“Today, I told a beautiful woman waiting to cross the street that she wore a lovely dress, she flashed me a brilliant smile and uttered the two most blessed words in this world “dziękuję bardzo”
“People are still quite rude and grumpy looking in Poland”, my mother notices.
“Poland is poor in many ways, there are great disparities, the middle class is struggling and it’s hard for young people to find a job”, women converse in the bus.
“Entrepreneurs with a half-decent idea can go to venture capitalists in Warsaw and take their businesses to market with easy access to EU funding, no problem” I hear from a friend.
“We are taking this company global – what are your thoughts on marketing strategies for the Mexican market?”, I am asked at a job interview
“Poland is best known for vodka, the Polish pope and World War II”, I read in the Internet.
…and, once you break through the formalities and get to know them, the Poles, for their laughter and intelligent sense of humour.
We want to be more like the French, or the Germans, or maybe the British. Definitely not the Americans. But also very much so.
But we’re actually extremely proud to be Polish.
or should I say CDC – co do cholery…
Amidst these seeming contradictions, I have returned to live and work in my home country – the Eastern, now attempting Central European fame nation that my family left over 22 years ago. This idea would likely have never entered my spirit if not for the recent six months spent in the 3rd world realities of Haiti – a country that I adore, but which is a hundred times more corrupt, complicated and hopeless than “Europe’s economic miracle” of Poland. If Haitians can approach their daily reality with a dance, laughter on their lips and with unceasing optimism, then we sure as hell can do the same in Poland. Do you hear me Poland – you have NO IDEA how much you have going for you! Having gone from Canada’s comforts to Haiti’s inconveniences to find that my own Polska is doing very well, is dynamically growing and provides exciting opportunities to the creative and the hardworking… I find myself saying – what a great opportunity to get to know my own roots better.
(the peacock photo is my very own from the Łazienki Park taken just 2 weeks ago)
In my case, it’s really quite simple. Warszawa is the capital and the hub, and it’s where I come from. The city is in motion, the culture and start-up scene is vibrant and there are constantly more immigrants and visible minorities present. Thank goodness! Businesses and ideas are turning into realities and Poland is ready to shine and perhaps she’s even ready to proudly show her colours. Dare I say that I find this nation coming into her own at around the very same time that yours truly spreads her wings.
While here you can expect me to be even more die-hard optimistic than before. If Universe listens, and I know that she does, then I need to create my own positive vibes here. Complaining and negativity are still too much of a Polish national sport to even consider entering that arena. I will continue to feed my eyes on the flowing stream outside my flat overgrown with tall grasses and wildflowers – it lies on the border of an urban forest in a mishmash of unkept beauty typical of here. I will continue to smile to others, to talk to strangers and to inspire positivity in my fellow Polaks. In short, I will give of myself what I most value receiving in return. Put out into this world what you wish to get back. Create positive spirals. Get locked in a circle of collaboration, open-mindedness and innovation.
Oh, and I’m intending to take up African dance too. It adds a spice of rebellion and flavour to this whole undertaking to wear suits by day while shakin’ my goods by night ;)
Looking forward to future posts? So am I.
Let this new adventure BEGIN.
p.s. I’m also seeking out the stories and adventures of my fellow 20 and 30-something returned-from-the-Diaspora Poles who are currently working and living in Poland – these intriguing tales can be found at: www.milewidziany.wordpress.com