home is wherever I am home

home is wherever I am home


Last week we went for a short trip – “vacation” to Mazury. We would love to make a longer trip to some more exciting destination but even those 3 hours in the car were not the most pleasant experience of my life. For some time now we were trying to find sort of an “escape” place not far from Warsaw, where we could easy drive (not for 6 hours) to spend couple of days. A place that would fulfill our – I don’t think hight – expectations, which means privacy, nice surroundings, lake or river, apartment with kitchen, not to many people which in reality means from 2 to 0 :), and of course place that does not look like stuck in 90’s super polish design mode. We were not very lucky so last year we to do a trip to Mazury with our beloved Sven….And that truly was something! We came back after 4 days and 3 nights, exhausted, pissed and in a really really bad mood, but that is a separate story. This year I somehow accidentally came across place Masuria Arte and we were sure that is the place. And IT WAS THE PLACE. Everything was perfect. Private lake, loads and loads of space around for walking, only three apartments which meant very few people, nice design, small veggie garden….ideal. BUT that ‘s it. Driving to get there was terrifying – well for me. Before each time when I came to Poland I sort of was taking things easy here, or at least I was trying to (when I forget about our robbed flat and some drunk sick bastard beating me up on the street). Polish adventure was always just an adventure for limited amount of time. I knew I was coming to Poland just for a period of time and I knew I was going back to Vienna. unconsciously this fact was sitting there in the back of my mind and was letting me take things easy. Easy in the sense that I was just overlooking them, taking them as part of “adventure” in this “exotic” country. This year things changed, and they changed a LOT. I know now that I am not packing myself by the end of september and I am not going back to Vienna. I know I am staying here, and next year, and next and next…..This is now the country that I am going to live (if some sort of miracle does not happen and we will not get an offer of well payed jobs somewhere else), the country that is supposed to become my home. And this fact scared the shit out of me in such a way that it even surprised me. And yes, I realized that drive to and back from Mazury. I was thinking if I should write this post at all and not just skip it post the photos without any comment. I hate to cumulate negative energy, as there is enough of it around anyway…and making statement in the virtual space is even more tricky, as people tend to take things more personally and have less distance. But I just have to get it all out no matter how many of those who will read it will think I am a sucker. Whatever you might think, Poland is one of the visually most depressive places I know. Driving through Lomza gave me one of the most creepiest feelings, almost claustrophobic, as if I was closed in a small dark room without air and possibility to get out. That is probably because I realized that these kind of views are my reality now. Since I came here in July I was more or less closed at home or walking around in Saska Kepa. I did have a strange feeling of some sort of agression among people that was kind of hidden under the surface but you could just sense it almost everywhere. Kind of tension, people are not nice to each other, they give u bad looks, they are pissed about something most of the time, talk together in a very provocative way and explode easily. Yes I did feel that around and even tried to explain it to Mr.B who I think is so used to it that he does not see it anymore. But visually I was in a bubble, disturbed by amount of broken glass from bottles along Wisla, or trash that people for some strange reason put in the car and drive it to the wood to drop it. But it still was a bubble. As soon as we left central parts of Warszaw and drove through the outskirts and small towns the bubble just deflated like a truck tire and I was staring around me in shock. What happened in this place should be punished. I remember having a separate post on my blog about how much I love and admire polish poster design. But that is a past….polish design is past. What happened to that craftmanship and mastery of using types, of lettering, of working with colors and space? Where did it all go? Who let this dehonesting situation to go so far. Enormous amount of posters, advertisings, billboards create a separate space within a space. They cover everything that can be covered,using the most awful fonts, and colors and shadings and photos, there is no creativity it is just a plain horror that attacks your sight and gives you headache. Your eyes have no place where they could stop for a minute to rest, it is one attack after another. Billboards covering buildings that have nothing to do with architecture and in between there are these huge gypsum statues of horses, bulls, spiderman, buffalos and I don’t know what else sticking out as some kind of proud figurative masterpieces, together with plastic palms covered in dust. It looks like if somebody delibrately decided to screw up everything that can be screwed. There is zero feeling for any kind of aesthetics, zero feeling for the nature, for combining architecture with the actual space, zero respect for the country and for the people as well. Driving couple of hours through places like this surely must provoke agression. There is no other way. It is like turning on TV and switching the channels really fast for 3 hours, your eyes and brain get so exhausted and besotted that you start to be really nervous and easy irritable which is only one step away from either depression or agression. Now I can say that I really admire people who live here and are still able to create any kind of beauty whatsoever, who remain positive and creative, because I was not positive at all, and even less creative as we arrived to our place, where we literally locked ourselves for one week without any attempts to drive around and discover. I am not gonna try to make this sound any better than I mean it. It really is horrible and something should be done to stop this ridiculous and punishable devastation of the country. And instead of people start being sensitive on it, and start seeing those things trying to change them they get to read even more ridiculous article in one of the most opininon-forming newspaper. An american writer Jenn Pelly visits Poland for music festival and writes and article about it. Besides all the positive reactions to the music scene itself she is so “impertinent” to write also something negative about the place itself. AND SO WHAT. She was right. How come people are only able to accept the glory but reject completely critic? The fact that anonymous readers, frustrated haters and dickheads were insulting her on internet is nothing unexpected or new, but that the text in Gazeta Wybiorcza with master title “Ratunku, naszych bija!” was a true shame. Whoever wrote it probably does not read well in english, does not see, or has some other problem with accepting reality. But the polish reality will not change unless people will not be able to be critical about themselves and have a bit of fucking distance. OK that is about all I wanted to say :) ….. I am not Jenn Pelly and I am not writing an article for american paper….I am coming from postcomuinst country as well …. from country that is FAR away from being perfect in any way just as other countries I know. But that does not mean I can not have an opinion on Poland and that this opinion can even be negative in some aspects. And now I am gonna take Mr.T for “fakir” walk by Wisla and think about black storks……



