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.


17 comments:

Anonymous said...

That is an excellent shot of Kukus and Anetka.

Good to hear you have reached some sort of peaceful resolution in your new more.

N

Anonymous said...

ol' drew would be proud of the sentiment in para 5...

keep blogging as your life is a wonderful exposition on the life of a cross cultural chick.

h

edd said...

i would comment on this but i'm too busy having a deep and meaningful discussion about my latest home improvement...

Karen said...

I'm so happy to read this!

marcin said...

with a few nostalgic tears
a patch of dirt turns green

with snow white fuselage
and the dragon's breath

the wilt again, sets in

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading that krzywa... i liked the truth of the grass is always greener topped by what i take as the humility that you appreciate in ur 'slav' life p.s michu fichu left his cd here, the alphabites one (black letters on white background)

kukus

pinolona said...

Hurrah you're back!

Ian Tomlinson said...

Always good to read your stuff.

Good to hear you see the good in both places.

Good to read you know what you miss.

The grass is sometimes greener, but isn't that what mkes us broaden our view on life?

Ian Tomo

Michael Wong Thye Seng said...

Cultural homogeneity.

*YAWN*

Justyna said...

Thanks for all your comments.

Kukus, give the cd to our oldest cousin or to your dad. Your choice.

I will need to clarify some elements of the entry in a disclaimer. It appears I have offended some of my closest friends without intending to. Stay tuned (if you're not too annoyed)...

Multifuncional said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Oi Stynky
You're going to have to start saving your pennies again to visit where the grass is browner because Libby said yes to my proposal!!

h

Oh, and of course the grass is greener in poland - as Dorothea MacKellar said "It's the wide brown land for me".

mischa said...

hey, remember the days when you used to write posts regularly? i miss those days. how is a poor phd student supposed to procrastinate without them?

ps. congrats hugh!

Anonymous said...

hmmm.... in one way its great to hear and i am genuinely happy for you Styna to be able to settle in Poland and feel like that is now your home. Thats extremely important, to be able to function on a daily basis and be happy. Happiness, according to the psychs is somewhat extinct these days in our never ending search for it. But I'm also somewhat offended... maybe its becasue we're a stable country that we feel that there is nothing of extreme importance for us to discuss or dwell on.... So we discuss things that excite us in our lifes (even if that is home renos). Its a feeling of great accomplishment for young people starting out, developing our lifes our homes....

Justyna said...

Well this apology is a bit long coming. And now I feel more like a spaz. All I really wanted to say is that my wanky, opinionated, drivel is never intended directly at any one. Nor is it based directly on any conversation. I’m sorry if anyone was hurt by what I wrote. I really am.

Anonymous said...

No biggie dont stress... we all know its an expression of observation... Its an extremely interesting blog entry!! Niani

Anonymous said...

thuc, can we trade links?