27 gru 2010

What I don’t like in Christmas

Let’s face it – Poles are not exactly Catholics (who is?). Yes, I know, you can hear everywhere that we are, you have the statistics, you see people going to the church. The truth is – in Poland the Catholic Church has the enormous influence on the government and the law. People are not used to protest against it so they have to live in the Northern Roman Empire. But it doesn’t mean they live according to the Decalogue, read the Bible, listen to bishops or even believe in the God the Father. Polish religiousness is more pagan style (but don’t say it loudly;) – Poles want saints, angels and Mary to care for them, pray not in order to be saved but rather happy now. (It’s a big topic and for sure I will come back to it. Today I wanted to comment on Christmas.) Thus Christmas is far more a family holiday than religious. It can be a wonderful time but unfortunately so many Poles force themselves to do things they don’t need or want.

Let’s have a look at the typical Polish family (I know, it doesn’t exist but I must generalize a bit). Who is responsible for Christmas? Of course – the Mother! Or a grandmother or a daughter but for sure WOMEN. They plan, cook, bake, clean, do shopping, pack gifts, wash, decorate, serve, wash the dishes... The list is long. Polish Christmas should be splendid: 12 dishes for Christmas Eve, other for the next day, preferably prepared at home not bought. Houses must shine, the more gifts we buy the better. I’m not saying it’s wrong. I support the idea of cleaning everything twice a year but I don’t like the social context.

Many responsibilities don’t mean women have a real power in the family. They were brought up to organize family holidays and serve everybody. Even in quite modern families which try to share equally duties between men and women Christmas or Easter cause problems. Women work very hard but are not respected for that. Because they feel overwhelmed and underestimated they become angry. So you have family discussions, grievance, blackmail... Men generally AVOID. During Christmas preparations they go out and disappear or do one thing with a lot of celebration (“dad is baking his special cake!”). Children don’t want to spend time with irritated mothers so nobody feels good at the table.

Matka-Polka is a term used to describe women who are very dedicated to the family and always put their individual benefits aside. Children and family life are the most important factors in their life. Sometimes they can be happy and fulfilled but in most cases after many years of serving husbands and children they are frustrated and often explode (“this year there will be no Christmas, you’re ungrateful!”, “Through all my life I have sacrificed everything for you!”). You can say – it’s their fault! They have educated husband and children badly. It’s not exactly true – this is how women have functioned in the culture for the last 1000 years. Finally in the XX century they started to really decide about themselves. So it requires more time to redefine family relations.

My point is that you don’t have to sacrifice anything or work until you faint to have a great time with your family. Everybody should be engaged in Christmas preparations and not just “help” (I hate this word) the mother. Food or decorations are far less important than the nice atmosphere. I wish you only Christmas like this:)

24 gru 2010

Christmas preparations and who is a Matka-Polka?

I wanted to write a few days ago but finally I’ve spent too much time on my Christmas preparations. I also have a constant cold and it doesn't help. In fact as it's 2:00 a.m. I should be sleeping now...

I promise to write more as soon as possible! I will explain who is a Mother-Pole:) I won’t write much about the Christmas traditions in Poland, my fellow bloggers have already done it. Please have a look:

1) in English: transparent/polish, tasting Poland.

2) en Español: polskeando.

Today is Wigilia (Christmas Eve) and I wish you warm and nice atmosphere, close people around, good food and a lot of lovely gifts:)

This is my favourite Polish kolęda (Christmas carol) in the best version - by Krzysztof Krawczyk. Enjoy:)

17 gru 2010

Swearing in Polish

This video motivated me to write something on the Polish swearing style. Indeed our language is very rich - there are many different words on different levels of vulgarity so you can express yourself in every situation;)

to swear – przeklinać. 1. ja przeklinam, 2. ty przeklinasz
a swear word – przekleństwo, brzydkie słowo

1) Take the worst word - kurwa ("prostitute"). I don't recommend to use it in public despite the fact that you can hear it on every corner, at school or work. Some people add it to an every sentence in order to express the whole scale of emotions. Don’t do that unless you want to be seen as primitive and poorly educated.
Poles made up funny substitutes for kurwa. From the worst to the very light: 1) kurna 2) kurde 3) kurczę/kurczak…

The worst words describing women are kurwa, suka (bitch), cipa and pizda ("vulva"). For men there is chuj ("penis"), skurwysyn/sukinsyn (son of a bitch).

2) gówno – shit
Gówno mnie to obchodzi!
Gówno wiesz!

