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Domestic arguments caused by differences between Polish and English culture


jon357 63 | 15,214
12 Nov 2012 #31
She was right about the salt holes.

Entirely wrong. it's a faux pas that's somehow become common in parts of Polish society.
Lenka 3 | 1,954
12 Nov 2012 #32
Salt/pepper shaker problem?Buy shakers with holes arranged in P and S.
natasia 3 | 368
12 Nov 2012 #33
Don't be ridiculous. Of course the one with one hole is for salt, and with lots of holes is for pepper. And they do write 'S' and 'P' on them in many sets - S for one hole, P for many ...

It is one of those crazy Polish things where they get the wrong end of the stick and then suddenly 4 million people are saying that is the right end of the stick. Like 'Babington'. I mean. Fcck me. That is where one Pole 80 years ago mispronounced 'Badminton', and now half a nation calls the game 'Babington' (with strong emphasis on the g) ...

I hopped up and down a bit when I first heard that, and told them all how wrong they were, but they looked at me as if I had recently landed in the stary rynek in my flying saucer, fresh from Mars.

Poles have a tendency to grab any old bit of second-hand, chinese-whispered fact and pass it on ... BIG TIME.
Lenka 3 | 1,954
12 Nov 2012 #34
Don't be ridiculous.

Is it really so important?Put your spices where you want them to be.And if it's really so "of course" give me one logical reason for putting salt and pepper in the pots you said they should be in.

It is one of those crazy Polish things where they get the wrong end of the stick and then suddenly 4 million people are saying that is the right end of the stick. Like 'Babington'

Some ppl really say badmington but that's incorrect.It's simple error.
natasia 3 | 368
12 Nov 2012 #35
It's simple error

what, like saying 'tonnis' instead of 'tennis'?

Ok, simple error - so then when someone says 'oops - sorry - not right' - you say 'oops - sorry - yes' - not 'NO, I AM ABSOLUTELY RIGHT AND YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. WHAT, YOU RECKON YOU KNOW JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE A (sneeringly said) 'NATIVE' ENGLISH SPEAKER???'.

I should try the same with Poles when I make a mistake. 'What - you say you're right just because you are a native Polish speaker? What makes you think you have the fxxxxxg right to tell me how to speak Polish, matey?'

Yes? Ok?
Lenka 3 | 1,954
12 Nov 2012 #36
what, like saying 'tonnis' instead of 'tennis'?

I never heard that one.

Ok, simple error - so then when someone says 'oops - sorry - not right' - you say 'oops - sorry - yes' - not 'NO, I AM ABSOLUTELY RIGHT AND YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. WHAT, YOU RECKON YOU KNOW JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE A (sneeringly said) 'NATIVE' ENGLISH SPEAKER???'.

That's stupid and the only explanation I can think of is low self-esteem.When they feel challenged they will defend their point fiercly.
P.S.I edited my earlier post:

And if it's really so "of course" give me one logical reason for putting salt and pepper in the pots you said they should be in.

natasia 3 | 368
12 Nov 2012 #37
I never heard that one.

no, neither have I, but it sounds as daft as 'babington' ...
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
13 Nov 2012 #38
daft as 'babington' ...

And as daft as saying "kurisumasu" instead of Christmas (Japan). Get over it. It's obviously easier for some Poles to pronounce it that way, so what? It's such a tiny minor annoyance in the grand scheme of things! Save your breath for something worthwhile, is what I say. I would guess that when you react so vehemently to "babington", people automatically become defensive. I'm not saying it's right, and I know there are people out there who say "babington" and write "hod-dog" on their fast-food kiosks to boot, but please... Not everybody has to be super educated and super knowledgeable about English. They are the exact equivalent of English speakers who say (and write) "galumpki" and "busia" etc.

Just let it be.
natasia 3 | 368
14 Nov 2012 #39
I know there are people out there who say "babington" and write "hod-dog" on their fast-food kiosks to boot, but please...

'hod-dog' is different.

Look, what annoyed me wasn't 'babington' - yes, I thought it funny and charming and an interesting adoption, but what annoyed me was everyone being so vehement about how right they were, and about how I had got it wrong. That is the annoying bit.

Anyhow, it isn't any kind of big deal to me!! Was just giving another example of a nation getting the wrong end of the stick and then forever saying black is white, or whatever it is. Like the salt and pepper. No, it doesn't matter at all, but that was what this thread was about ...

