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Dzisiaj po angielsku
...bo tak mi każe Muza.

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"We wish you all a very happy, pleasant flight
this is the journey to the centre of the night"
(Charlotte Gainsbourg, "AF607105" -- plik legalny i darmowy)

My first trip to Poland after having moved to the Netherlands proved a very strange and disconcerting experience. All of a sudden the words "here", "there" and "at home" don't have a singular meaning; everything becomes infected with fuzzy logic. The streets seem both familiar and oddly unfamiliar; the places I used to hang around are now the past. Nostalgia is a sudden, very much unexpected guest that I greet coldly; she gives me a blank stare, prepared to hold her ground.

On the 1st of January we felt really bad. We went to walk around the port and the trip was surreally beautiful; the houses there are truly gorgeous, almost fairytale-ish, the weather was obscenely beautiful and sun was shining. Then we came back home (home?) and nostalgia crept back into our bones. It was one of these afternoons when you are supposed to sit by the fire and drink mulled wine to silence your thoughts, but all the shops were closed and all we were left with was tea; as for fire, we could sit by a microwave or central heating, but it wouldn't be exactly the same.

I used to date a boy, who had major problems with himself and his religious upbringing; after a few months of a fantastic relationship he has suddenly changed into a very different person who, among the other personality quirks, wasn't in love with me anymore. When we finally broke up, I couldn't get over it for a long time because I felt I have broken up with someone else and that the boy I loved must be somewhere else and I just need to find him again. Then three months later I met him again and I realised I am still in love... with that other boy that didn't exist anymore. This is a bit what I feel like with Poland. When we have visited for a week, it was both familiar and unfamiliar; the same yet different; unchanged yet changed. And so were the two of us, longing for a country that never was, remembering a country that is the past already, even though only three months have passed. We are now growing into a very different direction and Poland doesn't follow us. How can we break up with Poland but stay friends? Poland's so unpleasant nowadays when returning our calls, and she doesn't smell too well, but there was love once, when she was different... not pretty -- that was never the case -- but she had a great sense of humour, and she liked the same movies I liked. And then we drifted away from each other until we had to break up. And now we met again and shockingly, she hasn't changed at all, and she has changed such a lot I don't recognise her.

"all the things i carry with me
and all the things i left behind
and all the things that wait to meet me
hover in the air tonight"

I feel nostalgia and I feel there is a wound in my soul but I don't recognise the shape of the wound. Is it family-shaped? Mom-shaped? Friends-shaped? Or is it the shape of a place that isn't and wasn't and most certainly will not be? Have I escaped the place I didn't want to be only to discover that I can't cut the umbilical cord and I can't come back either? What is the solution: more contact or less contact? Should I read the Polish papers to keep on remembering what I escaped from or allow the relationship to die completely?

I was never able to stay friends with my exes. The only time when it's possible is when you don't feel anything anymore; otherwise you're going to torture yourself and/or the other person. And in the case of me vs Poland what I want from the relationship is not to go back where it was; what I want is to move back to beautiful, lovely Poland, free of homophobia, right-wing nutters, nationalism, neo-fascism and religion taking over everything. Otherwise I am reduced to clinging to her sweater and going on about how bad she is treating me and how she needs to change and how it's all her fault and not mine, and that doesn't strike me as a particularly healthy behaviour after a (far too) delayed break-up.
wtorek, 02 stycznia 2007, navaira
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Komentarze
Gość: mattek, apn-100-176.gprsbal.plusgsm.pl
2007/01/02 21:11:57
Being an expat is not easy...
Similar thoughts here and here .

BTW, why should Poland be a female? ;)

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2007/01/02 21:22:52
It's quite simple, "Polska" is feminine in Polish :)

Thanks for the articles, they're really great, especially the first one feels very familiar...
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2007/01/02 23:31:48
I see it differently: in English the precious things are feminine, ex.: ship, and one's own country is definitely precious, even if it's "only" an abstraction.

Personally, I don't see much change after having come back to Poland for two weeks now, and I don't feel nostalgia. Possibly it's because I have it in my conscience, that my home is here and that I am going to return here in a few months, after leaving it again.

A przy okazji, mam do Ciebie, Oliveiro, prywatę... Ponieważ nie podajesz kontaktu, muszę tutaj się zwrócić w tej sprawie. Czy możesz podesłać mi swój adres e-mailowy na libreexamen@o2.pl?
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Gość: chlopiec, chello087206137143.chello.pl
2007/01/02 23:38:05
I hope I have never been in love with Poland. I hope I will not realize that I was, after a few months abroad. I hope I am feelingless enough not to miss Poland after I leave this country. And I hope your new love with The Netherlands will overcome the old one. It will be different, but it doesn't have to be worse.
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2007/01/03 10:07:13
a ja mam identyczne odczucia do mojej rodziny, jak ty do polski.