Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Could have

image I left my country. It was my choice, done of my own free will, so I guess I shouldn’t complain. But why, oh why, did I have to choose a country just as cold as the one I left?

I could have chosen someplace warm and tropical with things like sunny beaches, drinks with tiny umbrellas and lemons that you can pick from a tree in your garden.

Seriously, what was I thinking?!?

PS  To the man who was driving too fast in the snow and hit Misiu and another driver causing damage to our car and really bumming out our day, shame on you! Maybe you should move to a warmer climate too.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Humor polski

Is there something such as a Polish sense of humor?

I think that there is. Maybe we are more familiar with the British sense of humor (Monty Python and all that) or the American sitcom sense of humor, but the Poles have something to offer the comedy world too.

I’d describe the Polish sense of humor as a bit of British humor(sketch comedy, absurd situations, self-deprecation) plus a bit of American humor (wry observations mixed with some obvious punch lines) with a Polish twist (a bit of cabaret, “wink-wink” jokes aimed at “the man”).

What do you think?

I have been reading the book Humor Polski – dowcipy z lat 1948-2008 as a change of pace from those Swedish detective stories. I recommend it to those of you with a sense of humor. Those of you without…please stop reading now!

Here are a few jokes from the book to whet your appetite.

Dowcipy z lat 40 – Jokes from the ‘40’s


W 1945 roku w warszawskiej restauracji facet zamówił duże piwo.

-Ile mam płacić? – spytał.

Kelner powiedział – 2 zł piwo i 2 zł na odbudowę Warszawy.

Na drugi dzień też przyszedł do tej restauracji. Ponieważ spieszyło mu się, płaci kelnerowi 4 zł. Kelner zwraca mu 2 zł.

- Dlaczego? – spytał klient.

- Bo piwa nie ma.


In 1945 in a restaurant in Warsaw a man orders a large beer.

- How much? – he asks.

The waiter answers – 2 zloty for the beer and 2 zloty for re-building Warsaw.

The next day the man comes to the same restaurant. He’s in a hurry so he pays the waiter 4 zloty. The waiter gives him back 2.

- What for? – asks the man.

- ‘Cause we’re out of beer.


Rozmowa Stalina z Rooseveltem

R: U nas jest demokracja: każdy może wyjść na ulicę i powiedzieć, że Roosevelt to idiota.

S: U nas też jest demokracja: też każdy może wyjść na ulicę i powiedzieć, że Roosevelt to idiota.


A conversation between Stalin and Roosevelt

R: In America we have democracy. Everyone can go out on the street and say that Roosevelt is an idiot.

S: We have democracy too. Here, too, everyone can go out on the street and say that Roosevelt is an idiot.


And now a joke which I heard first time told by one of my students describing his colleague and their boss.

Polski oficer opowiada swoim kolegom:

- Wyobrażcie sobie, wracam wczoraj do domu wcześniej niż normalnie – i co widzę? W łóżku moja żona z naszym doradcą wojskowym, pułkownikiem.

- I co? – pytają zaciekawieni dalszym ciągiem oficerowie.

- Na szczęście nie zauważył mnie.


A Polish Officer tells his friends:

- Can you imagine, I came home from work earlier than usual yesterday and what did I find? Our Colonel in bed with me wife.

- And then what happened? asked the curious officers.

- Fortunately, he didn’t see me.


Sorry English-speaking folks. This one can’t be translated. It’s a play on words.

Co jest mieszanina pieprzu z dżemem?

Zebranie partyjne, bo jeden pieprzy, reszta drzemie.


Amerykanin i Rosjanin spierali się, kto jest wybitniejszym p0litykiem: Hoover czy Stalin.

- Hoover – mówi Amerykanin – to wspaniały człowiek i polityk. Przede wszystkim oduczył nasz naród pić!

- A Stalin oduczył nasz naród jeść!


An American and a Russian argue who’s a better politician: Hoover or Stalin.

- Hoover – said the American – is a fantastic man and politician. First and foremost, he cured our nation of drinking!