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  • Olimpia says:

    last one is the best!! love ur dog

  • vikky.salmon says:

    Love the last photo od Mr.T ;) xxx

  • so, so true post. Poland will not change anytime soon.

  • Anonymous says:

    Good one… There is a lot of true in what you wrote, and still, if I could get a good job in Poland, I would probably go back… Now I live in Germany, country where paths in forests are named and where people somehow totally don’t know what to do if they don’t have procedure to follow. Of course – not all, but still… Compared to Germany or UK, Polish usually need to struggle more for a living, but all that colourful and golden richness of the countries didn’t come from hard work and some kind of good taste only, it came always at the expenses of somebody somewhere else – slave trade, colonialism, slaughtering of native people, destruction of the environment, pollution, civil wars, cheap labour… Anyway, I hope you will make it through the tough beginning and then you will also find some beauty in there, maybe a little more hidden…

  • Brumella says:

    well said, well written

  • Marta says:

    This is one strong text Silvia. It had to take a lot to publish it. I don’t live in Poland for about 7 years now and I can kinda understand what you mean. I love this country, I love Warsaw, but I love it more when I come only for a weekend once or twice a year. It is great to catch up with friends and new good places, but then the reality kicks in. I did not travel in Poland for a very long time, I can not say anything about outside of the capital. But I agree that we polish people are specific. We’re angry and frustrated. Whenever I come over I am very excited. But then people hardly ever answer on halo in stores, even in cafes, where they earn money on clients, they don’t always make me feel welcome. I won’t even start with public offices. When I smile to people on a street they seem to think that I want something from them and they avoid an eye contact. But I can also see that things are changing and it’s better than it was even in 2010 when I stayed in Warsaw for 3 months. For sure there is a big group of amazing, creative people. And I am sure that with time you’ll start to see more and more good things. Big hug to 4 of you :)

  • tuń says:

    True but I will try to make a difference. If it would help I could clean all of this broken glass from the side of a river,so that Mr T feets would be safe. I can do it by myself but still next day someone will broke a new one. I agree with everything you wrote and I feel ashamed. But I am not going to quit and maybe someday oneday you will and I will say that POland is almost beautiful place. Take care Silvia

  • ola says:

    I haven’t lived in Poland for a while now but every time I visit my parents at the countryside near Jelenia Góra, I think about taking pictures of all those hideous houses around the road and then pick the worst one…
    last year I was on a trip in Krakow, and I was really excited about a drive to Oswiecim, was hoping to see some beautiful countryside on the way. and there it was: a few amazing but ruined wooden houses, and loads of ugly monster modern buildings and billboards and posters everywhere! one of my Danish companions said something like: look, this house is really, really green, it actually screams that it’s green!…

