Breaking a myth

Whether you were born or have lived in Poland or if your partner is Polish, this post will be familiar to you, and even if you do not believe it, it is completely true. How many times have you visited someone in a warm country during the winter and you have heard the phrase “you should be already used to it” when you complain about the cold weather? A thousand times, right?

Let me tell about a situation that I have witnessed many times and you will fully understand what I am talking about. Right now, I am living in Poland, and my wife is Polish as you know and during the winter when we fly to my hometown León (where the weather is quite cold) to visit my family and friends. Many people repeat this phrase to my wife and, as is normal, she gets a little bit tired of this. Then, politely, she tries to say that does not matter if she is Polish or Chinese, she is cold and that’s all and the worst thing is that people are surprised by her reply.

Well, I say to those people to try and put themselves in a similar situation (as if you are coming from a warm/hot country). Imagine that you are walking in the Sahara Desert during the summer because it is the only time when you can take holidays in your company. It is almost as if you want to die because it is 50 degrees and in this moment a local comes up to you and says the following phrase: “Oh! Is it very hot for you? How is this possible? You should be used to this weather if you come from a country like Spain!” And now how do you feel? You do not need to tell me, I know. 😉

Similarly, many Poles who visit Spain (which applies to other countries as well) are treated in the same way, not because they are Polish and they can endure colder weather better, but because they are normal people like you or me and they have the same blood temperature as the rest of the people in the world. Sure, there are people from Cordoba (Spain) who are perfectly suited to endure the colder weather and people of Siberia who endure hot climates very well and none are going to tell them anything regardless of their nationality, right?

I was trying to find a good reason behind these comments and I have come to the conclusion that if Poles feel very cold when they visit warmer countries during the winter, it is because in these countries, the construction of the houses are not really prepared to withstand low temperatures and everyone knows what will happen when winter is comes… Let me give you an example. I have a colleague who is Polish and she lived in Seville for a year and she says that she has never been so cold in that year in Seville than in the rest of her life in Poland.

Therefore, the phrase “You are Polish so YOU HAVE to endure the cold weather better than anyone” is a myth and sadly many people still resist breaking this myth.

One thought on “Breaking a myth

  1. A good post Carlos. There are so many of these types of annoying questions you get in life. A lot of it stems from stereotypes, some of it stems from people who haven’t travelled much and judge a country from what they heard on the news or through friends. I also sometimes get the weather question when it rains “but sure you’re from Northern Ireland, you’re used to rain”. My own personal least favourite question in Poland however is “Why do you live here?”. After explaining that I like Poland and love the culture, the person who asked gets really upset and angry and keeps asking again, yes but why? It’s because they are shocked that I am not married to a Polish person, I am not here on business or because “a company sent me” and I am not here to trace my (non-existent) family roots, nor on an Erasmus course! I’m here because I want to be. And yes, it’s okay to still hate the cold weather or the hot weather and not “be used to it”! Safe travels, Jonny

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