- But Stalin cured our nation of eating!


This joke appears nowadays but with Germans, Poland and cars.

Kolejka przed sklepem. Przechodzący starszy pan przystaje i pyta:

- A co tam takiego przywieźli?

- Zegarki ze Związku Radzieckiego – odpowiada ktoś z kolejki.

- A, to ja też stanę. Może mój przywieźli.


There’s a line in front of a store. An older man passing by stops and asks:

- What have they brought?

- Watches from the Soviet Union – answers someone from the line.

- I’ll wait in line too. Maybe they’ve brought mine.


And let’s not forget about Hilter.

Hitler przyjechał do zakładu psychiatrycznego. Dyrektor ustawił pacjentów w dwuszeregu. Gdy Hilter szedł w kierunku pacjentów, wszyscy krzyknęli:

- Niech żyje Hitler!

Tylko wartownik stał spokojnie. Gestapowiec pyta go:

- A ty dlaczego nie witasz Fürera?

- Bo ja nie jestem wariatem – odpowiedział wartownik


Hitler comes to a psychiatric hospital. The Director lines up the patients in two rows. When Hilter passes by the patients, they all shout:

- Long live Hilter!

Only the guard stands calmly unmoved. The Gestapo asks:

- And why don’t you greet the Führer?

- Because I’m not crazy – answers the guard.


I had heard many of the jokes from the book before but there are some new ones too (well, new to me). It is an excellent way to practice Polish and re-fresh your political knowledge (for less than 20 zloty).

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Giving Is Good

Because of my job, I get to meet people I would otherwise not have an opportunity to meet and do things that I would not have an opportunity to do. It’s really great.

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This Thursday evening I had the honor of participating in PGF Urtica’s annual charity auction benefitting children’s cancer wards all across Poland held in the beautiful backdrop of the National Museum in Wroclaw.  autumn 2010 243

PGF Urtica is one of the largest wholesalers and distributors of pharmaceuticals (to the hospital market) in the country. Urtica dzieciom is the charitable arm of the company which organizes cycles of artistic workshops for the patients in the children’s cancer wards. These workshops are led by a team of dedicated professional artists and art teachers throughout the whole year culminating in the annual auction where we can admire the artistic talents of those incredible little patients.

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100% of the proceeds from the auction goes to the kids – to support the art program (which is now an essential element in the children’s rehab program) in addition to other programs to help make the children’s stay in the hospital as pleasant as possible. The wards are supplied with paints, paper, glue, books, board game, etc. The wards are also equipped with (in co-operation with the phone company) free “pay” phones so the kids can call home whenever they like.

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The most fun was had during the “big auction” when the auctioneer and bidders did their best to boost up the prices. The auctioneer even bid against himself and bought a picture for double the starting bid (he was the only bidder – it was really quite comical). There were a few big fish there who entertained the audience with their bidding war. The generosity gave me a genuine warm and fuzzy feeling.

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The most poignant and moving moment of the evening was when the President of PGF Urtica purchased the painting of a young patient and then returned it to his parents. This young artist was the star, so to speak, of the annual video shown at the auction. Unfortunately, that young boy died not long ago. His parents agreed to allow his interview to remain in the video and his painting to stay in the auction. They accepted the painting from the President (my new favorite student) graciously. There was not a dry eye in the house.

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I was also pleased to provide translation for a guest from Austria. The gentleman, who works for a pharmaceutical producer, came all the way just for the auction. He and I were unable to participate in the “big auction” as the prices were beyond our means, but we both we able to snag something in the “small auction” which was a silent auction. A bit of bidding was required to get the picture that I wanted but I didn’t mind one bit. It’s all going to a great cause.

Our picture - The Stork -  made by a 4-year-old little girl.

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The whole evening was solemn and joyful all at the same time. The thought crossed my mind more than once that my own happy and healthy children were at home sleeping peacefully in their own beds.

Hats off to the staff of PGF Urtica responsible for organizing this event.

I know that you all put your hearts into it.


