Both of my parents are Polish, they came to Britain after World War II and never returned to Poland, not even for a holiday. Immediately after the war it was too risky and as time went by, the desire decreased and England became home. My mother was only 9 years old when forcibly sent to Siberia with her family, where many perished because of freezing weather, lack of food, disease and harsh conditions. My father was 19 and left Poland soon after he joined the Polish army and was sent to fight in other parts of the globe. Just recently, at the grand old age of 86, after about 40 years, my father applied to have his Polish passport renewed. This has theoretically opened the way for my sisters and I to also obtain Polish passports.
One of my sisters has now managed to obtain a Polish passport after much perserverance. I sent my completed documents with original certificates and expensive translations to the Polish Consulate in London who claim not to have received it. No post was ever returned to me as undeliverable. And this was after a 4 month wait, following the failure to receive any confirmation by post or email from the Consulate, when we queued up to be seen for about one and a half hours in a queue full of desperate people attempting to queue jump at every opportunity. My next attempt will be in Poland itself where I am told the service is much better.
Those of you who have visited Poland will know that rural Poland is largely an unspoiled land of forests, lakes, rivers and in the south, the Carpathian Mountains. There is an abundance of wildflowers, butterflies, birds and wildlife. Bears and boars are still said to be found in the Carpathian mountains. I adore wild flowers meadows and natural landscapes – these are much more difficult to find in England.
My mother cooked familiar Polish foods at home, bigos (sauerkraut and pork casserole), golabki (stuffed cabbage leaves), pierogi (similar to ravioli), placki kartoflane (potato pancakes or rosti). I went to Polish school on Saturdays until the age of 16. Nowadays, when I visit Poland, I look for these tastes from my childhood. It’s all part of the pleasure of a holiday in Poland.
And yes, living in Poland is so much cheaper than in England – groceries, meals out, travel are all so much less expensive. Pensions go further in Poland. We will try to let the house for part of the time to help cover costs.
To sum it up, we see it as a place to escape to for peace, beautiful countryside, cheap living, the joy of rediscovering one’s roots, with the possible bonus of being a worthwhile investment. I was looking forward to becoming a born-again Pole but with some recent experiencies the the gloss is fading from the dream and we're settling down to reality.
Some things upset me in Poland, such as coming across elderly people who cannot see but do not wear glasses. Is it because they cannot afford them?
More about problems soon. . ..
When I told my family that we were making an offer for a house in Rabka Poland, my daughter informed me that she had purchased a tiffany lamp via Ebay that came from Rabka. Just before making a payment for our house, we were introduced to the previous owner's cleaning lady who in the course of the conversation revealed that she had a son who made Tiffany lamps for a living. It transpires that this was the same person my daughter bought from and she was his first British customer. They live directly over the road from our house.
Related Polish cultural pages