186
4 Feb 2011 #3
i used to live in northampton between 2006-2009. made loads of friends, but most of them were foreigners like me (from all over the world, not only polish). i love many things about england, i even somewhat enjoy the weather :) i truly love the 'english atmosphere' which nowadays you find mostly only in old novels and during holidays for the retired :) i love the english gardens and literature and manners..

yet i find it very difficult to fit in, there always seems to be a sort of awkwardness in my relations with the english. i find the english smile very confusing - never know when it is for real and when it's backstabbing. the slav straightforwardness is often either misunderstood or taken advantage of. i've read the book "watching the english" and it explained a lot to me and helped me to understand the nation. but i can't say i have ever been allowed to feel here at home

i find it a bit easier with the scots, but haven't met too many of them

yes, i have changed. but i wouldn't call it losing my identity, rather a learning and enriching experience.
honorata13 - | 1
22 Feb 2011 #4
Hi Greta
I'm Polish- been living Northampton and Northants over 5 years. I run Polish website for Polish women in Northants, published e-book about emigration (based on my life experience in Northampton!) and also published some emigration poetry as well as write aricles related to Polish community life for Polish magazine in Midlands. So you can see emigration subject is one of my favourite!;) Please feel free to contact me - I'm happy to give you as much info as possible. Can also get you in touch with other Polish people who publish their stories on our website so you have more material for your study!

Honorata
A J 4 | 1,088
22 Feb 2011 #5
Polish community in Northampton!!!

You know, hatred aside, I think it's ridiculous to form Polish communities in a country that is not Poland, and of course this goes for any group of people, belonging to any nationality, who reside in any other country than their own. I mean, I've heard a few lame comments about the Dutch and our so-called inability to adapt, but I guess the Polish take the cake these days? Seriously, I don't think it's very clever to migrate to a different country, and then pretend you didn't want to leave Poland?

;P

I am learning more of your culture every day!!!

They have the same culture as the rest of the Europeans, really. (Just a bit more Catholic!)

;)

It's okay.
f stop 25 | 2,513
22 Feb 2011 #6
I think it's ridiculous to form Polish communities in a country that is not Poland

I think it makes no sense to form Polish communities in Poland!

Seriously, groups are formed so people can find others with similar interests, it may be Polish cooking, or polka dancing. I can't believe I'm actually explaing this...
A J 4 | 1,088
22 Feb 2011 #7
I think it makes no sense to form Polish communities in Poland!

I beg to differ, especially in these times of individualization and disintegrated social cohesion, not even mentioning all the side effects wich labour migration has on communities throughout Europe. What's your point anyway? It certainly doesn't make any sense to expect your host country to be like home. I mean, if you want a Polish way of life in a Polish community then you should probably stay in Poland?

;)

I'd like to stress that it's okay.

Seriously, groups are formed so people can find others with similar interests, it may be Polish cooking, or polka dancing.

So you'd move to let's say.. England, to find other people who have an interest in Polish cooking?

I can't believe I'm actually explaing this...

I believe you.

;)
isthatu2 4 | 2,704
22 Feb 2011 #8
I think it's ridiculous to form Polish communities in a country that is not Poland

Why? If its to the total exclusion of all non Poles from your life,yes,that would be silly,but,here in my town there have been Polish and Ukrainian clubs since the 1940s. People went to these clubs maybe one evening a week or in the early days to communual English lessons on the weekend but for the rest of the week these people were just British people with "funny" accents. Their kids might hold their wedding receptions in the clubs but they all speak with broad Yorkshire accents and by todays generation its completly intergrated.

i find the english smile very confusing - never know when it is for real and when it's backstabbing.

Thats a shame you felt that way. To be fair ,I think "backstabbing" may be a touch of paranoia on your part(i dont mean that in a funny way,but I know the Dutch too are a little taken aback by the english habit of smiling at strangers :) ) maybe you lived "dahn sarfff" amongst the heathen mockneys but come up north and a smile is a smile,a frown is a frown and a "get the fook out of here "is as much a term of endearment as "flower" :)

Of course I cant speak for everywhere in england,its a hiding to nothing if you think the "english" all have much in commen charector wise;

i've read the book "watching the english"

Ive not read this,I'll have to keep an eye out for it as,being proudly Scottish and irish but having lived amongst the english for 30 out of 35 years it will be interesting. I take it though it has sections on, "watching the brummies" ,"watching the scousers" ,"watching Yorkshire folk",watching lancastrians","southeners","northerners","geordies", "west country",Essex",........................................
A J 4 | 1,088
22 Feb 2011 #9
Why? If its to the total exclusion of all non Poles from your life,yes,that would be silly,but,here in my town there have been Polish and Ukrainian clubs since the 1940s.

So you think Polish immigrants who live in Polish communities are somehow going to socialize with English people more often than Polish immigrants who actually choose to live in English neighbourhoods?

There kids might hold their wedding receptions in the clubs but they all speak with broad Yorkshire accents and by todays generation its completly intergrated.

