Friday, October 8, 2010

Yeah, well, you’re not so smart either -No cóż, wy też nie jesteście tacy mądrzy

I have to say, I am quite sick of all the “Americans are sooo stoooopid” jokes. Enough already. We get it. Americans don’t know where Poland is, ha, ha, ha. Americans don’t know if we are fighting in Iran or Iraq, ha, ha, ha. George W. Bush was President of the United States, twice, ha, ha, h-wait- boo, hoo, hoo –that one’s pretty sad, actually.

I, too, sometimes criticize my American friends for their lack of knowledge about world events and their indifference to life outside the United States. They say that they don’t care because they don’t know. I say, they don’t know because they don’t care. Whatever! Once (a long time ago), I asked an acquaintance from Rwanda (or was it Uganda) if they had houses in his home country. Ok, I didn’t know, but at least I cared enough to ask.  And anyhow it was before I was proficient at googling.

Anyhow, this blog is not about Americans and their lack of knowledge. This blog is about Poland…and admit it, you’ve got stupid people too. Ok, maybe stupid is too harsh but here are 2 funny situations from my first year in Poland.

While taking a taxi across town, the taxi driver decided to chat me up. He was delighted to find out that I was an American. One thing that didn’t agree with him was that I worked as an English teacher. “But you’re not from England,” he said in surprise.

While sending a letter at the local post office, I said my usual “lotnicza do USA” (airmail to the USA) to which the post office clerk replied, “USA? I thought you were from America?”

Kind of “Miś” moments, wouldn’t you say?

PS Miś is a Polish film in which there is a funny scene at the post office in which the clerk cannot locate the city of London.

No cóż, wy też nie jesteście tacy mądrzy

Muszę powiedzieć, Mam dość jak słyszę te wszystkie dowcipy “Amerykanie są taaacy głupi”. Już wystarczy tego. Kapujemy. Amerykanie nie wiedzą, gdzie jest Polska – ha ha ha. Amerykanie nie wiedzą, czy walczymy w Iranie czy Iraku, ha ha ha. George W. Bush był prezydentem USA, dwa razy, ha ha, czekajcie – beeeeee – ten dowcip jest akurat przykry.

Ja też czasami krytykuję moich amerykańskich znajomych za brak wiedzy o wydarzeniach światowych oraz ich obojętność na życie poza Stanami. Oni mówią, że mają to gdzieś, bo nic nie wiedzą. Ja mówię wtedy, że nic nie wiedzą, bo mają to gdzieś. Nieważne! Kiedyś (dawno temu) spytałam znajomego z Rwandy (a może Ugandy) czy oni mają w swoim kraju domy. OK, nie wiedziałam, ale przynajmniej zadbałam o to, żeby spytać. Poza tym było to zanim nabrałam wprawy w GOOGLOWANIU.

W każdym razie, ten blog nie jest o Amerykanach i ich braku wiedzy. Ten blog jest o Polsce... i przyznaję, też macie tu głupich ludzi. OK, może głupi to zbyt mocne ale oto 2 zabawne sytuacje z pierwszego roku mojego pobytu w Polsce.

Raz jadąc taksówką przez miasto kierowca postanowił trochę mnie zagadać. Było mu niezmiernie miło usłyszeć, że jestem Amerykanką. Jedna rzecz mu się jednak nie zgadzała - to że pracowałam jako nauczycielka angielskiego. „Ale przecież nie jest pani z Anglii”, powiedział zaskoczony.

Kiedy wysyłałam raz list w miejscowym urzędzie pocztowym, powiedziałam jak zwykle „lotnicza do USA” na co urzędniczka odparła, „USA? A ja myślałam, że pani jest z Ameryki.”

Nie powiedzielibyście, że moment trochę jakby z “Misia”?

PS MIŚ to polski film, w którym jest zabawna scena na poczcie, w której urzędniczka nie może znaleźć miasta Londyn.


Kasia said...

My recent Polish post office story: Scotland? There's no such country, please change it to England (my sister was sending me a parcel). Same post office: Belarus? Is it in Russia? Is it still Europe or Asia?
I get infuriated at Polish people in the UK who moan about how stupid British people are for not knowing that Marie Curie, Chopin and Copernicus were all Polish and themselves don't have a clue who James Clark Maxwell, Oliver Cromwell or T S Elliott were :(

Stardust said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stardust said...

