Three weeks ago I had to go in for my "interview". The interview that is the final deciding factor as to whether or not I get to legally stay in Poland or if the country will politely ask me to leave on the next plane
( I think they actually pay for that plane ticket so I am keeping this in mind if I ever decide to jump ship).
I was a bit nervous about the interview because I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. I knew that most of the questions would be about my background, family, this sort of thing, and then later they would pretty much just ask Martin the same questions to see if we had our stories straight and were telling the truth. Easy. But then, you never know with these government types. And I was supposed to bring a translator. Even though the interviewer knows perfect English, he is supposed to conduct the interview in Polish with a translator so that everything can be exactly understood. Out of Martin's many English speaking cousins we strong armed his cousin Kamila into translating for us and she did a great job. Not good enough for the interviewer, but who cares. She was great. And she is such a lovely girl, that having her there really made me feel much more calm.
The only question that really caught me off guard was when he asked me "why I wanted to live in Poland". Not the question itself, this is a perfectly reasonable and expected question to ask someone like me. In fact this is the first and only question he asked that wasn't a "yes" or "no" question or a list of required names and dates (btw - The Polish government now has the names and ages of all my living and deceased siblings - just thought I'd let all 9 of you know - poor guy - his head was about to explode) The reason it caught me off guard was because he asked me the question several times. Perhaps he just didn't understand my answer, or maybe he didn't believe me. But whatever the reason he kept asking me the question in different ways. It kind of made me uncomfortable. I get that moving from America to Poland seems far fetched for some Poles. I get this question with some regularity from acquaintances, moms in the neighborhood, and their confused and incredulous stares after my explanation are not isolated incidents. Apparently one is mad to want to leave America. But that is, perhaps, a different post altogether, no?
So, in the end, he just looked at me and said, "looks good, you'll probably get a 2 year permit instead of the one year because of your circumstances, please send in your husband". From there I summoned Martin, who apparently spent 20 minutes talking American football with the guy (who loves it, watches it from his sports package cable and has no one else to talk to about it, which had basically been Martin's life in America, except with European football (soccer). I think they should be bff's.) before also commanding Martin to rattle off the many names and ages of my siblings, just to verify, and we all went out to the fancy Pizza Hut to celebrate it's koniec .
Two days alter I got the call... you're legal!
I went down and got my "decisja" in person a few days later and now I wait for my little card, with my picture, letting the whole world know that I am officially allowed to stay in Poland and in two years time, if all goes well, I can start pursuing my citizenship, without having to leave the country first , if I so desire.
Easy Peasy. It only took us a year to get around to it...
(It took us a long time. longer than it should have. Moving to a new country has been exhausting and long work. We are still not completely "moved in" and pushing back things that were able to be pushed back, little by little, is one of the only ways we have been able to get everything done. Luckily this was one of those things.)
So... CHEERS! to all of you citizens of Poland who have so warmly welcomed me, to those of you who think I'm nuts for wanting to stay, and for those ex-pats who understand why!