But sure, cultural differences which are serious, and actually do make waves, are:

- The Polish reflex lying - they will always say 'It wasn't me'
- The refusal ever to be wrong, or say sorry, or (often) thank you
- The determination to have things their way ...
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
14 Nov 2012 #40
- The Polish reflex lying - they will always say 'It wasn't me'
- The refusal ever to be wrong, or say sorry, or (often) thank you

I am Polish myself and have lived in Poland for donkey's years. I would never use the above generalisations. People do apologise, they do thank you and they don't always lie! But I have seen similar complaints before (always from foreigners!), and I am beginning to think there must be some issue running deeper here... Some sort of "vicious circle" interaction between people who each do not understand the underlying intentions and body language of the other.

- The determination to have things their way ...

Poles are generally assertive, I'll admit that. The problem is - why shouldn't they have things their way? We're speaking of Polish people in Poland, right?
natasia 3 | 368
14 Nov 2012 #41
We're speaking of Polish people in Poland, right?

When I lived in Poland, I liked everyone. Loved them. Thought they were great. Though my mother in law was crazy, but have since noticed she is just true to type.

Now I have had seven years' experience of living with Poles in the UK, and in this time some totally unexpected issues have come out ... I have noticed somethings which can't be explained as one-offs ... which are deliberate behaviours, or traits, noticed in a number of people.

One, small example.

People are living in my house. I have a set of mugs my grandmother gave me. After a few months, I can't find two of them. Hmm, I think. Then one day I come in and find one of my house guests shoving something in a plastic bag - it makes broken china noises ...

Stop the tape: If I had just broken something by accident in someone's house, I would at this point have said 'God am so sorry - broke yr mug - must get you a new one' and then the other person would have said 'oh no! no problem - don't worry - it's ok' or some such, and at least would have known what happened to the mug.

What happened:

Her: nothing. Tried to stuff bag in a cupboard.
Me: Oh no ... did something get broken?
Her: No.
Me: But ... what's in that bag?
Her: Nothing.
Me: But ... what was that china noise?
Her: Nothing.

I persisted a bit, and she then went out with the bag, and I was just kind of a bit dumfounded.

I am not one to accuse. I am ridiculously understanding and ok about things. But I would have to be stupid not to see that there has been a kind of thing going on here. And this inability to fess up and just be normal ... it is very infuriating.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
14 Nov 2012 #42
OK, so it's Poles abroad you're talking about! That completely changes the situation, actually. I and my SO have both noticed that a lot of Poles who come to the UK become strange, to say the least.

1) One explanation is that because they're out of their comfort zone, they tend to behave as if reality wasn't "real" (i.e., a bit like children). They refuse to acknowledge that whatever it is that's happening around them is truly taking place, because things are real only in Poland (this would mainly apply to first-time travellers though). The china mug episode would fit in very nicely here, actually. They weren't confessing or apologising because it wasn't really happening! (Like in a computer game, sort of).

This might seem a funny kind of attitude but on the other hand, I have worked with Americans in Poland who actually behaved in a very similar way, with a typically American twist, of course ;-)

2) Another explanation would be that most of the Polish immigrants in the UK are people who weren't terribly well liked in their original communities, people with communication issues, people who couldn't settle down and find their place in society, and so they had no regrets about leaving for another country - and who have taken all their issues with them.

Or it could be a combination of the above...

Any other ideas?
TommyG 1 | 361
14 Nov 2012 #43
Any other ideas?

Yes:)

I and my SO have both noticed that a lot of Poles who come to the UK become strange, to say the least.

I know a lot of 'immigrants' Polish or otherwise who do act very strange when in the UK. Some people are just idiots. But, they are hardly representative of the majority.

Natasia just needs to find some better house mates. I wouldn't live with those sorts of people. Generally, I have found most Polish and Czech people to be very house proud and very honest.

Again, there are probably those types of people living in the UK. There are also the graduate/post-graduate successful types who are well liked and only came to the UK for a better life. You won't meet them outside your local kebab shop fighting with the English chavs because they tend to socialise with their friends at house parties. Or, they just simply opt for the quiet life.

You get idiots in every country. It's futile trying to stigmatise a whole nation because someone broke your mug or whatever.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
14 Nov 2012 #44
It's futile trying to stigmatise a whole nation because someone broke your mug or whatever.

