After close to 10 years of living abroad, I came back to Poland in 2012. I wasn’t exactly planning on doing that, yet the Warsaw I saw in May 2012 took me by surprise. In 2003, I left a city that was not yet fully awakened to its potential, fast growing but not yet quite alluring, like a mishapen and still messy adolescent. After a decade, I came back to see a brilliant, full of positive energy young adult – Warsaw had changed, astonishingly so. I was amazed, thrilled, excited, proud. Wanted to be part of it. Decided to stay and never regretted my choice.
Life over here is definitely different from all I had experienced in the USA, Spain or Mexico but I never felt tempted to make better-worse comparisons. It simply has been fascinating to see how getting back to one’s own home country is still a journey across different cultural zones and requires the same process of acclimatization and slow “settling in” as any other long-term relocation. All this time, I have been curious to see how by changing countries one changes the cultural norms we live by, with the changes being almost imperceptible yet omnipresent, breathing them every minute without even realizing how much they shape who and how we are.
“In love with Poland” – is a story of “my Poland” that I came to see again with an entirely new gaze; a mix of “this is my country, it runs in my blood” and “I am somehow a foreigner here after all this time abroad”. Hope you enjoy reading about it and getting to experience it yourself.
Photo by Agnieszka Bolikowska