As a Pole living in the UK, there are some things your non-Polish friends will just never get about your culture and heritage. You know, the little things that make Poland, well, Poland. If you’re daydreaming of long days spent sipping Zywiec in a beer garden, you’ll be able to relate to these nine quirks and traditions:
1. You miss cheap wodka that doesn’t give you a hangover
Back in Poland you’re used to getting your hands on a decent bottle of wodka for a handful of zlotych. You can enjoy drinking shots all night with no fear of a horrendous hangover and everyone’s happy. In the UK, though, when you rock up to a party with a bottle of wodka tucked in your bag people look at you like you’re an alcoholic.
2. You crave the sweet sunshine of Polish summers
Is the term ‘British summer’ another example of that classic sense of humour you can’t seem to fully grasp? You haven’t seen the sun for months despite it being July and you’re craving laid-back summer days by the Baltic. Not to mention the fact that the UK’s unpredictable weather means you don’t have a clue what to wear every day.
3. Let’s not even get started on Christmas
Where’s the fried carp? Only 3 courses? And why hasn’t anyone laid an extra place setting? You only wish you were at home to share oplatki with your family before Christmas dinner, listening to koledy, drinking kompot and placing hay under the tablecloth.
4. You’ve been known to cry tears of joy when you find decent kapusta kiszona
Although Britain’s Polksi skleps are great, no one can beat your gran’s homemade pierogi. At least you can comfort yourself with the knowledge that the next time you head to Poland you can fill up on all these treats and make sandwiches with rye bread instead of the strange white stuff the Brits eat.
5. Apparently it’s not acceptable to throw buckets of water over everyone on Easter Monday
That wouldn’t go down well at all in the UK, and you’d probably end up in trouble. Instead, you’ll just have to make do with fond memories of lany poniedzialek from days gone by to keep you going, and settle for some non-offensive chocolate bunnies and Easter eggs instead.
6. Having to explain to people that Poland does have beaches
And snow-capped mountains, and stunning lakes and vast forests. There are even deserts, wetlands and islands – no, it’s not land-locked! Poland’s cities have parks and beautiful architecture, it’s not always freezing cold and the sun does shine quite a lot.
7. Why aren’t your friends taking their shoes off?
You’re the first person to take your shoes off when you enter someone’s house. Don’t the Brits know that they’re bringing in all the dirt from the street outside? C’mon people! Get those feet out!
8. You went to a wedding and were baffled when it ended at midnight
There you were, enjoying yourself with your friends and toasting the new couple when all of a sudden everything shut down at midnight. What? You were all set to carry on partying for two days. And why was no one throwing money around?
9. No one can pronounce your last name
You’ve given up trying to explain the finer nuances of Polish pronunciation and hoping that people can pronounce the combination of Z’s, K’s, S’s and C’s that link together to make up your last name. But you’re OK with that as it means your name will forever remain an intriguing enigma.
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