Talk:Ewelina Warner: Polish Language and Culture Lesson

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April 15, 2009

Cinzia, Michaela, Neil and I enjoyed an enjoyable and informative afternoon learning about Polish language and culture from Ewelina. An experienced Polish teacher, Ewelina furnished us with some indispensable basics for our upcoming research trip.

Here are my top ten impressions:

1. Food: The spread was fantastic. Had I known Poles eat their main meal at 2:00pm, I would have come with an empty stomach. Highlights included rye bread smeared with goose fat and sour rollmops. There was also an excellent apple tart with custard and we all enjoyed green tea from a most robust pot. Perhaps next time we'll have vodka.

2. Church and State: Poland is more than 90% Catholic and this devotion is not new. Ewelina explained that Catholicism continued under Communism, though members of the Church could not be members of the party.

3. The Polish Psyche - A pleasant alternative to the "victim mentality"?: If Poles seem a little "rough" and "serious" on first impression it's because they're they've been through a lot. It seems the boundaries have been redrawn more times than a Jim Dine picture.

4. Subverting Systems: Whether it's Communism or Catholicism, subverting the system caries cultural kudos. Sometimes, it's a case of self-preservation; other times, its a game. Snaps for being inventive and industrious.

5. Relocation/Pilgrimage - Moving across the land: While many people were relocated due to shifting borders and the availability of accommodation during WWII, many continue to move across cross on religious pilgrimages during the summer months.

6. Public Space - Cemeteries, "Houses of Culture" and gyms:

7. Being in Public:

8. Nature as a National Treasure - Reverence for the forests, lakes and shoreline.

9. Communication style - Direct instead of laconic:

10. Cześć - "Ch" as in Chester and "Ch" as in Church: "Cześć" means "Hi" but doesn't roll off the tongue quite so easily.