I absolutely agree.

On the other hand, something very strange does come over many (or even most) Polish immigrants to the UK. I had naively invited some of my good friends to stay at my place and tried to help them when they wanted to start a new life in the UK, and they morphed into people I didn't recognise almost overnight! It must be the stress or something. It's fascinating to watch, but very very sad as well...
TommyG 1 | 361
14 Nov 2012 #45
On the other hand, something very strange does come over many (or even most) Polish immigrants to the UK.

Neither of us have met most of the 2,000,000 Polish immigrants especially considering so many have returned home. So we can't really comment on a whole nation, just our own experiences.

I had naively invited some of my good friends to stay at my place and tried to help

Never do this! I've been in the same boat. Yes, I had to kick a member of my ex's family out my house once. But 10 years previously I did the same when my best mate from school suddenly 'morphed'.

It's best not to live with friends in my opinion...
OP spiritus 68 | 666
20 Nov 2012 #46
And this inability to fess up and just be normal ... it is very infuriating.

Hmm sounds familiar.

I had a house guest who spent two weeks with us.

After she left I went in to tidy the room up a little only to find a raspberry drinks stain on the carpet (small thing) and the small reading lamp broken beyond repair. Accidents do happen but I can't understand why she couldn't just tell us !!

Fast forward a few years later. Same house guest. I was using the bathroom, needed to get toothpaste from the shelf. I reach pasy my aftershave bottle and get the toothpaste. Job done.

House guest enters bathroom-spends some time there (as women do). I hear the unmistakenable sound of something dropping to the floor but think nothing of it as I assume she has dropped a hair brush/toothbrush etc. Short time later I go in, decide to put some aftershave on and my bottle is nowhere to be found. I search high and low and eventually see my bottle had fallen off the shelf and behind the shelf rack. Now it's not a biggie but the house guest KNEW she had dropped it and must have KNOWN I would KNOW she dropped it and still elected to say nothing about it so I really do know where you're coming from.

Anyway-sudden change of topic but same thread....

Washing up

When I do the washing up I either fill the basin with water and soak the dishes before rinsing under running tap OR I have a washing up bowl and fill that with water to soak and then rinse under running tap. Every Polish housewife I know thinks this is a blatant waste of water and time and common sense and they all choose to simply rinse the dishes under the running tap.............drives me bonkers it does !
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
20 Nov 2012 #47
simply rinse the dishes under the running tap

No, they don't "rinse" the dishes - they wash them in running water unless I'm very much mistaken. And I would agree that pre-soaking and then rinsing is a horrible waste of time and common sense ;-)
InWroclaw 89 | 1,915
21 Nov 2012 #48
As for salt-why is it lavished on so many Polish meals ???

It's shocking how much they use.

OMG salt salt salt -when I used to cook for my dear husband he would shout SALT SALT THERE's NOT ENOUGH SALT!!

What is it with them and salt? I really sympathise!

I did a quick check earlier - one Polish household I know uses the multi-hole for salt, the other the single hole. As a Brit and subject of Her Majesty, I always use the single hole for salt as I believe has been the tradition due to salt's former high price, hence the saying "Worth your salt."

- The Polish reflex lying - they will always say 'It wasn't me'- The refusal ever to be wrong, or say sorry, or (often) thank you- The determination to have things their way ...

I would never use the above generalisations

I would - certainly the bunch I know of here. Sorry, but if the bunch I know are typical, then Natasia is spot on

.

Another explanation would be that most of the Polish immigrants in the UK are people who weren't terribly well liked in their original communities, people with communication issues, people who couldn't settle down and find their place in society, and so they had no regrets about leaving for another country - and who have taken all their issues with them.

Oh dear, that then also describes me as a British person spending a lot of time in Poland!! :D
Other than that bit of bad news, very astute and something that has occurred to me about some (note some, not all) people who up sticks and move abroad.
Rysavy 10 | 308
21 Nov 2012 #49
What a funny subject.

My family has always used more holes for salt... grandparents and down. 2 grandparent sets used grinders for pepper and it is less obvious.

All my containers in house presently-especially disposable picnic sets..have 4 or less holes for pepper and 5-8 for salt; with exclusion of sea salt in grinder and Grandma Weis's pepper grinder. (US. One set is Morton's =other local store brand Winn Dixie).