Oh Chris, how dear you?
From now on remember Poles are the smartest, most beautiful, tolerant, most handsome people on Earth. Poland is the most beautiful and biggest country on Earth, the only country worth living in and be proud of. Everything that is or ever (even centuries ago) was polish is the BEST of the Bestest:)
If anybody famous has 3% of polish blood, they ARE POLISH never mind that they have never been in Poland, never mind they don't know one polish word - THEY ARE POLISH and the rest of the world has to know about, otherwise they stupid as Americans:)))
Got it?

Darius said...

Well, you see, to say that A is darn big doesn't mean that B can't be too ;] And anyhow, is a long history of dumb polanders jokes in the states, you can't complain about them trying to tip the balance in their homeland ;D

Chris said...

So true, so true :)

Tranikowa said...

I hope it isn't b/c I wrote on my blog about Americans I met in Norway who were surprised that thanksgiving is not a day off here? :)

Stupid people are everywhere. I am as much as you tired of Polish jokes.

ucieczka said...

About post office (and stupid people): I went there to buy a two week ticket, and it was to be coded on a smart card. Previously on that card was coded a 90day ticket. When you prolong it, there is a simple procedure on special terminal machine, but when you change the kind of a ticket the procedure is more complicated (sort to say - 4 clicks more you have to make on the terminal). I go to the lady, say I want two week ticket and previously there was other type of the ticket, and I wait as the post office lady goes to ask for help, she is looking for a manual and then I hear her talking with a colleague about two week ticket, and after a while she yells "We have only 14 day tickets!". I kindly restrained myself from making a faceplam.

Chris said...

Tranikowa - Don't worry. You are not the cause of my mini-tirade. And you are right, stupid people are everywhere. Just why are they always first to open their mouths...esp on camera?

Ucieczka - Perfect!!! I admire your restraint :)

Rinonka said...

I'm moving to the States on Monday! Any last minute advices? :)

Chris said...

Rinonka- Wow! How exciting! Some advice...Well, feel free to smile as much as you want. Get used to people asking you where you are from and then trying to place themselves within that context - You're from Poland? My friend's great, great grandmother was from Poland or was it Czechoslovakia? OR Poland? Poland, Ohio?

Hmmm, what else? Food portions are really big. A lot of places are not accessible on foot (lack of sidewalks). Nobody knows how much a kilogram or kilometer is. Any food which is sweet is 20 times sweeter in the US. Ironing is optional. Showering is not. You don't have to dress up for the 1st day of school. They have 4-way stop intersections. The light to the bathroom is inside the door not outside. It's difficult to bribe somebody without getting arrested.

Hmmm, the first person at the door opens for the people behind them, regardless of sex. In the elevator you stand in rows, all facing the door (not around facing inward). Lines almost always form front to back, not to the side unless otherwise indicated. And last but not least, American beer isn't as good as Polish beer ;)

Good luck to you. Can't wait to hear how it goes.

Rinonka said...

Chris, thanks for that! I love the one: 'Poland, Ohio?' :D
I will let you know how does it goes :)
Btw. that's my blog:
I'm sooo excited about moving in there!! :)

Chris said...

I will check out your blog esp to see how you are adjusting to life in the good old U.S. of A. Once again, good luck!

Anonymous said...

hilarious! Chris i love ur blog...have been following it for a couple of weeks, this is my first comment thou. I found it completely by chance googling I can't even remember what :) and so glad i did!!
See, I can sooo relate to a lot of things you write, I used to be an English teacher myself (in-company tutoring, i know, how original, right?). I enjoyed teaching so much, but I just got tired of it. See I don't have a get the picture? Even though I put a lot of effort in managing my schedule, I was so tired of my commute, especially in the winter... such a wonderful profession, such horribly competitive market (like everything else in Warsaw....). As for funny comments abroad: I lived in the States for 1,5 years and heard a lot of them. Most people have this image image in their heads, some are real simple,for instance, if you're Polish you should be blond and blue eyed, and have a Russian accent. If you don't fit in this box, it's weird...hmm maybe you are a spy or something? :) or worse... an illegal alien??? :) I guess it's easier for most people to just put other in boxes, it makes all so simple, right, why bother? But that goes for eeeverybody, the Polish, Americans, the Brits, on and on, we could just keep on going. but that's life right? Ignorants will be ignorants. But at least there's an easy way to test them.
all the best for you and your family, keep writing, you're funny! :) and good luck with your students, (oh yeah, the coffee in the morning!) karolina

Kasia said...