  • Basia says:

    I found your blog through Bart’s which I’ve been reading for the past 8 years. I’m Polish but I don’t live in the country now. I must say that what you wrote is very strong and might offend a lot of people who are working extremely hard to make Poland a great place to live in. It won’t happen overnight because of various reasons… overcoming communism, not as strong economy, politicians etc…People are poor and frustrated therefore not very eager to make friendly encounters.For some it is hard to make ends meet. Otherwise how do you explain that outside of Warsaw people make 1500 PLN and have to support 4 person family?!I know it shouldn’t be an excuse for their behavior and it frustrates me a lot when I’m visiting….. I see some contradictions in this post. At one hand you write very negative things and on the other I see some beautiful nature that I think is very hard to find in the industrialized Europe….It is not that bad overall:) I see some similarities in how you feel and how I used to, when I moved to the US shortly after graduating from collage. I had to do it because of my husbund who had lived there. I was angry and frustrated although US appears as one of the best places to live in.I got cut off from what was familiar and mine..Everything bothered me..I was angry and didn’t see myself fit in there.. What you are going through now and what I did is simply a culture shock(plus some prego hormones:) and it will eventually go away….POland shouldn’t be compared to Austria because of recent history and economy advancement.. one day we used to be a part of that beautiful country. Some day we will get there…I wish you Good luck.you have a great man next to you so nothing else should matter…one last thing I have to write it…I don’t think POland is that far behind Slovakia or Czech:)
    Good Luck!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    hi, come to Berlin! I moved to Berlin some time ago and I have to say there is a huge difference in how I feel daily. I have spent my whole life in Warsaw and now I look around and can’t believe: people ARE nice! they are friendly, happy, they smile, they are helpful… and they have lots of positive energy, which charges your batteries every day! To move here was probably the best decision of my life. You can surely find a job here, the competition is strong, sure, but the creative market is huge and you are both talented and experienced. Besides, Mr. B can easily travel to Waw anytime on a fast motorway if he needed to for work purposes. And the rents are cheap here. And it’s baby/kid friendly. And it has better healthcare. And if you are a freelancer the taxes are lower than in Poland. And you will meet lots of people that think alike. Just to name a few advantages… :) Just think about it, really :) Warm greetings for all 4 of you!

  • Anonymous says:

    Funny, looking at your photos I see nothing but beauty, magic and stunning nature…. none of the ugliness you’ve described in your post. It might be true certain parts of Poland, certain cities…. it’s like coming to New York City and thinking you know what the whole United States is like…
    Be positive it’s better for your baby ;)

  • ania says:

    great post. sad but true. sometimes even feel like You. and sometimes feel like on your great photos. so ambivalent.

  • Shu says:

    Hi Siska,
    Your post inspired me. gave a reflection. Also gave the feeling that I’m not the only Alien in this country :)
    I saw once on the polish coast some settlement. typical, ugly blocks.
    the big advantage was the location. what intrigued me, was the idea of ​​the architect. What a strange man builds a block in which one part of the apartments have a sea view and the second part – solely for the parking.
    And to me, our litlle Poland is a jumbled creature living in this second type of apartments.
    Poland, with its blindness. Poland hears the sound of the sea, but does not remember that it is the sea, because she hears only noise (… Only noise I hear … / Dzień świra).

    Poland not to often take a walk on the beach, do not watch sunrises and sunsets. What for? she only looks at the parking. Parking of vehicles consisting of weakness, trashes “, mediocrity”, dilapidated sidewalks “envy”,
    dirty benches “lackness of imagination”. Poland is limiting her view to the gray backyard just – “because”. Or just to punish herself. She likes to punish herself.
    Ofcourse there are exceptions. Polish brainstorms :) I think Poland is waking up. But she has on her arms a little devil and a little angle. and the devil often says: Do not over reach, kick it – because it’s not yours, steal it – because you are so poor, complain – it’s easier than being creative. And our little Poland most often listen to him.
    People like you wake up the angel. This is the good news.

    Thanks for it.

