Some are here for the pictures, some are here because my mom will quiz you on this later, but a fraction may be genuinely interested in my life as an American in a sea of Poles. You kind folks read on:
When you travel through a place…you get by as best you can. Just ask some guy at the train station if he speaks English and you’re proud to have successfully navigated a foreign country. As a resident you don’t want to depend on strangers or even friends to help you with your daily activities. You want to survive on your own. That’s the victory. For me, as Polish is all new to me, victories are few and far between. Sometimes I feel like a 2 year old who needs to be led by the hand to do the simplest of tasks. The ladies at our neighborhood grocery stores don’t speak a word of English and have no patience or understanding for someone who doesn’t speak Polish. For someone who is used to being independent, it’s very frustrating to have to ask for Radek’s help to buy cheese. Especially since “I love me some cheese.”
When I do understand the questions…due to words, gestures or my own psychic powers, that is cause to celebrate. Shot of vodka anyone? (Some cultural differences are easier to absorb.)
So I see it’s going to take a while. But I imagine the day when I can tell that grocery store lady that I want to buy 3 zołty of potatoes and the small camembert (no, not the one in the blue package, to the left, with the red ribbon on it, yeah that one) and maybe the pierogies with the mushrooms and sauerkraut. Sure by the time that happens I’ll be fifty years old, but I’ll still be proud!