URTICA DZIECIOM www.urticadzieciom.pl

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Communist Bastards Exposed! This time - Media Expert Komuniści skurczybyki ujawnieni! Tym razem - MEDIA EXPERT

We have a new fridge – yeah! ‘Cause our old fridge died – boo! Our poor Amica fridge had been on its last legs for quite awhile and we are finally able to replace it.

Cold beer and ice cream for everyone!

Shopping for major home appliances – does that sound like fun to you? If so, I admire your ability to withstand what is for me a mind-numbingly boring  activity and see it as entertainment. Combine that with the fact that I’m not a big shopper to begin with and am extremely pressed for time and you can imagine the kind of kamikaze shopping which was required.

Frankly, all those fridges look alike to me, but at least each fridge has got some kind of chart on it so you can easily compare price, size, capacity, energy use, noise and special features.We checked out a couple of stores – Media Expert, Media Markt, Saturn and some on-line shops before we chose a Beko fridge from Media Expert. It’s not the best fridge out there and it is neither the cheapest nor the most expensive. It is simple satisfactory and at a good price. That’s what we were looking for. The sales and service people were very nice and professional. They answered all of our questions and delivered on time. I cannot complain about that. But what I can complain about is the pricing policy.

I was a shop assistant during college and because of that I am more than sympathetic to the job sales people do. I know more or less what their daily grind looks like, and I know that the fridge guy has nothing more to do with the pricing policy other than changing the price magnets once a week as he is told. I get that. That’s why I am not complaining to him, but to you :)

When I worked as a shop assistant or sales associate as my name tag read, we changed the prices regularly. That’s normal. Once a week, we got an e-mail with all the price point/SKU numbers that needed changing. Sometimes it was a temporary promotion requiring a quick change of signs over the rack indicating that this rack was now 15% off or 2 for 1 or whatever the sale was that week. At the end of the sale, the signs came down and the items returned to the original price on the tag. Sometimes, it was a permanent mark-down. Then the red pens came out and we reduced the price on each price tag by hand, one by one. The price could not go back up again. Sounds fair, right?

So, after scouting fridges for a week, I was pleased to find out that Media Expert would be having a sale – 22% off all home appliances (22% is the amount of the VAT). Cool, I thought as we went to order our new fridge. One thing though, in the meantime they raised the base price. The meantime here is Tuesday to Friday and I’m talking about the base price, not another previous promotional price. Not cool.

We bought the fridge anyway, of course, because it was in fact cheaper on Friday than on Tuesday, but not by 22% but rather by about 9%.

You know what Misiu had to say about it…

PS1  I am aware that komuniści skurczybyki should in fact be komuniści skurw… and would best be translated as Communist SOB’s but I somehow like Communist Bastards better.

PS2  Kielbasa Stories has 2 new followers. Welcome Joanna! Welcome Lilla My! Thanks for joining us and thanks for reading.

Komuniści skurczybyki ujawnieni! Tym razem -  MEDIA EXPERT

Mamy nową lodówkę – yeah! Bo nasza stara lodówa padła – buu! Nasza biedna AMICA ledwo trzymała się na nogach i w końcu udało się ją wymienić.

Zimne piwo i lody dla wszystkich!

Kupowanie artykułów gospodarstwa domowego – nie brzmi dla was zachęcająco? Jeśli tak, to podziwiam waszą umiejętność wytrzymania czegoś co dla mnie jest otępiająco nudnym zajęciem, i potraktuję to jak dobrą zabawę. Jeśli połączymy to z faktem, że ja w ogóle nie jestem wielką zakupowiczką i jestem zwykle pod presja czasową – to możecie sobie wyobrazić, jakie to zakupy w stylu kamikadze musiałam wykonać.

