In Western Europe, when we hear about people from the Eastern European countries, the first thing that comes to our mind is that they are serious, cold and reserved people and with whom will it be difficult to have any kind of association. Of course, Poland and the Poles are within those countries. That’s why I said before “the first thing” because when you live close to them and start integrating into their society, when you understand their customs or when you know how they think, your initial idea disappears completely.
If you visit Poland for a few days or weeks, you will have a superficial idea of the reality of how the Poles are, but when you live with them every day, you realize that it is a wonderful society (logically there are exceptions like in all countries). They are willing to give you all the best what they have and that is very important for someone who has left their country for whatever reasons and has decided to move to another country.
In this post, I will talk about my personal experience, which is the only one I can base this on. Thanks to my wife, who is Polish, as you know, I have been lucky to learn more about their customs, their behavior, how they think about different issues and the great heart they have when you let them get to know you.
Of course, the first contact with a Pole is always hard. As you know, if you do not know each other, give two kisses on the cheeks (in Spain we always say hello like this) is an offense and there is a “risk of cobra” (I mean when you go to give a kiss to someone and that person tries to avoid it), so it is always a case of shaking hands regardless of the sex of the other person. Once the “ice is broken” and after having spoken in Polish/English/Spanish/Swahili for a while, you know each other a little bit better and you can say goodbye with a kiss on the cheeks (or three) or even with a hug.
When for example it has been awhile, it is time for “maybe you can come to my home and we can prepare something for dinner/drink.” Unlike westerners who often meet with our friends to drink a few beers at a bar or to have dinner in a cool restaurant, Poles usually, invite you to their homes to eat and drink something, especially when “winter is coming”. Ah! And one more thing I want to make it clear of course, there are many Polish people who go out to bars or restaurants… Do not make the mistake and think that the Polish people are parasites who never leave home!
When a Pole readily invites you to their home, he is giving you something more personal, he wants to know you better and he is able to establish a much closer relationship with you. As soon as you overcome this cultural barrier, there is not stopping them (like Pringles), they prepare a lot of tasty food and also you realize the reason for these large refrigerators that they have when they start to bring out repeated amounts of ice cold bottles of vodka and beers… And you can only imagine the end result of their hospitality!
Definitely, regardless of the financial resources each has, they always give you the best what they have in order to make you feel like at home and that is much appreciated when you are living in another country.