Thursday, 7 February 2008


This is a word that's been coming up consistently on the weather forecast for the past couple of days: overcast.
Kraków is unseasonably warm and damp at the moment, with no sign of the long, cold winter we were warned of.

This morning I meant to write a blood-and-guts post reminiscent of some tortured adolescent's poetry (stand back now, protective clothing may be required).
I wanted to explain how you can wake up and for the first instant not remember where this tight pain around your chest comes from; to describe the effort required to step out from under the shower and to force mushy cereal not to stick in your throat, the rising nausea induced by the sight of a simple cup of tea.
I felt like telling you about the sense of desolation you feel realising that all the dimensions and colours and light that another person brought into your life are closed off to you now: the doors are shut.
And walking across the city centre into work you pass places where you liked to have coffee and streets where you lost the car and that gallery that was always closed when you meant to visit it, and you are constantly reminded of what you have lost.
You try not to re-play that scene where he comes to the door and says:
- I'm sorry, I made a mistake, I miss you. Come here.

But nobody likes a sissy.

Instead, I thought I'd tell you about the BBC's 'A Touch of Polish' initiative. This is a Polish soap (do follow the link, it's brilliant: right-click to open in a new tab, clever, eh?) about the adventures of Bogdan the Builder and his English sweetheart, Sarah the divorcee, whom he meets when doing repairs to her home (I like to think she answered the door in her negligée, gin and tonic in hand).

It's honestly almost as good as the Gold Blend adverts. With some Polish phrases thrown in as well: result!

Each week, they send you an email inviting you to guess (from a multiple-choice list) what the caption means, and then, best of all, they ask you what you think should happen next, from a selection of three possible scenarios.

However, there's only one episode a week, and sometimes you just don't want to wait for the next installment. So, in case you're hankering after an extra dollop of Polish soap, I've created my own:

Pinolona (International Pine-Nut of Mystery) finds out that Car Guy no longer has space in his passenger seat for her. Bravely she immerses herself in her work and her new-found love of west-Slavic philology, but, with the contract on her flat about to end and the debt collectors clamouring at the door, she is forced to consider her next move...

What happens next? You decide:

1) Pinolona goes back to her parents' house in London and scrapes a living proofreading translations while practicing as a volunteer interpreter for Senegalese* immigrants with no access to Legal Aid.

2) Pinolona stays in Kraków and keeps her office job until the end of the academic year so that she can continue to learn Polish and attend the interpreting school, but she has to sleep on other people's floors for two months.

3) Pinolona tries to initiate a lesbian affair with Car Guy's upstairs neighbour in a desperate attempt to keep him in her life (I told you it was soap). She quits her job and becomes apprentice to the Bad Obwarzanki Lady.

Come back next week when the story will continue on the basis of your vote...

(And then I promise no more about Car Guy or about the relative desirability of different demographic groups in Poland. Enough now. )

*No particular reason to pick on the Senegalese. But they do speak French.


Anonymous said...

Your last blog entries are a sign of winter depression...which is common to many foreigners in Poland. ;)

it should be over by March-April.... :D

artur said...

rm1992the best case scenario - I come to cracow ,a chance meeting just moments before you board a homebound plane .we instantly fall blindly in love with each other . you stay in Poland indefinitely and live happily ever after with the guy ( muggins)that you have seduced with your blog .hail Pinolona.

batorego said...

*British readers shuffle quietly away following public outpouring of emotion*

Yeah, go Artur… go Artur… !

batorego said...

"Bogdan's mum wants them to stay in Poland" :D

Too bloody right she does. Nooooo… run while you still can!!!

Anonymous said...

More Anonymity from Australia - while cheering on Artur (is it wrong that I immediately want to call him Detour?), just in case it doesn't quite work out ... you might want to consider staying in any case. Eat chocolate, have a sauna, drink tatankas until you can spew in three different colours, go to Vienna for the weekend ... but perhaps staying. "In search of adventures ..." Unless, of course, adventures are more likely at the parents' house.

pinolona said...

Anonymous no 1: April?? Agh I'm outta here... (ps I heard it's not just foreigners who are susceptible to winter depression)

Batorego: I did warn you it'd be messy. I never got to meet The Mothership, so I think I'm pretty safe. You know what, Italian 'mammoni' have nothing on the Poles...

Aussie anon: you're right, I did come here for adventures and it seems a shame to slink home with my tail between my legs. Mind you... my home town has its own set of adventures. Usually in the form of singing/playing/cooking/participating in something that I never expected and thinking 'Oh God why didn't I stay in Poland where things were quieter...'
ps where can I get a sauna in Krakow??

Artur: I'll see you in Odloty :-*

the sister said...

If you come home then you can have advertures with me after all of my applications for Msc courses are rejected and I have to live off Mum and Dad!

W-wa Jeziorki said...

Pinolona - you have 30+ years to go before you can qualify for your beret and your wireless set permanently tuned to Radio-Has-A-Snout*.

In the meantime, stick with Kraks, it's a city with soul.

And tell us more about the Bad Obwarzanka Lady.

*translate into Polish