We are very slowly preparing ourselves for our visit “home” this summer – first visit in 7 years. From arranging substitutions at work, asking somebody to water our plants, deciding what to pack and preparing our girls for the long flight – we are really busy. Oh, we should go to the dentist before we go too. Oh, and we have to get an insurance policy in case we get sick in the US. Oh and this and that and another hundred other little things, but they all add up. But c’mon, it’s not so bad really. I mean it is not as daunting as it is for Olivia who has to sell her house in America and move with her husband and children to Poland for good. We will survive.
From past experience, I am sure that I am going to suffer from a bit of reverse culture shock (everything is in English!) and I will also be bombarded with questions about Poland from my friends.
Here are some of the typical things I get asked by friends, family and acquaintances. What shall I tell them?
Poland or Holland?
What’s the difference between Poland and Holland?
Where is Poland?
Is Poland near any “good” countries?
Poland’s as big as which state?
Did anything good ever happen in Poland, I mean, in history, ya know?
Do they speak Russian in Poland?
They speak Polish?! I didn’t know they had their own language! How long they had that?
Do you go to Auschwitz a lot?
Do you have grocery stores? McDonald’s? Frozen pizza?
Don’t they have food in Poland?
followed by Why’re you so skinny? Is it ‘cause of the rationing?
Do you have indoor plumbing?
Do you have hot water?
Have people in Poland heard about the internet?
Do people have cars in Poland?
How much do you earn?
How much do people earn?
How much does gasoline cost?
followed by Jesus Christ! How can anyone afford to drive over there?
So, what d’ya mean, you have public health care? So like you can just go to the doctor and leave without paying?
So, what d’ya mean the doctors didn’t give you anything for the pain when you had your kids?
Is it hard to get used to driving on the left side of the road?
It must be cool to be so close to Paris. Do you go there often?
Where’d you learn how to teach foreigners English?
How come your husband has a British accent?
and my all-time favorite…
Have you heard this one? A Polak, a Jew and a cowboy go into a bar…
I can’t wait!