I think all of us experience these situations leaving abroad. My American husband has stories from living in Poland, I have stories from living here. One of our American friends was at the train station and asked for "bilet do Lodz" - and the lady told him that she was selling train tickets - not boat tickets. In addition to "are you Russian" when they hear my accent, when people see my name on documents - they ask how to pronounce it. When I say Katarzyna - 95% of the time they say "what a beautiful name" - and I know they really don't care:) And it is 100% true - stupid people are everywhere. Plus - post office clerks are stupid in Poland, USA and in Morocco - from my experience. And most of them move in very, very slow motion.

girri said...

I would say, stupidity is everywhere, and everyone gets stupid from time to time :) as for the clerks... i am living in Germany with my british boyfriend, and the first time we have been to the city hall to register in Berlin, the clerk said there is no such country as (you can choose, we tried ALL of the names) England, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland or Great Britain, cause she does not have it on her computer... the same for his nationality, there is no british or english :) the passport didn't help much. Well, it did not until she tried to put the name of the country copying letter for letter from the first page of the passport. And found it all of the sudden :o)

I am following you for the last few months and thought it would be nice of me to say hi and not only peek through the open door!

Chris said...

Karolina- Welcome! Thanks for reading and thanks for the compliments. Sometimes I think that my sense of humor is appealing only to myself so it is nice to hear that someone else gets it. Yes, teaching in co's w/out a car is a logistics nightmare. My car is like my 2nd home. I have lots of stuff in there - food, water, reading materials, English materials, sometimes a change of clothes (when you have to teach at the bank and on the factory floor all in one day).

Kasia- Katarzyna is a beautiful name and if not impossible for my parents to say or spell, it would have been the name of our 1st daughter. At the doctor's yesterday, the dr asked if he could call me Krystyna. I said ok but that it is not my name. He said that foreign names are so strange and difficult. I said that I know some strange and difficult names too for ex Przemek, Zbyszek, Zdzisław ;)

girri - Welcome and thanks for saying hi. I have to say that you and your bf met with an exceptionally dim clerk. It's a pity you didn't have a map with you :)Sometimes I wonder who reads my blog. I have gotten to know some of the regulars thru comments and thru their blogs but that's about 40 people tops and then followers at now 75. The stats (that I just figured out how to check properly) show sometimes 400 unique visitors (800 pageviews) a day. Who are these people?

Kasia said...

Chris - well - I have never thought that my name was beautiful:) It was such a popular name when I was growing up (in the 70s) - there were 3 Katarzynas in my class in elementary school.
Thank you for the compliment:)
And I agree with you when you don't want to be called Krystyna. I never introduce myself as Kathy or Kate. In fact, a Polish acquaintance called the other day and asked for Kate - my husband told her that she had a wrong number. Then she asked for
Katarzyna. By the way - I commented on your blog for the first time yesterday - even though I have been visiting for a while - thanks to anetacuse. I enjoy reading your blog. Greetings from Texas!

Anonymous said...

Guys, don't you ever let other people change your name for their own convenience, whether from Polish to an English version or the other way around! It is their problem if they can't say it, they'd better learn. And not to mention that very often names that might even be foreign for us, turn out not to be all that difficult to pronunce. For instance, I would never ever introduce myself as "Caroline". My name is Karolina. (and not "carolina" like in South Carolina, ewwwhhhh, karolina, as in "Karoleena" and with a k) :) And guess what? People have no problem with it (in the US probably because of the huge Spanish population and such origin od this name). Ok, maybe "Katarzyna" is more complicated, but not that much, come on! And Chris to you: Chris? as in "Kris", how difficult is that? No offence, your doctor is a retard, get a new one! :) Changing a name is in a way like changing your personality, I think. Besides in many cases it's just ridiculous. Example: I've noticed on numerous occasions that in the US for instance, Asian people (not Asian American, Asian) have this need to "westernize" themselves. If your name is Xian Cho, I will call you that, don't say:"My name is Xian Cho, but you can call me KAREN". (real story). I mean what is that????

Chris said...

Karolina - I had the same situation with students from Asia when I was teaching ESL in the US. I just got in the habit of asking the students (adults and teens) what they would like to be called. It was really funny sometimes because you could track the influence of western culture on Asia. There were a lot of Donna's and Brenda's (90210 influence) and lots and lots of Christine's. All except one gentleman who when asked what he would like to be called, replied, "Mr. Kim". So for the rest of the course among the Brian's and Brenda's there was one lone Mr. Kim. Why? Because that was his name.

Stay true to yourself...and your name!