Friday, September 23, 2011

Managing my expectations Part 1

A friend shared with me today a little run-in she had with a Polish woman at the store. The woman told her that she had potty-trained her child by the age of 7 months, and that, in Poland, every mother potty trains her child by the age of 1 because diapers are so expensive. Assuming, of course, that if you didn't do so the kids would poop you out of house and home. Oh, my friend(s), it just isn't true, but Martin got a hearty laugh out of it (as did I.  Quite honestly, I'm still laughing... at the DID NOT potty-train your child by the age of 7 months, you big fibber) and it led me to think up this list of "truisms" I've heard about Poland:

- Poland is cold
- Poland is dark
- Poles are paranoid
- Poles are stand-offish
- Poles are combative
- Poles are constantly complaining and griping
- Poles think drinking cold drinks give you sore throats
- Poles think eating hot breads and cakes will give you a stomach ache
- Poland = red tape
- Poles = bureaucratically defeated
- Poles have inferiority complexes
- Poles have superiority complexes
- Poles try to "get away with stuff"
- Poland = homogenous
- Polish soccer fans are thugs
- Polish language is the hardest language on the planet
- Poles want "everything on it," literally and figuratively.

So, in summary, Poles are constantly cold, inside and out, and yet will only eat or drink room temperature foods. If you ask them if they will win the fight  they'll say "of course not" but tell them they won't and they'll be the first to draw their sword. You can't get anything done in Poland because there are so many forms to fill out that everyone has just given up trying , and chances are, if you do get anything done people will just assume that it was achieved through ill-gotten means and suspect you of being "one of them." Whoever "they" are.  You will never be able to learn the language so you might as well not even try and even if you do figure it out, once you start talking , you will probably be wrong.  Stay at home if there is a sporting event going on, but if you feel like taking your life into your hands, and attending a soccer match, at some point, make sure and order your hot chocolates like this...

or else you'll stand out like, well, like an outsider.


  1. Wow! It sounds like you've been living here for ages. Check out the "Xenophonbe's guide to the Poles". It will give you some additional info and insight.

    I am afraid that for you and your kids, it is going to seem very dark and cold. Bundle up!

  2. thanks for the reference! yes, the first winter will probably be a shock, i am preparing myself mentally everyday.

  3. Ok, so put it that way, then it sounds like America. Except that Americans always like their food cold and replace soccer game with football game. lol But it wouldn't be true for either country! lol

    Btw, don't worry, my mother "started potty training" me at age 6 months. Now that I have potty trained two children, I can tell you that what happened wasn't potty training, it was elimination communication. And I was in cloth diapers so of course I "potty trained" young. And it wasn't done overnight but was something she and I worked on together. lol

    My heart bleeds to move back to Poland and I envy you.

  4. Yes! E.C. That's what I immediately thought of. Which is huge in some circles here in America, although we don't do it with our children. We do use cloth diapers though, so we're half way there!

    Don't even get me started on what the list would like for Americans. That's a whole other ball of wax.

    I wonder if someday my heart will bleed to move back to America? I just hope it's not 1 year from now!