3) English verb to fuck can be translated with many words: pieprzyć, pierdolić, jebać... Originally they refer to the sexual activity. Pieprzyć nad pierdolić mean also to say bullshit and to fuck up.

Mój znajomy całą noc pierdolił o swoich sukcesach.
Wczoraj spieprzył mi się komputer.

4) They behave like all the other verbs – if you add a prefix they have different meanings (all vulgar). I just give a few examples, the whole list is overwhelming.

a) NA-
napierdolić się, najebać się – "to get drunk"
Nie umiesz normalnie pić? Zawsze musisz się napierdolić?

b) O-
opierdolić, opieprzyć – "to tick off"
Szef mnie opieprzył za spóźnienie.

c) OD-
odpierdolić się, odpieprzyć się – "to sod off"
Odpierdol się, to moje sprawy!

d) PRZY-
przypierdolić, przypieprzyć, przyjebać – "to hit"
Przyjebałem głową o szafkę.

e) WY-
wypieprzyć, wypierdolić, wyjebać – "to throw away/out"
Wyjebałeś wszystkie moje rzeczy na śmietnik?

e) ZA-
zapierdolić, zapieprzyć, zajebać – "to steal"
Sąsiad zajebał mi grabie. (I’m smiling when writing this, it’s vulgar but sounds so funny:)

When you can’t use any swear word and something is needed you can use the light cholera or kurczę. In fact you can use anything, the intonation counts. What do you think about the famous motyla noga (butterfly’s leg)? ;)

More beautiful expressions you will find here. And here przekleństwa taken from Polish films.

What words do you use? What is your experience with swearing in Polish?

11 gru 2010

My first pierogi

As you probably know pierogi (singular – pieróg [pieruk]) is a Polish typical dish. It’s a dough made of flour and water stuffed with anything you like. We boil them and sometimes fry after in a pan. In Poland there’s no tradition of baking pierogi like in many other countries.

What Poles like to put inside of pierogi?

Traditional pierogi:

1) Pierogi ruskie z białym serem i ziemniakami – “Russian” type with Polish white cheese and boiled potatoes
2) Pierogi z mięsem – with meat (beef or chicken or different mixed)
3) Pierogi z kapustą i grzybami – with sauerkraut (sour cabbage) and dried mushrooms. Served on the Christmas Eve

Other (great for vegetarians or vegans):

1) Pierogi ze szpinakiem – with spinach
2) Pierogi z soczewicą – with lens
3) Pierogi z kaszą gryczaną – with buckwheat groats

Sweet (accompanied with cream):

1) Pierogi z serem – with white cheese and sometimes raisins
2) Pierogi z truskawkami – with strawberries
3) Pierogi z jagodami – with berries

Feel free to experiment with different stuffling!

In my family grandma is the person who always makes and distributes pierogi. I’ve never had a motivation to try my own. But the time has come! I chose a recipe with not just water and flour but also a little bit of fat (olive oil) and yolk.

I will not give you the amounts because I failed;) My dough wasn’t sticky enough and pierogi were difficult to seal. That’s why I recommend to use only boiling water and flour. Nevertheless I didn’t want to throw away the dough! I decided to try to bake pierogi in the oven. I made small ones (now more similar to cakes) with a rose jam from Bulgaria and one big pieróg with broccoli, onion and blue cheese. And it was not only edible but also tasty! Not exactly Polish but never mind. So if something goes wrong don’t feel discouraged! They look not so bad:)

It’s easier to watch than just read so I recommend to take a look on youtube. Here you will find a recipe for pierogi in Polish and here in English.


2 gru 2010

The worst Polish ads

Here are the nominees in the Chamlety contest of the worst Polish ads. "Chamlety" is a smart combination of Hamlet and Polish cham*.

Here you can see the worst outdoor ads. Three of them are degrading for women who are presented as sexual objects created for men's pleasure. They don't have mind or individuality, their body is used only to catch the attention. One brakes the law encouraging to violence and the one about Grunwald is completely ridiculous.

Here are the worst video ads. Sexist and repulsive. OK, so stupid that funny but in general it's not funny at all. Sexism in marketing is of course the international problem. Not so difficult to solve, contests like this can help to raise awareness. What everybody can do is to stop buying products promoted in a such way. If you still aren't convinced that this is really a problem I recommend you to watch "Killing us softly 3". Hopefully people working in advertising agencies will understand it too.

* no idea how to translate, look in a dictionary. Cham it's a very useful word, not vulgar but offensive.