By now you may be quite aware about my polish lessons. But I am yet to reach the fluency levels of starting a polish conversation. I stick on to simple greeting or short conversations for buying something. So there are situations where Poles try their English skills with me. And I welcome you to ‘get on the train baby’ for a Poland express ride…. I did miss the chance of fitting my dialogues to famous Bollywood numbers. Nevertheless I bet, you will find this equally entertaining.
A Polish fan for my Cousin: I met my husband’s colleague for the first time and he told me that he has become a big fan of my Indian cousin. I was 2 weeks old inPoland and was not sure which cousin he was talking about. Later my husband told me his colleague had tasted some Indian food from his lunch dabba ! Now you should know my cousin!
Let me in and eat me up: Apartments here have electronic door bells with flat numbers right outside the main gate on the compound wall. So, a visitor needs to know the flat number he wants to visit and press the right button. The resident has an access to open the door or to just answer.
This happened at a time when I was desperately waiting for some documents through both post and courier. As the doorbell rang, I picked up the receiver and said hello. I was expecting to hear “courier” or “Poszta”. But there were a few quick polish sentences. I interrupted and said politely with my beginner polishskills “ uszcie polskiego. ale mowiem I rozumiem tylko troche. Czy Pan mowic angelisko?’ meaning ‘I am learning Polish. But I can speak and understand only a little. Can you speak English? ” I could hear two voices speaking at once and rumbling off some English.
It was critical for me to have these documents. I quickly picked up the keys put on my shoes and ran down to check. I saw two men at the door decently dressed with multiple layers for winter clothing. I asked them who they are and what they wanted. And one guy said “Let me in, eat me up and throw me away” and louder the second time and screamed the same the third time holding and shaking the door vigorously. I ran back to my flat as I was sure that beggars don’t deliver letters.
Strip Off: I will surely write an INK exclusively on my adventure learning ride to get my residence permit. Here is tip of an iceberg as it would be more relevant here. As part of the two dozen requirements for the permit was a photograph with specific requirements. After reading the description I felt this is this more elaborate than what can be written about one’s face after seeing that size of the picture.
Anyway rules are rules. I set out with my Polish friend who can also speak English. Mark, being a taxi driver is more careful about following rules when it comes to car. My lucky day, he did not get a parking space near the studio. So he quickly ran into the studio with me and rattled some polish sentences.
I was 4 months old in Poland. And I understood 5% of what he spoke, which literally means nothing much as that five percent constituted pronouns, conjunctions and just the conjugated ends. I asked him how much I need to pay, he told me a number and rushed back. Lucky taxi, it had a driver who was thinking about it all the time.
I waited and I was called when it was my turn. The photographer looked at me. I felt I was looking okay, though not as fair, slim and blonde. Anyway it was a passport size photo and I was sure my face will fit the frame. His look turned into a stare and I was tempted to check myself. Did I forget my pants? Impossible as the temperature was just around zero degrees and I would have realised such an accident much earlier. I still felt okay in a tshirt and a pair of jeans. It was essential to wear them though they may not show up in the photo!
He looked at me again and said in a strong voice “Strip off”. I reacted with a question mark on my face which did not require any words from any language to explain. He said “prosze Pani, Strip off” this time a little softly, which meant “please Mrs. Strip off”. I looked around in disbelief to confirm if I was still standing in the studio were Marek dropped me or did I drift away into any dream world strip dancing bar as there are quite a few of them in this city.
I am amazed by the power of human Brain. A part of my brain was checking out how far I was from the door and can I reach to it without any hurdles and another part was visualizing how will this Pole look when half naked with red & black spots all over his body taken around my native village for a ride on a dirty grey donkey. The punishment given to men who misbehave with women as per some age old tamil movies! I am sure my run away emotion was stronger that I couldn’t laugh at the best donkey visuals that my brain managed to generate.
He waved to break my silence and pointed at my nose and ears and said “Strip off”. Now, I need not tell you what strip off means. But, I cannot guarantee if it means the same in some other parts of the world!
I can’t stand you: As I enjoy my honeymoon period at work, I decided to give some boost to my polish skills by trying to find partners for a language exchange. The idea was I could help some struggling English speakers who in turn can help me with Polish.
With all my love for teaching and training I came up with an idea that would help my language partner to see the effectiveness of his classes. I asked him for situations where he usually finds it difficult. He said he can understand well when people talk slowly but the trouble starts when they speak fast.
He wanted to know what could be the right English for “nie rozumieum. Prosze mowic wolniej”. I could understand this polish sentence as it was one of those few early ones which I learnt and translated it for him. Being the first session, I did not make it formal with a paper and pen. But just wanted him to repeat to make sure he has learnt it right. He looked at me and said with a straight face “I can’t stand you. Please speak slowly”. I thanked my stars that I could stop the damage before the next conference call.
Data shit: I admire these women who have childlike smile on their face. I wonder if that was a mask as it could change the personality of the person wearing that smile. I was sitting in front one such bubbly polish lady, may be in her late 20s. As I was melting in her smile, trying to mimic and copy and rank on the list of such smiles, she told me “fill this data SHIT” and the next second she realized what she had said.
She jumped out of her seat and ran to a far off corner. And standing there she was drowning in shame. I was in a bank trying to open an account as a primary account holder. The lady with the pretty smile was an office r at the bank helping me in the process. She came back after a minute and offered me the rules and REMUNERATION document to check if I agree to those for opening an account. Then she asked “If I can only COPY YOU” I got this as she pointed to my passport.
I was still captivated in her smile and glad that she could speak so much English and I could find a bank to have an account because I had visited two banks before and have come back empty handed. The first one had a branch dedicated only for operations and not for account opening which happened only in one main branch in the city. The second one had only a Polish website and their cookies would block translation.
As a person who loves to work on data, this had a message for me. If data is not valid, relevant and not analyzed to make sense, it is just data sh##!