Szczerze, wszystkie te lodówki – jak dla mnie - wyglądają tak samo, ale przynajmniej każda z nich ma na sobie tabelkę więc łatwo można porównać cenę, rozmiary, pojemność, zużycie energii, hałas i szczególne właściwości. Sprawdziliśmy kilka sklepów – MEDIA EXPERT, MEDIA MARKT, SATURN i parę sklepów internetowych zanim wybraliśmy lodówkę BEKO w MEDIA EXPERT. Nie jest najlepsza lodówka ze wszystkich, ani nie najtańsza, ani nie najdroższa. Jest po prostu wystarczająca i ma dobrą cenę. Właśnie to, czego szukaliśmy. Obsługa i sprzedawcy byli bardzo mili i profesjonalni. Odpowiedzieli na wszystkie nasze pytania i dostarczyli na czas. Nie mogę narzekać na to. Ale mogę ponarzekać na politykę cenową.

Sama pracowałam w sklepie w czasie studiów i właśnie dlatego czuję większe współczucie dla pracy, którą wykonują sprzedawcy. Wiem mniej więcej jak wyglądają ich codzienne zgrzyty, i wiem też że ludzie od lodówek nie mają do czynienia z politykę cenową więcej niż cotygodniowe zmienianie magnesów z cenami tak jak im każą. Rozumiem to. Dlatego nie skarżę się im tylko wamJ

Kiedy pracowałam jako sprzedawczyni lub SALES ASSOCIATE – tak było napisane na moim identyfikatorze, zmienialiśmy ceny regularnie. To normalne. Raz w tygodniu dostawaliśmy e-maila ze wszystkimi cenami i kodami produktów, które wymagały zmiany. Czasami była to tymczasowa promocja wymagająca szybkiej zmiany znaczków na wieszakach, wskazujących, że teraz produkt był tańszy o 15 % lub 2 w cenie jednego lub jakakolwiek inna była to wyprzedaż w danym tygodniu. Na koniec wyprzedaży znaczki zdejmowano, a ceny wracały do pierwotnej ceny na metce. Czasami była to obniżka stała. Wtedy wyjmowaliśmy czerwone pisaki i obniżaliśmy ceny na każdej metce ręcznie, jedna po drugiej. Cena nie mogła pójść z powrotem w górę. Brzmi fair, co nie?

Tak więc po sprawdzaniu cen przez tydzień, z przyjemnością dowiedziałam się, że MEDIA EXPERT będzie mieć wyprzedaż - 22 % na całe AGD (22 % to VAT). Cool, pomyślałam kiedy poszliśmy zamówić naszą nową lodówkę. Cóż, jeden szczegół – w międzyczasie ONI PODNIEŚLI ceny wyjściowe. W międzyczasie oznacza tutaj od wtorku do piątku i mówię o cenie wyjściowej a nie o kolejnej poprzedniej cenie promocyjnej. To już nie cool.

Oczywiście kupiliśmy lodówkę, bo tak naprawdę było taniej niż we wtorek, ale nie o 22% tylko o około 9%.

Wiecie , co Misiu musiał o tym powiedzieć …

PS1  Jestem świadoma, że komuniści skurczybyki powinno być komuniści skurw... i tak przetłumaczone po angielsku ale jakoś bardziej podoba mi się Communist Bastards.

PS2  KIELBASA STORIES ma 2 nowych czytelników. Witam Joannę! Witam Lilla My! Dzięki za dołączenie do nas i dzięki za czytanie.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Rio de Świebodzineiro

z8629394X,Pomnik-Chrystusa-Krola-w-Swiebodziniez8629416X,Pomnik-Chrystusa-Krola-w-Swiebodzinie 06.11.2010 SWIEBODZIN , MONTAZ NAJWIEKSZEGO NA SWIECIE POMNIKA CHRYSTUSA KROLA , GLOWA POSTACI CHRYSTUSA PODNOSZONA PRZEZ PONAD 700-TONOWY DZWIG . 

FOT. SEBASTIAN RZEPIEL / AGENCJA GAZETA - Wybudowanie pomnika było dla mnie powołaniem. Chrystus objawił mi się i powiedział, żebym to zrobił. Tak się stało. Kierowałem się symboliką. Sama postać Jezusa mierzy 33 metry, dokładnie tyle, ile Chrystus miał lat, gdy umarł na krzyżu - mówił wzruszony ks. Zawadzki.



