29 maj 2010

Funny Polish photoblogs

My favourite about bad taste, kitsch, sometimes stupidity and sometimes ignorance.

Aaaby sprzedać - for some people selling things on the internet auctions is a challege;) Original pictures taken from Allegro - the biggest Polish auction portal (with great comments).

Ekskluziff - how to promote your apartment on the web before selling;) Disastrous interiors and design.

Białe kozaczki - "White high boots" (Kozak = Cossack). The symbol of cheap and primitive clothing. Worn by women any age and shape without reflection. Unfortunately usually accompanied by kitsch long nails, extremely blond or black hair, orange suntan and very short skirts. Brrrrrr.

25 maj 2010

Floods in Poland

Wyrzuty sumienia = remorse! I have many ideas to write about but somehow I haven't managed to do it recently. But this week I will improve.

I must come back to the last topic. Many people suffer from the flood, thousands were evacuated and 16 died. In a few regions in Poland it really looks terrible, you can see the video here. All the local services are struggling: firemen, soldiers, also prisoners and volunteers. It's unusual that there's so much water after 3 days of rain in May. In Poland heavy rains start in the summer. The biggest flood ever was in July 1997 (56 casualties). Most vulnerable regions are Małopolska (Kraków), Podkarpacie (Rzeszów) and Dolny Śląsk (Wrocław). Warsaw was always rather safe but this year it changed - the level of Wisła is very high. There are some difficulties but fortunately caused mostly by preventive actions. Many people come to see Wisła and take pictures - "turystyka powodziowa".

Vocabulary:

powódź - flood
powodzianin (pl. powodzianie) - flood victim
klęska żywiołowa - natural disaster
ratunek - rescue
pomoc - help

If you're in danger in Poland shout "Ratunku!" or "Pomocy!".

How can we help people who lost everything? For example by giving money to the Polish Red Cross.

In 1997 the havoc was enormous. To help raising money Polish artists sang a good song by Hey and Katarzyna Nosowska "Moja i twoja nadzieja" ("My and your hope"). Video here and lyrics here.

I recommend you also a humorous comment on reporters' excessive involvement in the flood.

18 maj 2010

Dangerous rain

Today something in Polish - where should we add Polish characters?

9 maj 2010

Noc Muzeów 2010 - Museum Night Fever

The first Lange Nacht der Museen took place in Berlin in 1997. In the 2003 the idea came to Poland. Every year more and more institutions open for one night. The cultural offer is enormous.

On the 15/16th of May in many Polish cities there will be a lot to do, don't miss it! I warn - if you prefer to watch exhibitions in peace you will have no chance. Museums are crowded but the unique atmosphere counts! If the weather is good people just enjoy walking in the city center. Leave your car at home - in Warsaw there are many special buses besides it's worth to ride a bike (don't forget about the lights!).

Here you will find the programme for every city. The entrance is free:)

Apart from the museums I recommend you to visit for example Próżna street in Warsaw. It was Jewish before the WW II and somehow wasn't completely burnt down after the ghetto uprising in 1943. It's a ruined ghost street and traditionally a place of Jewish cultural events.

BTW remember that the word "noc" is feminine! That's why we say "dobrAnoc". The other option for "good night" is "dobrej nocy" because it's a wish and the Polish verb to wish ("życzyć") requires a noun in the form of the genitive.

Miłej nocy muzeów!:)

If you want to know more feminine nouns that end in a consonant check this.

6 maj 2010

Foreigners and migrants in Poland

A foreigner:

1. obcokrajowiec (pl obcokrajowcy)

obcy (foreign) + kraj (country)

2. cudzoziemiec/cudzoziemka (pl cudzoziemcy)

cudzy (not mine) + ziemia (land)

Emigracja - emigrant/emigrantka
Imigracja - imigrant/imigrantka

I would like to present you some of the great iniciatives for foreigners or by foreigners in Poland.

Welcome Center in Warsaw - a place where you can get advice on legalizing employment or stay in Poland, search for contacts or take part in workshops for migrants.

Publications for foreigners that help to understand the complicated Polish law.

Kultilink - job portal for foreigners.

Los Polandos - a radio programme about Poland and Poles in the eyes of foreigners. Every Friday 11:00, radio TOK FM.

Kontynent Warszawa - a portal with all the information about multiculti events, places, institutions in Warsaw.

Foundation Inna Przestrzeń

3 maj 2010

3rd of May - Day of the Constitution

One of my favourite national days - a remembrance of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth civic traditions. On the 3rd of May 1791 the Parliament signed the act which was aimed to improve defects of the deteriorating state. It was created by the great noblemen around the enlightened king Stanisław August Poniatowski (a controversial guy, I appreciate what he did). The Constitution gave more rights to townspeople and peasants and enhanced some democratic procedures. For details check Wiki.

Unfortunately, the act was in force only a year. It couldn't have been a great success as our three neighbours (Russia, Prussia and Austria) didn't want to see the country stronger. After the first partition in 1772 the Commonwealth was weaker but there was still a big piece of land of to divide and take over. In 1795 the big country perished from the map of Europe for 123 years. Here you have a map of how it exacly looked like.

But the Constitution of May 3 remains a great victory of the reformative block. It is known to be the first constitution in Europe and the second in the world after the United States (1787). On this picture (1891) by Jan Matejko - Polish historical painter - you can feel the probable atmosphere of that time.

From this short presentation you can learn that the signing of the act wasn't 100% legal but...



On this occasion I recommend you to go to the Royal Castle in Warsaw. But don't only look at the interior - it's better to hire a guide or read a lot inside. You can learn the Polish history from the paintings and get to know our last acknowledged king*.

The 3rd of May can be an occasion for many different events. I avoid the military parade in Warsaw but I like the idea of running.

And lastly a nice old song:




* In the XIX century Polish kings were for example Russian tsars but ask Poles - we don't have it in the collective memory.

2 maj 2010

1st of May - Labour Day

In Poland as in many other countries some people celebrate the 1st of May as an international day of social justice and workers' rights. However for Poles these celebrations have specific associations - after the WW II the communist authorities used this day in order to show their power and friendship with the USSR. Unfortunately, the presence on impressive and colourful parades was obligatory and people who didn't want to take part were somehow punished at work or school. Some "disobedient citizens" considered the absence as a patriotic manifestation. Fortunately I don't remember these times. Here and here you can see the examples of propaganda posters. BTW I recommend you going to Kozłówka - a beautiful place on the way from Warsaw to Lublin. Among other things you will find there also a gallery of the socialist realism - socrealism.

Now on the 1st of May parades are still being organized in Poland. Left-wing parties and their allies meet there communist worshippers, trade union activits and anti-capitalists.

As in Poland the 1st and the 3rd of May are free of work they form a long weekend - długi weekend. We call it weekend majowy or majówka. In the favourable conditions you can take 3 days off and have 9 days for holidays (not this year). Many Poles plan far or close trips, grills, parties with friends on działka (a piece of land which we own, with a house or even not, not very far, where we gather, grill sausages, drink alcohol, invite close people, sometimes sleep). Conditions on działka depend of course on how much money somebody wants to invest - some of them are really classy and some don't even have a toilet.