You know this thing called routine and how it stabs you in the eye from time to time? Well, that wasn’t my case this summer. I had the opportunity, as Bill Gates had his (that however is a different story), to visit this pretty big and pretty awesome and pretty country named Poland. It is never hard to find stereotypes about a country (JFGI) and it is never hard to test them. What is actually hard is to cope with the weather in Poznan, my host for 10 days. That weather got to me in one day. Note to self: when leaving the temperate climate always take pharmaceuticals with you.

I know that there is this vast majority of people that when looking at places they look at architecture, they look at infrastructure, the look at clubs, beer, food, culture, money, etc. I like to look at the only thing that all this stuff has in common: people. Because it’s the people that make the architecture look great, it’s the people you talk to while drinking beer, having pierogi or spending money, it’s these people that make, most of the time, the place seem special. From this point of view, Poznan was pretty special. And pretty.

There are a lot of moments that I recall from Poznan that could make the difference in a bad movie. The long walks on the streets of Poznan, the hunting game of the German, the holy juice and the holy polenta, the blessing of Jesus, zubrowka, tuica, dinners at that fancy restaurant, coffee, cherry coke, that club mixing “Break on through (to the other side)”, the black room, that boring movie, the swearing contest, the street performance, but you can’t get all these inside jokes, so I’ll just stop here.

And then the day came that we had to say goodbye. And I was looking at the people I’d met and had to say goodbye. I know that I’m never going to see them again. And I don’t want to see them. Seeing them would only make the whole story seem real. Not seeing them will make the story become legend and the legend become myth. And this myth will someday, hopefully, make a good bedtime story.

Mircea Cernea

*laleczka is an appellative for women in Poland that can be translated into “dolly”. Breaking some English grammar rules, laleczka is here used as an appellative for Poland. Don’t ask why, Poland just looks like a woman to me.

P.S. New stereotypes: beautiful women, not so good English speakers, the guys that broke the Enigma code, nice architecture, cheap alcohol, normal potatoes, football hooligans (lousy teams).

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