Thursday, March 18, 2010

You Might Be In Poland

If people stare at you in shock or don't believe you when you tell them that you don't iron your jeans.

If the whole concept of lighting is completely different than you're used to. (more on this later)

If the woman scanning your groceries at the check out stand asks what tortillas are used for and almost nobody around has ever heard of a burrito.

If all shops close at 6 pm weekdays and 2 pm on Saturdays.

If you have to stock up on certain food items (even in large grocery store chains) because they may suddenly be out of stock for many months at a time (or never be seen again).

If you've never had to find out the cut-off date for kids going into elementary school. (If you were born in 2003 you'll be starting first grade this fall, on September first or the first weekday thereafter, no matter where you live in Poland. Genius.)

If you've been told that it is disgusting/unnatural that in America your milk can sit in the fridge for a couple of weeks. This in a country where milk can sit on a shelf in the cupboard for up to 6 months before it's opened (UHT milk).

If a doctor's frequent response to questions posed by patients concerning details about their health is "don't worry", and there seems to be a general policy of "less is more" when it comes to sharing medical information. This to the point that it is still common practice for doctors not to inform someone if they are diagnosed with a terminal illness, instead letting members of the family know.

If you only pay for calls you make from your cell phone, and not for incoming calls.

If food made with the simplest ingredients taste like heaven.

If the pace of life is slow and steady, and you think therefore you may possibly win the race. Or at least complete it eventually.

18 comments:

Kazzy said...

Seems like some of the things would be easily adjusted to, and that the slow pace would be worth it. Nice funny, but kind, tribute to your country!

Heidi Ashworth said...

This is so fascinating and a great reminder that people just think differently about some things and for good reasons.

Carolyn V. said...

I found your post so interesting. I can't wait to hear about the lighting! =)

Trav said...

I miss the seasonal fruts and veg. I didn't realize until I lived there how much flavor our produce has lost.

And to buy a flat of berries for four bucks? Amazing

JustRandi said...

I love hearing about the things that are different in Poland.

Tortillas - wow!

but then again-

milk- wow!

laurie petty said...

Overall, it sounds like a wonderful place. I WOULD be, however, alarmed at a grocery store perhaps not carrying my favorite foods! (I'm a creature of habit and eat the same food for months on end). So I'd probably wipe out all of their stock! I'm also interested in the different lighting-- lighting is a big deal for me. I hate overhead lights, I have to have lots of lamps and track halogen lighting. And no flourescent lighting! (I know, I know, I'm not being green). It's nice to see your blog! This is the first time I've seen it! (I'm such a great friend). I know that I'd be in love with Poland because of the greenery, trees, and forests.

Alison Wonderland said...

That cinches it, I'm not in Poland.
Where I am, well, that's a different matter.

Lara said...

Not surprisingly, it sounds an awful lot like Romania.

I remember once we found Pop Tarts at the store, and we bought them out. The store owner was so mad at us for doing it because he knew he'd never get them again. Which was another thing, they didn't seem to care about making money...they often tried to talk us out of purchases for one reason or another!

Becky said...

The first one is CRAZY! Ironing jeans - really?

And the last one is fantastic.

(Of course, I liked them all.)

Someday I'll go to a foreign country and be able to share highlights like these. I hope.

Moody said...

I always love reading about Poland and the differences. I'm a total slacker when it comes to ironing jeans!

Melissa Bastow said...

I almost want to move there just for the whole cell phone thing. Everyone in my day to day life KNOWS that I will never call them. I'm a phone dork. Therefore not paying for incoming calls sounds fab - since those are the only calls I have.

However the ironed jeans thing....I really wouldn't fit in there.

Susie Q said...

The one thing I've never understood about US is the whole paying-for-incoming-calls thing. I mean.. Why? Why would I pay to receive a call? It just makes no sense. It makes sense to the phone company, but not for the customer. I mean.. Seriously?

Some of these things remind me of Finland. The lighting's different, the food's different and the habits of people are different. It's amazing how much of a culture shock moving from one country to another is, because even though on the surface things might seem to be mostly the same, once you get down to the nitty-gritty, it's a completely different story...

xx

Joy For Your Journey said...

It has been a while since I have read your blog. I even lost the link to it but saw your recent comment on Heidi's so I came from there.

I am glad all went well with the birth of your baby. I was sad to read your Dec 1 posting, but assume by now whatever made you sad is only a memory.

I also wanted to tell you my niece leaves for Poland on Tuesday. She is the only sister missionary coming. There were no sisters in the last group and there aren't any in the next so she is sort of one of a kind. Her last name is Smith. Easy to remember, and she is a very cute girl. Hopefully you will get the chance to meet her sometime.

I am going to send my brother and his wife your blog address so they can read it. I think they will find your life in Poland interesting.

Truly I am so glad all is well with you!
LSW.

Kimberly said...

What an intriguing insight into where you live!

AndyPandyJackaDandy said...

So interesting! I love hearing about the details that I wouldn't think to ask about! But as for the burritos--check out the video on my latest post to see why Brody will be boycotting Poland forever, baby.

AndyPandyJackaDandy said...

Also, for some reason it won't let me comment on your Walking post, but I just wanted to say that I wondered if Aaron thought that cereal was Reese's puffs? I know you probably can't get them there, but I also know that where there's a will there's a way...

And, sidenote, the word I had to verify with was "likies." And when it comes to you, I do!

Annette Lyon said...

Sounds like much of Europe (especially the stores closing). But ironing jeans? Really?

Laura S. said...

Oh what memories this brings back. I haven't looked at your blog for a while, but I think I might add it to my favorites.
You forgot about the old ladies telling you not to sit on the cement because it will make you sterile, or people telling you you got a summer cold because you ate too much ice cream. Maybe this isn't only a Polish thing, but I was always delighted to find chicken poop and feathers in my egg cartons as well. I still dream of Polish Deli's though --the bread, the cheese, the yogurt... Maybe someday we'll come back to visit.