Hey, I'm just questioning the logic of wanting to leave Poland behind while wanting to remain as Polish as possible?

:)

Just for argument's sake, as usual!
f stop 25 | 2,513
23 Feb 2011 #10
Hey, I'm just questioning the logic of wanting to leave Poland behind while wanting to remain as Polish as possible?

that's just silly. most of the time people move for economic reasons, but that does not change your taste for Polish food, or wanting to converse in your native language sometimes. You seem to imply that people move from Poland because they don't want to be Polish anymore.
A J 4 | 1,088
23 Feb 2011 #11
that's just silly.

Is it?

most of the time people move for economic reasons,

Really? And you think you'll earn more in comparison, if you take into consideration that the cost of living also increases accordingly?

but that does not change your taste for Polish food, or wanting to converse in your native language sometimes.

Computer? Skype? Telephone? Holiday? (No need to live in a Polish community!)

You seem to imply that people move from Poland because they don't want to be Polish anymore.

No, I'm implying you should make a conscience choice when you swap countries, and money alone isn't always the best reason to leave your country behind. Basically I'm just saying that it makes no sense to surround yourself with Polish people and all things Polish if you're planning to stay in England.

:)

Have I mentioned that it's okay?
f stop 25 | 2,513
23 Feb 2011 #12
Basically I'm just saying that it makes no sense to surround yourself with Polish people and all things Polish if you're planning to stay in England.

that's a big leap from getting together with expats and comparing similar experiences to failing to assimilate. For example, cancer patients get together to offer each other support, that does not mean they want to surround themselves with cancer. Get it?

BTW, you don't have to parse and comment on my every sentence, the main subject gets quickly diluted this way.
A J 4 | 1,088
23 Feb 2011 #13
that's a big leap from getting together with expats and comparing similar experiences to failing to assimilate.

Yeah, but you can't compare cancer patients to people who choose to live in a community. Hey, I don't know about your dictionary, but a community is something else than a sporadic meeting you know!

BTW, you don't have to parse and comment on my every sentence, the main subject gets quickly diluted this way.

Just tell me I'm annoying and I'll be happy. (And maybe I'll actually shut up.)

;)
OP Greta890 1 | 1
27 Feb 2011 #14
Very interesting opinions. So do you feel you have to change when you are in Britain? Or you have changed out of choice? for example your fashion or food tastes or identity? :)

Hello, would anyone have a problem with me using some of these ideas in my study. All names will be changed and all data anonymous and kept confidential. You have given me very interesting feedback. Thank you for your views!! :) xx
Try ME
21 Mar 2011 #15
hello. Just to sum up the comments above....I'm 100% polish and I moved to Northampton round 2006. I can add some spice to the discussion by stating what I'm about to do...A J is actually correct as for my taste...I moved here because except of few close friends and family members back in Poland I dislike polish people and their customs, strange fakery and stupid old believes, thick life approach and open mouth whenever they see gay people passing bye holding hands, I hate that they strive to get more and more no matter what cost, they are gossipers interested in anybody's and everybody's business, they like to compare who is better and take pleasure when doing it...they would work in the warehouse day and night, eat rolls and pate for 6 months and stay at home with no life but when they buy a used BMW the photo lands on their internet profile 24 hours after...I can go on forever! Most of my friends here are my polish old friends from back at home that have similar believes and english people I have meet here in the course of last 6 years. I don't eat in polish restaurants and don't strive to belong to polish community because that is something that you can do back at home! Polish people come here trying to re-create Poland, they speak to other polish people in polish and buy polish food in polish shops paying for it with the only thing that is different - UK pounds (the reason behind them coming over anyway...)polish nation is closed out for new experiences and has no tolerance for anything different. 80% of their ambition is supported by economical need to improve their life status and not by willing to learn and develop in whats new and exciting and passing it to the people back home...I can already here them going back home and moaning on England, Germany, Canada or wherever they are actually staying/working...If you don't like it don't go! If you go...learn something and embrace it...open and try to be an international resident not a pol in av different country...

Thanks :)
A J 4 | 1,088
21 Mar 2011 #16
Hello, would anyone have a problem with me using some of these ideas in my study.

Not at all, but I would like to know if we can expect something in return from you if your study actually makes you filthy rich one day! (Hey, call it an intellectual investment?)

All names will be changed and all data anonymous and kept confidential.

I'm trying to get famous you know.

Thank you for your views!! :) xx

You're welcome! (!!)

A J is actually correct as for my taste...

It shouldn't come as a complete surprise to you that I actually share some of your sentiments, but I have to be honest and say that I've heard plenty of English and Dutch people that aren't any different from what you've described. For example, I've just read on Teletext that in Utrecht a Gay couple has been terrorized by people from their own neighbourhood, and that the Police says they can't really do anything about it. (Yeah, right!) They've recieved death threats, people have been spitting at them, their car got demolished, and some people have been throwing bricks through their windows. (Tolerant bunch, aren't we?)

