Thursday, May 05, 2005


Cathy asked those great question a couple of days ago and I thought it would be great to answer them. I'm going to do it twice, once for Poland and once for Germany. Renée has answered them for Germany already, but Munich and Berlin are like two different planets in universe, so I'm going to do it again :) I hope you don't mind reading kilometeres (or miles ;) ) of answers.

What is (roughly) your daily schedule? What time does work begin? What time does it end? How about meal times? Does your country go in for the afternoon rest time?
I usually got up at 6.50 am, washed and ate breakfast. School usually starts at 8 am and univeristy classes are scattered throughout the whole day. Work begins between 8 and 9 and ends at 4-6 pm. There are three major meals in Poland - breakfast which usually consists of bread, ham, cheese, tea or coffee, etc. Then most people take second breakfast to work or school and usually it's a snadwich or a fruit. Lunch/dinner, eaten at around 3 pm is the main meal and traditionally consists of soup and main course (meat, potatoes, vegetable). Supper is between 6-8 pm and is a very light meal, sometimes warm, if people only eat soup for dinner. I like Polish way of eating and despite living in Germany for 6 years my inner clock has never switched to eating my main meal at 6 pm. There's no afternoon rest time in Poland.

What is the predominate language spoken in your country? Are many people bi-lingual?
People speak Polish and it's the mother tongue of 99% of the population. There are some small areas, where other languages are also spoken, but they are insignificant. Younger people speak at least some English and some German near German border. The older learnt Russian at school (including meLOL) but they remember almost nothing. Learning languages is an important part of curriculum and most children start in second grade and add one more language later. Quite a number get afternoon lessons in languages, usually twice a week. Secondary schools with extended second language are very popular (part of the classes is held in another language).

What sports are popular in your country?
Soccer :) It's predominant really.

Are there supermarkets where you live?
Of course :) The nice thing about Poland is that major chains from many countries came there after 1989, so there's really a nice choice, British Tesco, German Real, French Géant or L'Eclerc, you have the choice. My fave is L'Eclerc, for the prices and quality. There are also smaller discount supermarkets, but they are not as popular as in Germany. A number of smaller shops survived and I like them, because they offer better quality of food than supermarkets. Vegetable markets are still existent and well loved :)

Who are the real-life heros in your country?
John Paul II. I can't think of anyone even barely as popular. Sport stars like Adam Malysz, people doing humanitarian work like Janina Ochojska or Jerzy Owsiak. Abroad Lech Walesa, he's not very popular in Poland any more.

Is there a day you celebrate your country? What is the celebration like?
Independence day at November 11th. During XIXth century Poland was disappeared from the maps of Europe for 123 years (divided in three parts among Prussia, Austria and Russia)* and we celebrate regaining the independence. But the celebrations are rather limited, no special traditions as far as I can remember. Of course, there are celebrations at school one day before, also in the TV, etc.

*Shall anyone be interested to read about the mad Polish hisotry I recommend "Gods' Playground" by Norman Davies. It reads like a novel and is quite objective, even though it's not uncontroversial. I think there's also a shortened version of it available :)

What is (roughly) your daily schedule? What time does work begin? What time does it end? How about meal times? Does your country go in for the afternoon rest time?
When I worked I would get up at 6.30 am. I didn't eat breakfast at home, but bought a sandwich at the bakery on the way. I would eat at 8 am while checking e-mail, logging to the system, updating the code on my machine, chatting with co-workers (no cubicles here, yay!). At my job people are allowed to arrive between 8 and 10 am, which they do indeed. We have to work 8.5 hours, 30 minute lunch break between noon and 1 pm included. Usually I would either eat a sandwich or salad or go to a real lunch with co-workers if money wasn't tight. After hours are a norm at my job, so I would usually leave between 4.30 and 8.30 pm. We used to eat dinner together at 6 pm or later, but as mentioned it's too late for me (I gained 50 pounds since moving to Germany). When I'm back at work, I will probabely eat more proper lunch (DD will get fed at daycare) and will eat only very light supper at home. Noon is a bit too early for my liking, but maybe it will work better. No afternnon rest time and quiet time is not observed that strictly.

What is the predominate language spoken in your country? Are many people bi-lingual?
Like Renée mentioned, not many people are biligual. That said, Berlin is an exception. With almost 100,000 Polish people, many more Turkish and countless other nations, many people got bilingual or were born in multi-language families. We restricted our family to two languages - Polish and German, but my friend for example speak Polish with her DD, the father speaks German with DD and she and her DH speak English with each other.

What sports are popular in your country?
Soccer again and Formula 1. Also other sports, like basketball, ice hockey, etc.

Are there supermarkets where you live?
Both supermarkets and disounters. I usually buy at Kaufland which is quite popular in eastern Germany (I live in western part of Berlin now), some things I get at disounters and vegetable at vegetable market, if I remember that it's the day to go vegetable shopping. I am not very fond of fruit and vegetables in supermarket quality and I really try to remember market days (sometimes it's difficult though, as I go to school on Saturdays).

Who are the real-life heros in your country?
I can't say. I dislike Joschka Fischer from the deepest of my soul, I'm very neutral towards the new Pope and really cannot name anyone whom I would see as a hero. Of course other people see it differently, but I cannot comment on that really.

Is there a day you celebrate your country? What is the celebration like?
October 3rd, the day of reuniting of western and eastern parts of Germany. It's quite low key again, mainly celevrated in the TV, schools, etc. Because of the past, it's fairly difficult to be proud to be German and celebrate it.


Blogger Cathy said...

Thanks, Gosia! I think all of this is so interesting.

4:22 PM  
Blogger Little Grey Cat said...

Wow! That was a long post - but very interesting. I love to hear how other countries do things. You're not so much different to us here in UK.

Oh yeah, and you've been tagged ... go see my blog for details.

10:23 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Hey, Gosia, haven't heard from you for a while and wanted to make sure you're okay! I hope all is well.

3:01 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

Gosia, just wanted to say...tag, you're IT!!! (Check my blog)

5:27 PM  
Anonymous anneke said...

Hi Gosia, I wanted to tag you and now I see you're already tagged. Maybe you can join your answer to us both. I think we're running out of stitchers...
I hope you're allright and that you can find the time to relax (and stitch?)
good luck

5:43 PM  

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