No, they don't "rinse" the dishes - they wash them in running water

I thought I did that because of my OCD wish to ensure no debris of ANY kind is left on dishes. I scrub with soapy scrubber and rinse in hot side only running water to rinse throroghly to squeaking before putting to dry and on shelf. My mom didn't but her mom and my dad did.

Edit..BTW: none of them are polish ..
and I say either Badmington or badmitton
OP spiritus 68 | 666
21 Nov 2012 #50
ok, I am on a roll here. I just remembered another gem.

The design of English houses is inferior to Polish ones as in England we have our plumbing pipes on the outside of the house (thus making the house look aesthetically displeasing) whereas in Poland all the pipes are ingeniously hidden under the exterior walls making the house look better but a real pain in the ass if you develop a leak.
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,845
21 Nov 2012 #51
not sure if that counts spiritus, I mean it would hardly lead to cultural misunderstandings would it?
yesterday my Polish man told me that if a woman in Poland was as bossy as me she would get a slap....thinking about the Polish women I know, I am not sure.

Needless to say I dumped him, he was so helpless, wanting me as the woman to organise everything, pay for everything, control his drinking, and yet not be bossy?

ffs.
I am going for a nice Scottish man next time. Or possibley Irish.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
21 Nov 2012 #52
the pipes are ingeniously hidden under the exterior walls making the house look better but a real pain in the ass if you develop a leak.

If you think about how cold the winters can be in Poland (or other parts of mainland Europe for that matter) you will realise that "hiding" the pipes inside the walls is not only a matter of aesthetic pleasure. A typical English house transplanted into a Polish winter would not survive more than a few hours - the water in the pipes would freeze solid, end of story.
kaz200972 2 | 229
21 Nov 2012 #53
yesterday my Polish man told me that if a woman in Poland was as bossy as me she would get a slap.

Tell me about it!!!!!!!
My ex was exactly the same wanted everything organised and done by me but threw a hissy fit if he thought I was telling him what to do??? Also threw hissy fits because I had my own life and friends, he expected me to drop them for his social circle or sit quietly at home!!!! that's just one cultural difference that led me to helping him leave my house (with a boot up the backside!).Don't get me started on the alcohol issues, the other little cultural difference.
InWroclaw 89 | 1,915
21 Nov 2012 #54
yesterday my Polish man told me that if a woman in Poland was as bossy as me she would get a slap.

You've dumped him in the past 24 hours?! I thought he was some time ago, or do you get through several packets of Polish men a week like biscuits?

Don't get me started on the alcohol issues, the other little cultural difference.

You girls are having a right old goss about men, now eh! It's like the snug in the Rovers' Return at the moment!
OP spiritus 68 | 666
21 Nov 2012 #55
If you think about how cold the winters can be in Poland

Hmmm. Never thought about that. Ok, I will give you that one.

:)
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,845
21 Nov 2012 #56
InWroclaw
LOL you are funny - no I am afraid he comes and goes like a bad dose of syphilis - gone for good this time for sure....:)

All sounds horribley familiar Kaz!
Vincent 9 | 805 Moderator
21 Nov 2012 #57
The design of English houses is inferior to Polish ones as in England we have our plumbing pipes on the outside of the house

You make it sound like the copper pipes for water are on the outside of the house. The only pipes you will find on the outside are the plastic soil pipes (new houses have them mostly inside) and plastic sink waste. Houses more than 40 years old, would probably have a cast iron soil pipe on the outside but I have also seen those inside too.
OP spiritus 68 | 666
21 Nov 2012 #58
You're right. For clarity's sake, I am talking about the plastic soil pipes/sink waste etc (could be iron if the house is old).

Surely Polish houses have gutter pipes on the outside ?
InWroclaw 89 | 1,915
21 Nov 2012 #59
I am afraid he comes and goes like a bad dose of syphilis - gone for good this time for sure....:)

How many times have I heard ladies say that?! Anyway, good luck, I hope whether he comes or goes that all goes well in The Man Dept ;o)
Ironside 49 | 10,294
21 Nov 2012 #60
yesterday my Polish man told me that if a woman in Poland was as bossy as me she would get a slap..

Maybe in the gutter hes from. No Polish woman of any standing would tolerate drunkard.

Don't get me started on the alcohol issues, the other little cultural difference.

You mean he couldn't take your drinking bouts?


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