    – Shu B.
    Regards for all your pack.
    Please say a hello to Bart from me :))

  • marta says:

    Poland, like any other place, is just a place. And yes, it takes plenty of distance to acknowledge this simple fact. It’s easy to be happy or unhappy anywhere equally. If you choose to be so in Poland, it’s your choice and requires taking responsibility for it. I guess most problems stem from one’s inability to accept this. After over 9 years of living outside of Poland I can definitely see the common love-hate relationship with the country most people seem to have there. Yes, it’s some kind of angry patriotism and I hope to never understand it. I hope you will decide how you want to live and just do it there. Or, if it’s impossible (like it was in my case), leave. Take care!

  • Javier says:

    He disfrutado mucho paseando por tus fotos


  • Anonymous says:

    The only thing I can say about your post is: SPOT ON!
    The Nature is Poland’s only treasure, we should let it be, or build/create around it if necessary. Why don’t we is beyond me…

    The photo of B in the water lillies is awesome.

  • Thank you all very much for your comments….I truly appreciate SO much when people not only fell like they want to read what I have to say..but when they spent their time to write back its really almost shocking :)

    BUT anyway…I knew when I was writing the post that there are people out there who are going to feel offended…I cant say I don’t care, but I don’ t care ….for a simple reason …no matter what would be ever said there is always somebody who will feel offended, and to make it the goal of my life – not to offend anybody -would be more than insane…And than why to feel offended by somebody’s way of thinking…if I dont like it or dont agree I just stop reading it…everybody has a right to have an opinion just as well as everybody has a right to like it or not.

    And never the less I don’t actually feel as if I was offending anybody at all…The message of the whole post is very simple even if I might have gotten out of the track while writing it :) … I dont want to make it a global issue connected to money, wealth, climate changes and war in Syria…./anyway I dont think Poland is a poor country/….or talk about the terrifying impact of communism on people…I get to hear that all the time when there is a problem in Slovakia, and truly said it makes me sick to hear it over and over again…People are hiding behind that sentence….common we have all been through more than 20 years of “democracy” so lets just stop it….if talking about braking bottles and throwing plastic bottles and cans by Wisla I suppose we are talking about age group that has not much to do with communism anymore.

    The message is simple..I find it very rude, arrogant, self-centered and stupid what some people in Poland do to their environment, nature and life space…it is not matter of money it is a matter of WANTING….when it comes to those billboards and signs and advertisings …WHY?????….its terrible, but its ignoring everything around thinking only about SELF…and I dont like it….And I really do believe that the place we live in and surrounds us every day is making a HUGE impact on how we feel…how frustrated we are and how we deal with frustrations…people during communist time were shocked about the colorful world behind the wall….and I would hear very often how nice it must be to live in a world full of colors…how it makes people happy….

  • Ilo says:

    Siska, you enjoy the fact that people read your posts, don’t you? (re. for example ‘still pregnant but back’). You ‘hate to cumulate negative energy’ and write past as this one above. You throw that hot ball full of negative emotions, complaints and bad mood to your readers. It burns in their hands. Whom do they have to pass that ball on? Are you surprised that people ‘are not nice to each other, they give u bad looks, they are pissed about something most of the time, talk together in a very provocative way and explode easily’, then? In my opinion, writing such kind of posts, you are like these billboards.
    Wise men say De gustibus non est disputandum and Kijem wisły nie zawrócisz. Close you eyes and relax!

  • of course I hate to cumulate negative energy..its enough of it around..and who likes to do it….even more so in the virtual discussion which are very restricted in a way…but that does not mean that sometimes writing negative thought is not necessary…..it so easy to just close the page as soon as it gets too negative :) …. And I do believe that one can make a huge difference or change…I dont like that attitude of dead bug…I dont want to close my eyes and not see…I am not an ostrich…and I do believe that seeing things you dont agree with and staying quiet about it is just as bad as doing those things…and I also believe that my “readers” can handle my statements and if they dont they just say fuck you and never read me again…they will be happy and I will not know :)

  • Kuba says:

    This post is spot on! Also anybody who blames the negative Polish attitude on poverty and turbulent history should stop. There are so many poor countries around the world with people smiling more, caring more and being more friendly! …Cheers!

  • Anonymous says:

    true but that title of the article was ironic!;)

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I don't want my life to be a reason for other's life to be a suffering that is why I am vegan and that is how I want to raise my son. I love my little family, birds, rainy days and life on the road. I believe in life before death :).