Poland has been a member of the European Union for over ten years now. A lot has changed during the past ten years.
Many more Poles than ever before live and work in the UK and other EU countries. Lots of foreigners from the same EU countries have moved to, and live in Poland too.
It’s also successfully co-hosted the European Football Championships in 2012 and has become more prominent on the international scene.
There have been many more good and bad headlines featuring Poland and its citizens in the British – and international – press, the country itself has transformed enormously and it’s attracted a lot of new tourists, investors and, hopefully, fans.
But are you one of them? Has your perception of the country changed over the past decade? I’d be curious to find out, regardless of whether you live in or outside of Poland.
Here’s a very short poll, but if you feel you want to elaborate on this question, please leave a comment below.
Hello readers. Long time, no see. It’s been almost two years now since I last posted anything meaningful on this blog. My professional life and other projects simply took precedence over this blog and I had to make some tough choices. Leaving this blog to its own devices was one of them.
But today I noticed that the traffic to this blog is still pretty strong. For which I’m grateful. But the serendipitous discovery also took me by surprise. So I quickly spruced it up (yes, the old blue design is gone) and now I’m wondering – should I continue?
The main reason why I started this blog almost 6 years ago was very simple: there were no other regular English-language websites or blogs focusing on Poland and its more irreverent, less-known side. I didn’t want to start another site telling people who Lech Wałęsa is and teaching them the Polish classics.
I wanted a site showing there’s more to Poland than Warsaw, wódka and plumbers. In other words: fewer stereotypes, more interesting facts. And it worked.
But will it work now? Would you still read the blog and listen to the language lessons?
Here’s your chance to decide the future of the POLSKI blog – vote below and let me know.
And if you voted yes, please post a comment below and let me know what you would or wouldn’t like to read about here.
My occasional series Pole poll is back with a bang. Well, with a flash – as today’s ‘subject’ is a Pole, but also a very fine photographer. He’s also very private, so I’ve abandoned the usual format of five questions and five answers to concentrate more on his superb project called ‘From The Upper Deck‘.
Przemek Wajerowicz came to London some four years ago and turned his passion for street photography into a very London hobby – he started going around the city on double-decker buses, taking pictures of people and situations from a slightly different perspective.
He told me that the view from the upper deck of a double-decker bus had always fascinated him and he started taking pictures from the moment he arrived in London. However he lost the initial batch of photographs after his hard drive crashed.
But he picked himself up and carried on. Soon the hobby became a project. And an ambitious one too – Przemek wants to travel every single bus line in London – from the very first to the very last stop.
In 2008 he started publishing his daily bus pictures on his blog and once he’s tackled everything Transport for London has to offer, he wants to publish a book with the best pictures taken from the upper deck. And I’m looking forward to getting a copy. As a photographer myself I think this is a great project and Przemek executes it with passion.
I’m planning to write a bit on his project soon elsewhere, for now here’s more From The Upper Deck.
You can also follow Przemek on Twitter.
All images © Przemek Wajerowicz used with author’s permission
Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku! (Or Happy New Year! if you’re suffering from a consonant phobia)
Thanks to my incompetent broadband provider I was offline for the past 4 days, hence the belated NY wishes. (On the other hand, it’s amazing how your life changes when you can’t go online).
There are a few posts waiting in the queue to be published, but I also wanted to ask you what you’d like to read on this blog in 2009. There’s a new poll up (see the right-hand side sidebar, just below ‘Archives’) – it only takes a few seconds, do let me know what you expect to see on here. You can tick more than one option too.
If there’s anything else you think I should be writing about, drop me an email:
Judging by the results of the previous poll (see the screengrab below), you some of you already know a lot of famous Poles, but many know just a couple.
The ‘famous Poles’ category will be the first new addition to this blog in 2009 then.