;)
chichimera 1 | 186
22 Mar 2011 #17
I think it's ridiculous to form Polish communities in a country that is not Poland, and of course this goes for any group of people, belonging to any nationality, who reside in any other country than their own

Have you ever moved to another city within your own country? I have and I know that first thing people do is to form a sort of community with people they know - usually the ones who come from the same place. They may later change their friends, they may even not make freinds with their countrymen at all, but they form the community in the strange place because it helps them survive. Nobody says that Polish communities are communities of friends, believe me, they often dislike each other, but they do what is natural to humans. I'm not saying that the human nature isn't ridiculous, but it's common to all of us :)

and then pretend you didn't want to leave Poland?

AJ, do you only do what you really truly want to do? If so, you can consider yourself one of the luckiest person on earth :)

may be a touch of paranoia on your part

It may be :) I was a proper stranger in Northampton, probably also a bit scared, so a paranoia was by all means possible. And not like I've never been backstabbed by a Pole - maybe I'm just more familiar with the Polish way of backstabbing, so it never comes as a total surprise
A J 4 | 1,088
22 Mar 2011 #18
Have you ever moved to another city within your own country?

Yes, plenty of times. (With and without any luggage!)

I have and I know that first thing people do is to form a sort of community with people they know - usually the ones who come from the same place.

I know a lot of people who don't do that, and those usually are the more open-minded, less paranoid, less timid and often more confident types. Really, what's so hard about asking your new neighbour if he or she would like a cup of coffee? (Not everyone is a serial-killer or a rapist you know!) I could tell you a thousand stories about perfect strangers - both guys and girls, women and men - I've met who have offered me a room or a place on their couch for a night or whom I've offered the same. Moral of the story: Go with first impressions and don't be too paranoid, timid or distrusting of people. 99% of the people out there are actually pretty normal and can be trusted eventhough some of them might seem a little wacky to you, so there's *always* someone who's friendly enough to call a friend. (No matter which social or cultural background they have.)

They may later change their friends, they may even not make freinds with their countrymen at all, but they form the community in the strange place because it helps them survive.

I think it helps them to feel safe just because they're scared, but the truth is that if you avoid all the drunken clubbers and all the binge-drinkers you're going to meet a lot of non-violent and awesome people.

Nobody says that Polish communities are communities of friends, believe me, they often dislike each other

Why would I socialize with people I dislike? (Yup, that *is* ridiculous!)

do you only do what you really truly want to do? If so, you can consider yourself one of the luckiest person on earth :)

Look, you can twist it however you want, but the truth is that we're all people, and that most people, despite of their big mouths and seemingly volatile attitudes, have their heart in the right place when it *really* matters. So why would you look for Polish people in a foreign country, when you've obviously made the concious decision to leave Poland behind? You can all say you've done all of that for economic reasons, but the truth is that your life doesn't improve *that* much financially, when you move from Poland to England. For some educated people it might make a huge difference to move from one country to another, but realistically speaking, for most people it means they're going to end up with the same simple jobs they've been doing back home.

It may be :) I was a proper stranger in Northampton, probably also a bit scared, so a paranoia was by all means possible.

It's perfectly understandable, but in most cases it's really not necessary.

And not like I've never been backstabbed by a Pole - maybe I'm just more familiar with the Polish way of backstabbing, so it never comes as a total surprise

Don't you think that when you're new somewhere, there might actually be far less people who know you there, and that you'll actually have to endure much less from potential backstabbers than you've ever had to endure in your hometown, where a lot of people may have known you in one way or another, and where some people might've had something against you in one way or another? Have you ever thought about it that way? I mean, I'm willing to bet it's actually *easier* to start somewhere else anew, with a fresh perspective, and a clean slate, if you will.

:)
Franco84
21 Jul 2015 #19
Merged: single Polish women in Northampton?

Hi,
I'm a half Italian half English man but was born and raised in Italy until my early teens
I was brought up with certain "values" and I find that British women simply do not have and have been told by polish friends that polish people have the Same values so was wondering where do I meet single Polish women in Northampton?
Brenda_2803 - | 1
24 Nov 2017 #20
Merged:

Provisions around bereavement for the Polish community in Northampton



Hi all,

My name is Brenda, I'm a researcher at the University of Reading. I'm involved in a research project that is investigating the needs and practices around death for migrant and minority groups living in the UK. We particularly look at 4 towns: Northampton, Swindon, Huddersfield and Newport.

Through the project, we not only aim to increase insight in various cultural and religious practices around death, but also will inform local authorities to improve burial, cremation and bereavement provisions.

I think it is important to include the Polish community in this project, which is why I would like to hear a bit about your experiences with funerals and bereavement in the UK.

Perhaps it is possible to share some of your experiences here, or through a personal message/ e-mail? I'm also happy to meet in Northampton in person, as I understand it is a personal topic.

Any questions, please let me know!

Many thanks, Brenda Mathijssen


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