Monday, 3 March 2008

the grass is pretty green here

I thought coming back to Australia would make my gut churn at having left it in the first place. I thought I would get to my second week of the holiday and I would start sending abusive text messages to Michal yelling at him for making me leave the great city I once called home. I even had a back-up plan. We could rent out our place in Krakow, I could get a dead-beat junior legal job somewhere, we would apply for residency for Michal and we would find a nice tidy little number in Newtown to live in. Missing my parents, well, I would just have to get over it. But it turned out that I didn’t need a back up plan at all. I missed Poland. I missed everything about it. I missed the winter and the fact that I couldn’t go skiing. I missed the anticipation of the season changing, I missed the normal bread, I missed the chaos I could usually whine about, I missed our small apartment, our friends in their stable and ordinary (in a good way) relationships. I missed the politics and wondered what the Tusk government was up. I also missed the fact that the Slavs do not have the need to harp on about things that, considering, are relatively normal. Ordinary tasks like sewing a bag or making a home improvement in Oz require an audience and usually some applause. Perhaps a blog entry or two (guilty). The Slavs however, treat such occurrences as just another thing that is done.

What I did realise in Sydney though is that by living in Krakow I would never live in place with beautiful surroundings. I would never have an amazing view, or a lush gathering of trees, or a perfect terrace with a barbie set up and ready to go or a beach to stroll to. I would never have a park free from dog poo and neighbours who would be environmentally conscious (we are the only people in our block of flats who recycle). I would never have the experience of wealthy public institutions that know how to spend their money wisely. I wouldn’t have an abundance of fresh air and a bush I could get lost in. I would never be close to a harbour or own a dingy. I would never have an array of glorious wog food and would always have to rely on my own cooking skills and forever replicate.

Most importantly though, I would not have my friends and family close to me. The reality is that some of the most important people will always remain far away. And this sucks and will continue to do so. If it wasn’t for Tim and Edd getting hitched, Michal and I would have never made the trip out, and thanks to them I was able to replenish some of the desperately needed cuzes/mates juices. Thanks cobbers!

And by staying in Poland I would never feel as confident as I do in Australia. The informality, the language, the ability to joke, to scathe, to be humoured, to dish out and be able to take it, are all extremely important factors that remain within the Aussie half of me. I ravished in the pleasure of being around people for six weeks, who could take the micky out of one another, not get offended, and retaliate with equal bite. I was around newly met people with whom in a span of 15 minutes I could feel comfortable with. God how much I have missed that! I wish the Slavs could take themselves less seriously, deflate their pomp, and loosen up a few notches.

But this trip has made the ‘grass is always greener’ syndrome blare a little less loudly in my ears. Calmed me somewhat. What makes Poland win in the end is its lack of bullshit, the frankness of the people, and problems that are real affecting everyday living. Not wank created for the sake of conversation. It helps to be in a country that is so homogenous, where everyone speaks the same language and understands each social gesture. No layer of artificiality or ‘tolerance’ dialogue required from above to keep people communicating. They just do, naturally. Poland wins because the family unit is the all-important factor upon which everything is based. And this makes me feel safe, content and in complete agreement.

My gut gets excited with every new development here, with every new road that is built, with every politician that is found guilty of corruption and thrown in the slammer. I am bloody lucky to be living in a country that is going through some of the most spectacular changes in its history and it is nice to see it all happen just outside my window. Poland is the bomb. This is where I want to stay.

buster with poo bag attached to leash - c'mon Polaks! LEARN!!!!

Kukus and Anetka, my excellent cousins. The eye of the storm at Bronte beach.

We survived.

out on Ben's dingy. 38 metres deep. Out past Manly. This sucker was not eaten.