Time for another Pole Poll. As you probably know by now, I approach various Poles living in the UK to ask them five simple questions. If you’re Polish and living in the UK – and want to take the Pole Poll – drop me an email (and read more here):
Last week it was Sylwia‘s turn to answer the questions, today let me introduce you to Magda Pilat:
1. Who are you?
I am a 28-year old property accounts manager, property consultant and the accounts tutor. Quite a lot of jobs I know but I am trying to save money to self-build a house. Two of my jobs are based in London and one in Oxford where I live. I spend a lot of time commuting (M40 and M25 feel like a second home to me!) and whinging about the London traffic and the bad drivers who don’t use the indicators. I don’t get a day off very often but if I do I just put my wellies on and walk my dog by the River Cherwell for hours. I think it’s the best way to relax. I’ve got a blog (magdanawyspie.blox.pl) but recently I have been too busy during the day and too tired in the evenings to write as much as I would like to. I help Sylwia with Bar Mleczny (barmleczny.blogspot.com), a project that aims to promote Polish culture in the UK. In the future we would also like to provide help and support to the Polish community and maybe (a big maybe) open a Milk Bar in Oxford.
2. Why are you in the UK?
I came to the UK in June 2004. London was supposed to be a short stop on my way to Spain, where I used to live for a short while. I was hoping to take the CELTA exam and become an English teacher in Mallorca. My plans changed when my fiancé decided to go back to Poland and marry someone else. I stayed in the UK, found a job, applied to the university, moved to Oxford and haven’t looked back since.
3. If I went back to Poland I would take with me…
That’s a hard question as I don’t really consider going back. If I could I would take the beautiful English countryside and the West Wittering beach. My dog and my boyfriend would have to come with me of course. I would also take my local pub, they make an amazing Sunday roast (English food can be tasty!)
4. I’ll never get used to…
It must be a bathroom sink with two taps! I truly hate them.
5. I miss…
…my Mum, her dogs, Polish food and the lakes of Powiśle. I am the ultimate lake girl!
So this is the first one in what I’m hoping will become a regular feature on this blog. Pole Poll’s aim is to try and move away from the stereotypical picture of a Pole in the UK and show what motivated people to come here, what they do, love about this country and miss about Poland.
I’ll approach various people to ask them five simple questions, but if you’re Polish and living in the UK – and want to take the Pole Poll – drop me an email (and read more here):
I’m really pleased to be able to introduce the first respondent, Sylwia Presley:
1. Who are you?
I am a blogger, photographer and occasionally a writer. A mum of a lovely 3-year-old boy (www.dawipresely.wordpress.com). Currently working for a Word of Mouth Marketing agency in Oxfordshire, I am happy to be able to work with something I like – social media:) though recently I am moving away from blogging itself towards business ethics.
Occationally I exhibit my works, but due to the lack of time and commitment, I stick to minimum once a year. Next exhibition (FLOWERS) is planned for May, in my landlord’s magical garden, just next doors – that’s how lazy I can be.
I also like to take part in or organise projects where I can support others with my skills, probably to balance my time spent at work;) Currently I am writing and translating for GlobalVoices (PL) and building up presence for Bar Mleczny, where with Magda (http://magdanawyspie.blox.pl/html), a blogger girl from Oxford, we plan several streams of activities related to Poles living in UK (promoting culture, arts and probably providing support to minority members; establishing a bridge between British and Polish culture). I am really happy to see blogs like yours doing the very same thing:) [Thanks, Sylwia! Michal]
2. Why are you in / have you chosen the United Kingdom?
I married a British citizen, whom I have met in Budapest. We moved to the UK to make him happier, and since he still couldn’t settle down, our ways separated. I’m a single, quite a happy bunny now;)
3. If I went back home to Poland, I’d take with me…
Difficult, I do not really consider this option, but let me imagine it… I think I would learn to prepare proper Cornish pasties and scones to enjoy their true taste back in Poland. I would take a lot of British rock. And few books on gardening – I love British gardens, and I am impressed how locals care for nature.
4. I’ll never get used to…
Ignorance and lack of basic knowledge – the fact that one person of my age trully believes in Asia people speak Asian, and cannot be convinced otherwise, another one asks me what language do they speak in Austria… And that I need to convince the lady from the Job Center that UK IS in the EU. Or that people working in WHSmith do not know the books I am talking about – UK releases… do not get me wrong, I do not think it’s an average state, but I myself find it hard to act normally, if you like, in those situations.
5. I miss..
Books, music, art in Polish. I am lucky to have Oxfordshire library close, where I can borrow Polish books, but – regardless of how irrational that might be – I miss the huge choice of EMPIK [large Polish book and music store chain].