Thursday, November 4, 2010

What next?

Millennium III is done and dusted.

No more evenings with Lisbeth.

What next?

Any suggestions?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Our Halloween in Poland – The Positives and The Negatives

autumn 2010 145Halloween has come and gone. I wonder how long we can leave up our Halloween decorations before someone complains. I’ll give it until Wednesday.

Halloween, if I am well-informed, started as a pagan holiday in Europe and pre-dates Christianity. The original purpose of Halloween was to scare off bad spirits and ghosts. This holiday is celebrated in quite a few countries around the world and travelled to America with immigrants from Europe. Of course, now it is just fun and games with kids dressing up and going door-to-door collecting candy.

This is my take on Halloween in Poland. It is not a Polish holiday. I have no desire to Halloween-ize Poland. We celebrate Halloween in our family because I want to share a little bit of my American childhood with my children. Some people in Poland like Halloween and have started celebrating it with their children. It  is usually a dress-up party without the trick-or-treating part. For adults, bars and restaurants have themed parties starting as much as one week before Halloween. A lot of people are indifferent to the whole thing and some others are against the idea of autumn 2010 138Halloween in Poland. Maybe it it because of Halloween’s  proximity to the holiday of All Saints Day.

My opinion is that these two holidays can live side-by-side. I went to Catholic school in the States and we still had a Halloween party every year at school. OK, Halloween is one day before All Saints Day. So what? That doesn’t make Halloween any less fun nor does it make All Saints Day any less sincere. Please excuse my bluntness but sitting solemnly at home or at graveside does not make your loved ones any less dead and having a dress-up party with kids doesn’t make them any more dead.

Halloween is not the enemy.

First, the positives -

autumn 2010 124We gave a lovely lesson about Halloween to Lizzie’s Pre-school class. We asked the kids what they knew about Halloween which was quite a lot actually. They even knew how to say “trick or treat” in English. We explained that we celebrate this holiday in our family because it is an American tradition and that I am American. Then Misiu read a book about Corduroy Bear and the best Halloween ever or something like that. The kids were enthralled. At the end of the lesson, we decorated paper autumn 2010 133plates as little jack-o’-lanterns. The best and most unexpected part for us was that the kids and teachers dressed up just for our lesson. There were a lot of princesses, ghosts, witches, a batman, a pumpkin and only one rock star (our Lizzie).

autumn 2010 159We also had a Halloween party at home. We decorated and cooked and dressed up and like last year informed the neighbors of our trick-or-treating plans. And just like last year only a few neighbors decided to participate (many people were out of town as well) and those that did participate really rocked. Thank you neighbors!!! The kids had a lot of fun, and I could feel almost like at home. This morning our little sweeties keep checking what they’ve got in their trick-or-treat bags. It is so cute.

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autumn 2010 171We have a rock star (Lizzie), a butterfly (Rosie), Scooby Doo (a guest) and a Knight (that’s me).

Now, the negatives –

All went as planned at our party, but unfortunately some of our friends got sick and couldn’t come to our Halloween party. I got sick too, but that’s beside the point. The show must go on!

Regarding our lesson at school, all went as planned there too, but unfortunately not everyone liked the idea of our Halloween lesson. It wasn’t our idea to teach a lesson at school. Parents were asked by the classroom teachers to volunteer some time this year. Lizzie was thrilled when we decided to come to her class. Now the negative…Despite the fact that our presentation of Halloween at Pre-school was prefaced with the information that we wanted to present something from our culture (I guess I should say my culture), one family decided to remove their child from school for our lesson with the statement that “we do not celebrate such a holiday”.  Now, come on. If my kid has to sit under your crucifix all day long, your kid can survive one Halloween arts and crafts project. Jeeezzzzz! Lighten up!

PS1 Kielbasa Stories has some new followers. Welcome janiluap and porcelanowy blog. Thanks for joining us and thanks for reading!

PS2 When you buy a new fridge the week before Halloween, you have a lot of material for making Halloween decorations.